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
Continued from page 1
May 1, 2008

Team Cards

Allowing student teams to make decisions about lessons, activities, or events is a great way for them to experience power and freedom: two the five basic student needs identified by William Glasser in his book, The Quality School Teacher. (The other three are safety, fun, and love.)

The big downside to the teams-as-decision-makers policy is how much time it takes.

Mr. Morris
Wanting his students to make a decision:
Okay. We have two things to do before this lesson is over. We have a game to play and a quiz to take.

A bit of buzzing from the students.

Mr. Morris
Pausing to allow the buzzing to cease:
We can play the game first if you want. It was designed to help you with the quiz. Or, if you wish, we can take the quiz first so that you can then relax and enjoy the game. It’s up to you. Talk to your team. You have one minute.

A minute later…

Mr. Morris
Waiting for their attention:
Let’s see what you decided.
Looking around at the teams:

Yellow team. What’s your choice?
Yellow team member
We want to take the quiz the first.
Another yellow team member
Immediately and indignantly:
No we don’t! We want to play the game first!
A third yellow team member
Quiz first!

And that was just one team. Five more teams to survey and we can actually move forward with the lesson.

Ultimate decision: Don’t allow the teams to make choices. It wastes too much time

The problem, I finally realized, was that the teams weren’t required to finalize their choice and commit to a decision. It was just 60 seconds of debating followed by a team member sharing what they thought was the team’s decision. What was needed was some way for the teams to come to a final decision and record it somehow. And if we could eliminate the need for the follow-up survey of teams, it would be even better.

The Solution

I gave each team a little 3 x 5 note pad. Using a crayon or felt-tip marker, a team member slashed the team’s color across the top of each page of the pad. The pad will then be used to record and then submit the team’s decision.

Let’s replay that same decision-making event but add Team Cards to the process.

Mr. Morris
Wanting his students to make a decision:
Okay. We have two things to do before this lesson is over. We have a game to play and a quiz to take.

A bit of buzzing from the students.

Mr. Morris
Pausing to allow the buzzing to cease:
We can play the game first if you want. It was designed to help you with the quiz. Or, if you wish, we can take the quiz first so that you can then relax and enjoy the game. It’s up to you. Talk to your team. You have one minute.

During this time, each team is debating, deciding, and then recording its decision on the team’s note pad. When finished, the page is removed from the pad and placed on my desk. Within a minute, I’ll have a vote from each team.

Note: The colors at the top of each page help me to determine which team has already submitted a vote. As you can see below, we were still waiting for the blue team to hand in its vote on whether we should take the quiz first or play the game first. If necessary, I could head over to the blue team to see what was causing the delay.


If I arrange the team cards in rainbow order, I’ll know which teams have not yet responded.

After all cards have been received, the decision—game first, test second—would be announced.

Mr. Morris
Checking over the six team cards:
Hey, what a surprise. You want to play the game first.
Sounds of joy from the teams who voted for the game to be first.
Mr. Morris
Let me show you how to play.


By basing our actual choice upon the decisions written on the team cards, the students begin to realize that they are powerful decision-makers. This eventually creates a climate in which students give serious thought to the choices they’re being asked to make.

The beauty for me is that we no longer waste time reaching a decision. A quick look at the Team Cards gives me all the info I need. And because the whole process only takes a minute, I become more inclined to provide them with opportunities to make decisions.

Final thought: Research indicates that it’s the choices students make that help to build their character. Consequently, the more chances they have to make choices, the more opportunities they have to build their character. And in my book, you win because of your character, not your talent. Talent, after all, is gift. Character is a choice.

» 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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