Classroom Management HELP

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Aug 29, 2018.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    So today was my first day of teaching and it was...interesting. I realized that my school is really bad at telling new teachers ANYTHING. They emailed out a first day homeroom powerpoint at 11pm last night (after I had already been to bed.) The lunch schedules are confusing because you have to go to each individual kid's schedule and write down their lunch time referring to a chart they gave us. (It's not already on their schedule.) I spent an hour figuring it out last night and it would have been a mess today if I hadn't.

    Lockers were also tough because they didn't write the kids' names on their locks. So once again, I had to refer to a chart. I took the kids outside to find their lockers, only to find that I had to refer to ANOTHER chart to give them their locker numbers. The kids got a paper with their locker combination and it did not say they had to write their name on it. After I collected them, I had to write the names on it during my prep...my entire prep today was basically figuring out locker issues for the kids in my homeroom. The secretary made two typos on my locker sheet as well which caused more confusion. I am more prepared/organized for collecting forms tomorrow. I know I should have looked through the bin with all of the stuff when I got it yesterday afternoon but I had so much work to do and left really late anyways. I got to school early today to look through the bin, but my computer mouse was broken and I had to call the tech guy to fix it!

    I had my homeroom for three hours and classroom management was not easy. I tried to use the 5-4-3-2-1 to get their attention with mixed results. We practiced it several times and they got better at it, but it wasn't perfect. I am thinking of buying a chime and I'm not sure if that'll work better. I'm really hoping the behavior was due to a lack of structure/lots of confusion on my part. Tomorrow, I'm planning on putting up homeroom expectations "You can choose your seat, stay in your seat, clean up after yourself." I will also call them up one by one to check off paperwork.

    The good news was that my only math class went really well. We did a "finding 100 numbers activity" that the kids really enjoyed and we talked about what good group work looks like. However, this is my smallest and highest class, because these kids are in honors everything else except they are in lower level math. The good news is that I think I can definitely count on this class to bring supplies because they were asking about it and I hadn't even given out my syllabus! My other two classes have kids in lower level everything and my mentor says there is a significant difference. My homeroom is 18 kids and I will be getting 16 more for my first period math class. I'm already dreading having so many kids! I did a lot of work before I left today...clear seating charts with numbers, discussion expectations on chart paper to review before we start, etc. and I'm hoping it will go alright.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
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  3. Hokiegrad1993

    Hokiegrad1993 Comrade

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    Aug 29, 2018

    It takes practice. Be consistent with your expectations and remind yourself it is the first day and first week. They will learn!

    Glad the math class went well!

    The other stuff is not your fault it is possibly the schools. Don't fret you made it!
     
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  4. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    May I ask what is the purpose of the homeroom? I'm sure it's not 3 hours every day, but I think you have to expect that homeroom will be a bit crazier than a regular class if there's no real purpose to it. We do homerooms twice a year---once on the first day of school and once on the start of second semester. It only lasts 10 minutes, but it's just to pass out a schedule and let the kids socialize. I would be super annoyed about how poorly the information is being disseminated to you though.
     
  5. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    The purpose of homeroom is to distribute information so the kids can get eat breakfast. A lot of kids are on free/reduced lunch and everyone gets breakfast. Today, extended homeroom was for paperwork, passing out agendas/ids, and teaching them how to open lockers. Tomorrow extended homeroom is for collecting papers. We will have extended homeroom for two more days next week. But from now on, it will only be an extra 30 mins of homeroom. It's annoying because one of our classes gets cut really short with extended hr and they don't modify the schedule. No more 3 hour long homerooms any more!!

    I talked to another new teacher who had the same issue with lockers/passing stuff out. It was really confusing. They didn't tell us anything about it. Each kid got a card and they didn't even tell us the kids had to write their names on it. I had to go back and match the kid to the lock number and write the name on the card.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
  6. svassillion

    svassillion Companion

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    Write down your reflections on this now so next year you're prepared for this kind of chaos and already have a system in place. I'd say most likely if the information coming down to you this year was late, incorrect, or unclear, it probably will every year under this P.
     
