Every Day Happenings

 in the Classroom

 

On this page I am going to try and include many of the management tips that I use every day.  For example birthdays, classroom jobs , hallway behavior and any other random stuff I can think of!!!

Classroom Jobs

Student Birthdays

Star Student of the Week

Hallway Tips

Homework

First Thing in the Morning

End of the Day

Classroom Jobs

Board Eraser This student erases the board at the end of the day.  When I was in the main building they also washed the board, but this is more difficult in a trailer!
Extra Hands This is my anything job.  If something arrives in the office, this student gets it.  Errands, this student does it.
Paper Passer Passes out papers.  Often I have my extra hands and paper passer passer pass out at the same time to make it quicker!
Table Washer This is a lunchroom job- they wash the table for the next class to sit at the table.
Sweeper This is a lunchroom job- they sweep the floor for the next class to sit at the table.
Forks Collector This is also a lunchroom job- one student collects all the forks and takes them to the washer window of the cafeteria.
Girls Bathroom Monitor behavior in the bathroom.
Boys Bathroom Monitor behavior in the bathroom.
Line Leader Heads up the line!
Classroom Cleaner Cleans up the room at the end of the day.  Organizes the bookshelves, etc.

 Jobs Around the Web

Ms. Powell's Classroom Jobs

Ideas for Jobs

A to Z Teacher Stuff  Ideas for Jobs

TeachingHeart Job Ideas

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Student Birthdays

        I have to admit...last year I was not very good about this!   I did not keep track of all the student birthdays and I did not give anything out for birthdays.  However, I will try to be better about it this year!

      The year before last I gave out goodie bags that I made.  I ordered goodie bags and a happy birthday pencil from oriental trading company.  My then boyfriend (now husband) and I went to Dave and Busters (grown up version of Chucky Cheese) and had a grand old time!  he must have spend about $70 on the games.  We had a ton of tickets when we finished.  What I did was buy enough trinkets to fill my goodie bags.  Not the cheapest way- but it was fun!!!

      This year I think I will note each students birthday in my grade book at the beginning of the year to help me remember.  I think I will do something SMALL and manageable.  For example a pencil and maybe a sticker (it's my birthday today kind of thing) and some coupons in a bag.  I will give students a homework pass and a lunch with a friend pass.  Here is a copy of the coupons I created.

       As a school rule we are not able to celebrate birthdays in the classroom.  I have to admit, I LOVE this rule.  Parents at our school, although well intentioned were known to just "drop by" cupcakes or cookie cake (without a knife, of course) during class time to celebrate- with no notification to the teachers.  Now any birthday treats are left in the office and enjoyed during lunch. So much easier and the student still gets to celebrate!

Here is a list of ideas I have cut and pasted from www.teacher.net message boards.  Some of these teachers have AMAZINGLY creative ideas. 

List of ideas

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Star Student of the Week

       This is something I do with my students that is very low maintenance.  I choose one student per week to be the student of the week. I try to choose a student with good behavior.  However, I have to admit that I was prone to forgetting and the students had to remind me!  This year I think I will assign a student a week (well, I will write it in my grade book but  I won't tell them that's how I do it!) to help me remember.  Star Student of the week gets to be my personal helper and gets to help in the halls.

       As the class walks down the hall, the star student walks outside of the line looking for students with good hallway behavior.  They get to choose two students to give tickets  (for good behavior) when we get back in the classroom.  They really like this.

        I usually give this student a certificate (from the teacher store) and a fun pencil (the 200 I got free from Highlights magazine!).  I would like to add a sharing component to this where students get to bring in one item for show and tell, but I haven't decided on this yet.

        On Mrs. Rentz's wonderful website for fourth grade she details what she does for her Star of the Week in her letter.

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Homework

      We assign homework most nights in fourth grade.  I have tried  a few different methods with HOW to get it all organized!  Here's how it works in my classroom:

Students generally have homework every night.  We vary to some degree what we assign, but there is a method to our madness.  Generally, math homework is given nightly.  Once a week a spelling take home task (homework sheet) is sent home.  We also try to send home a DROPS in the Bucket worksheet and a math review sheet once a week as well.  The DROPS in the Bucket worksheet is a language arts review sheets that covers a little bit of everything.  Click here to read more about it.  On the back of this worksheet we copied a math review sheet. The name of the book with these math review problems is Math 4 Today.

