Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Teacher Tuesday: First Days, Have Mercy and Doodle Pages

Now that school is back in session, I'm bringing back Teacher Tuesday.  My goal is to get at least two of these posts in every month.  

And teacher friends, mark your calendars because TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7th I'm going to do a link-up party where we can share classroom tours!  I can't wait to see y'alls themes, decorations and organization!  So tidy up your desk, snap some pictures and get ready!



Today I thought I'd share a little bit about a few of the things I did during our first few days back.

On the first day of school, I went through a SmartBoard presentation, but I try to make it a little more entertaining :)


GIFs are some of my favorite things to use and I love getting a few giggles on the first day :)



I think adding in a little bit of humor goes a LONG way especially when kids are new and nervous.




I do an intro about myself (I actually showed them my "What I Did This Summer" video), they all went around and introduce themselves, we go through a few procedures and policies and then I ended the class (we only have 25 mins each period on the first day) by handing them each a note card and having them tell me a little bit about their interests/hobbies, what they want to be when they grow up and their personal Math history.  

They fill out their card and then over the next several weeks I send them each an email addressing what they wrote on the card.  I have over 110 students, but it's totally worth it.



On the second day of class, when I have a full period with them and the initial "we're back in school glazed look" has worn off a bit, I go over one of my biggest classroom policies.... late work.

I think that the hardest part of my job (besides having enough hours in the day to get it all done) is keeping track of late work.  Who was sick, who left their homework at home, who was at the band competition when we were turning it in, who used a mercy pass, etc., etc., etc.  It's a HOT MESS, but the system I use has helped me out dramatically.

I have these "I Don't Have My Homework Because..." pages in a basket at the front of the room and if a student doesn't have their assignment for any reason they grab one, fill it out and turn it in in place of their assignment.  

If they were absent on the day I assign the homework, they would indicate that on the page and when I'm going through papers I make myself a note on what I need to do to get them caught up and put it in my absent folder.


The next scenario is the "Have Mercy Pass".  Each student gets one pass at the beginning of every quarter and they can use it whenever they want.  It buys them an extra night to complete the assignment and allows them to turn it in one day late with no penalty.



 When they turn in the blue paper, they staple the mercy pass to it and I set it to the side so I remember to collect the assignment from them the next class period.


The last situation is if they don't have their homework and they don't have a mercy pass.  BOO!

If that's the case, our school policy is that they come to an academic detention after school.  to get the work completed.  I pull these sheets out and leave them in a stack on my desk so I know who to expect for detention.  If a student finished their homework before detention and they turn it in (during a passing period, lunch, etc.), then they don't have to stay after school but they still receive the late penalty (20 or 30 points off depending on the grade level).


This system has helped me BUNCHES and I'm hopeful you can implement it or glean something from it for your classroom.

Last up is something really simple, but really effective - handwritten notes and worksheets.

I know it sounds crazy, but when I use handwritten copies of my notes or make a worksheet by hand, I feel like the students pay more attention to it and remember it more because it's different than what they've been looking at all day long.




 At the beginning of the year we spend several days reviewing integer operations and once we've completed all the lessons and practices I give them this page as a reference guide for their notebooks...



My visual learners EAT THESE UP!  During a test or quiz I can say things like, "remember that one page where I had the doodle of the ladybug on it?" and they can remember the content.  I definitely don't do everything like this, but I throw them in there every once in a while.

I'm so looking forward to sharing activities and ideas throughout this school year and would love to hear best practices from your classrooms as well!

So, Tuesday, September 7th!  TOURS!  Here's a sneak peek of my room...


... lots of color, lots of fun and lots of Ryan Gosling.  #heygirl

Tomorrow is Recipe Club!  Bring your a-game, girls!

73 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness!!! I would have LOVED those doodled math worksheets! And the "have mercy" passes....nothing better. Thank you, Uncle Jesse!

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    1. Everyone needs a little Uncle Jesse in their daily life :)

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  2. STOPP, omg I love so much about this and I'm not even a teacher! My husband is so I understand your struggle with late work. He taught middle school/high school math for 3 years before being completely worn down and switching to PE #muchhappiernow. The Have Mercy pass is just too much, all of your design is mind blowing {I can barely write my own name} and I agree with humor going a longggg way. As a non-teacher, I LOVED this post!

    Linds @ Not A Mom

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    1. YAY!!!! Sometimes I hesitate to do these teacher posts for fear of a big chunk of readers not feeling like it's applicable to them and so I'm so excited to hear that you're not a teacher but still loved the post :) THANK YOU!

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  3. Those handwritten notes are precious! I ALMOST wanted to learn about integer operations. Lol! :)

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  4. Andrea...you are like the most amazing teacher ever. I mean, I have no words. You're exceptional friend. Your kids are blessed beyond words to have you :).

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  5. As a teacher (second grade for years and now 4th!) I LOVE these teacher posts. You are great!

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    1. YAY! If I made Teacher Tuesday a link up thing maybe twice a month would you want to link up with your best practices or other ideas? I'm trying to gauge interest :)

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    2. I don't have a blog to link up with, but I would post ideas in my comments for sure.

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  6. I'm sure you're the favorite teacher !

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    1. Oh, gosh! I love to have fun, but I also assign homework EVERY day and I have high academic expectations so I think I'd get mixed reviews. hahaha :)

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    2. I went to a Youth Frontiers/Positive Parenting retreat yesterday and it sounds like you would fit the description of "warm strict": high expectations, but lots of warmth and caring. Perfect!

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  7. Amazing!!! I wish I could time travel back to 7th grade and have you take the place of my math teacher. He was literally the turning point (and not in a good way) in my math career. I can't wait to see the classroom tour!!