  7. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Now that I know the system, I would definitely prepare everything (locks, lockers, etc.) before homeroom! I really thought it would be ready to go from their bags.
     
  8. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    You are so motivated to be a good teacher, you will figure this out. I want you to feel confident that it will happen. You understand the basics, it's a matter of application. One suggestion I have is to keep your students busy and embrace your goal of keeping them on task.

    Keep us up on how it's going.
     
  9. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    That still sounds like not much to do for 3 hours. I feel like that could be handled in 1 hour. No wonder you experienced such behavioral issues!
     
  10. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    I remember getting assigned a locker, and it was simply giving me a locker number and the combination to open it.

    There were no names back in the day. You were assigned a locker number and a combination to your locker. If you lost any of that, it wasn't the teacher's fault. It was the student's fault, and a bonehead mistake to make at that.

    I'm talking about early 70s here, so why did they change? It was braindead easy back in the day, and didn't require any teachers to know anything about it.

    It's also rather interesting how your students eat breakfast at school. It just seems like that would be a parent's responsibility to feed their children breakfast. Lunch is obviously going to be a problem for some parents, but again, when I was an elementary school student in the states, I either ate lunch in the cafeteria, or I had my scooby doo lunch box that had everything my mom had prepared for my lunch.

    I guess my main question is when did things get so complicated for teachers? Lockers, breakfast, and agendas? I'm pretty sure I wasn't handed an agenda by my homeroom teacher. We had a schedule, but an agenda? Isn't a schedule of classes planned for the whole academic year in advance?

    I know I'm ignorant, but it sure seems like you're doing a lot of stuff that nobody did when I was an elementary school student.
     
  11. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    I'm not really worried about the stuff I was doing or whether students should or should not be provided breakfast in school.
     
  12. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    It was a lot! A lot of teachers said it took them a lot of time so maybe they rushed trough it! I had a lot of icebreakers planned and some went better than others!
     
  13. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    My homeroom was fine today but one of my math classes was very badly behaved. They are very chatty. I decided to wait until they were quiet which was effective but seemed to take a long time. I'm hoping that being strict and clear with expectations will help.

    By the end of the period, I realized that I had to be very strict with them and I probably have to start using consequences soon.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
  14. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    My plan for next week is to teach them the following routines. I have decided to put off number talks for a while until I get a better handle on the kids.

    -Do First in their notebooks
    -Turn and talks...and being QUIET when I ask for attention afterwards
    -Being quiet whenever I ask for their attention

    I hope this is a good start. I'm planning on being much more strict on Tuesday and printing out seating charts so I have names.
     
  15. Janedo5513

    Janedo5513 Rookie

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    I taught 4th grade. It was a charter school and 50 students for that grade. Between myself and another teacher, we had split the subjects between the two of us. I taught math and science and she taught ELA and history. Both groups would get rowdy from time to time. When they started up. I stayed quiet, went to get my phone and start the timer. At the end of class, for however long they wasted my time, I would waste theirs. So if it was 50 seconds, I told them to put their head down, no talking and if there is talking we will keep repeating it. Then I would restart my timer, and when it would reach 50 seconds I would say time. In the beginning I told them if you are going to waste my time, I will waste your time as well. They caught on real fast. So when I would walk to my desk, they all stayed quiet because they would think I was reaching for my phone when half of the time it was for something else.

    Also, if it is just one or two kids that keeps disrupting the class, after going over a lesson and have the students get into groups for an activity, email the parents/guardians right there from your desk. It will show to the parents or guardian that you are contacting them in the middle of the day so they know it's not a good sign. Then they (parent/guardian) will let the said student know and anytime you are at your desk and if they were acting up, their behavior does a 180. You can be at your desk but it doesn't mean you are emailing the parent again but the student doesn't know that. If the student attitude does change for the better, I would email the parent to let them know how great of a change it is to see in said student, this way it will boost the confidence and keep the student away from making bad choices.
     
