May 2009
Vol 6 No 5

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.6 No.5 May 2009

Cover Story by Matt Levinson
Schools and Facebook: Moving Too Fast,
or Not Fast Enough?
Schools can draw a line in the sand, with zero tolerance rules written into school handbooks, or they can shift with the changing sands of social networking and utilize social networking and Facebook to enhance teaching and learning.

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
Teachers Are the Greatest Assets
On the first day of school, the teacher across the hall commented to me that my students are "always so good!" It's not the students; it's the procedures that have proven to work. The First Days of School helps me to manage my class, so that I can be an effective teacher.

»Comedy Highlights from Room K-1! Sue Gruber
»What Will Your Students Remember? Leah Davies
»My Mrs. Krikorian Todd R. Nelson
»Discipline Is a Liberating Word Marvin Marshall
»The Busy Educator's Monthly Five Marjan Glavac
»Help! Too Much Talk! Not Enough Work! Barbara Pressman
»Mayan Sites and Paris Easy on the Purse Josette Bonafino
»The Little Things that Count in Our Schools: Doing Something Different, Simple and Powerful Cheryl Sigmon
»Teacher Morale Matters Dorothy Rich
»Team Management - It’s in the Cards Rick Morris
»Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century Hal Portner

»The Document Camera: A Better Way to Present! Joe Frisk
»Need a Teaching Job? Here’s Where to Find One Alan Haskvitz
»Make Twitter an Ally in the Classroom! Alan Haskvitz
»Teaching Is... Bill Page
»Celebrating True Heroes Graysen Walles
»Digital Pens & Touch-Screens Tim Newlin
»12 Ways to Improve and Enhance Your Paraprofessional- Teacher Experience Susan Fitzell
»May 2009 Writing Prompts James Wayne
»Using Photographs To Inspire Writing VII Hank Kellner
»How to Increase the Number of Physics and Chemistry Majors Stewart E. Brekke
»Bibliotherapy Booklist for Elementary Students Lisa Bundrick
»8 Ways to Make Math Magical at School Steve Sherman
»5 Brainteasers Steve Sherman
»What Will You Do For Shy Kids? Marjie Braun Knudsen

»Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes Barb Stutesman
»Today Is... Daily Commemoration Ron Victoria
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Photo Tour: 3rd Grade Classroom
»Teacher Blogs Showcase
»Carol Goodrow's Kids Running Printables
»Dolch word activities, end of first grade test, first grade memory book, map and geography lessons for all levels, IEP progress, and graduation ceremonies songs
»Video Bytes; Are You Going to Finish Strong?, Antarctica, Ted Talks - Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?, How Big Is Will?, The Sling Shot Man, Styrofoam Cup vs. Deep Sea
»Live on Teachers.Net: May 2009
»New Teacher Induction Programs
»Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers


The Teachers.Net Gazette is a collaborative project
published by the Teachers.Net community
Editor in Chief: Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Layout Editor: Mary Miehl

Cover Story by Matt Levinson

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Matt Levinson, Sue Gruber, Leah Davies, Todd R. Nelson, Marvin Marshall, Marjan Glavac, Barbara Pressman, Josette Bonafino, Cheryl Sigmon, Dorothy Rich, Rick Morris, Hal Portner, Joe Frisk, Alan Haskvitz, Alan Haskvitz, Bill Page, Graysen Walles, Tim Newlin, Susan Fitzell, James Wayne, Hank Kellner, Stewart E. Brekke, Lisa Bundrick, Steve Sherman, Steve Sherman, Marjie Braun Knudsen, Barb Stutesman, Ron Victoria, Rita Sheffield, Carol Goodrow, and YENDOR.

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Rick Morris

Tools & Toys
Archive | Biography | Resources | Discussion

Team Management - It’s in the Cards

Breaking the class into teams provides a way to work with students other than the typical one-on-one or whole-class interactions, but can present management and conflict challenges. A playful toy, “Rainbow Cards” and an effective tool, “Team Cards” offer solutions so the benefits of Teams won’t be lost in the shuffle!
by Rick Morris
Regular to the Gazette
May 1, 2008

I love student teams. For one, they provided me with an additional way to work with students other than the typical one-on-one or whole-class interactions. For another, the students were afforded another resource for problem-solving. ("Check with your team," was one of our mantras.) Depending upon how many students were assigned to the room, we'd create either five or six teams. The teams were rainbow-colored (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet) and had a small square of colored construction paper hanging over their team area so that it was easy to figure out where each team was located.

