What's something you're KEEPING for next year?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by hojalata, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. hojalata

    hojalata Comrade

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    Jun 9, 2009

    We've had discussion threads about things you're going to do differently next year. What things do you think went well and will do again next year? (Or maybe you've been doing them lots of years in a row?) It could be anything-- a classroom routine, how to organize supplies, a way you do writers workshop, a classroom procedure....)

    Also, what things can you not wait to change?
     
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  3. hojalata

    hojalata Comrade

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    Jun 9, 2009

    Things I'll keep:
    -writers workshop (Units of Study)
    -Daily 5 routines to teach independence


    Change:
    -weekly poetry folder back for partner reading
    -new pencil sharpening routine
    -new pencil/supply organization (group supplies next year)
    -more reading response writing
     
  4. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    Jun 9, 2009

    -My mailboxes have been the most successful organization tool for the kids.
    -Separate Homework Folders
    -Having 3/4 kids at a center instead of just two. I have so many pulled out for services. No one was left to work by themselves.
    -Giving the kids self addressed stamped envelopes so they can write me....already got a few in the mail today and school only let out on Friday.

    Want to change
    -My room arrangement...drastically!!
    -My filing system....not working for me.
    -I have way too many student jobs...want to go to only a couple.
     
  5. iheart5thgrade

    iheart5thgrade Comrade

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    Jun 9, 2009

    Keep:
    --some of my tests were replaced with projects and I plan to do that again, it was fantastic
    --Class Yes
    --Teach Okay
    --Scoreboard

    Change:
    --I'm moving to a whole new room so my entire set-up will look different next year
     
  6. runnerss

    runnerss Comrade

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    Jun 9, 2009

    Keeping- All the fluency and critical thinking activities I did.

    Changing- I WILL do TONS more hands on. I will have a hands on for every lesson. No exceptions! We have a state test and if 5th graders don't pass math the first time they have to retake it. I only had 6 out of 72 not pass. Not bad, but not satisfying either. For those kids that didn't pass I had some major tutoring happen. I saw that the more hands on I did the better they did. Sure you hear people say it all the time. I even thought that I did quite a bit of hands on. However, I learned very quickly it wasn't enough. I think having hands on activities for everything (except for test) will make my teaching much easier. The kids will enjoy a lot more, and hopefully I won't have to reteach as much. I know some concepts will take some creative thinking to find hands on activities, but I am willing to do it. Sorry for the rambling.............
     
  7. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Jun 9, 2009

    Keep:

    Printing journal response prompts on Avery labels. Very easy, very legible, and helps students remember what they are being asked to write about.

    Pacing guides and backwards design, units designed around the state standards with creative activities.

    Using my pelican beanie baby as a 'Reflection Prompt', as suggested by Tribes. It helps me and the students remember to ask 'what did we learn??' after each lesson.

    Change:

    Just about everything else. I obviously won't have the fun classroom management planning like I did in the past, as I only have one student now. No postcard exchange, classroom decorating (although I have some creative thoughts for specific units), bulletin boards, etc. I will be doing a light theme of jungle safari (her Christmas gift will be a jungle-themed scrapbook of our adventures). And all our units will be faster paced-about a week on a topic will do it, I think.
     
  8. hojalata

    hojalata Comrade

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    Jun 10, 2009

    Uhhg, the class yes, teach ok thing is something I am getting rid of!! I was SOOO sick of saying, "ohhh clasaas" and all the variations!!

    It was like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

     
  9. iheart5thgrade

    iheart5thgrade Comrade

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    Jun 10, 2009

    Oh that makes me sad! I dearly love the variations of Class Yes and Teach Okay. It made my classroom so much more lively!
     
  10. carlea

    carlea Comrade

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    Jun 17, 2009

    Keep: Reading & Writing Workshops, reading response homework

    Change: grade level & classroom, reading & writing notebooks, management style, organization (will only be teaching LA, so it'll be a lot easier!)
     
  11. phillygirl

    phillygirl Rookie

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    Jun 17, 2009

    I want to keep my classroom organization pocket chart. I hung it at the front of the room. The students placed their completed work in it. It was very easy for me to see from a distance who completed their assignments and who did not use their time wisely.


    Change: My class arrangement, my computer area, and my cluttered desk:dizzy:.
     
  12. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Jun 17, 2009

    I'm keeping my BEAR binders. They keep everyone and everything so organzied. I'm also keeping my pentel polymer erasers. I've used both for many years. These are quite simply the best erasers every made. No more "my pencil doesn't have an eraser" nonsense -- "Here, just take a block eraser!" It is so much easier and they erase so much better.