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  16. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    Your method is exactly what I am looking for. I am just not sure about whole class consequences and whether I am allowed to keep students after class.

    I was telling another teacher that I might "lie" about the time. We don't have bells so I can stop class around 11:12, for example when they are supposed to get out at 11:13.

    My plan is also to be VERY explicit with directions. I'm planning on introducing noise levels like discussed in an earlier thread. I ordered a chime and I am hoping that will help. 5-4-3-2-1 is not working for two classes...I think my voice is just not loud enough! They aren't too loud when working in groups, but it seems loud with 34 kids!
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  17. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Companion

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    I highly highly suggest to assign seats in homeroom. I didn't my first year and I really regretted it. I managed to do it halfway through the year but I wish I would have done it that first week.
     
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  18. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I thought about it but it seems like most teachers do not assign seats and allow the kids to have some down time. Our kids only get a 20 minute lunch and no recess. I told my kids that they can choose their seats for homeroom, they have to stay in their seats, and they have to throw their trash out outside. One girl started to get up and she said "wait I have to stay in my seat?" I already know which two boys might be a problem and I will separate them if necessary. I'm not sure but as long as they follow those 3 rules I *think* it will be ok.

    I'm going over rules and expectations with my classes on Tuesday and I need to find a good way to do it. My rules are:
    -Come to class prepared and ready to learn.
    -Respect yourself, others, and your school.
    -Follow directions when given.
    -Try your best every day.

    I have them on a PowerPoint and I wanted to discuss respect with the class. Maybe I'll put up the question, "What does respect look like in a math class?"

    On Tuesday, I am also giving two tests. My own pre-test and the district mandated test. I feel like it will be helpful to just give these assessments and have a quiet day. My instructional coach suggested I just do both on the same day. I am going to go to the dollar tree and buy manilla folders to make privacy folders for the kids -- I think it will help keep them calm. I am planning on practicing the routine of getting quiet when they hear the bell and starting class with a Do First.

    On Wednesday, I will be teaching my first lesson on adding decimals. We might do some sort of decimal review and talk about estimation strategies first. The routines I am planning on practicing are getting quiet when they hear the bell, beginning class with a Do First, and turn and talks.

    I am also thinking of purchasing classroom caddies to hold supplies like markers, colored pencils, glue and scissors. It might help to distribute materials to the kids (they can pick up a group caddy) and eliminate down time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  19. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Instead of posting your general rules in advance consider: Some teachers for bell work on the first or second day have students answer in writing (1) What's a good student like? (2) What's a good class like? (3) What's a good teacher like? These lead to a discussion with graphic organizer (students copy) and teacher "leading" students to plug their ideas into general rules. For example several students might have statements about bringing pencils and binder to school. You might lead them to come up with a general rule to cover category (rule) "Come to class prepared" that you write and add to organizer as if students thought of it but, in reality, you were going to use it anyway. This continues until students' written ideas are grouped into 4-5 general rules (ones you had planned to post in advance). Some teachers take it a step further. After finishing organizer with general rules discussed in class they have students make the poster(s) design for homework - design it on colored paper with basic instructions. Generally, but not always, students will take ownership of things they had a hand in planning.
     
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  20. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    I considering doing that but I already posted the expectations and sent home a syllabus with the expectations on them. We just haven't talked about them yet.

    I like the idea of this for next year. I feel like it might be too late after sending home a syllabus.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  21. LouiseB

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    I think teaching expectations and reviewing is great. Once that is learned it will make your lessons go so much smoother. You are doing a great job!
     
  22. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    It’s never too late to go over expectations, but the sooner, the better.
     
