This week’s tip continues our current theme: establishing an effective morning routine that prepares students for a great day of learning.  Every morning my students and I participate in a four-part morning movement warm-up.  Executing these movements helps my students achieve what I consider to be an ideal mindset for learning: calm, relaxed, focused, and confident.  During this four week period I describe these four movements, one per week.  This week I describe five “Movement Choices” that I learned a few years from Jeff Haebig, a dynamic presenter who spoke at the annual Cal Poly Elementary Physical Education Workshop.

This week’s tip continues our current theme: establishing an effective morning routine that prepares students for a great day of learning.  Every morning my students and I participate in a four-part morning movement warm-up.  Executing these movements helps my students achieve what I consider to be an ideal mindset for learning: calm, relaxed, focused, and confident.  Over the next four weeks I will describe these four movements, one per week.  I start by describing Cross Crawls.

Saturday, 30 October 2010 17:45

Tip #10: The 7 Life Roles

This week’s tip continues our current theme: establishing an effective morning routine that prepares students for a great day of learning.    

The 7 Life Roles

For about five minutes every Wednesday morning, my students and I discuss one or more of the 7 Life Roles, sets of expectations and responsibilities that all individuals currently perform or will perform in the future.  Identified by author Dale Parnell in his excellent book, Why Do I Have to Learn This?, the roles include Lifelong Learner, Citizen, Consumer, Producer (Worker), Individual (Self), Family Member, and Leisure Participant.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010 17:45

Tip #9: Quote of the Day

Last week’s tip about having students check in each morning by sharing a number between one and ten launched our new theme: establishing an effective morning routine that prepares students for a great day of learning.  This week I describe the Quote of the Day, another highly beneficial component of a strong morning routine.  

The Quote of the Day
An effective way to bring out the best in our students, develop lasting habits, and help establish an enthusiastic, productive, team-oriented classroom culture is to feature a “Quote of the Day.”

Saturday, 16 October 2010 17:45

Tip #8: Morning Circle Time

The first seven Teaching Tips all focused on important beginning-of-the-year priorities.  Last week’s tip about reviewing the class mission statement once a week so that it serves as a consistent reference point throughout the year concludes this theme and transitions us into our next one: establishing an effective morning routine that prepares students for a great day of learning.  I mentioned that my students and I read and discuss our mission statement every Friday, and these short conversations help get our Fridays off to a great start.  In the coming weeks I will describe other elements of an effective morning routine that you can use with your students.  

Checking In

Wednesday, 06 October 2010 17:45

Tip #7: Class Mission Statement (Part 3 of 3)

During this three-week period I describe the most powerful move that we, as teachers, can make to establish a sense of purpose in our rooms - creating a Class Mission Statement with our students and referring to it throughout the year for guidance.  After introducing the concept of a mission statement in Part 1 and outlining the steps you and your students can follow to create a mission statement in Part 2, I conclude by explaining how you can use the document as a consistent reference point throughout the year.

Using the Class Mission Statement as a Reference Point for Support and Guidance
Saturday, 02 October 2010 17:45

Tip #6: Class Mission Statement (Part 2 of 3)

During this three-week period I describe the most powerful move that we, as teachers, can make to establish a sense of purpose in our rooms - creating a Class Mission Statement with our students and referring to it throughout the year for guidance.  After introducing the concept of a mission statement in Part 1, this week I outline the steps you and your students can follow to create a founding document that brings together the ideas of everyone in the room.

The Teaching Tips for this three-week period follow the sequence shown below.
Wednesday, 22 September 2010 17:45

Tip #5: Class Mission Statement (Part 1 of 3)

This week I continue to present ideas that connect to the four beginning-of-the-year priorities introduced in Teaching Tip #1.  This tip addresses the third priority: establish a sense of purpose in our classrooms so students understand why it’s important to come to school each day and work hard.  

The most powerful step that we, as teachers, can take to establish a sense of purpose in our rooms is to create a Class Mission Statement with our students.  The process of writing the class mission statement generally takes one week and produces a phenomenal reference point that helps children understand the many purposes of their learning, improve their behavior, work with greater motivation and enthusiasm, and find greater meaning in their work.  I simply cannot imagine myself teaching without this tool.
Sunday, 19 September 2010 17:45

Tip #4: Icebreakers & Team-builders

This week I continue to present ideas that connect to the four beginning-of-the-year priorities introduced in Teaching Tip #1.  This tip addresses the second priority: begin to build a cooperative classroom culture through icebreaking and team-building activities so students feel safe and comfortable and see one another as friends and assets, not rivals.

 

Below you will find the names and descriptions of four of my favorite icebreaking and team-building activities.

 

1) Compliments - In this activity students brainstorm a list of compliments to use throughout the year.  During this process we are helping the kids build the type of positive vocabulary we wish to promote in our classrooms.  (Time: approximately 15-20 minutes)


Saturday, 11 September 2010 17:45

Tip #3: Invest in Training

This week I continue to present ideas that connect to the four beginning-of-the-year priorities introduced in Teaching Tip #1.  This tip addresses the first priority: establish procedures, routines, and expectations so students know how to function efficiently and effectively in our classrooms.  This type of training generally takes 4-6 weeks.

 

Due to the very real pressure to start teaching content standards right off the bat so that students aren’t disadvantaged come testing time, many teachers choose not to devote sufficient time and attention to these matters.  Such a decision is understandable, but it’s also shortsighted.  The long-term benefits of training far outweigh the short-term costs.  Investing time during the beginning of the year to set our students up for success will save considerable time down the road and result in a more productive classroom environment.

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