In the morning before students arrive (well, at least this is when I *try* to do it) I write the homework on our homework board.  I try to included projects, daily assignments and when test are going to be (ex. "Vocabulary test in Science next Thursday"). The homework board is something I inherited from a retiring teacher and I love it.  It is a large, professionally made chart with blanks for each day of the week.  It is laminated so I write on it with an overhead marker.  I simply plug in the date and the homework.  There is enough space for five days so the homework stays posted all week.  I will try to add in a picture of this later.  I have added magnets to the back of the board and it hangs in the corner of my whiteboard.  Whenever I have any extra copies of homework, I grab a magnet and clip it under the board.  Students know where to find an extra copy if they lose theirs, so I no longer get asked for extra copies.  When they are gone, they are gone!

Here is a picture of our homework board:

As part of the student's morning work, they write down their homework in their agenda and either put a copy of the homework in the agenda, or a practice workbook page IN the agenda so it does not get lost.  When we first started this I was worried students would spend time in class doing their homework.  Luckily it really hasn't been a problem.  Sometimes we do give kids time to start homework in class, BUT they are not allowed to turn it in until the day it is due.  If I see it in the box early (really easy- if there are any papers in the homework box after school) it goes in the trash.  Students  know and I have never had a kid try to do this.  I tell the students I want their parents to have a chance to look at it and check it.  Most kids get this.

Homework is turned in to the homework box.  This one of those stackable letter trays.  I labeled the sides by subject and have one labeled homework.  Students make sure their number is it the top right corner and turn in homework to the correct tray first thing in the  morning, before the bell rings.  During announcements I grab the stack and put them in number order.  Then on the white board I write homework and then all the numbers missing HW under it.  These students have study hall.  This is a grade level policy.  If a student doesn't have homework, they don't have recess.

 

My kids this year are notorious for DOING the homework, but forgetting to turn it in.  About a fourth of the class forgot at one point or another (this is DAILY) .  It was a pain in the tush having to track these kids down.  Now, if I have to ASK you for your homework (because it wasn't turned in) you lose 5 minutes of recess.

 

  Many different teachers talk about how to encourage students to complete homework. There are LOTS of different ways to do this.  I will list a few ways I have tried or have heard of.

  • Homeworkopoly- This is a printable homework Monopoly board game.  Students are able to play the game and role the dice and move forward on the board by completing Homework for a specified number of days.  Click here to read about Ms. Shaw's rules about Homeworkopoly.  I did try Homeworkopoly for a short amount of time.  It was a neat idea, but I found it was time consuming.  It is pretty popular, so there must be a better way to do it than I did!

  • Weekly Drawing- Clip the corners of homework pages so that all the student names are clipped off.  put all of these clipped corners in a jar.  At the end of the week, draw from the jar for a prize.

  • Homework Banner- This is something my teammate came up with.  We each have a banner outside our door that says "We have all completed our homework for ___days!"  Each consecutive day EVERY student has turned in their homework, we write it on the board.  If students forget  homework one day, the count goes back to 0.  When students reach the set goal (5 or 10 days usually) we bring in some sort of treat.  It could be food, pencils, a movie or extra recess.

 

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Hallway Tips

    Here is a list of all the things I do to try to encourage students to be quiet in the halls.  Not difficult, just little "tricks I have learned.

Have the Star Student of the Week looking for students with good behavior.  The Star then gets to reward with class tickets (class money)

Tell students you are looking to see which group can be the quietest, the boys or the girls, the brunettes or the blondes, the nine year olds or the ten year olds.  The list could go on and on and they eat it up.  just remember to tell them who "won" when you get back in the class.

Tell students you have selected a "secret student" that you are keeping your eye on.  If they can be quiet all the way to _______ (lunchroom, library ,etc.) they can _______(earn a ticket, be the line leader to recess, whatever reward you like to give).  I never pick out the student until we get BACK to the class so I can see who was well behaved, then I can always say "Oh no, I am not sure my secret student is being quiet" if students are whispering in the hall.

