NEAT IDEAS - add yours!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by zoerba, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. zoerba

    zoerba Comrade

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    Jun 29, 2007

    This year will be my second year of teaching and second year of 3rd grade! Here are some NEAT IDEAS I have planned for this year. Please feel free to comment and by all means, add your own!

    1. Homeworkopoly (www.homeworkopoly.com)

    2. Recess Tutoring: (students sign up to stay in at recess and tutor those students who didn't get their homework in that day)

    3. Attendance Reward: If all students have come to school for 10 consequetive days, each day after that that all students are present I will bring in a snack of my choice. (Ron Clark)

    4. Mystery Readers (Beth Newham)

    5. One field trip, outside of school hours and optional, per month.

    6. Monthly technology newsletter with related links to games, sites, etc.

    7. Star of the Week student where items they bring in get displayed in the hallway

    8. Math Journals (still developing how they're going to use these)

    9. Everytime someone talks in line that's one minute gone from recess BUT everytime the class lines up completely quietly it's one party point. (Idea of Ron Clark's, not sure how realistic it is for 3rd grade?)

    Please, post your NEAT IDEAS!
     
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  3. MissMulcahy

    MissMulcahy Rookie

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    I taught fifth grade last year and one thing I did was the compliment board. In the beginning on the week I would write thinks like: POPOCORN PARTY, 2 NO HOMEWORKS, PIZZA PARTY CELEBRATION. Everytime my students earned a compliement I would cross out a letter. This really worked out! My students were the best class in the hallways because I said this is where they could earn the most compliements.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    You're taking on A LOT of new ideas for your second year. They all sound great but start small- one or two of your favorites and see how they work before adding on more. You don't want to drive yourself crazy keeping track of all the points, snacks, parties, game and recess tutoring schedules. Your mani focus should be making sure you are doing your best job deleivering instruction while competently managing the class- which of the ideas mentioned do you think will best help you accomplish this?
     
  5. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    I admire you for getting pumped up about teaching and say, "go for it!" with your ideas. Really, the only time consuming ones are the homework idea and the recess tutoring. All of the other ideas are easy enough to incorporate into your every day without sacrificing instruction.

    When I was a new teacher, I was also always thinking of new things to incorporate into my classroom and still do today. The only way you'll know if things work is to try them.

    My neat idea...

    I use a puzzle on the chalkboard and each time I get an unsolicited compliment about my class, they get a puzzle piece. When it is complete, we celebrate.
     
  6. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    Jun 29, 2007

    I think I am going to try the word on the board for a treat idea. I had forgotten that one :)

    Thinking about doing homeworkopoly too- just need to find a space for it lol.
     
  7. shouts

    shouts Companion

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    Jun 29, 2007

    I love the idea of not using class or individual tangible rewards for behavior or homework. It's their job, and the verbal or self knowledge should be enough or what we are striving for.

    I like the idea of "paying" children for classroom jobs (not behavior or homework), charging rent, and having auctions (Rafe Esquith).

    No class reinforcers - they put too much pressure on the "worst" children.
     
  8. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Jun 29, 2007

    Here are some things that I want to try... probably too many

    1. During morning meeting I want to do a morning message and a shared reading of a poem of the week

    2. Interactive writing integrated in different subject areas, and possibly write something we learned every afternoon before they leave

    3. A more workshop approach to math: minilesson, independent work, math centers, sharing

    4. Reorganizing the sequence of my math units and using more problem solving activities

    5. Try to get more phonics in my schedule consistantly

    6. I want to make "Fluency Folders" that have their poem of the week, sight words, and familiar reads.

    7. And I've learned a lot about readers workshop, writers workshop, and guided reading last year so I want to continue what I did at the end of last year
     
  9. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Jun 29, 2007

    Oh and I may want to change homework for next year. Do a spelling tic tac toe contract and less worksheets.

    And I want to do mystery readers too!!
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Lots of great ideas!

    I would be careful of a few things, though. First, there seems to be a lot of food rewarding going on--pizza parties, snacks for good attendance. In my district, food of any kind is not allowed. Beyond that I think it's a bad idea to reward kids with unhealthy snacks. Give them games, books, and school supplies, but don't give them junk food please!

