Category: classroom management

    Effective Student Goal Setting

    Goal setting is one of the activities I use in January when students return to school after the winter break. It begins a new semester and gives us a fresh start. In the past, I used the goal setting tools provided by the administration. But last year, after my winter reading, I realized students need more than to just “set goals”. Students need strategies to help implement and follow up on goals as well. It was so successful that we are going to continue with this practice. Students Need More than Goal Setting In a study of Harvard MBAs, it […]

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    The Crucial First Five Minutes

    Every veteran teacher understands that the first few minutes of a class set the tone for the rest of the period. This is why most schools insist on some form of the warm-up (also called bellringer or do-now) for students to complete at the beginning of the period. New teachers may have experienced this during student teaching, but do not understand all the reasons why it becomes an important part of the classroom routine.   Why is a Warm-Up So Important? A daily warm-up for the first crucial five minutes actually serves several purposes: It sets the tone for the […]

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    Grades: The Impossible Mission

    It is that time of the year when students are nicer, teachers are cranky and parents (who have never called) are now questioning the grades.  No, it’s not holiday cheer, it is the end of the semester. Are grades important?  I am not sure anymore.  I know that much of a teachers’ time is spent preparing grades, communicating about grades, posting grades and defending grades.  And the difficulty is that there are no correct answers—for anyone, especially the students. In recent years, a lot of focus has been placed on grading practices–and no one can agree on fair grading practices […]

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    Paper Chains—Not Just for Christmas Trees

    When I was a child we made paper chains for the Christmas Tree. They were fun, very colorful and a holiday event each year. Many years ago I was desperate for some type of activity to use in the classroom. I was tired of worksheets, the kids were tired, and we were both bored.  It is difficult to remember the specific content I was trying to practice, but someone offered me a paper chain activity they had used. The other teacher was not that enthusiastic but when he gave it to me said: “you can probably do something with it”.  I […]

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    Holiday Reading/Listening List

    I am a compulsive reader. Or at least I used to be. People were amazed that I could read 200-300 books a year. I didn’t get much else done, I was in college at the time and aside from my college work, I did little else but read.      When Life Get Hectic–Use Audible Then work and life became complicated and most of my reading time was taken up with other things. I still read, but mostly on vacations or long weekends when there was nothing else going on that needed my attention. I tried Kindle as well, it helped […]

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    Stay Sane in the Halloween Classroom

    I love fall, the cooler weather, the crisp nights and the holidays. And apples. Especially apple pie. Kids love holidays as well.  For the classroom, it becomes more difficult to keep students focused on math (or any other subject).    Adding to the natural frenzy that Halloween brings, my high school allows students to come in costume, has a costume contest during lunch and other Halloween themed activities through the week. The school clubs all sell Candy-grams which are delivered during class, adding another interruption during the week. Clearly, they have all joined the “If you can’t beat them,  join […]

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    Improve Your Teaching with a Morning Routine

    I love mornings even though I am NOT a morning person.  Have you ever had a bad teaching day?  An unpleasant parent conference?  A student who had a meltdown?  A coworker who had a meltdown?  Maybe YOU had a meltdown? Well, every new day is a fresh start—it’s a do-over for adults. And we all need that.  How you start your day, the routine that begins the day has a big impact on the rest of it. Think of it as setting the tone for your entire day. That’s why making over your morning is so important. I’m sure you’ve […]

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    8 Ideas to Deal with Absent Students

    Absent students create additional thought and organization in every classroom. Each school and district have district policies on dealing with missing work due to absences. In my district the students are allowed number of absences plus one to make up missing work, however, this is not a hard rule.  If a parent requests missing work, the teacher is expected to provide it even if this consists of the entire semester. Students with accommodations are allowed to turn in work “late” and last year I was required to provide 18 weeks of missing work. It was never completed and turned it. […]

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    5 Tips for Successful Parent Conferences

    I remember as a new teacher looking forward to parent conferences, and parent calls home, and parent visits, etc.  Yes, I was a typical, over the top, optimistic new teacher.  That did not last long. That first year taught me several things about parents, students and my role in the classroom in dealing with both.  And like all things, parents and students have changed. 1)  It Isn’t a Popularity Contest.  And if it was—you lose.  Parents, guardians, family always chose the child.  It doesn’t matter what the child is doing in your classroom, the child is right.  Even if  the […]

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    11 Online Tools for Secondary Students

    With a new school year, it is time to try something new.  In no particular order, some of my favorite online programs for the classroom: 1)  Quizlet.  I attended the Quizlet Unconference before school began to trim my learning curve.  I cannot believe how easy it is to use.  The basics are study cards, definition (graph, picture, diagram, etc) on one side and definition or explanation on the other.  But you can use this set in a variety of ways.  I used a statistics set that was done in Spanish for my ELL students.  You can study the cards, or […]

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