Clean Before You Go Home Always try to clean you desktop before you go home. Once you make a habit of it, it will become second nature. Be Selective Be selective about what you keep on your desk. If you dont use it at least three days of the week, store it somewhere else. Add a Table or Bookshelf Put a table or bookshelf near your desk and use it to store items that you need on a regular basis. Make sure it is for teacher use only. Stacking Trays or Upright File Organizers Use stacking trays or upright organizers (whichever you prefer) to hold important papers, teachers editions, etc. Use each tray/compartment for different types of information. For example, one tray can be for extra copies of blank forms, while another can be for extra copies of recent assignments. You can find the trays/organizers at most office supply stores.
One of the hardest things about teaching is finding big blocks of time in your jam-packed days to get all the items on your to-do list done. So, try to make it a habit to use small chunks of time to put a dent in your workload. Even with ten minutes or less, there are many tasks you can accomplish. Here are 15 possibilities:1. Write a morning message and morning work directions on the board.2. Grade multiple choice sections of quizzes and tests.3. Brainstorm bulletin board ideas.4. Print out worksheets.5. Update your seating chart.6. Peruse a book of quotes and bookmark five of them to use next week.7. Identify literary elements in the pages of a chapter-book students will be reading later in class or as a homework assignment.8. Review three picture books youre considering using for an upcoming circle time.9. Create an outline for a lesson plan.10. Read and grade a small batch of essay questions from a test.11. Take down a bulletin board display.12. Decide which topics you want to write about in your parent newsletter.13. Send three emails to confirm the time and place for upcoming meetings.14. Jot down agenda items for meetings with your teachers aide, team teacher, ELL specialist, the schools special education teacher, or psychologist.15. Fill out Happy Birthday postcards for all your students and put in birthday folder.
Want to stretch your teaching time? Then double-check how effectively you utilize the first ten minutes of class. Often, those first ten minutes arent as productive as they could be. If students take too long to settle in and get on task, you may be losing valuable instruction time and momentum. To set a more get-down-to-business tone, try implementing these routines: Greet students as they enter your classroom and distribute any papers pertinent to the upcoming lesson. Make it standard classroom procedure — for students to go to their seats promptly no milling around cubbies and pencil sharpeners.
Always have a message on the board or overhead that tells students what the days curriculum entails and what they need to be prepared and organized. For example: ◦ Turn to page 52 in your textbook. ◦ Please take out your reader-response journal and a pen. ◦ Write tonights homework in your assignment notebook. ◦ Begin the opening activity. Always have an opening activity posted or distributed so students can start working on it as their classmates arrive. Instead of doing roll call, use your seating plan to quietly check attendance.
Getting from the opening bell to the closing bell frequently feels like a game of beat-the-clock. Lunch, recess, locker breaks, downtime between lessons and activities, moving from one classroom to another, interruptions, and other events eat up precious minutes of instructional time. In fact, studies indicate that non-instructional time accounts for at least 27% of an elementary school day!
Here are some time-boosting strategies to offset some of the teaching time lost to non-instructional activities. Decrease the time allotted for breaks and social activities. Contrary to popular belief, students do not need a lot of break time to refresh themselves. In fact, research shows that long or frequent breaks may actually lower their involvement with academic work. Find out which aspects of school time you can control. At some schools, teachers discover they can change the scheduling of class periods, pull-out programs, lunch breaks, extracurricular activities, planning time, and outside interruptions. Ask your principal to help you control time-wasters such as unexpected visitors and frequent intercom announcements.
Schedule solid blocks of teaching time for each day. You might even hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign outside your door during those times. Also, secure your principals help in scheduling pull-out programs around those blocks and ask parents to avoid scheduling medical or dental appointments then. Plan for smooth transitions between lessons And always try to have materials ready for each lesson or activity. Assign homework to extend practice time. Homework should allow students to practice skills they have already learned.
Reconsider how you schedule restroom breaks. Improve student attendance. Attendance has a big effect on teaching and learning time. Impress upon parents the importance of good attendance and teach an actual lesson on how it hurts to miss school. "At the end of each day, I try to tell kids what we will be doing the next day," says first-grade teacher Susie Davis. "I emphasize the kinds of activities they look forward too, such as hands- on activities. This seems to encourage attendance.“ Utilize your classroom aide effectively. If you are one of the lucky ones assigned a full-time or part-time aide, draw on that persons special strengths and abilities. Aides can work with small groups or tutor individuals. They can make instructional games and resources, keep bulletin boards current, monitor seatwork and learning centers, read stories to the class, and assist you with assessments. They can also help with clerical and housekeeping duties that the students cant do themselves. By delegating tasks and helping your aide become increasingly responsible and involved in the classroom, you will also increase teaching time overall.
When it comes to everyday instruction and learning activities, everybody — that includes you and your students — benefits from a little variety. If your students dont seem to be interested in a lesson one day, try coming at it from a different direction the next day. Thats what differentiated instruction is all about — finding ways to make lessons appeal to students with different interests, experiences, abilities, and learning styles.
