Thursday, October 19, 2006

Classroom Ideas

I have been subbing in several different classrooms since the schoolyear has started. I have been in one first grade, three second grades, one third grade, four fourth grades and two kindergartens. I am planning on (trying to) get back into the classroom in the next few years and have been jotting down ideas I liked. Here are some:
  • joke/riddle journal: a composition notebook that goes home once a week with one child. That child brings it back on a certain day of the week, reads their joke to the class. The children raise their hands if they think they know the answer. The child who is called on and knows the correct joke answer gets to take it home the next week, and the children can't raise their hand if they've already had it once. All jokes must be appropriate.
  • word journal: see joke journal but with a word from the dictionary and other students must guess the word from its definition. Also must be appropriate.
  • Weather report: daily reporters (which change weekly) check the weather report before coming to school and then again when they get there. Today the weather is supposed to be...with a high of... and currently it is...
  • making word connections: using week's spelling words and turning them into a crossword shape. They use as many words as possible: who can use the most?
  • pocket math: teacher guides on the board, each child has a paper with a list of squares on it. Go around to each table and ask each student how many pockets they have. For example: table one has: 4,4,9 and 4. Using double facts, we know 4+4=8, then nines facts, 9+4=13. Then 13+8=21...Do this for all tables, then total. The class has 112 pockets. That is more or less than last Friday? Add results to a graph.
  • estimation jar: one student brings in a jar full of items of their choosing. The class estimates how many are in it. On Friday, they tell how many items are in it. The student who is the closest, brings it back next week.
  • "Books we've read": make a copy of the books read as a class and put the copies up in the room so the children can see what has been read throughout the year.
  • talking wheel or stoplight system for classroom talking level: red is no talking, silent, such as during testing. Yellow is only whispering and green is talking in inside voice, as in working in groups.
  • Teacher file folders for days of the week: a crate with six folders: Monday through Friday and a "to be copied for next week" file. After copies are made for the days, plans have been made, etc, they go into their file for the day.
  • special chairs: a chair for teacher to read aloud from: I have seen stools, step stools, desk chairs, wooden chairs painted in a special theme, and rocking chairs. Also special chairs for the student of the week to sit in during times after they've finished their work
  • Indoor recess supplies for kids: games, books, drawing supplies, mindware optical illusion books would be great, math manipulatives
  • The music room I was recently in had a bulletin board that said "go bananas for the language of music" with a big banana and fun letters. That could be used for any topic: go bananas over multiplication or vocabulary, etc.
  • Substitute teacher folder: with common things that are done daily, discipline, seating charts, etc. in it, easy to find
  • I was told by my supervisers when I was student teaching not to "shhh" the kids, to find other ways of getting their attention back, during down time or changing activities. I've seen several in my subbing assignments. Some are: 1)clapping a rhythm and then the students repeat it, 2)saying "if you can hear my voice clap twice", 3)teacher says "123 eyes on me" and the children reply "456 zip our lips", 4)saying "I love the way (name) is sitting quietly and waiting for directions. Good job, (name)!", 5)counting down from five and when you're at one or two all chilren should be quiet, 6)ring a bell
  • discipline methods: flipping a card, moving a magnet, coloring in a graph, losing points toward special activities, losing tickets to a "prize drawing" at the end of the week, the word recess on the board for an extra recess, bad class behavior got those erased, which had peer pressure encouraging others to follow directions, helping each other, a binder called "the book" and after a warning, name goes in the book...
  • rewards: "pig points" like a piggy bank where they earn points for an extra recess, tickets for reward drawings, my supervising teacher back in college gave a drawing for a slip of paper that was a homework pass for those times when they had something big after school and didn't get their homework done, but it had to be approved by parents and teacher.... stamping cards-when they are good (saw in music) they get a stamp on their card, after so many stamps they get to pick a small prize. (in the music room it's a stamp at the end of each period and after twenty it's a piece of candy or gum as a prize)
  • On walls: quotes, posters, classroom rules and/or classroom constitution, "what students expect of me" which is decided in the first week of school and discussed as a class, bsaket at each table with books in it for silent reading (for example library books students go down and choose weekly) so kids aren't wandering around or asking to go to the library for books when they complete their work before other kids, wipe off board/paper with lunchcount (here we have lunch a, b, or c choices and packing), job list (paper passers, board eraser, office messenger, etc), packet for lunch tickets (for kids who paid on Monday to buy all week), big calendar like from office max with specials on it (art, music, gym, libary) and days off school, "ready, set, go...morning routine": sharpen pencils, turn in homework, do lunchcount, begin work listed on the board, etc., flag for pledge, signs of "fair ways to choose" for those times kids get in disagreements (pick a number, roll dice, pick names from a hat, one potato two potatoe, etc), school motto, school rules posted up where kids can see them, clocks out of paper to show times for things (kids often say when's lunch? and they can see the paper clock showing the time they go)
I'm sure there are others, but I haven't written them down and I've forgotten them for now. I'm excited at the thought of teaching in my own classroom...then I'm nervous about all the work!!! :) Off to get some things done around my own home, now.

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