Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by BioAngel, May 7, 2009.
May 9, 2009
BioAngel - could you talk some more about this, maybe give an example?? Thanks!
Wallpaper makes great background paper for bulletin boards. You can frequently find remnants for an incredible price. It doesn't tear and it doesn't fade.
The brightly coloured plastic tablecloths from the dollar store make another inexpensive (okay, dirt cheap) background for bulletin boards. They are easy to work with and don't fade.
I just graduated and got an offer. As a 1st year teacher, I would REALLY appreciate anybody who has any adice to offer! Please! Thanks!
May 10, 2009
I'm a little confused, can you explain this a different way?
I noticed that my students were having difficulties with writing down all the notes and that we'd waste a lot of time looking through our science notebooks to look up information to answer a question.
Now I decided to solve those 2 problems by using poster paper (the big sheets of paper you can buy with either lines on them or graph paper style). I write down the focus question of the lesson and either I or another student who I know has good hand writing, writes down any important notes (which are determined by the students not me). We also use it for graphs, we might do a sketch of something (instead of using a written format), etc. I then post this up around the classroom--- either on the little bulletin boards I have around my whiteboard or some place else. Students can then refer back to these class notes if they're having difficulty.
The only down side is that you use a lot of paper and with 4 sections I do these notes 4 times over--- sometimes I have to rewrite certain notes that incorporates all 4 sections and their ideas. Otherwise I pick which section has the most useful notes and post that one up.
That's a great idea!! I have limited color choices, so that'll be a great alternative.
I'm going to take some pics of my classroom to show you all what I mean
May 14, 2009
I'm well into my teaching career but this is the first year I have started a notebook to keep all the ideas I have for next year - you know, little things like "Have students skip lines on rough drafts" or "Always have students use crayons on graphs". The things you start reflecting on at this time of year!
I get so many good ideas to improve my classroom but by the time summer rolls around, sure enough I can't remember most of them! Next year will be different.
All of this advice is amazing! I'll be a first year teacher next year. Keep it comin'!
May 15, 2009
A few things I've learned:
1. Try to prepare as much as possible before the school year starts. Develop your filing system, organize your room, etc. BEFORE school starts. Once the year starts, you're lucky if you can just manage to keep everything organized - I can't imagine trying to set it up too during the year!
2. Yes, students can frustrate you. Yes, they can make you angry. But be prepared to get even more frustrated and annoyed at school policies, administrators (especially the types who tell you they have your back and then still brush it off when you have a problem or just "warn" the student), students being pulled from your class for trips or events with no notice, etc. The list can go on. The general idea is that education classes don't prepare you for high school politics.
3. Procedures! Have them and enforce them. I tried an absent work policy, and kind of let it fall through the cracks. Its too late to fix it this year, but I know I've got to have something better next year.
4. Extra copies -- have plenty. If I have 50 students to give a handout to, I make at least 65 copies, if its something for notes. Some will lose it, others will forget it at home when they need it, etc. And trust me, you will have at least 1 or 2 students whom no matter what you do will always lose it. I swear they eat up more extra copies then all my other students combined. Hand in hand with this, I'd also suggest spending at least a day at the beginning going over exactly how you want everything organized with them - hole-punch immediately and put it in the binder, separate sections, etc.
5. Grade things as quickly as possible. At certain points, you will get backed up, and its hard to sit and grade when you have a huge stack.
6. Be Prepared to have NO life the first year. There's so much to do, so much to grade and prep, that the first year will be somewhat of a blur.
My own life-saver: last year target sold a filing bag for hanging file folders. It holds my gradebook, portfolio book (things we're doing now, admin notes, extra paper, etc.), plus a bunch of file folders - one for each class, miscellaneous, to be graded, to be filed, and can hold my pen case, daily planner, and mini-calculator (a necessity). It cost about $30.00, but has saved my life, since its so much more organized than any normal bag. It's a great investment.
Another thing that I wish I had known was that you really do need to check for understanding about a billion times a day. At first I was all over the place in how I did it. I finally heard about the thumbs up/down system where the students do a thumbs up/thumbs down on the shoulder. That means that the students would show me a thumbs up/down on the shoulder opposite of the hand they were holding up. That way, nobody else could see how everyone else was "voting" and it would be more confidential than having them raise their hands in front of everybody. I found that I got a much clearer response when they did the shoulder thing. I now have an interactive whiteboard. We use the voting tool, which has completely changed everything.
I also wish I had known that there was a closet full of office supplies for teachers in the office! I was constantly buying the little things like Post-it notes, paper clips, staples, etc... when I had my own little mini-store downstairs!
I also wished that I had used more organizers and rubrics for projects. I found that it was more helpful for students to know exactly where they were on a project and what their expectations were if they had those tools. It is a ton of work to set up in the beginning, but it makes the project go so much easier!
An example of how I use poster paper for notes and then hang them up around the class...
May 16, 2009
As a math teacher, my most important secret weapon is a question:
"Is anyone so confused that you don't even know what to ask???"
Then don't listen, LOOK. Look at the quiet kids, the ones who fall into the B range. If one of them nods his or her head, you know you have to stop, and re-do the process in the tiniest increments you can find.
Filing- I teach first. We have experienced teachers who plan Math, Science, Writing. Copies of needed worksheets are made for us for each student. What I do is have my paper passers pass out papers. They give me the extras. I then put them (1 or 2) in a file folder at my desk that is labeled for that topic and that subject immediately. At the end of the week (or end of that subject) I take the whole folder and put it in the file cabinet along with any samples I had to make that week. I don't know if this is how everyone does it, but I was having a lot of trouble in the beginning of the year and now need to have a filing party to file first and second quarter.
Expectations: make sure you set good expectations on the quality of work, cleanliness of your room, transitions, coming to "the carpet" etc. Procedures are very important but expectations are equally important. An example would be that they must use 6 different colors while coloring, not interrupting guided reading, neatly stacking papers in the paper tray instead of cramming them in there.
At the end of the year they get tend to get messy, distructive, and very antsy.
Citizenship-take time to teach this. They need to work together as a team and trust and support each other. Taking time to talk about this helps to build your classroom community. It's hard to fit it in but it is important.
Stress the importance of school- Tell them stories of when you were in school. When you talk about famous people, talk about their education. Another, thing I did with my kids is brought in work samples of what my youngest son did when he was in first grade-since we do many of the same things. He is in 4th now and they all know him. They love to see his work as a first grader and like me to bring in 4 th grade projects to share.
Talk about the future years of school and flatter them when they are working above grade level. "Guys this is really 3rd grade stuff but you are sailing through it!"
Don't bite off more than you can chew- Pick one thing to do really, really well instruction wise your first year. Mine was writer's workshop. Next year I am the science lead and will also go gung ho at reader's workshop.
If you are a computer person, scan everything. And buy resource books as pdf files if you can.
I'm starting over in a new content area, and that's what I plan to do. The sheer volume of paper resources is sometimes overwhelming, and I can't tell you the number of times over the years I've found something weeks (or months) after it would have been really useful.
After you have given students instructions for an assignment and send them off to get busy, pause for a moment. Take half a minute to just stand there calmly observing them, ensuring they get on task. Too often we give a direction then rush off to do something, assist a student, whatever. I tell my students to ask questions before they get started because I won't answer questions for the first few minutes of work time. It helps them get settled into the assignment right away.
Separate names with a comma.