Is Your Energy Sink the Weekly Newsletter?

images by Education Graphics Group Do you want to publish a weekly communication? Parents say they appreciate it, kids love seeing their names mentioned, and it can keep everyone up to date on coming events. What can you do to keep it from taking two or more hours to write, print, and distribute each week? Focus on why you are writing a newsletter If you write about every subject, mention many students, give a detailed overview of the curriculum, AND a preview of coming events your newsletter will be L-O-N-G. It takes time to write and may not be read by parents. Define the purpose of your newsletter. Is it reminders, …

Is Your Energy Sink Grading Papers?

  Does it seem like there’s always papers to grade? Are there stacks of paper on your desk and a few more on the shelf? What information do you need to adjust your teaching and plan future lessons? Students need timely feedback, does it take an hour or more every day? Here are a few suggestions: Grade one assignment each day and set up the other assignments for students to grade themselves Plan ahead so you have time to grade an assignment that needs more time, like an essay Learn to quietly grade papers during a staff meeting IF your attention …

What’s Your “Energy Sink”?

I started this six weeks ago planning to publish July 1st. I was sidetracked creating back to school products for adorable aliens, fabulous fish, and superhero kids, products that help teachers easily create a great classroom space with just one product. Now those products have been uploaded and I’m back! Here’s my question. Did you make a list of tasks to complete in the summer when you have LOTS of time? I’d like to add something to that list. Between chapters in the book you’re finally reading, closets that are getting cleaned out, and your plans for rest and recreation, think about your energy …

How to End the Year Right

Check out this great article Justin Minkel wrote for Education Week with practical suggestions for ending your school year. Consider signing up for a free subscription to three articles a month so you can read the article he referenced about building a parachute for a thrill-seeking gummy bear. I hope you enjoy the end of your year! Note: The photo was taken by Justin Minkel.

Dedicate Your Spaces!

Thanks to what I learned while taking a great class from Michael Grinder mid-career, I have dedicated different parts of my classroom to a unique purpose. I find this gives students a nonverbal clue that helps them make sense of our environment. When anyone is standing or sitting in the front of the room, we are sharing information or instructions for an activity. We’re focused on the presenter. We might be discussing, clarifying, or sharing with each other. When I’m sitting at the small table by my desk, I’m working with a small group of students. The rest of the group is working on an activity I’ve already …

Put Your Team on Display

It’s the first day of a school year or the first day with a new group of students. Routines aren’t set, classes like music or PE haven’t started, and you don’t want to spend every minute explaining expectations. What to do with this initial time that’s provides you with information about your students, gives them a chance to be creative, and begins the process of building a team in your classroom? Have your students make people to be posted on the wall. Maybe up high, above your bulletin board? You have a chance to talk to students as they decorate their person. You might have …

Trouble with Tattling?

Do you have students who aren’t clear about the difference between reporting and tattling? Is tattling driving you and your students crazy!! I searched for resources you could consider using in your classroom to help students understand the difference between being safe and getting a classmate in trouble. I also found forms and created a couple more that you could use or adapt for your classroom. I tried to make a primary form that doesn’t require words and a form from students who are able to describe the situation in writing. Let me know if you have suggestions for modifying …

Need Desk Tags?

Oops, I forgot to post about desk tags after the “It’s Just the ABCs” post. These desk tags are FREE or a few dollars. The free desk tags feature colors, two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes, a number line, an alphabet, and left and right hands. Choose from the Century Gothic font or the D’Nealian font. The desk tags that are a few dollars have been saved in a Word™ document so you copy and paste your class list into the document. Every name is placed on a desk tag. No need to write each student’s name. It’s great if you have a new student …

Can’t Read Their Handwriting?

So you have an alphabet on the wall or on their desks. You just can’t quite read their handwriting. Consider having students practice their handwriting skills a few minutes every day while you walk around the room checking their posture, how they hold their pencils, and if they’re forming their letters correctly. More than a few minutes and your students tend to lose interest in working carefully. This can result in sloppy handwriting habits. I explain it by comparing practicing good handwriting to practicing a sport or a musical instrument. Do it well or not at all. I also try to emphasize that people …

It’s just the ABCs!

Are you putting the ABCs on the wall or maybe on student desk tags? If you’re putting it on the wall, find the middle of the wall, put up the letter “M”, and then add the rest of the alphabet A-L and N-Z. By starting in the middle of your wall with the middle letter in the alphabet, you won’t have to measure where to start the alphabet with the letter “A”. Do you need a simple alphabet to get you started? Here’s a one that’s FREE. I chose the Century Gothic font with black, blue, cian (light blue), green, pink, red, white, or …