    Also, I'm not sure about the optional field trips outside of regular classroom hours. I imagine that you could run into some legal issues with this one. If you're taking the kids out on your own personal time, there might be some liability on your part in the event of a traffic accident or injury or worse. I know I'd feel more comfortable being protected by only doing field trips on school time.

    The very last concern I have regards using recess as a vehicle for reward or punishment. I think kids need recess, especially the little ones with lots of extra energy. When kids don't get a chance to burn off some of that, they often act out in other ways--and probably in your classroom! I think recess should be one of those sacred, untouchable things in school, unless students are behaving inappropriately during recess.
     
  11. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jun 29, 2007

    I agree. I don't give food, except once a year when we get 100 marbles in the jar. It's for compliments, but it takes a while to reach the goal. They do have one classroom pizza party. I've been doing that for four years, so I am used to that. But besides that, kids rarely to never have junk food or rewards in my classroom.

    There aren't any rewards for homework.

    I never take away recess. I've taken away minutes as they've talked in line on the way to recess, yet they've earned them back most every time. The most they ever lost was four minutes.

    The only reinforcer the kids will get besides the 100 marbles jar is probably Scholar Dollars, which is "paying" children for classroom jobs. Eventually, the students bring in items to hold a store (with my slight help of anything I don't need any longer). I have been doing that 2 1/2 years.

    I am not doing many new things this year. My second and third year, I was trying to pump iron with all the ideas I wanted to take on, seriously. Here are my few and hopefully efficient ideas in the long run-

    -Science journals
    -Writing workshops
    -The way students turn in classwork- into their own personal slot in a mailroom-style box

    That's it!

    As for the field trips, we've gone outside school hours because we traveled to St. Augustine! And- we've done it three years in a row! We left during school hours (9:00 a.m. on a Friday), but we got back at 9:30 p.m. It was excellent, but I had only one major trip the whole year besides two local ones. If you go on a field trip that requires some travel time, ask for the school cell phone and get the numbers of people in the office. Be very, very prepared.
     
  12. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Jun 29, 2007

    I am going to do a few things next year:

    -current events (one child a week in charge of bringing in an article for shared/guided reading. I am also getting Scholastic News this year for the first time. We will play a game at morning meeting with the national weather in the newspaper.)

    -poem of the week (we will have a poem to read on Monday. Mostly this will just be appreciation of the words, form, language, etc. We will have a discussion about it- and often it will tie into the curriculum. I also have some activities we will do with the poems, including translating them from print to cursive as part of cursive writing- once everyone knows cursive.)

    -Kids Plan it Unit in the Spring. We will brainstorm and come up with a unit we want to do together. This will be related hopefully to social studies or science. We will decide what we want to study, for example, mythology. Then, the kid will need to determine a) read aloud, b) KWL, focusing on the W, c) ways of learning the W- should we do field trips, read a book together, watch a movie, and then d) a culminating project - will we do a play, write books, do a presentation for the school, etc. Students use a process of brainstorming, webbing, and democratic decision-making to choose the unit of study

    I read about another school that did this and really want to do it. My school totally gives me the freedom to do this, so I am very excited!
     
  13. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I'm moving up from kinder to 5th. I've taught kinder for a while, so it's a major change for me. So... a lot of things I've done won't really work in fifth. Or, I have to change it around a bit.

    These are the things I will be doing that is new:
    1) homeworkopoly
    2) classroom economy- earn money for jobs
    3) P.A.T. Preferred Activity Time
    4) Implement readers workshop- got lots of ideas from Beth Newham's site
    5) Reading Program- race through space!

    These are things I did in kinder but changing around just a bit:
    1) mailbox using file folders instead of cubbies
    2) a seperate colored bin for turning in class work (math, science, reading, writing, social studies, and homework) instead of just one basket
    3) no more homework packs- I will use tic tac toe for spelling, monthly reading goal that I got from Ms.Jasztal, unfinished class work will become homework, current event- I like the idea of making one student in charge for bringing in current event for the week
    4) I will continue doing writers workshop.
     
