first things first

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Emerson Squirl, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. Emerson Squirl

    Emerson Squirl Rookie

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    Feb 22, 2011

    What do you have your students do as "first things" when they come in? For this whole year I have been leaving a DOL (daily oral language) or daily math review on their desk to complete as I take roll and lunch count. But now that my copied "starters" as I call them are running low, I'm rethinking my approach because...
    1)Most of the students breeze through the work. I don't expect a starter to be a huge task, but when they're finished they feel they've earned the right to talk.
    2)It takes time to correct. And my morning flashes by, so that just when I feel like we're rolling the bell rings for recess.
    3)It almost feels meaningless to have students complete exercises only distantly related to what we're going to accomplish.
    So, what solutions have you all A to Z pros come up with?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 22, 2011

    Unpack
    Do Now
    Morning News (we have our own school tv station)
    Morning Meeting

    my kids know to check their Ketchup folders or get a free reading book to browse wen done with the first two and waiting for the news...
     
  4. thirdgradebuzz

    thirdgradebuzz Comrade

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    Feb 22, 2011

    Unpack
    Sharpen 3-5 pencils (only time they can do this)
    Math Madness (state-developed workbook with 10 math questions)
    Study Cards (they always have science cards or math multiplication flashcards they can study)

    We go over the Math Madness right after announcements to get it out of the way and begin the day. This is something I would include in math if it wasnt done in the morning, so it's not really unrelated.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Feb 22, 2011

    I have older students so mine would be a bit different than others. Mine are almost always related to the topic at hand.

    Copy study list from board
    practice problems from board
    submit labs/assignments
    review with a partner before a test
    worksheets
    practice final exam problems/review of previous content
    create thinking maps
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 22, 2011

    I use something similar to you. I have a morning work packet, basically it is a math, reading, and cursive page per day. I don't look at the skills as being off topic, most of them are review or preview for my students....so it is great for state testing as well as continually reviewing what we learn.

    I give them a packet for the week, if they finish before Friday, then they are expected to read, work on writing, practice math facts/games, or some other quiet activity. Then, we correct whole class on Fridays. It takes about 20 minutes to correct, but well worth the time and effort.
     
  7. 1st-yr-teacher

    1st-yr-teacher Comrade

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    Feb 22, 2011

    1. Unpack
    2. Get 2 Sharpened pencils.
    3. Complete Daily Fix-It(Two sentences that need to be written correctly.
    4. Complete Daily Count( part of saxon math)
    5. Read quietly at their seat.

    We check the daily fix-it and daily count after announcements.
     
  8. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Feb 22, 2011

    1. Unpack
    2. Grab their browsing box, pencil, and S.T.A.R. folder and bring it over to the Science Lab (across the hall)
    3. Show me what they are doing for lunch on the SMART board
    4. Begin their Morning Message
    5. Read
    Right after morning announcements we get started with our Morning Meeting.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 22, 2011

    Do you think it would be useful to give them some time to free-write or draw? You could provide inspiration in the form of music or a picture. If you're not comfortable with free-writing, you could give them a prompt. I think that our students need to learn how to be more creative, so this would help. More than learning to be creative, our students need to learn to WRITE, and that will only come with practice, practice, practice.
     
  10. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Feb 22, 2011

    1. Turn in homework.
    2. Take out morning work packet (Daily Language, Daily Math, Daily Paragraph). Students begin working on this while I check off homework and take attendance. When they're done with their packet (it normally only takes them about 15 minutes), they may silent read.
    3. Correct morning work packet together.
    4. Students are deployed to their reading teachers for 30 minutes of Intervention/Enrichment (We have four second grade teachers, two reading clinicians, and two resource specialists. Every student goes to a different teacher/group depending on what their reading level is. I take the "Intensive" group).
    5. When the students return, I begin a phonics lesson. They take out their white board, dry erase marker, and sock (I use socks as erasers for their dry erase boards).

    Was this TMI? :unsure:
     
  11. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Feb 22, 2011

    My class goes to specials first thing in the morning, so I don't have much a of a classroom routine.

    However, last year my students had to:
    1. Unpack
    2. Show me their agendas
    3. Read quietly OR work on an activity booklet at their desk until morning announcements
    4. Then we jumped into our math routine
     
  12. ally06

    ally06 Companion

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    Feb 23, 2011

    My kids are allowed in the room 15 mins before the first bell. They unpack their bag, hand in homework/notes etc and then they are free to play quietly on the carpet or read/draw until the bell goes. When the bell goes they pack up the toys and we gather on the carpet to start the day.
     
