Ways you work "smart" instead of hard?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Toast, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. Ladybug Teacher

    Ladybug Teacher Companion

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    Sep 17, 2010

    This year, I've been keeping myself on a set schedule. I come in early and use that time to organize, clean, and set up for the day. I use my planning period for copying, correcting, and planning for upcoming lessons. I find it's really helpful to keep myself on specific tasks during these time periods...I used to be all over the place when things got busy! I feel like I'm getting a lot more accomplished this year.

    Jem, I like your ideas of photographing/recording what you've discussed. We don't have a lot of chart paper either. I think this would be a great way for my kids to review things we had discussed previously. How do you video tape...do you have a tripod and camera already set up? Thanks!
     
  2. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Sep 17, 2010

    Staggered lesson planning.

    "Train" certain students to do certain jobs like tally the lunch choices or pick up the mail in my cubby or check the specials schedule.

    Students love writing the EQ or goal on the board while I'm entering attendance. (I do that one myself.) They look at my lesson plans and write it down.

    I use the consumable math workbook pages as much as possible instead of running off copies just because it is cuter.

    Check homework together instead of me collecting it and checking it.

    Plan writing units that take time to complete instead of free write and conference every day. For example, we've completed an amusement park experience project, a babysitting adventure, and the Dogzilla project so far this year. In between the projects, or if they finish early, they choose prompts from a prompt board or from the picture box.

    No busy work in the morning. I allow my fifth graders to talk between 7:45 and 8, which is when the bell rings for math. As soon as the bell rings, it's like magic. Certain students get up and leave for other classes, others pull out their books and homework, and other students come into the classroom. It's almost like the Pavlov's dog experiment. Bell rings, class begins. But the upshot is that I have no morning work to look over and I don't have to get kids who come in after 7:45 caught up with anything.
     
  3. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Sep 17, 2010

    I love the sound of your writing projects! I always start with How to Annoy Your Teacher, then How to Please Your Teacher, but I've done these for a few years now and I'm looking for new and fresh ideas. Care to elaborate on your topics, especially Dogzilla?
     
  4. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Sep 18, 2010

    This reminded me of high school. We had a history teacher who always asked one of us to refill her water bottle. It had stained lipstick all around the top of the water bottle. ewww lol

    I wished I was able to use all my prep time for things like this! Great suggestion though. I only have prep on W, Th, and double on F and every other M at 40 min. per time. One of those is reserved for our data meetings with our Reading Coach, another is expected to collaborate with our team and a 3rd is expected to have a "team meeting". Hence my "bad day" thread lol
     
  5. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Sep 18, 2010

    This is what I like about a small school...I am my own team...I meet with myself all the time, sometimes coming, sometimes going :lol:

    Of course, there are drawbacks, but the freedom and independence is great!
     
  6. buck8teacher

    buck8teacher Devotee

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    Sep 18, 2010

    When planning my parent helpers, I always try to schedule one to do my copies. While it takes a little bit of time to tag what I want rather than just going down there with my masters, it really saves me time, because I'm not standing there waiting for a weeks worth of copies! I also have a three drawer Sterlite tub labeled.
    Papers to Keep on Hand--Important School Info I'll Need All Year
    Papers to Fill Out and Return
    Papers to File
    It personally keeps me very accountable for my paperwork, and it very efficient! Love it!
     
  7. buck8teacher

    buck8teacher Devotee

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    Sep 18, 2010

    Oh, I also have a large pocket chart that has pockets the size of sheet paper, I use that for my students work turn it. They put it in their number pocket, and so then everything is in abc order.

    I also have a homework basket. Each kid has a clothespin with their name on it around the edge. They put their clothespin on their homework and put it in the basket. That why I can clearly see who didn't turn it in.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 18, 2010

    After close to 30 years in the classroom, I figured out something very small but important last year.

    I make up a different test for each of my classes. So yesterday, for example, I had a packet of 4 geometry test keys stapled together in my bag.

    I took a highlighter and colored the top& bottom of each page, front and back.

    It makes that key a whole lot easier to find among all the papers in my bag!!!

    And each of my classes is color coded. So this year,second period papers will always go into the pink folder, third into the purple, and so on.
     
  9. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Sep 18, 2010

    I keep track of student work with a large class list on chart paper posted in the class. Everytime an assignment is handed in, I bingo dab it. This way I don't have to constantly make lists and chase kids down for work. All they have to do is check the list.

    I also give the kids numbers (usually according to their alphabetical order on the class list The kids put that number beside their name on their work. This way, when I collect work, I put the numbers in order and I can tell easily who has not handed something in.
     
  10. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Sep 18, 2010

    Brilliant!
     