    Another thing I'm keeping was something new I tried -- teaching cursive writing using a pen right from the beginning -- it was fabulous! I'll never go back to pencils for that again!
     
  13. hojalata

    hojalata Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2009

    Great idea about the erasers. I wonder if you can find them cheap at the beginning of the school year.
    What's the theory behind using pens for cursive? A more fluid motion? Interesting!

     
  14. hojalata

    hojalata Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2009

    Ohhh that is such a cool idea. So they each have their own slot? I always struggle with finding simple ways to keep the student accountable.

     
  15. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Jun 18, 2009

    I'v never seen them on sale, but since Walmart started carrying them, they are not expensive -- maybe a 3 pack for $1.19. As long as you keep the kids from writing on them or jabbing their pencils or scissors into them, they last forever. I make my students get one each day off the basket on my desk, and return it each afternoon (I have one student at each table pick them all up and return them.) Trust me -- they tattle in a second if they see someone "messing them up." ;)

    As to the cursive in ink -- yes it is more fluid (although at first their hands are very shakey with pens) but also it keeps them from erasing (which puts a hole in handwriting paper) and it stops the constant "my pencil is dull!" which legitimately happens when you write in cursive with a pencil on handwriting paper. I tell my kids that if you put a line through it, it is invisible to me -- so there is no need to worry about mistakes. (I also tell them this with pencils too, because it drives me nuts when kids spend half their time erasing perfectly acceptable writing.) I also tell them to circle their best letter in cursive, and that is the one I look at. This way, they aren't afraid to practice over and over again, knowing I"m only looking at their best sample letters. Within a week, my kids had the hang of using a pen. I bought click pens with built in grips (also from Walmart) for under $2 for a package of 5. They can only get a pen out of the basket when writing in cursive, and when we finish the unit, I give them each one of the pens to take home and keep. They love that.
     
  16. LiveNLearn

    LiveNLearn Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2009

    Keeping- Writing Units that I created (HM writing is not the best)
    Numbering system.
    Power Teaching.
    Organized buckets of supplies at each group that includes a pencil sharpener.

    Changing-
    Start the year by having a mentor system so that one person in each group is elected to be the mentor- they monitor the group member's behavior.
    Room change.
    Room arrangement.
    Getting cubbies for the amazing amount of stuff that was always on the floor (backpacks, saxaphones, lunches, sweatshirts, skateboards, softball bags). I was always amazed at what kids managed to bring to school.
     
  17. Mrs.DLC

    Mrs.DLC Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2009

    RainStorm,
    What is a BEAR binder? You may have described it on another thread and I missed it!!
     
  18. jaszmyn

    jaszmyn Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2009

    OMG!! Returning the erasers at the end of the day is just pure genius! Don't know why I didn't think of that. I was so tired of giving my students block eraser and they would ask for another one the next morning. and i would ask "didn't I just give you an eraser yesterday?" and they would give me this blank stare! Great idea rainstorm.

    I will post again with my list of things to keep and change...still thinking.
     
  19. jaszmyn

    jaszmyn Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2009

    Keeping--STAR binder (Student That Are Responsible) this worked very well
    - spelling notebook
    - Class- yes
    - "that's cool"
    - Reading blocks (daily 3) -i never get time for 5
    - morning math routine
    -scoreboard
    - leader of the day (no jobs- one student does everything)

    Change
    - teach - okay (my first graders didn't really get it)
    - reading center (more organized leveled books)
    - new pencil sharpening routine
    - new morning routine (any help with this one? I don't know what to do)



    Thing to Improve

    -writer's workshop
    - keeping the classroom website more up to date
    - behavior system - rewards and consequences. (I changed system's like 3 times this year)
     
  20. Ellensmom

    Ellensmom Companion

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    Jun 18, 2009

    I am keeping my Genre bb- "Which type of book gets you hooked" Updating ocean theme to Luau
    Morning routine- Having DOL on Smartboard and seat work ready when they arrive totally saved me.
    Poetry

    Changing- since I am now self-contained I will do 5 or 10 min) Science or SS on the days I don't teach the subject. This may be mapping, current events, Scholastic News, or project reflections
    Want to do more novels or just plain oral reading of picture books.
     
  21. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Jun 18, 2009

    In our 4th-grade pod, we are still not sure who will be teaching what discipline yet for the 2009-2010 school year, but I plan to permanently hang on to:

    1. Big 5 (five spiral review math problems solved after morning announcements

    2. Math Olympics (a math game I created that has them complete sheets covering all math they need to know before the next year)

    3. The Mathematics Hundred Club (everyone has an index card "credit card" which is stamped with each 100 they make on the Big 5; having 10 stamps earns you 10 minutes of free time during small group time). This is actually not that easy to earn -- I keep them on their toes :haha:

    4. The AR Hundred Club (same as above; used for AR scores).

    5. Read aloud every afternoon after recess. Recess follows lunch, and I have found that the reading time not only help with fluency, but it also calms the kids down A LOT so we can do more work in the afternoon.
     
