How do you structure your class?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by Terrence, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. Terrence

    Terrence Comrade

    Aug 31, 2004
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    Apr 15, 2007

    I really love science, but as a new teacher I am short on ideas for activities and actually teaching science. I want to start structuring my classes so that I give short bursts of information (lectures) for about fifteen minutes, and then have them use that information or do some kind of activity for the next fifteen minutes. Then give them another chunk of information for 15 minutes, and then end with yet another activity. That way they aren't sitting there listening to be blab on for 45 minutes. They can't handle that, and after about 15 minutes is when they start getting crazy and talkative, so i need to keep them on their toes and constantly moving, because when they are busy they are good.Does anybody have any ideas, or ways that you structure you class for middle school?
  3. mnteacherguy

    mnteacherguy Companion

    Jun 8, 2006
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    Apr 17, 2007

    A typical math class for me:

    10 Minutes Correct Homework
    10 Minutes "Launch" the problem
    15-30 Minutes Work on problem (depends on the day)
    10 Minutes go over the classwork
    The rest of time is spent on homework time
  4. Exo

    Exo Rookie

    Jan 17, 2007
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    Apr 21, 2007

    7th grade (General Science) -
    5-7min: HW check - oral questions on material learned yesterday, grades given, volunteering is not acceped - call from the list, making shure everyone is asked every 2 weeks.
    15-25 min - lesson (interactive lecture with questions and demos along the way)
    last 15 min - practice: worksheets, activities, etc.
    Once a week - 2periods long LAB to apply al/most of the material learnt that week.
    HW - study corresponding chapter and notes.

    8th grade - Living Environment Regents
    3-4 times a week - lecture days: 5-7 min - DoNow task on previous topic, questioning on previous material (no grades); the rest 40 min- lecture/note-taking (questions also asked along the way to make sure the material is understood, demos shown)
    Sometimes I use motivational activities - REad-Alouds, or Videos, or brief story from own experience. That very much depends on the Unit we study.
    1 day - double period - LAB day. Long LAB/Activity to apply and practice learnt in lectures.
  5. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

    Feb 13, 2007
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    Apr 22, 2007

    Play-doh - make your own and color it. This works well especially when learning about something abstract - I used it for a chemistry lesson we did - I had high schoolers build sugar with play-doh. I'm sure it could work equally well for atoms, building boats that float (add weights), building animals for certain habitats.

    When I did 7th grade we also made a pyramid out of paper to show how different things were related. Take a square sheet of paper fold it in half twice so you have four triangles Cut one fold to the middle and fold that triangle under its neighbor. Have the kids color each triangle with vocab words and related pictures and the center for what connects all the words together.

    I love crossword puzzles and use them all the time.

    Break them into groups for discussions. Find something open-ended that they can become passionate about.

    Steal ideas from other teachers in your school.

    Demonstrations work well. Baking soda and vinegar. Dry ice. Get your hands on some liquid nitrogen (and the sky is the limit!).

    Labs are great fun. I knew one teacher who had the kids see which bubble gum blew the biggest bubble to teach the scientific method. The kids sure remembered that activity!

    Play games - review games where they work in teams can work well.

    Tell stories where they have to make decisions that are relevant to lecture. In fact, done right stories can be lectures in disguise!

    Find Case studies that can be done in segments.
  6. Mr. Windchill

    Mr. Windchill Rookie

    Jan 26, 2007
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    Apr 23, 2007

    Great question and I appreciate responses. As a first year teacher, I would say a consistent structure was definately a weak area for me that I need to work on for the upcoming school year.

    Apparently over the summer, there is a week-long course on APL strategy that is offered and so many of the teachers who took the course HIGHLY recommend it.
  7. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

    Jul 2, 2004
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    Apr 24, 2007

    Here's how I do my seventh grade pre-algebra classes (one hour periods)

    -10 minutes: check (or collect)homework, complete, and review warm-up.
    -15 minutes: review homework and yesterdays lesson
    -20 minutes: todays lesson and guided practice.
    -15 minutes: classwork assignment, organized binders/notes if neccessary, assign homework, and if possible work on homework.

    *Tests: once every 2 weeks (borrowed from Alice.
    *Exams: as a department we give a midterm and a final exam (worth the same as a test), but I also give a term exam in the terms that do not have the midterm or final in them.
    *Projects and hands on activties: at least 2-3 times per chapter if not more.
  8. Terrence

    Terrence Comrade

    Aug 31, 2004
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    Apr 25, 2007

    Thanks guys for all your awesome ideas. I am going to use Powerpoint every day next year as soon as I get my TV hooked up to my computer. I know structure was one of my biggest weaknesses this year. I spent this year trying so many things, and seeing which things worked best. I have observed many teachers, and have adapted their methods to fit mine. I think my second year is going to be so much better. Plus, one thing that made this year crazy was that the other two teachers on my team quit, so we had subs coming in, then this third trimester, we had to give up 20 kids to other teams and combine our leftover kids to form two classes. I went from teaching science and social studies to teaching math and science (which I like better). This has been one crazy year! I know that if I survived this year, I can prett much make it through anything.

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