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    1. UGH!!! I hate that!!! When you figure out the time travel thing let me know... I want to go back to middle school and tell myself to not drink so much Mountain Dew AND to stop shopping at Limited Too :)

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  8. So cute! Almost makes me want to take middle school math again .... Almost!

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  9. Those hand written pages are a great idea and look wonderful! You are a super teacher!

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  10. I wish my children could have you as a math teacher... you are awesome!!!

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    1. That's so sweet! I would take them in a heartbeat :)

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  11. Those written pages are amazing! Math was a struggle for me once I got to jr.high. I was constantly trying to make my notes more interesting by using different coloured inks for the notes and drawing little pictures when it came to solving actual problems. Life could have been much easier if I had your for a teacher! (Although you were totally still in high school when I was in jr. high so maybe that wouldn't have worked out so well :P)

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    1. I'm a huge fan of color coded and "doodled" notes!

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  12. I love how you use your creative gifts to help teach math! I would never liked math, but I have a feeling I would have liked having you as a teacher! :)

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    1. I always tell kids that even if they don't enjoy math, I want them to enjoy my class :)

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    2. Wha do you teach?
      Kids. And math.

      You are great!

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  13. You are seriously an amazing teacher! I love the hand written pages!

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  14. I teach the little ones and I still got so much from this post. Thank you. I think if I had you as my math teacher, I would not have avoided math classes in college like the plague. Lol.

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    1. I'm so glad that you were able to get something out of it - even though you teach a different age group. And BLESS you for spending your days with little ones!!!

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  15. Can I go back 15 years and be in your math class? Maybe I'll actually get math! I love that your passion is spread to others in an impressionable stage of life!

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  16. I wish you would have been my math teacher! So creative and awesome!

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  17. Those handwritten notes.....LOVE! Shoot....they could be framed as art!!

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  18. Love this post. Wish I had you for middle school math... My teachers were ok but dull compared to you. I started doing thr integers operations worksheet in my head -amazed I remembered some of this...

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    1. YAY! Glad you remember integers as well... someone did a good job teaching you :) hehehe

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  19. You're teaching style and strategies never cease to amaze me. You are AWESOME!

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  20. Why do I find my 31 year old self wanting to go back to 7th grade math? Oh because you make it look SO FUN! Are you kidding, my son would eat this up! Your kids are blessed, keep being an awesome teacher!!! :)

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    1. Thanks, Laci! You can come to my class any time :) hehehe

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  21. This makes me want to teach again! Sad face! You're awesome!

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  22. Your hand drawn worksheets are the best! You are so artistic :)

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    1. Thank you! I don't consider myself artistic, so that's extra sweet of you!

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  23. Thank you for being such an awesome teacher!!!

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  24. September 7th is actually a Monday, Labor Day. :)

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    1. I probably should have consulted a calendar before typing that. hahaha :) Thanks!

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  25. Seriously where were you when I was in math?! Although I did become an engineer so someone must have been doing something right, but you would have made it WAY more fun!

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  26. This is awesome!! I have a photographic memory and I would color code my notes for history (my hardest class) so I would try to remember which color I was using during a specific topic. So helpful!! Also, my geometry teacher would give us little booklets of different color pages and it would be so helpful too. He'd drop hints during a test like "Remember the orange booklet". It really is helpful to a student. Thanks for being an awesome teacher!!

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    1. Love the color coded booklets! That's a great idea! Thanks, girl!

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  27. I have always said I would never want to go back to middle school or high school but I totally would if you were my teacher! I love math anyway but this made me want to sit at the table and do math homework! #mamamathnerd

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    1. YES!!! Let's sit together and solve some quadratics! hahaha

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  28. I wish I was in back in school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(

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    1. Awwwww! Get a new planner and pens and pretend :)

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  29. If my teachers had been 1/2 as creative as you I would be far more interested in school. I hope my kiddos experience teachers just like this!!

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    1. Thanks, Leigh! I try to keep in mind that they're sitting through 6 academic classes in a day and so I try to give them some variety.

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  30. What a blessing you are to all your students!!! So many neat ideas for the classroom!!!!

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  31. We homeschool and I have two 8th grade sons (twins). Middle school math would be so much better if YOU could teach them:) I love the teacher posts, your creativity is amazing and I might even glean a little bit of help for my sons. Thank you, Andrea!

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    1. Teaching your own kids is so hard... especially in Middle School! Good luck, girly!!!

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  32. I love all your posts about your classroom and being a teacher! I hope my son gets as an amazing teacher as you!
    One question though, I saw the picture on the smart board... you don't allow backpacks in your classroom? If you don't mind me asking, just curious, why not? Too much of a distraction? Where do they store them if they can't bring them in?

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    1. We're in portable buildings that are TEENY and backpacks just take up lots of space in the classroom. We have HUGE lockers for the kids and they keep their backpacks in their lockers and then just bring their supplies with them to class.

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  33. Oh my goodness, I love this...I'm an 8th grade math teacher so this spoke to my heart! I'd love to see more of your Smartboard intro if you don't mind sharing? Also, I love the have mercy pass and want to incorporate it in my classroom this year...do the kiddos get the Full House reference? Would love to share teaching ideas with you throughout the year!

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    1. The rest of my intro was just a supply list, my one classroom rule (mutual respect) and a few other classroom rules (no food or gum, tardies, etc.). And YES! The kids all watch Full House on Nick at Nite. hahaha

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  34. Printables of those hand lettered worksheets?

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  35. That floral!! is it a fabric or is it paper?? If it's fabric where did you get it from?? I would love to use it in Ellie's big girl room!!

    atparsons.blogspot.com

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  36. Those are some lucky learners! Love your worksheets and the cute pass idea x

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  37. I'd love to move to your area and have my kids in YOUR class! What a fun and creative teacher. I bet the kids love you. :)

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