When switching classes to another teacher say "Show Mrs. ___ what a wonderful day you had by your behavior in the hall.  I bet she will know!!"  You would never think it would work, but students are eager to be praised by other teachers, even in fourth grade!

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First Thing in the Morning

Morning Message

Attendance

Lunch Count

Notes from Home

Morning Message

     I try to keep my routines the same EVERY morning.  I find that it seems to keep the students calmer if they know what to expect in the morning.  EVERY day I write a morning message, and it usually is very similar.  Here is an example:

Good Morning!

1.  Unpack your book bag.

2.  Sharpen 2 pencils.

3.  Write down your homework in your agenda.  Pack up homework in your homework folder.

4.  Make sure you have a DEAR time book.

5.  Complete you morning work.

     Morning work is usually about five math problems that I make up or DOL (Daily Oral Language which is grammar practice) or math centers.  I have out centers that students can choose from if there is no morning work or they finish it early.  These are simple centers I have collected over time.  I call the math centers because most are math related, but not all.  For examples of my centers, click here.

Someone posted this really great website full of activity cards for each day of the week.  You could copy these on to transparencies and use these as morning work review.

     As far as homework goes, I have a board on which I write homework every day.  Usually homework is a spelling activity that is a worksheet, a math workbook page, or a DROPS in a Bucket page (language arts practice).  If it is a worksheet they need, I have these passed out at their seats (or the first student in the class does it for me!).  Any extras are clipped back on to the homework board (it is magnetic) in case someone loses one.  I LOVE doing homework in the morning, because it is such a time waster later in the day.  Many people might be thinking "So how do you keep them from doing it during the day?"  Well, students can not turn in homework early.  If I see homework in the basket early it gets thrown in the trash.  This forces them to at least take it home so parents can check it if they read their child's agenda.  Agendas are provided by the school and are wonderful.

Attendance

I make attendance as easy as possible.  Students sit at five tables.  I simple ask "Table one do you have anyone absent?" They check their table and say no or yes and the students name.  I do this for all five tables.  It takes literally less than one minute.  Then I do attendance on the computer.  It takes longer for my laptop to pull it up than it does for me to take it.

Lunch Count

Lunch count is similar to attendance.  I always take attendance first and then I ask the student sitting closest to my shelf where the lunches are "How many lunch boxes are there?"  Student tells me and then I subtract that number from the number of students present that day.  We do not have to worry about hot lunches verse cold lunches or any of that, just if they are buying.

Notes from Home

I used to have a box on my desk that students dropped of any notes from home or notes about their absence.  This worked well, except for the fact I sometimes wouldn't see the notes until after the bell rang for class to start!  Now students hand me the notes and I answer them right then. I jot back a note to the parent, put it in an envelope and return it to the child.  That way I know it is done and don't remember it at 3:15 when the bell rings!  If I do not have time to respond to the note I send home a preprinted letter letting parents know I received the note.  I got this idea from Ms. Powell's website.  Click here for an example.

I also go ahead and use this time to mark any student as excused from an absence if they bring a note.  Attendance is done on the computer and I just have to change the information.  Any notes that are responded to or absence excuses are dropped into file folders for each child.

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End of the Day

        Yes, I admit it.   I have given up the fight trying to get my students to stack their chairs as they race out to the buses and clean up their floor area right before bus call.  They want to talk and I understand it.  they have been pretty busy the last eight hours.  To me, it is not worth the battle.  So how do I keep my room clean?

*Magic Trash*

         I discovered this idea from the art teacher at my school and my life has been so much easier ever since.  I usually wait until about half the students have left for the day.  First I tell students that we are not able to play magic trash until all the chairs are stacked.  After all the chairs are stacked I saw " I see __ pieces of magic trash."  This usually depends on how messy the room is or on how motivated the students are!  As students scavenge the room try to pick up and throw away the magic piece, I watch.  I have gotten smart and putting away things (like the overhead cart or a story book) and straightening the pillows also count.  When the room is clean enough for me I choose the students that picked the magic trash and they get to go to the candy box.  Pure bribery.  I am shameless.

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