I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

05 July 2011

Five Fast Suggestions for Newbies

It's amazing how much really simple, obvious stuff is not so obvious when you are actually, you know, teaching.  It's like the constant multitasking and long days makes for little critical reflection (not doing so well on cutting the sarcasm, you see).

Anyway, five things I've learned that are big time or brain savers:

  1. Sticky note to the manual/lesson plan/back of the easel board: a fast way to mark down who's able to answer the questions.  This is particularly useful for oral skill drills (phonemic analysis, etc.) and the ever-popular "informal and ongoing assessment".
  2. Get everyone a water bottle.  Set some rules for use and you're free.  This cuts down on water trips - key in my classroom, since the pipes are leaded (I don't trust flushing them) and the counter isn't level so the water always, without fail, escapes the sink and destroys whatever is sitting there.
  3. Identify the key supplies you do not want kids to use and teach them how to use everything else (obviously, this is an early elementary thing).  In my case, the permanent markers are off limits (except in very specific circumstances) and I teach the kids how to use the stapler, the pencil sharpener and the tape.
  4. Provide regular stickers.  These are cheap, and your students will not - let me repeat, WILL NOT - become sticker-dependent.  Besides, since you control the stickers, you decide if you feel like passing them out.
    1. If you have access, provide books for prizes too.  If you are in the Bay Area, you do.
  5. Apologize to your class as needed.


Anonymous said...

Teaching how to use supplies = not JUST early elementary! I can't tell you how many staplers my 5th graders have broken this year. (Well, I can, because I eventually stopped acquiring new ones and simply encouraged paper clips). For a while I watched to try to see the secret...I never could quite figure out how my otherwise-competent kids were managing to destroy staplers on contact. So yeah...I'm doing 6th grade next year and already planning the how-to-staple lesson :)

E. Rat said...

Good to know! I've been assuming that the bigger kids who come over for buddies or to help know how to use the fancy tools. I better do one of those "I KNOW you already know this, but we have SPECIAL ways of doing things in this room" demos this year!

Anonymous said...

I teach 9th grade. This is the year I am going to teach them how/when to raise their hand to ask to go to the bathroom, to leave their seat, etc. I just assumed they would know when I started 4 years ago. I have learned more in 4 years teaching than my students have!!

E. Rat said...

Definitely, if you have procedures you want followed they have to be taught. I find that bathroom/communication policies tend to be really idiosyncratic and teacher-preference based. A lot of teachers don't teach them, or aren't consistent (at least with K, any hard and fast rule about bathrooms has thirty seven thousand exceptions) with what they want.

Let me know how it goes this year!