  23. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    My plan was to review expectations with all of my classes on Friday, the second day of school. Because of extended homeroom, I only saw one class on Thursday, so the "real first day" was Friday. So I am looking for a way to review expectations with the kids on Tuesday.
     
  24. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I am planning lessons for next week and I am so confused. I am teaching adding decimals and I'm not sure if the kids have done it in 5th grade. It was on their standards but I do have the lower level class.
     
  25. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    It doesn’t hurt to review the knowledge even if they have done it before, especially if it’s a lower class. That way you can kind of gauge the gaps in their knowledge, whether your pedagogy will work with these students or do you need to review that etc.
     
  26. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I always spend time reviewing when starting a new concept. If they have a good grasp of the concepts, the review is very quick; if they are showing confusion, I know that I need to spend more time.
     
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  27. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I hope it is alright! I'm just a little bit confused because I do not fully know what the kids learned in 5th grade. I honestly feel unsupported by my school. All I got is a scope and sequence and I didn't know that we didn't have to go in order until I talked to my mentor. I was checking with my mentor and she helped me a little bit by showing me the pre-test that she gave her kids. I am using a lot of that because she has the most experience teaching this level, but she also said that I should also be creating my own resources as well as a first year teacher. This kind of dissuades me from asking her more. I obviously created everything for this week, but I wouldn't be able to do it without a free online curriculum that I have access to (Open Up) and a 6th grade math common core book my job gave me.

    My plan for next week is:

    Tuesday: review expectations/my pre-test/grade level test
    Wednesday: decimals introduction, ex. place value, when does the 0 matter, why we have to line up the decimal points, adding decimals problem solving with estimation
    Thursday: Adding/subtracting decimals with lots of practice, emphasis on borrowing and carrying over
    Friday: review + analysis questions, a menu activity with estimation that I found. This allows the kids to preview multiplication and division with the kids.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2018
  28. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Here's a great lesson that you can draw on for your plans for Wednesday:
     
  29. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    I really like this but I feel a little unsure of how to teach it. Maybe I'll try it on the second day.

    Actually...I am looking through it and I think the kids will get it if I write the problem vertically as they explained their ideas...but horizontally first. It's great because I'm teaching turn and talks on Wednesday.

    I also found this great activity on whether the zeroes matter. Ex. the kids have to decide if 25.0=25, if 2.405=2.45, etc. which is great because we will work on "adding zeroes in when we need" on Thursday.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2018
  30. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    That's unfortunate that your team is not more supportive. In my district, we give any new teachers access to 100% of our files. Notes, worksheets, activities, tests/quizzes, EVERYTHING as everyone who teaches the same course teaches the same thing the same day. If we want to change a couple problems on the worksheets or do a different activity, that's fine, but we do like 90% consistently. We also grade everything 100% consistently (well close to that...) This makes it super easy for a new teacher as they don't have to come up with much of anything their first year. They can then refine as they would like in subsequent years. It just seems like too much to ask for new teachers to create everything from scratch. I only created probably 30% of the lessons I teach, and the other 70% of lessons were created by other teachers (with slight adjustments made by me). The same applies to virtually every teacher in my building.

    Your lessons sound good. Will your pre-test on Tuesday cover decimals? This could help you realize what they know or don't know to plan your lesson in a more focused way?
     
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  31. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    My pre-test does not cover decimals. It is mainly focused on computations like simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. It is similar to what my mentor teacher uses. I might add a few questions about decimals but I also have to give a district assessment right afterwards.

    And to add, the Common Core book I have is not given to me by the school. My employers gave it to me when I worked at Huntington Learning Center this summer since they had an extra and it is an amazing resource. A lot of the stuff I found online is just basic worksheets which isn't a curriculum.