Here are some ways you can vary instruction and connect with your students: Demonstrate — Show students what a successful performance looks like. Read to Think — Read excerpts or short texts aloud as a means of introducing a subject or getting students to think about it from different perspectives. Write to Learn — Have students write formally or informally to discover what they know about a subject or to synthesize learning. Investigation — Design an inquiry for your students in the library, classroom, or computer lab that asks them to find and make sense of information. Simulation — Provide a range of roles students can play in readers theater, mock trial, or role-playing sessions. Construct — Provide materials and ask students to design and create an original project — a model, a poster, or a poem.
Discussion — Create a structured, purposeful discussion of material after dividing the class into different configurations — pairs, trios, or large groups. Reciprocal Teaching — Ask students to teach what they have learned to others in a group or the class as a whole. Problem-Solving — Place students in the middle of a problem they must solve using their understanding of the material. Generate — Require students to be thinkers who come up with their own questions and problems, answers and solutions. Use group configurations, such as lab teams, which allow students to assume different roles, some of which make greater cognitive demands than others. Provide a range of problems, texts, or projects to choose from, each one representing different levels of difficulty, but all based on the same subject or text you are trying to teach.
Assign support materials, Such as word lists or graphic organizers, which students can use at different levels of ability. Give students a variety of topics to choose from when writing Some of which make greater demands and allow for a greater range of responses than others. Depending on the grade level and writing skills being taught, writing topics could range from summarizing to comparing and contrasting to analyzing cause and effect. Provide alternative routes Such as audio books, so that students with special needs can complete your class assignments.
1. Don’t tell the student “slow down” or “ just relax.”2. Don’t complete words for the student or talk for him or her.3. Help all members of the class learn to take turns talking and listening. All students — and especially those who stutter — find it much easier to talk when there are few interruptions and they have the listener’s attention.4. Expect the same quality and quantity of work from the student who stutters as the one who doesn’t.5. Speak with the student in an unhurried way, pausing frequently.6. Convey that you are listening to the content of the message, not how it is said.7. Have a one-on-one conversation with the student who stutters about needed accommodations in the classroom. Respect the student’s needs, but do not be enabling.8. Don’t make stuttering something to be ashamed of. Talk about stuttering just like any other matter.
One of the key challenges teachers face at the beginning of a new course is to learn and remember students’ names. Here are several strategies to help in this:1. Make a floor plan or use name cards Make an outline of the classroom, and on the first day go student by student, asking their names and completing your plan. Leave this on your desk and, for the first few classes at least, make sure people sit in the same spot for the beginning of the lesson. Or ask students to make a little name card and place it on the desk in front of them.
2. Play a name game. Yes, this is the first thing that many an English teacher does with a class. It often involves tossing a ball around and calling out names. Another name game involves saying names in a chain “My name’s X.” “This is X. My name’s Y” etc. Or adding something personal about yourself “My name’s X and I thought Terminator Salvation was awful” “His name’s X and he thought Terminator Salvation was awful, my name’s Y and I loved the film the Hangover”. You get the idea. The problem with name games is that if you have a class of over twenty students the ones at the end of the chain start moaning that it’s too hard. In that case, divide them into two big groups.
3. Use names as much as possible. More effective than a one-off game is to start using students’ names as quickly and as often as possible. There may be mistakes at first, but sooner or later it always sinks in. Use names when you call on students, when you praise them or when you ask questions. If you make a mistake with a student’s name, make sure you use the right name the next time and do it quickly.
4. Take register aloud often. Make a regular habit of taking the register/calling attendance. To keep you, and the students, alert you can add variations to this routine. Instead of saying “present” ask them to respond by saying the name of a fruit or vegetable, or an animal. Or ask them to respond with “present and…” plus another adjective (e.g. present and ready, present and tired, present and happy, present and bored…). One variation I often do is to take register by SPELLING students’ names in English to which they have to answer. To add more variety, ask different students to do this task.
5. Ask them when you forget. Many people are nervous or ashamed if they forget someone’s name. Often this results in avoidance strategy (“oh no, can’t remember her name… ok I’ll ask Mika instead”) which means some students may end up getting ignored. Don’t be afraid to apologize and ask a student’s name – “Excuse me, I’ve forgotten your name/ I’m sorry, what’s your name again?” This kind of formula is in fact very useful language to teach students as well.
6. Be devious. Of course, there are more devious tricks we have up our sleeve. Use different methods e.g. To ask a student on the spot to spell his/her name, ostensibly to test their spelling skills; to take the register and make a big show of pretending that you don’t know students’ names (when in fact you don’t for some of them); or to play a “correct the teacher” game where you say things and the students have to correct you (start by saying “Your name is Charles/Charlotte” to a student whose name you have forgotten and they have to correct you).