The Lawrence Looping Project is not a technique new to Wichita, but it is to our school. We have several pair of classroom teachers who make up “loops”; in my case, I have fourth grade this year, with my partner teacher teaching her fourth graders from last year again as fifth grade. Next year, I will keep the students from my class and teach fifth grade, and my looping partner will begin her new loop with a fresh class of fourth graders. While some benefits reportedly include giving special ed students a more stable learning environment, I am particularly looking forward to a more long-range curriculum, and for dealing more effectively with students who, say, spend nearly a whole year just getting up to speed on basis math skills, only to go out the door just when things were beginning to get on track.
When Teachnet Contributor, Chantal Latour, sat down to personalize her students’ report cards, something was missing. The list of report card comments that used as starters and had spent years compiling was gone. Chantal explained her situation to the members of the Teacher-2-Teacher forum and was overwhelmed with responses. Nearly 300 adjectives and phrases are available here for your use.
We have had numerous requests here at Teachnet.Com for a library of downloadable, printable certificates and awards. As we work towards creating such a library of PDF files and blacklines for you to use, we now make our first contribution to the library online. Read on for information on how to request your own certificate.
Finally…The end of the year is almost here. It seems that for many students (and teachers as well), the only desired lessons are those taking place in a swimming pool. But there are certain steps you can take now to prevent the end of the year from meaning the end of learning. Think in terms of: play, plan, and complete.
What public education needs is better public relations. I live three blocks from a middle school, yet never hear what is happening at that school. Does that school’s principal have a responsibility to keep me informed? No, but if he or she wants to tell about something great happening there, I’ll sit up and take notice. Now, I’ll be the first to admit schools shouldn’t necessarily be in the public relations business, but these are difficult times, and the public’s opinion of public school looks to be at an all-time low. If your school district won’t cast itself, and you as an individual teacher, in the best possible light (and most get an “F” in this department) it’s time for individual schools and teachers to pick up the ball and run with it.
Several teachers have contacted us recently because the job of creating a newsletter has dropped into their laps. By keeping the process simple you won’t feel completely overwhelmed and your newsletter will more likely go out on a timely basis. Creating a work of art may sound nice, but the first priority is getting the news out.
Our school is installing a Parent-Teacher Hotline, a telephone system that allows teachers to record messages to their parents, and parents can call in, enter the classroom I.D. number, and hear the teacher’s message regarding homework, upcoming activities, permission slips that need to be returned, etc. We’ll be using ours to include a Home Activity for the Week, a simple learning activity designed to involve parents in the learning/teaching process.
Nearly any grade can put out a newspaper, and desktop publishing is the tool to do it with. There are many styles and designs to draw from, and the project involves a variety of skills. Where else can you get students to get excited about a project that involves writing, talking to people, drawing, photography, and, basically, running a business?
This is the third year for using the Ticket System in my room. The idea is that each student has a ticket they keep at their desk, a ticket I’ll take from them as a form of punishment or discipline. I keep track of how many times each student loses a ticket during the grading period, and reward those with no lost tickets.
Self-hardening clay is available in five pound boxes at hobby stores, dries on its own when left uncovered in about a week, and is paintable. This clay is great for a first-time art project if no kiln is available, and dividing the five pound cube into eight equal sections gives students a large enough piece to make a small coiled pot.
When a student has been absent long enough that someone has to stop in and pick up work for them, it’s a good time to reach in your box of word puzzles and brain teasers to send along a little “fun” activity as well. In addition, you might want to keep a selection of get-well cards, or write a quick note to them on personalized stationery to make them feel special.
When dividing your class into teams, skip the unfair practice of having team captains pick favorites. Have students line themselves up chronologically by their birthdays, but make them use sign language to communicate their birthday.