  22. Ellensmom

    Ellensmom Companion

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    Jun 19, 2009

    I love this idea for AR. I think it could really motivate the kids to read for understanding, not just quantity. (I can think of a couple of kids who could've used it last year.) I don't think it will work with our math program, but maybe I can find another way to use it as well.
    Thanks
     
  23. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Jun 19, 2009

    You are welcome!

    Just the idea that they could have a little "goof off" time when the others were working really motivated my students to keep making those hundreds.
     
  24. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    Jun 20, 2009

    I love your hundnred club idea I think I am going to steal it.
     
  25. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Jun 20, 2009

    Jem, could you elaborate on this one? Do you print a prompt for every student on a label? What size? I really like this idea!
     
  26. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jun 20, 2009

    • I am still doing read-a-thons once a month on Thursday evenings. These events are called "Feed and Read". Students eat pizza and take Reading Counts quizzes on the computer.
    • Reading journals using TIME for Kids magazine went well. Students were encouraged to sketch and write different types of entries. They were encouraged to "challenge the teacher" as well.
    • The way our class completed our History Fair projects worked. The kids enjoyed creating PowerPoint presentations. On the computer, galleries of photos were kept for each presentation so students could choose which illustrations they wanted to use.
    • I've completed a lot of the same experiments and other science activities annually- making cell models with JELLO, rocket launching, soda explosions with Mentos, rubber band propelled vehicles, roller coaster building, core samples of the Earth with JELLO, an experiment about chemical and mechanical weathering, peripheral vision, etc.

    Yet of course I plan on changing some things as well... particularly the layout of my classroom. That will be in another post, however.
     
  27. EiffelTower

    EiffelTower Comrade

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    Jun 21, 2009

    I'm not sure if this would work with 1st graders, but I observed a 3rd grade teacher who made her students get into line by ABC order (they had been numbered so that each student knew where they belonged) and one student had to collect an assignment from each and every student. Then they would go and get their textbook from their cubby to move onto the next subject. This took maybe a minute from start to finish and it allowed students to get up and move, all students to turn their work in, and the teacher could easily input scores into the computer because papers were already in ABC order. It's something I'm going to do next year as a way to keep better tabs on my students. Then the students that scored below a 70% will have their papers filed into a hanging folder on my desk and will be in at lunch recess to complete the assignment.
     
  28. glitterfish

    glitterfish Comrade

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    Jun 22, 2009

    -Giving the kids self addressed stamped envelopes so they can write me....already got a few in the mail today and school only let out on Friday.

    I love that idea! Maybe I'll try that over winter break this year.
     
  29. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Jun 22, 2009

    Could someone explain Class-Yes, Teach-Okay? Thanks!
    I am keeping:
    Bear Bucks and Homeworkopoly
    Making Meaning
    Writing Workshop (to include different genres of writing)

    What I want to change, or already have:
    my room arrangement (done!)
    my late work policy
    having a morning meeting each day
    teaching study skills with my first six weeks of school/building a classroom community

    Love the ideas people post! This forum keeps me motivated!
     
  30. 4inteacher

    4inteacher Rookie

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    Could you please explain the "core samples of the Earth with Jello"?
     
  31. 4inteacher

    4inteacher Rookie

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    Keepers:
    1. Power Teaching (Whole Brain Teaching)...knitter63, this is where the "teach-ok" and "class-yes" and so forth are coming from. Check it out at powerteachers.net

    2. Homeworkopoly--this was definitely a hit with my 5th graders

    3. History diorama project

    4. Expecting good manners (Ron Clark)

    5. Reading Vocabulary Word Wall--though I want to do more with it this year

    Changes:
    1. New/Improved behavior management system. I'd like to incorporate more student reflection into behavior problems.

    2. Keep up with Power Teaching--I got pretty slack toward the end of the year

    3. Finding a new way to collect/check homework. I had a problem with some kids not doing any work, some just filling in answers so it looked "complete," and the time it takes to check homework was just too long.

    4. More hands-on activities!!
     
  32. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Jun 30, 2009

    4inteacher
    Thanks! I have checked out that website and have bookmarked it! I am going to give it a try.
    After last year, I want to start fresh-as if I have not taught for 15 years. I want that "new" feeling again-and this website helps!
     

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