Rainbow Cards

There were many times during my early years of teaching when I needed our student teams to take turns completing a task. It might have been something as routine as turning in an assignment or reading written work in front of the other students. If so, the teams didn’t really care who went first and who went last.

On the other hand, if it was something a bit more meaningful to them—say, teams visiting the classroom snack shop or heading to the school library—they did care. A lot. And it was at those times, when each team wanted to be first, that I needed to exercise caution in the selection process. I had learned that any hint of prejudice or bias would result in a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Unfortunately, though, the Old School method of choosing I used as a rookie teacher—me visually assessing each team for its readiness and then selecting one team to be first—actually created a culture of complaining.

Before Rainbow Cards

Mr. Morris:
Thinking about the need for teams to choose art materials:
Okay, let’s see which team is ready to choose their art materials for today’s special project.

Student Teams:

Scrambling to appear ready:
Come on, come one! Art project! Shhhh! Everybody quiet!

Mr. Morris:

Looking around the room at the trying-so-hard-to-please-their-teacher teams:

How……about……the……………Green Team!

This announcement was quickly met with sounds of glee from the Greenies and sounds of derision, despair, and frustration from the others. And since I was the one who had chosen the green team to be first, I became the focus of the complaints.

Not good.

After Rainbow Cards

Let’s replay the team selection process but use Rainbow Cards to eliminate all of the whining.

Making Rainbow Cards

  1. Glue colored squares of construction paper to 4 X 6 index cards.
  2. Laminate the cards.
  3. Using a single-hole punch, punch a hole at the top of each card.

Using Rainbow Cards
These cards—one per team—will be shuffled and hung from straight pins. The order of the cards hanging from the pins will let everyone know which team is first, second, etc. It’s simple. It’s fair. It’s even somewhat dramatic.

Mr. Morris
Shuffling the six rainbow cards face-down so that the colors can’t be seen by anyone:
We need to send teams back to the conference tables so that they can get their art supplies for the project. While you’re waiting for your turn, you can clear your desks and get out a pair of scissors.

With that, I turn to the wall at the front of the room and hang the Rainbow Cards on the six straight pins. (I recommend that you hang the cards from right to left so that you can create a bit of suspense as to which team will actually be first.)

When all of the cards have been hung, the students can see the order in which they will be getting supplies. And since the whole process was randomly done, there’s no more complaining.


As you can see, the Violet Team is first and the Yellow Team is last.

Rainbow Order Reward: We have a standing bet in Room 12. If the cards end up in rainbow order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet) they get extra recess time. Even though the odds of this happening are slim—I’ve only seen rainbow order happen once or twice in all of the years I used these cards—the students would faithfully await its appearance.

Note: You could eliminate the need for the hole and the straight pins by attaching a bit of adhesive magnet on the back so that you could stick your Rainbow Cards on a magnetic whiteboard. Just bear in mind that the adhesive magnets will make it more difficult to shuffle the cards. Another simple variation would be to place the cards in a pocket chart. This would eliminate the need for the hole and the straight pins but still make them easy to shuffle.

Continued on next page »

» More Gazette articles...

About Rick Morris...

Award-winning educator Rick Morris is a recognized specialist in the field of student management, motivation, and engagement and the creator of New Management, a highly acclaimed program that is revolutionizing teaching and learning. Based on his thirty-one years of classroom experience, Rick’s up-beat, on-target workshops have inspired thousands of teachers to incorporate his innovative New Management tools and toys into their classrooms on a daily basis. In the words of David Smollar, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, “Morris is well known for the energy and creativity he brings to teaching.”

Rick now divides his time between presenting New Management strategies to educators throughout the country and writing about simple, yet effective ways to transform today’s challenging classrooms. In his new monthly column, Rick will be sharing ideas from his book, Tools & Toys: Fifty Fun Ways to Love Your Class.

  • Recipient of the Hats Off to Teachers award for: “. . . his teaching excellence and the positive effect he has on students.”
  • Author of four books: New Management Handbook, Tools & Toys, Class Cards, and Eight Great Ideas.
  • Awarded the Distinguished Contribution to Education Award from Phi Delta Kappa, the national honor society for education, in recognition of: “…the outstanding work you’ve done with new teacher intern programs.”
  • For more information about Rick Morris and his easy-to-use ideas for creating a happier, more productive classroom, please visit:

    Rick Morris Articles on Teachers.Net...
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