Best new thing you tried this year

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Tasha, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Feb 15, 2014

    What new thing did you try this year that worked out well?

    I have a wall in my library area where I hang my student's published piece from each unit. I use a single binder ring and add the new piece on top. The kids read their own writing and each other's when they are at the library station. I love it because they can really see their own progress and their friend's progress through the year. I've also been able to take them down and share it with parents and grandparents. At the end of the year I'll send the whole stack home (which I've always done). I laminated enough scrapbook paper for everyone to have a sheet, put a tack in the top center of each one and then hung the rings on the tack.
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Using sign-up genius to get supplies for a science unit I wanted to teach, but didn't have the funds to do. It took less than three days for everything to get signed up for, even including eight hair dryers and 16 bottles, with eight painted black and 8 painted white, among other things.
     
  4. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I love that idea! I may need to copy that next year. :D So is the binder ring in the top left corner of the paper? Is the writing just one page? I am trying to get a visual...

    I think the best new thing I've tried this year is writing workshop. My kids this year are MUCH less reluctant to write than my kids last year, so I'm really seeing it working already, and I've only been doing it for a few weeks. I've also implemented choice in Daily 5 (last year I chose the centers), and I've loved how that has been working out as well.
     
  5. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Considering this is my first long term teaching experience after student teaching (3 1/2 yrs subbing, but nothing more than a week at a time in the same classroom), everything technically is "new", but one change I've already made in the couple months is changing my reading workshop model from trying to meet with the high group 1/2 times, then 2-3 for the two next groups, then every day for the lowest group...and instead meeting with the low group almost every day, and meeting with the rest once a week. The students who are stronger in reading have been able to do more independent practice, I'm less stressed about rushing through the meetings with each small group (in order to get to a minimum of 2 .. sometimes 3 groups), and it has allowed me to conference a bit with individuals regarding their book selection, independent practice of the reading strategies, etc...
     
  6. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Feb 15, 2014

    We just finished a play in my fifth grade. The students got to do everything; manage the team, work together, assign the parts, stage it, design props, everything. The only input that I had was the finishing polish such as; speak louder, don't put your back to the audience, slow down, etc. We invited other classes to come and see it. They modified it for the younger classes, and altered a few parts for the older classes. I was so impressed by how they worked together as a team, in a short amount of time. They all got A's. I'm so proud of them and they are proud of themselves.
     
  7. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Feb 15, 2014

    'Flashlight Friday' - every Friday for 'Read to Self' I give everyone a flashlight and turn off the lights. They all read very quietly for as long as I'll let them.

    Star Student of the Week - have always had the best of intentions to do this and I'm finally doing it this year.
     
  8. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I like that flashlight idea-now to be on the lookout for a bunch of cheap flashlights! ;)

    I wanted to have more celebrations this year. Not parties, but celebrating things we are learning-poetry celebrations, word wizard celebrations (for AR), etc. I think it has taught them to celebrate each other more. I had a very touching moment on the 100th day where they were doing a group activity and instead of just chanting "let's go Mary" they just starting chanting "let's go everyone". I think a lot of what we do is identifying weaknesses that need to be fixed, I wanted to change that this year and celebrate strengths.
     
  9. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Feb 15, 2014

    Magnetic clips to their desks to hang unfinished work. It doesn't get forgotten inside desks and I can easily see who and how many need work time.

    .9mm mechanical pencils...they don't break

    sorry...that was two
     
  10. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    The binder ring is in the top left corner and I use writing workshop too. Most of the books they publish are 3 pages and a cover but some of them have more (pattern book unit and the how-to unit we just finished usually have more pages). When we publish I use colored per for the cover and staple it twice on the sides is its easy to tell one book from another.
     
  11. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    YESSS! I am going to try this! :thumb:
     
  12. asha

    asha Rookie

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    I started teaching sounds of the letters with a made up song. I say the letter, follow by the sound, and then children come up with word that starts with that letter and we make a movement.
    I also started to teach them color words by writing the color on a paper of the same color, so red on red paper with red pen. They are four years old but they feel like they are reading. I am planing to use white paper by writing the colors words with color pens and then once they get that with just black pen. I just started that but I can already see that they are liking it.
     
  13. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Feb 15, 2014

    In an effort to bring more historical figures into my social studies class I started "Who Am I?" Dailies. Every day they get a clue about the person. On Friday they get to guess. Every 3 weeks we quiz on the 3 people. They've really learned about the people and it's led to some good discussions. I even had a mom email me that her son had come home talking about the Cold War and she said he knew things she had forgotten. :) We're starting our Great Americans museum, and some of the people they are researching have connected to those we've had in previous weeks. It's so fun seeing them get excited about those connections!
     
  14. PinkCupcake

    PinkCupcake Cohort

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    Feb 16, 2014

    During independent work, I let students choose where they want to sit in the classroom. I was expecting all sorts of chaos but got the opposite. With the exception of a few, I have students sitting/laying all over the room. Complete silence and 100% engagement during independent time.
     
  15. mr_post22

    mr_post22 Companion

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    Feb 16, 2014

    For my English class, for bell work they would do grammar corrections and I can see an improvement in their grammar. For geometry, I assign homework questions out of the text book instead out of a workbook.
     
  16. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Great topic!
    I have 2 things-
    1. Check in circles- laminated colored circles students used during independent work to check in- each color represents a self assessment- either they're done, working well, doing ok, or need immediate help. It eliminates the hands in the air- they know if they're on red for help they need to keep working until I see the red and get to them. It's so helpful for me- and also helpful for my para to go around and see who needs help rather than just working with the 2 or 3 kids who are always begging for her attention.
    2. Royal Writer- I bought a cheap black folding chair and decorated it with fancy writing in silver and gold sharpie, silver and gold pipe cleaners and ribbons. At the end of each of our writing pieces 5 or 6 students are selected to be Royal Writer. (They're selected for effort, improvement, etc.) We invite their families to the celebration and the Royal Writers get to read their piece to the class. (Everyone else shares in small groups- letting everyone share takes too long and this makes it more special.) After reading they sign their name on the chair and the date. It's a great motivator during writer- kids who haven't gotten to be Royal Writer are working really hard and this time we'll probably select some students to get a 2nd turn. Of course by the end of the year I'll ensure all the kids get a turn to be Royal Writer.
     
  17. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Feb 16, 2014

    I started using interactive notebooks in Math and Reading, and my class loves them.
    I love the Flashlight Friday! Definitely going to try that one! These are the kinds of posts I love the most!!!
     
  18. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    For the record, I did not come up with Flashlight Friday on my own - I read about it on one of the many teacher blogs I follow.
     
  19. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Feb 16, 2014

    I'm doing so many different things this year. The jury is out on most as to whether or not some of these changes are beneficial or not. The one that's the most impactful is my seating arrangement. Last year I tried a Fred Jones type of seating arrangement, and I have giant lab tables so it just took up a lot of space, I couldn't move around, and it was awkward. Now I just have three large tables and my students all sit around them. They face each other, but I make sure they are all facing the front when I ask for attention. So much more space, better for group work, and so much easier to sweep at the end of the day.
     
  20. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Feb 16, 2014

    I completely revamped my English III curriculum. This year I'm teaching it completely thematically as opposed to chronologically. It's been a challenge, but I feel like I can truly address the TEKS this way when I'm not married to a timeline of events. (We don't use Commom Core)
     

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