More Teaching Tips

Posted Date: 1/6/2011

More Teaching Tips

Suggestions from Missouri NEA's Teaching and Learning Committee

Open House – If your open house is before school starts, make up a scavenger hunt for each child to do when he/she arrives in the classroom that allows her/him to familiarize themselves with their new classroom. Ideas: Go to the bookshelf and write the title of one book that you would like to read. If we had free time in the classroom, what is one game from the shelf that you would choose to play? Look at the nametags on the desks and write down the names of all of the people that you know or would like to get to know.

Parent Teacher Conferences
– Prior to the conference, ask your students to write paragraphs that tell what areas they feel that they have done well in and what areas they need to work on for the next quarter. This can be in letter form or in paragraph form. Not only is it a great way for parents to see a writing sample, but it is an excellent self-evaluation tool.

Organizing Papers – Use a rolling file crate and hanging file folders to organize graded work that is ready to go home. Alphabetize students in order by first names for easy access. Allow student helpers to file for you. When Friday Folders are ready to be stuffed, it is easy to just grab the papers and stuff them in the folders.

Management Techniques – Use library pockets stapled to a bulletin board to hold popsicle sticks with students’ names written on them. Each student has his/her own pocket with four sticks in the pocket – each stick has his/her name written on it. When a classroom rule is broken the student will remove a stick from his/her pocket and will place it in a container on the teacher’s desk. The removal of each stick carries with it a different consequence (clearly posted). The students who have four stick remaining in their pockets at the end of the day will receive a stamp/sticker on a card that accumulates to purchase a privilege or a prize,

Holiday Activities – Make up a grid with twenty-five squares. Have students write the numbers 1-24 in each space (mix the numbers around). In the remaining space, write "FREE." Roll four dice and whatever the total number is showing, make up an addition or subtraction problem that has that number as an answer. Students use M&Ms or markers to cover the answers. When the student has a row or column or a diagonal line, they may call out "TURKEY-O" or "WINTER-O" or "LOVE-O" or "BOO" or "BUNNY-O" (depending on the season/holiday).

Testing Strategies – Purchase a different "treat" for each day of testing for the students to eat while taking the tests. Ideas: call Dum-Dum lollipops "Smart-Smarts," Smarties, Mint Lifesavers so that their minds are "Minty Fresh," etc. Make testing a "treat" for your students.

Year-End Reporting – Allow students to give you a final report card by letting them grade you in areas of: fairness, being prepared, makes learning fun, kindness, sense of humor, friendly to parents, etc. Then ask open-ended questions about areas they think you should improve upon, areas that are your strengths, what they will always remember about you, and what you should and should not do with next year’s group. You will be surprised at the students’ insight and at how seriously they take this.

Professional Reading – These books help develop literature groups and encourage the development of classroom authors – "Invitations" by Reggie Routman and "Creating Classrooms for Authors" by Jerome Harste, Kathy Short and Carolyn Burke.


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