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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Barbara Pressman

Advice for Substitute Teachers
Archive | Biography | Resources | Discussion

Help! Too Much Talk! Not Enough Work!
Barbara helps substitutes get students’ attention back after open discussion and provides tips for keeping middle and high school students engaged when it appears their teacher has left too little work.
Dear Barbara - Advice for Substitute Teachers
by Barbara Pressman
The author of Substitute Teaching from A to Z (McGraw-Hill, 2008)
Regular contributor to the Gazette
May 1, 2009
How can I get them to stop talking so that I can talk?

Dear Barbara,

I am relatively new at subbing, and I find that for the most part subbing days are great with the exception of talking. There are times when I want an open exchange of communication, and other times I don't.

How do I let students (who I’ve only known for a few hours) know when it is OK to have class discussion? Secondly, how do I get the class back to me once the open exchange is over? I feel frustrated, as the students are excited about our discussion, yet I need to move into direct teaching. Just to note, I have tried attention getters such as ringing a bell clapping in unison, saying "class, class" they repeat, "yes, yes" and finger signs. I have even written silently on the board, "I need your attention, close your lips and listen."

It's rather exhausting trying throughout the day to get the students back on track. I don't want to discourage their interactive time either, as I love this time with them. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Wendy from New Milford, NJ

Dear Wendy,

All good teachers want students to have a healthy exchange of ideas. That’s what effective teaching is all about. If you structure your discussion properly, it will be easier to end it smoothly.

Begin by reviewing rules, such as: only one person talks at a time, hand up or you won’t be called on, respect for all ideas. Now you have set the tone. Call on the first student, reflect on his/her comment, and use praise to encourage more sharing of ideas.

When you sense that it’s time to move on, say that you’ll call on one last person. If anyone would like to add more to the discussion, say that you will walk around the room during independent work and listen to their thoughts. If the discussion was really worthwhile, a reward for finishing work early would be to continue discussion at the end of class.

Here are some helpful ways to get attention when students are talking:

  1. Ask students to raise their hand if they can hear you. Say thank you, pause, and then begin instruction.
  2. Lights out – wait for quiet- lights back on.
  3. Try to whisper your instructions. It’s natural to raise your voice, but your volume sends a signal that loud talking is permitted.
  4. Ask a trusted student what the classroom teacher does to get attention. Use that method.
  5. If none of the above work, choose a loud talker who is being disrespectful, and send him/ her to the office. Now they know you are serious.
Continued on next page »

» More Gazette articles...

About Barbara Pressman...

Barbara Pressman is an adjunct professor at the College of Education, Florida Atlantic University. She has been a classroom teacher for more than 20 years, and a supervisor for student teachers for 10 years. She currently mentors Substitute Teachers as well.

Teachers.Net asked Barbara how she came to be interested in writing for substitute teachers. Her response:
I have subbed for many years during my teaching career. When my children were small, I found subbing to be a wonderful "free lance" job. At that time, I took on a 6th grade long term subbing assignment, which led me back to full time teaching. Upon retirement, I went back to subbing once again.

Barbara is the author of book
Substitute Teaching from A to Z (McGraw-Hill, 2008), available in all major bookstores and To find out more, visit:

Substitute Teachers:
Barbara invites you to submit your question by email. Your question could appear in a future column!

Barbara Pressman Articles on Teachers.Net...
Related Resources & Discussions on Teachers.Net...