  11. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Sep 18, 2010

    The roller coaster story is one I do at the beginning of the year to explain a plot line. They describe a ride on a roller coaster or other amusement park ride from getting in line to getting into the cart or seat, riding it, and getting off and reflecting on it. Our school is just about 15 miles from Six Flags and about 30 minutes from White Water, so they are all familiar with the rides. I have a roller coaster graphic organizer plot line that I got on line, but I can't remember what site. I also teach about showing emotions ("My knees were shaking....") and about using sentence variety ("It zips! It zooms! It swooshes down to the bottom of the hill and then starts chugging it's way up to the top of another hill.") Mentor Text is Roller Coaster by M. Frazee. Not a lot of depth to the book, but good for getting things going.

    Babysitting project: Student is babysitting either a neighbor's kid, younger brother or sister, or petsitting a dog. I use it as a vehicle for teaching about details--they describe in detail the mess that is made by the child or the dog. Mentor Text is Pirates Don't Change Diapers.

    Dogzilla project http://www.writingfix.com/Picture_Book_Prompts/Dogzilla1.htm
    They are the scientist, chemicals get onto the animal which in turn get onto the scientist which turns him into half animal half human. (Boy plus Gorilla = Borilla) Good for teaching about problem-solution, reviewing adding detail (describe the lab) reflections (look back on the events)

    I'm starting non-fiction on Thursday next week. I think I'll start with making something or playing a game.
     
  12. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Sep 18, 2010

    I train kids- yes, even kindergartners! I have one who knows when to close the door and turn off the lights (the switch is in the hallway), one who knows how to get to the office, one who knows how to get to the other k teachers, etc. This week I will work on someone learning how to get to the nurses office...we are in the basement and it is on the third floor!!
    Also, I sometimes get lucky and the intern or and aide comes in my room when things are slow- and I always have work out for them. I leave a pile of things in the same spot with a post-it telling them what to do so they don't interrupt me teaching, they just get started on what isn't done yet.
    I never leave the building without my next day set-up...even on Friday, which is hard! I put all my papers in a folder, get my books needed out, and organize myself. It makes my days so much easier!
     
  13. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Sep 18, 2010

    Thank you! What great ideas!
     
  14. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Sep 18, 2010

    I check the HW in the morning. The students put their HW pages on the right side of their desk, on top of their HW folder. I go around as they write in their journals. I check to see if they did their HW and check it on my clipboard. If they don't have it, they have to face me then and there. It doesn't take too long and I know on the spot who will have to do it during free time in the day. If we have to check for math, I'll have them keep it until that block. If they have finished, I let them crumble up the paper, if they want, and toss it into a trash can I place in the middle of the room. HW was practice, we don't need it anymore...unless they want to keep it. It's fun for them to toss it into the basket.
     
  15. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Sep 18, 2010

    Really? OK, so I was just griping about homework on another thread...and honestly, this is a big reason why...your students really LIKE to throw away something they spent a considerable amount of time on? How do you use it to assess learning? I get what you mean by it is practice, but what if they practiced it wrong? :confused:
     
  16. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Sep 18, 2010

    I also take digital pictures of my whiteboards - otherwise I will think of something I want to reference and it's gone!

    I also deal with paper immediately - read and respond, file if absolutely necessary, take a digital picture if possible I'll need it again, and recycle.

    I have kids turn in homework in one of those mail sorting file boxes and I can see from across the room which box is empty and can ask for that person to file their paper. Also, when taking the papers out, they are in alphabetical order so filing graded work is simple.
     
  17. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Sep 19, 2010

    I check it as I am going. They can only toss what I know they have done correctly. They cannot toss math until we have checked it, or any other complex HW, which is usually not HW but classwork. HW is just reteach and practice, or spelling, so it isn't likely that they would make mistakes...
     
  18. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    Sep 19, 2010

    Even though we have an on-line gradebook, I still use a paper gradebook, too. That way, I can record in the paper gradebook each time I grade an assignment, and then upload once a week. I also keep an attendance log which is attached to each class page. When I mark a student absent, I tuck his homework, test or a post-it with directions into the gradebook. When he gets back, I don't have to search for worksheets or test copies; they are right in front of me when I take attendance.
     
  19. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Sep 19, 2010

    Making use of your resources is always working smarter and students are the most abundant resource we have.

    During my ST, I taught two 7th grade classes and two 8th grade classes. Homework was graded for accuracy (CT policy), so I went over each problem in class. Students exchanged papers beforehand and graded the HW as we went over it. I also had students hand recorded HW back to the class. This saved a lot of time.

    I never let students return graded tests back to their peers, though. My philosophy is that only the individual student should see his/her grade on the test or quiz. If they decide to share that grade with their peers, that is their choice, but I'm not going to give a middle school kid the chance to see how their current "worst enemy" scored on a test. We have enough drama without giving kids any extra ammo to use.
     
  20. Toast

    Toast Companion

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    Sep 20, 2010

    *bump*

    I've gotten so many awesome ideas from this thread! Keep ideas coming if you've got them!
     

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