  14. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jun 29, 2007

    Peachyness, I've heard of some classrooms letting kids use their money to "lease" preferred seats and so forth. I've always thought it would be a cool thing to do, but have just never taken the time to work it out.
    I do BUGs with my kids. (I got the idea from this site a few years ago). I have a goldfish bowl filled with 50 plastic bug rings. I turned a cheap wood papertowel holder into a critter catcher. As I get compliments on the kids (in the hall, from subs, etc) they earn bugs (Being Unusually Good). When/If they catch all the bugs they earn a reward. I've actually only had 2 classes in 9 years get all 50, both chose a popcorn/movie party. When I have classes do really well, they still get a celebration, just not as large as if they had completed it. I never take the bugs back, either, as punishment, that's not what this is about.
    I'm going through some old Mailbox magazines and just saw a suggestion I'm adding next year: HOT (Hear On Time). The suggestion was to have a prize box (pencils, stickers, erasers, etc) and every once in a while pull names and if those kids had all their homework at school on time that day, they get a small prize. It's just a small incentive to make sure they get their work done. This is definitely one that I'm adding.
     
  15. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Oh yes, I'm planning on having my kids pay for their rent for their desks.
     
  16. zoerba

    zoerba Comrade

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    Jun 29, 2007

    Great Ideas everyone! Just so you know, not all of those ideas of mine are new. I used homeworkopoly, star of the week, and some math journaling last year. And, who knows if I'll actually incorporate all of those ideas into my plan this year, but we'll see what happens. ALSO, very important, the after school field trips are NOT my responsibility - the parents would drive their kids to the location and stay with them for the activity. I did this a few times the year before last and it worked out really well.

    I'm just loving all of your ideas. Post more, more, more! =0)
     
  17. yclark

    yclark Comrade

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    Jun 29, 2007

    ChristyF, I really like the BUG idea. First graders would love that. I've used marbles in the past but this is a really cute variation.
     
  18. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    OMG I can't even get started on what I want to "bump up" for my 2nd year!!! I love some things I did last year and I want to add some more:

    1. Peer Tutoring: I will have the high kids tutor the low kids in various subjects. The kids will sign up for what they think they may need help on and my high kids will sign up to help them. I haven't figured out how I will do this yet.

    2. Science Notebooks: I read a great book on science notebooks and will incorporate this everyday!!! I love the idea of incorporating literacy in the content areas...having them write about their learning!!

    3. Math Notebooks: Same idea in mind. Write, write, write!! They will investigate more and write about their learning.

    4. Star Student of the Week: I got some great ideas from Beth N.'s site as well!! I am going to enjoy doing this with my kids!

    5. Current Events/ Scholastic News: I decided to do the Scholastic News with my kids and find a time to discuss current events. I am going to also laminate the newspapers we get weekly from them and put them into a center to do more with!

    6. Really stay firm on my Fun Fridays!!! Fun Fridays are for kids who do their homework ALL WEEK. Last year, I got soft on some kids because I know their home situations (mom works late, no support at home etc.) but I will stay firm on that next year. I want to buy some board games, puzzles, etc. to make it more rewarding.

    7. Lunch Buddies: I will have the kids who read for 20 min. every night eat lunch with me on Fridays. The kids are to log every book they read in their reading logs that are located inside their STAR binders so I can keep track of who is reading faithfully. I will even have special snacks/treats for my Lunch Buddies.

    I know I have more ideas, I wrote them down somewhere. I'll share when I find them...:p
     
  19. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    I do the Prize Box as well ChristyF and I must say, it really worked for some kids. I would just have kids pick prizes every now and then for being able to teach the class a new way of doing something in their own words.
    I tried the Classroom Economy at the beginning of the year, but it got to be too much for me to pass out all of the tickets and then decide on what the number would be for the people who were going to "shop" in the classroom store etc. I think I will take a look at Beth Newminham's site once more to get a better way to do this.
     
  20. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Jun 29, 2007

    I really enjoy my lunch breaks... but I do like the idea of Lunch Buddies. I'm looking for SOMETHING to reward my kiddos who read and fill out their reading logs every week.
     
  21. MissMcCollum

    MissMcCollum Companion

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    Jun 29, 2007

    Here's something I love: Charge the students higher rent if their desks are messy. The property value decreases, so they will need to make that up to you in their rent payment. :p
     

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