  13. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Feb 23, 2011

    Get organized.

    Talk quietly with each other. Some read or take AR tests. Some finish up their homework. Some do make-up work. Some run errands for me or for the office or for music or art teacher. Two are helping to unload kids in the car rider lane. They are expected to be ready to switch classes at the 8:00 bell, and math is first, so that homework had better be done.

    Some of you may think we're crazy for letting them finish homework. The problem is that we're a very low socio-economic school and some of their homes are just not focused on school. So we'd rather have them complete the extra practice anyway we can. There's only one or two in the whole fifth grade that take advantage of it, but then they wouldn't do anything if we didn't let them.

    It works. They don't have time to talk about what they want to until lunch, so why not? They do fine.
     
  14. bondo

    bondo Cohort

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    Feb 23, 2011

    I have them come in and put everything away - coats, folders, lunchboxes, backpacks, etc. Next I have a small review sheet of the previous day's lesson(s). It goes pretty quick, but it gets them in the learning mood, and when they can do something they have already learned I find they are more apt to learn new material because they have more confidence. Good luck finding a routine that fits you and your kids.
     
  15. Mark94544

    Mark94544 Companion

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    Feb 23, 2011

    I started every class (9th-10th grades) with a "QuickWrite." I'd write a topic on the board and students were expected to sit down and start writing, for 3-5 minutes. Students couldn't "finish early" because they were expected to keep writing for the entire time. The only other activities allowed during this time were to [quickly] walk up to turn in homework, and to write down the homework assignment in their organizers.

    Sometimes the topic was the same for all students, other times I'd have different topics for 9th & 10th grade, and sometimes I'd change the topic if it didn't go very well in the first or second class. (Sometimes I'd try to create a "fun" topic, but few students found these "fun.")

    After I took roll, I'd walk around the classroom and stamp each student's page (to reduce paper volume, I later created a "card" that I'd stamp each day, with the card turned in weekly [later, every other week] for credit).

    I varied the topics -- sometimes they were related to homework or class work; sometimes I'd ask them to write about their 'independent reading' book; and sometimes the writing activity was intended to get them thinking about their prior knowledge about a topic, or their expectations for a scenario, or to summarize what they remembered (or didn't understand) from the prior days' lesson.

    I gave credit if a student wrote at least a few sentences (whether related to the topic or not), without talking or creating a disruption. For the QuickWrite, I didn't care about spelling or grammar or complete sentences or quality; I just wanted students to have the experience of writing for 3-5 minutes every day.

    Every class always started with a QuickWrite, even if I felt pressed for time, even on days when I was giving a pop quiz. BUT, about a month before the California High School Exit Exam, I reluctantly replaced the QuickWrite (for my 10th graders only) with 3-5 sample questions each day instead, which we'd quickly review. In keeping with the QuickWrite concept, students got credit for any fair attempt -- they didn't need to get the right answers, but they couldn't just randomly mark answers without reading the questions. (One minor problem: I had some students who were repeating 10th grade English but who had passed the CAHSEE the year before.)

    On the board, I'd also indicate what the next activity was going to be after the QuickWrite, and students were expected to be ready to start that when I finished my lap around the room with my stamp.

    After I finished stamping, I would usually ask for one or two volunteers to read their QuickWrites (while I walked around stamping, I'd sometimes encourage students who'd written something interesting to volunteer, but I never insisted that any student read what they'd written.

    When I subbed in middle school, lots of teachers started their classes with daily language exercises (usually from the overhead). Often, half the students were done before the other half had really started. And some of the "canned materials" that some teachers used were pretty awful (many mistakes, and very inconsistent in difficulty from day to day).

    If your students finish the exercises quickly (and correctly), make them harder or add an extra item (perhaps as extra credit for their grade, or credits toward some reward). In any event, assign a specific (quiet) "next activity" for students to do if they finish early.
     
  16. Emerson Squirl

    Emerson Squirl Rookie

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    Feb 24, 2011

    Thanks for all the input! I have been using DOLs and Math Review sheets, but like a few have pointed out here, I find them really random in the material they include on a daily and weekly basis. I like something easy like this since I feel like I'm creating everything all the time for my first year, but also feel like it's a waste of time. The other thing that makes me want to change it up is that it takes forever to correct since really none of my students find these exercises very stimulating.
    *Sigh. I think I'm probably too exhausted to try to take something like this on, but now I have some good ideas to digest. Thanks again for the help!!
     

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