    I really, really, wish my school had some sort of way to share files...like a shared google drive. I would be happy to share anything that I've made. My mentor mainly has hard copy binders of curriculum/worksheets and I can't keep asking for all of her stuff!! I think we are the only ones who teach at the same level.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2018
  32. svassillion

    svassillion Companion

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    Could you initiate this? Start by creating a Google Drive folder and invite your grade/subject team and see who adds to it. At the very least everything you use will be backed up.
     
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  33. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    One idea that I had for classroom management is purchasing caddies. Then I can put markers, colored pencils, etc. in these caddies and I do not need to be the one passing them out/collecting them.

    I need 8 but they usually come in packs of 6. :( I found some very cute ones on reallygoodstuff but I might go to the dollar store first.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  34. CharRMS

    CharRMS Companion

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    Try Target. If your Target hasn't sold out of them, look in the dollar spot and you may find the ones for $3. If those have sold out, try in the back to school section.
     
  35. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I have seen the caddies in Target and I wish I picked them up this summer! I also know they have the Storex caddies for $2.99 but I need 8 of them. I would also like the colors to match up somewhat since I'll be using these for hopefully a long time.

    These are the ones I liked from reallygoodstuff! They are very cute and there is a sale on the website for a while.

    https://www.reallygoodstuff.com/four-equal-compartment-caddies-neon-set-of-4/p/165176/tab/k8/

    I also went to the dollar store this weekend and purchased a few of the trifolds. I cut them in half to serve as privacy folders so I can keep my sanity while my kids take tests tomorrow. My mentor has some from reallygoodstuff but they are expensive! Hopefully these will work alright. I am hoping that I can stop spending soon. :)
     
  36. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Our first department meeting is this Friday. (We have two preps until then which has been great!) I will definitely see if there are any 6th grade math teachers who want to share.

    In the meantime, one of my friends is teaching 6th grade math at a different school in my district. We both teach the same level. She used to work for a charter and she shared their whole google drive with me. She was saying that she will not be lesson planning everything this year since her school doesn't have a curriculum. She's using the google drive as well which has been so helpful!
     
  37. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I just found out that I have to correct 95 summer math packets. Nobody told me until I asked about them and now I wish I hadn't asked. I've been feeling sick and stressed about work all weekend...and now I feel worse. I have no clue how I am going to find the time to do this. The packets are huge. Part of me wants to just read the answers and have the kids self-correct. I am honestly hoping that a lot of kids didn't do it...
     
  38. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Ugh.
     
  39. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    We just check the packet for completion, and then give a short quiz based on the packet. Did most of your students actually complete their packet? Did they specify how you must grade it? Could you just grade it based on effort: Check plus, check, check minus for a homework grade, rather than going through and checking each problem for accuracy? Or just pick one problem per page to grade for accuracy?
     
  40. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Unfortunately we have to grade the whole thing for accuracy. Apparently the kids who get a certain score get to go on the local news or something like that.
     
  41. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I am feeling a little bit better after my 3rd day of school.
    -In my first two classes, half of my kids needed binders but in my last class all of the kids had binders. (This was expected because my last class has kids who are in honors everything except math.) I received enough binders from friends/family/freecycle to give to kids who don't have them. The school gave me construction paper and sheet protectors for dividers.
    -We do not have to grade the whole summer packet for accuracy. As soon as a kid gets 8 wrong, we can stop grading it...thankfully!! My mentor said it took her an hour for all of hers.
    -The behavior was decent today. The kids were quiet during their pretest...but needed reminders and I had to stand by a group in my toughest class. I realized that I need to do a lot better with transitions and actually teach them how to pass in papers. Once I was more clear with my directions, things got better. I also used seating charts to call kids by their names today which was helpful. I'm hoping to get a good feel for the kids and their behavior and change seats next Monday.
    -I left school at contract time today and had everything prepped for tomorrow. It felt amazing!! I took a bunch of work home but I much prefer grading at home to staying at school.
    I need to figure out a good method for passing in papers. I tried to have the kids make a stack of papers at their table...but that was hard for them. LOL
     

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