Posts Tagged ‘Organization’

Girls in Animal Print are Trouble

The 6 Traits of Writing encourages teachers to use picture books to help students generate ideas and details. For practice in narrative writing, we read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, then used it as a spring board for the students’ individual writing.

http://educationnorthwest.org/traits (Official website of the 6 Traits)

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Here is the writing prompt and outline I gave my students. You can see that the student has quite a terrible day to write about. But it was his second point that had me laughing:

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Cheetah print? The known calling card of a skank, even to 7th graders! I gave him an A.

Make Your Class Roster the Best It Can Be!

Effectively using a class roster was something I had to learn along the way. A spreadsheet of names can be  a huge help in the jumbled up life of a teacher if you organize it well. I use class rosters to keep track of attendance, grades, in class activities, and of course the fire drill! Here is a picture of an old roster of mine. Let’s walk through how to use it.

Attendance- If students are not present they receive a slash through the box. If they arrive tardy at a later point, a straight line is added underneath the slash. When I began teaching, I fell into the trap of marking an “A” for absent students and then trying to scribble over with a “T” when they walked in the room a few moments later. Rookie mistake!

Grades- After a stack of papers has been graded for a class, write down the grades in one column of the roster. This allows for grades to easy and quickly be entered into your online gradebook in alphabetical order. You avoid the hunt and pecking of looking at the score on the paper, finding the name, typing it in, and moving your mouse to the next person elsewhere on the list. Also, I found that I loved having knowledge of who hadn’t turned what in so close to me. While I took roll I could say, “Hey, you owe me an assignment!” without looking at my computer.

In Class Activities- Use your roster to mark who is participating in a class activity to mark later for participation points in the gradebook. Notice in the picture that one column is labeled “Outline.” My students worked on essay outlines and I checked them upon completion. All I had to do was walk around the room as they worked, briefly scan their outline for approval, and star my roster to indicate they earned credit. Notice that some students earned a 90 instead of a star (which indicated full credit of 100 points). This is where I docked off 10 points for lateness where necessary. This is an easy, easy way to grade. The students get instant feedback and you aren’t stuck grading your life away. Win win! Roster

Can You Fix Messy Students?

Lots of students are disorganized. That is probably a massive understatement, especially if you have ever walked down the halls of a junior high during a locker clean out. My classroom is located on a wall of boys only lockers, so I think boys have a special train wreck tendency with their belongings. Locker clean outs are usually a flutter of crumpled paper and spare socks, while the smell of Axe Body Spray overwhelms the air. Whew!

Here are a few tips to help your students. I plan on adding more to this, but just to get us started:

  • Require a binder for your class, not to be shared with other subjects.
  • Keep a crate of folders for student portfolios in the classroom. These folders can be used to store important papers which should not be lost in lockers! My students like to decorate them at the beginning of the year. This is fun and it generally helps create awareness that it is a folder for them to use.
  • If you have an important handout that needs to be kept the entire year, i.e. classroom procedures or a CliffNotes list of grammar, then print the copy off on colored paper which will stand out signifying, “Don’t throw me away!” To further this statement, go big and print on cardstock.
  • Always have a three hole punch available for student use. Occasionally pass it around when you absolutely want something to be hole-punched and placed in a binder. How else will it happen?

Remember. if you want your students to be organized, try to model that behavior yourself! : )

Empty Hands

We have all seen it in our classrooms. Those pesky kids who show up without any materials. No book, no pencil, no paper, and certainly no homework. So what do you do with those empty hands?

Empty Handed

My first year on the job this really got to me. As a classic overachiever, lover of school, I was not able to understand what was going on in their head! Did they think they wouldn’t need anything? At some point however, I acceptable the fact that these empty-handed students just hadn’t been thinking…and that it would be okay, as long as there was someone else around to think of what to do with them.

No Pencil: I lend you one, so you lend me something in return. I take shoes, money, keys, jewelry. Repeat it like a mantra. Shoes, money, keys, jewelry. These are things your student will not want to leave without, so they will remember to swap back with you at the end of the hour. I do not take jackets, hats, binders, or other textbooks. They will leave without these. If they do leave their money, then buy yourself a candy bar and enjoy!

No Paper: “Sure, here is a sheet of paper. Now, do I need to call your mom and let her know that you need paper or can you?” (They can.) “Also, you never get something free in life. To earn that paper, you can pick up 3 pieces of paper/ trash off my floor before you leave today.” Maybe it sounds grouchy, but I stress that idea of not getting something for nothing a lot in my class. Entitlement is an awful personality trait.

No Book: Go get it from your locker, and take a tardy. This is something you as the teacher can’t instantly solve. They need it, but there are consequences for being unprepared. In my school district, two tardies equal one absence. This helps out the 6-12 teachers, but I’m not as familiar with elementary schools. So readers, if you are the student’s only teacher, what other solutions can you offer?

The pencil idea I learned from other, wiser co-workers and the solution for paper I created myself. Once again, pick and chose what you like and what will work for you. Ultimately, whatever you do in your classroom has to make you happy and hopefully avoids creating any resentful feelings to those who come with empty hands.

Taping Down an Organized Room

At the end of each school day you could often find me walking around the room, picking up paper and straightening desks. This was usually a small task, but it was a tedious one. Like most teachers, I have 32 desks that are filled with 32 little people. This means that there are 32 desks to straighten into rows and lots of little pieces of paper to reach down and get! Would you want to do this?

Ms. Zelenski's Room

As  result I have learned that there needs to be a routine of organization- so everyone can pitch in to ensure desks are in their correct places and the room is tidy. An education classmate of mine used tape to indicate where exactly on the floor the desks should be positioned. I plan on using tape to outline all my rows of desks this upcoming school year.

Duct Tape

Lots of times I have instructed my students to straighten their desks. Leave it neatly sitting square behind the one in front of you! However, I think this task is easiest followed when you have something to guide you. There is a good reason why roads have painted lines!

Feedback- taping desk outlines, orderly or OCD?

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