Saturday, 11 December 2010 17:45

Tip #16: Appointment Clocks

 An Appointment Clock is a classroom management tool that teachers can use in situations where students will be working in pairs.  Appointment Clocks save valuable class time, empower kids to make meaningful choices, ensure that students have the opportunity to work with a variety of classmates, and facilitate smooth transitions.


Here’s how Appointment Clocks work.  Imagine that you are planning a classroom activity in which you would like your students to work in pairs.  When you have finished explaining the directions and are ready for the kids to begin the activity, you ask everyone to find one partner and get started.  Though this request may seem simple enough to follow, many students will struggle.  Some may not feel comfortable approaching a classmate, others may not be able to decide how to choose one friend over another, and still others may choose the same friend every time you schedule cooperative learning.  The potential exists for wasted time, hurt feelings, and a loss of focus from the activity itself.



Saturday, 04 December 2010 17:45

Tip #15: Fact in My Pocket

“Fact in My Pocket” is a novel, effective strategy that students can use when they are trying to commit some piece of academic content to memory.  We can recommend this strategy to our students when they are trying to learn such things as math facts, spelling words, vocabulary words, and science terms.


To incorporate this strategy, students will need two index cards or strips of paper, along with two pockets.  Assume, for example, that Jordy needs to learn her multiplication facts.  She begins by identifying the two facts that she finds most difficult.  She then writes the facts on the strips of paper, one fact per strip.  As she heads to school in the morning, she puts one strip in her left pocket and the other in her right.


 

 This week’s tip concludes 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 the four movements, one per week.  This week I describe the final part of our warm-up, hook-ups.


After students have had the opportunity to energize themselves during the first two parts of our routine, our goal for the third and fourth parts is to help them become calm and relaxed.  Hook-ups are an important part of that effort.

 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 the third part of our warm-up, deep breathing.


After students have had the opportunity to energize themselves during the first two parts of our routine, our goal for the third and fourth parts is to help them become calm and relaxed.  Deep breathing is an important part of that effort.

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
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