Classroom Management Tips You Wish You'd Known "Back Then"
Posted by Heidi on the Primary Elementary Chatboard
I am looking to find out what you do/use in your classroom that you learned over the years, that saves you time and headaches.
I'll share a couple of my own to get the ball rolling:
For anecdotal records when I taught Kinders (but it would work with anyone I guess) I divided the inside of a file folder into squares the size of small post it notes. I had a square for each student with their name in it. Then whenever I noticed something I wanted to remember for reporting, I wrote it on a small post-it and stuck it on their square. I could easily see who I was lacking notes for, and it helped me make sure I observed everyone and had notes on everyone. adapted from a workshop, but I can't remember who or where!
Happy notes: I keep a stack of small photocopied "from your teacher" type notes on my desk. I try to send home one each day (to one student, not everyone!) and sometimes a few at a time...just little notes like, "I noticed Billy concentrating on his work today!" or "Sarah lent a pencil to friend who needed it today," things that they might need encouragement with. Having the notes ready, you can just grab one and jot a message with the date. They love getting them.
What do YOU do that makes things easier for you? I can't wait to hear :). Heidi
Like many other teachers, after years of teaching I have learned the benefits of numbering my students and giving them a PIN number to use on all work. This works for all textbooks, card chart, assignments, math manipulatives, calculators, and many other things. It has really helped me be more organized.
Another probably obvious to others who are more organized than I is to keep an "end of year" and "beginning of year" list of things to do. I also keep these files with other things I use at beginning and end of year.My beginning of the year list:
- Name tags for desks
- Names on mailboxes
- Names on Portfolio folders
- Names on coat hooks or cubbies
- Name/number list-each student gets a number which corresponds to their textbooks and classroom materials
- Birthday list
- Names in grade book/attendance book
- Name list for check-ins
- Welcome bulletin boards
- Welcome letter for parents including rules, schedule, and procedures
- Newsletter for activities of first week
- Names on workbooks, workbooks placed in desks
- First day activities
- Names on job chart and birthday chart
- Books placed in desks
- Math manipulative kits composed and numbered in desks
- MOOSE notebooks prepared (A new one I am going to attempt this year!)
- Word Wall letters up
- Anecdotal note card labeled with extras for later
- Certificates printed off to be filled in later
- Generic notes written out to be filled in later
- Charts filled in with names
- Birthday birdhouses filled in with birthdays of the month
- Desks arranged
- Beginning of the year decorations hung
- First week things copied and filed per day
- Library gone through and put in order
- Seating chart made
- Sub folder prepared
- Construction paper container filled for new year
- Construction paper cut in half in various colors
- Lesson plan book run-off and placed in binder.
- Simple, but. I always type a class list in Excel and run lots of copies so that I can use them to check off everything. And I mean everything--I've even stopped using a gradebook. And I save it in Excel so that it can be easily changed if a student moves.
- I have ONE Student of the Day for all jobs. If she needs help, she chooses helpers. Each morning, yesterday's Student of the Day chooses one for that day.
- Desks are grouped for four students. We have a weekly table captain for passing out papers, etc.
The main thing that I'm proud of is the way I get papers back to the students. It's pretty basic. I have a file folder box and every child's name is tabbed. When we pick up work to be graded, I grade it then put the papers in the very front of the folder in front of the files. I have a File Clerk who files the papers as needed. Friday, my File Clerk and his/her Assistant check each child's papers to make sure there aren't anyone else's papers in their stack. They staple them together and pass them out.
The students have two folders in their desk that stay there all the time. They all have a blue pocket folder that they place all practice work in that we have checked which I don't want to grade, and busy sheets, like crossword puzzles, etc. I hate having tons of papers to file and I like to keep the graded work from above separated from work that's not graded. So I let them take these papers home on a different day. The green folder is used to place work in that we haven't had a chance to grade, work that is unfinished, and makeup work for absent students. I really don't like it when a student's work is in the floor or shoved somewhere within the black hole known as a desk. This keeps them responsible for their not losing their work. It's been a winner. heatherb
Here's my number one gotta have it! It works at every grade level! This is the best way I've found to keep myself organized and handle important papers.
Set up a desktop instant organizer inside a cardboard file box. Load it up with empty file folders with these labels:
- 1 for each month of the school year
- Read later (for all those papers you need to read but just don't have time at the moment)
- Pending (for copies of the book order, etc.)
- Next Week
- 1 for each month folders are great. If you come across an idea you want to use next Sept...pop it in the Sept. file. At the beginning of each month go through the file. Add any other files that work for you!
- Take to office
- Make copies
- Phone calls to make (staple a copy of parent phone #'s inside)
- Notes from parents
I don't let myself leave school until my Urgent file is empty! Once a month I go through "Read Later" and "File" The month. Sue Gruber
Before I leave each night I quickly fill out a sheet of paper that has my daily times on it for subjects, specials, lunch, etc. I write what I am going to do for each subject the next day - briefly, but enough if I am unable to come in. I also have the next day's work out on a front table with an index card labeled for subject and times on top of the work. This way a sub can continue with what I am doing. However; I do have an emergency substitute folder prepared and it is kept near my desk in a neon orange folder.
It just make sit easier for me on my days and in case I am unable to come in. I live a distance from where I teach and this has helped me immensely. Susan
I also send home "happy notes" each day with one student. I try to mention a conversation starter for the parents like, "Ask Joe what he learned about the life cycle of the butterfly." I use various note cards or tablets or whatever, and I actually write the names of each student on each one. This assures that everyone gets a happy note before I start going through the class list again. It makes me focus upon something good about a child each day. The kids always remind me by saying, "Who gets the happy note?"
I also use an easy check in system. I have library pockets glued to a poster board that says good morning. (I actually use this type of set up for several things.) Each pocket has a name. I have cards that say HOT and COLD. Children put a card in their pocket. I know who is hot lunch, who is cold lunch, and who is absent all at a glance. JenSue
I was just going to comment that we have to turn in our lesson plans for the next week before we leave on Friday afternoon. They go to our principal and he does check to see if they have all been turned in. He keeps them for one year in his office. It does help me to be more organized. That also means that I have all of my daily folders filled for the following week, including any copies that will be needed, etc. k-2nd
Continued in next month's Gazette!