Friday, August 9, 2013

Making Changes

This summer, I'm spending a lot of time on Pinterest and Twitter looking for ideas to use in my classroom. I have found some amazing ideas that I can't wait to use. It has been a real motivator to get back into school mode. Here are some ideas that I have. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures at the moment but hopefully my explanations will be enough. I just want to add a little note...many of these ideas are not mine. I found most of them on Pinterest. I don't want to take credit for anyone else's hard work and creativity.

   Lesson Ideas

                     Pulling sticks for TPRS: I came up with this idea as I was attempting to put stories together for some TPRS lessons. Since I teach elementary school, I'm worried that my students may struggle to think of names or places for the characters. I plan on using student names but young kids enjoy pretending and I want to give them that chance. I have two cups of sticks: one with names and one with places. Many of the places are Spanish speaking countries. I am hoping to tie in some pop-up geography/culture along with the pop-up grammar. I'm not sure how this will work, but I'm hoping it keeps the stories a little more interesting.

                     Centers: Towards the end of the year, I noticed my students worked better in small groups. My plans these year include more small group/center days than whole group lessons. I'm going to run one station so that I can see how students are progressing. Also, I'm going to introduce TPRS in small groups. When they are comfortable, I am going to begin using it in whole group lessons. I want to do more projects and I think this make work time more productive because the students will know they have a limited amount of time plus they'll already be in a group. ***I'm still looking for center ideas if anyone has any. ***


                     Hanging File Folders (found on Pinterest): At each school, I see 15-16 different classes. I always had piles on my desk and I would set down a class list or seating chart and it would instantly disappear. I'm hoping these folders will eliminate this problem. I found the directions for this online. I glued eight file folders together then duct-taped the edges (pretty tape of course (-:). I labeled each folder with a teacher's name. I made two sets of hanging file folders for each school. Hopefully I won't lose anymore important lists because they should all be in these folders, hanging from the board.

                     Copy Drawers (Pinterest): I know many teachers have folders labeled Monday-Friday to keep copies organized. I wanted to do that last year, but with so many classes, I didn't have the space. I found someone who uses plastic drawers to do this. I think they're pretty cheap at Sam's Club or Walmart. They have a lot more space and keeps everything looking much more organized. I'm definitely trying that this year.

                     Theme Bulletin Boards: Last year, I had a word wall in my room, but I didn't refer to it much and the kids never used it. This year, I'm going to create a bulletin board to go with each unit and I'll let the students use the vocabulary and pictures on the board for games and projects. I might have to change this plan when I start teaching more than two units and one time. I'm running out of wall space and that's a lot to take apart and put together every month.

   Classroom Management

                     Bingo (Pinterest): Last year, I tried a five point system. Every class could earn five points during Spanish if they did five things that I had posted on a bulletin board. I'm not happy with the results. I think part of the problem was if they lost a point in the beginning of class, most of them didn't try to earn the rest because they knew there was no reward. This bingo plan I found will hopefully work much better. The class earns a point for doing something positive. The bingo board has numbers 1-100 (I think I'm going to change this because that is a lot of points for 35 minutes). At the end of class, we count the points and fill in the number. Once the class has a bingo, they earn a reward. Hopefully this works better since it gives them more opportunities.

                     Jobs (Teachers Pay Teachers): I know most teachers give students classroom jobs. I tried this at the end of the year but I wasn't happy with how I organized it. I was giving cards to kids that had the job printed on it. It was too hard to keep track of who had which job. This year I'm actually making a board and assigning jobs based on student numbers. I noticed jobs did improve behavior. Students lost their jobs for the day if I had to talk to them too many times.

These are the main changes I'm working on for now. I would love to hear what you do or if you have tried any of these.