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.
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.
If you allow your high school students a way to offset that one test they bombed out on, consider making extra credit a proactive, rather than reactive, choice for them. Post at the beginning of the course, or hand out along with the syllabus, a list of projects or activities they can complete to boost their overall grade. But assign point value on a sliding scale: a project worth 10 extra points the second week of the semester might be worth 6 points halfway through, and only 4 points when there are two weeks left to go. It might force them to do extra work before they need it, or realize the value in not procrastinating.
Reward your students with popcorn when they finally make it through their multiplication tables, to illustrate how steam and pressure can have explosive results, as an incentive to go one day without getting in trouble in the lunchroom or simply because it’s Friday. Popcorn is quick and easy to make, doesn’t cost much money and, no, a microwave oven is not required. Hot air poppers use no oil and empty into a bowl while they’re popping; if you like lots of oil and butter on yours get the motorized kind with the stirring wires where flipping the whole thing upside down turns the lid into the bowl. Dump your popped corn into a large bowl or bag, then walk around using a cup to pour popcorn onto paper napkins on your students desks. Be prepared to have someone ready to sweep the floor when you are done.
We’ve all known for a long time about soap and shampoo bottles that can be put to use in the classroom holding glue, water, whatever. Having just started wearing contact lenses, we’ve discovered another: the cleaning solution bottle. Smaller in size than soap bottles, with a flip top cap that won’t get lost, these are great for glue, but you may want to use a small drill bit or a red-hot nail to make the hole larger. Anyone who wears contact lenses goes through this solution regularly, so have them save the bottles for you.