Posts Tagged ‘students’

Now that spring allows for more outdoor play, do you find that the transition back to the classroom is difficult for your students?  Do some burst into the room with reports of squabbles?  Do others continue chattering to classmates?  How do you get them to refocus for the afternoon? 

A fixed routine will help your students get back into rhythm.  Some teachers reserve 10 minutes after recess for a read aloud time.  Others play soft classical music while students finish any undone morning work.  A bathroom break works for some classes.  Reading around the room helps some students settle into “learning mode.”  Whatever method you choose, a routine will reinforce that it’s time to get back to work.

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On days when you take standardized tests, you don’t want to overtax the students but you also don’t want to waste time doing things that won’t benefit your students in the long run.  How about giving them some brainteasers as examples and then time to see if they can create one of their own?  Here are some ideas to prime the pump:

1. Do they have a 4th of July in England?

 2. If there are 7 months that have 31 days in them and 11 months that have 30 days in them, how many months have 28 days in them?

3. How many birthdays does the average man have?

 4. What is boiled then cooled, sweetened then soured?

5. A woman gives a beggar 50 cents; the woman is the beggar’s sister, but the beggar is not the woman’s brother. How come?

Find the answers on teach-nology.com.  It’s fun!

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I live in the future.

I live in the future – not literally, of course. As a planner from birth, I maintain a calendar in my head that rarely corresponds to the one on the wall. My brain continually scans my mental datebook and automatically calculates the number of minutes, hours or days until the next “event”. My goal is to be ready before that event arrives. As a teacher, a forward sense of rhythm serves me well. It helps me to plan ahead each day or week and know what preparations need to be completed. My classroom runs smoothly because lessons are ready and supplies are at hand.

Being in continual state of next is not, however, always advantageous. Sometimes I miss the now moment because I am too busy planning ahead. If I am distracted by my mental To Do list when a student wants to talk, the message they need to communicate won’t get the priority it deserves. I must keep my ear tuned to the voices around me, even as a part of my brain prepares for the future. It’s a fine line to walk, but I pray that I will balance well the need to think ahead and to be sensitive to the present needs of my students.

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Time for a change?

“When can we change our seats?”  has been a common refrain this week.  Something about changing the calendar to a new year prompts the students to request fresh scenery.   I can understand – vivid memories of a seatmate named Ronnie L. still cause me to grimace.  Suffice it to say that a close-up view of Ronnie consuming whatever he found in nasal passages daily decreased my appetite for lunch. 

Not every student wants to move away from someone – sometimes they want to be closer to a friend, or even closer to you.  Others just want to alter their daily routine.  Whatever the reasons, updating your seating chart can be a good thing.  The dynamics of the group change, giving some students a break and allowing others to stretch their wings.  It allows you to encourage new friendships and support struggling learners in different ways.  You can also use the moves to experiment with different desk configurations – paired, lineup, winged rows, etc. – to see what groupings you prefer. 

As we start a new year, do you have any plans to change your students’ seats?

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Back After Break

Break’s over!  I’m not ready to go back.  Inevitably, my To Do list still has unchecked items.  Perhaps it’s because I was unrealistic when creating it.  Or, maybe it’s because I opted to spend time with family instead of tackling projects.  Either way, I wish I had a few more days of “home time”.  If I, a teacher who loves my craft and my students, is not quite ready to go back, my students probably aren’t either.  What can I do to help them quickly ramp up to their normal productive speed?

Identifying and acknowledging their feelings is a good place to start.  Some students feel unsettled the first day back but don’t know why.  Talking about your own hesitancy about returning lets them know that their emotions are normal.  When you give your best effort despite your feelings, they have a living example of principle-based living instead of living by emotion.

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Let’s face it – most children are excited and distracted this time of year.  When their school work is finished, they may do more talking than reading the book you assigned for their next report.  It’s helpful to have some self-directed activities that will keep them busy.  Here are some websites with fun printables:





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Gift Ideas for Your Students

Still haven’t decided on what to give your students for your holiday celebration?  Consider these coupon ideas:

Day at the teacher’s desk

Day beside your friend’s desk

One extra recess

Free homework pass

Five 5 minute talking passes

Lunch with the teacher

Extra PE with another class

These are free gifts that the students love! 

What do you do for your students this time of year?

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