Many education authors have written about the importance of reviewing academic content with students to improve understanding and retention. In fact, an important principle states that when children learn new material during the school day, their understanding and retention of that material increases significantly if they have the opportunity to review the new learning at least one more time that day before heading home.
Every year on Halloween my school holds a big parade in which the younger students march around the playground in their costumes as the older students, staff, and parents cheer them on. The parade begins right after lunch, and there is usually just over an hour remaining in the school day when my students and I return to the classroom. Because the kids are so excited about Halloween, they usually have a difficult time concentrating on academic work as this day winds to a close.
The â€œTicket to Lunchâ€ strategy offers a quick, easy way to assess students informally. Though it is called â€œTicket to Lunch,â€ this idea can also be used before recess, at the end of the school day, or any other time when students are about to leave the classroom.
This Teaching Tip is the fourth in my new â€œStarting the School Year in Styleâ€ series.
In previous years I have usually waited until our schoolâ€™s annual Parent Conferences in mid-November to meet with parents for the first time. This approach worked well because I had a couple months to get to know the children as individuals before discussing their progress with their families.
Recently, I have tried a more proactive approach, and the benefits have been substantial.
This Teaching Tip is the third in my new â€œStarting the School Year in Styleâ€ series.
On the back wall of my classroom, I have set aside a large rectangular space for students to display their favorite pieces of work. In this area, known as the â€œDisplay Case,â€ the students each have their own spots that are roughly 15â€ by 15.â€ While the idea of displaying student work on a classroom wall is certainly not a new one, there are two aspects of this suggestion that I believe offer a different twist on how work is traditionally shown.
This Teaching Tip is the second in my new â€œStarting the School Year in Styleâ€ series.
A Back to School Night presentation is like the State of the Union address the President delivers to the nation at the beginning of each year. It is a chance to speak with a sense of optimism and articulate a compelling vision of the upcoming year. Because your presentation provides such a strong introduction to the school year, it is important to have as many parents there to hear it as possible. Do whatever you can to maximize turnout.
A few years ago, I asked my students to complete a sheet on which they listed their favorite hobbies and activities and then drew themselves pursuing these passions. After the kids completed this "Passion Survey" at the end of the first week of school, I took home the papers and created the chart shown in the photo below. The following Monday I attached the chart to one of the closet doors in the back of the room, and the chart remained there for the rest of the year.