One of our readers asks: “I have never had a problem with peanut allergies with my students, but a friend just ran into it for the first time in a VBS. She used something with peanut butter for a prize, and had an irate mother. What do you do about this problem? Is this something we should think about before using ANYTHING with peanuts/ peanut oil, etc? Or is it the parent’s obligation to notify us of any allergy?”
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.
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 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.
The contracts we focus on here help teachers assess students’ understanding of the objectives of a unit. Contracts can help younger students grasp the basics of setting a goal (the contract) and dealing with the smaller pieces needed in achieving that goal (the projects). Older students can benefit from the process by realizing a greater state of independence and responsibility in school lives.
Because of the many different approaches people can take on this matter, most of which are effective, we are not going to tell you one tried and true method that will keep your students in class with open eyes at all times. No such panacea exists. We will, however, give you a few ideas from our subscribers that have worked for them.
Poor attendance by students is a difficult problem to tackle. However, it is increasingly important to deal with it due to the simple fact that if students aren’t in school, they are not learning what is being taught. It is also problematic in the sense that chronic poor attenders often drag down attendance and performance data for schools. In an era of increasing accountability, this is exactly the opposite of what most districts need.
One great way to monitor discipline is to involve your kids in the process. I work with older kids, so their need for “justice” helps contribute to its effectiveness. I hold Court once every two weeks. Kids are required to “dress for success” on the day of court. Otherwise, they are held “in contempt of court.”
Tattling or “telling on” is commonplace for many 5-10 year olds, and for many teachers it can be a real annoyance! As children, we were taught that we shouldn’t tattle on others, so it only stands to reason that we would continue to enforce this belief with youngsters today. But why? What harm does tattling cause us? Is it because we just don’t want to hear it right now? Perhaps before you institute “no tattling” as classroom policy, you should consider what tattling is, and more importantly, why children are often so eager to spout off about what little Kimberly or Scott is doing on the other side of the classroom.