Managing the Learning Environment - Tuesday Class

Time Management Tips for Teachers
10 Tips for Time Management
Teacher Created Tips blog

Rule Chant!

Organization is KEY! Paperwork is the number one problem…
· Use colored file folders to file papers (subject, abilities, etc.)
· If you haven't looked at a piece of paper in more than a year, throw it away!
· Business management experts coach you to handle a piece of paper only once. It's tough to follow, particularly for teachers!
· If you are one of those people that have to “see” things in front of you rather than “know” they are in your computer, use a Rolodex file (phone numbers, addresses, PINs, e-mail addresses, parent emails, etc.).
· If you haven't looked at a book in 2 years, donate it to your local library or community fund drive.
· Designate 1 day every month (for example, the third Tuesday of the month) as “filing day.” Use it to file all the papers that have accumulated on your desk during the month.
· Designate 1 day every month as “purging day.” Use it to get rid of all the files and papers you haven't used in the last 2 months.
· Use your computer as a filing system! Once you set up the templates, although it is still time consuming, you get rid of the PAPERS!
· Date each piece of paper you receive. When its “expiration date” arrives, get rid of it.
    • Memos: 1 week
    • Minutes of meetings: 4 weeks
    • Letters to parents: 3 months
    • Attendance records: 1 year
    • Professional articles: 2 years
    • Lesson plans: 2 years
    • Grade books: 3 years
v MAXIMIZE your instructional time!
o Find the “flow” and keep it going…in a forward direction
o Don’t stop lesson for minor distracting behaviors…simply put your hand on the child’s back and keep moving
v Incomplete assignments are often a result of incomplete directions
o Be sure to always provide concise, clear directions
o If students are asking a ton of questions after you have given directions, your directions were not clear enough
v Establish clear times of day when certain activities take place
o Ex: morning work EVERY morning, transition times are permanent, etc.
v Agendas are good!
o Give clear expectations and keep students on task
v Utilize parent volunteers!
o Cutting materials, organizing, copying, etc.
v Keep a to-do list RIGHT in front of you! (Not on sticky notes…get a journal…or Microsoft outlook!)
o If it takes longer to write the task than it would to actually do it, just DO IT!!!
o If something is on your to-do list for more than 2 weeks, reevaluate it. Are you actually going to do it? Should you get someone to do it for you? If you are not going to do it, ERASE it!!
v You don't have to grade and record every paper or piece of writing!
o Prioritize what work is important enough to grade, note which students aren't catching on, and then recycle the rest of the papers and worksheets!
v Assign each child the number that corresponds to the number in the grade book.
o Each child writes that number in the upper right-hand corner of everything that has to be turned in
o Simply put the papers in numerical order and call out any missing numbers. It also helps with recording grades in the grade book and saves loads of time

Room Arrangement
12 rules for the classroom
Tools for Teachers
Setting Up Your Classroom

external image Laura_Lander_SMART_Classroom.jpg

Arranging your desks:
1. Depends LARGELY on the supplies and furniture you have at your disposal. Individual desks? Long tables? Whiteboard? Overhead projector?
2. Once you've arranged your room, sit in each seat and look around the room. Sitting from the student's view point will let you know what the students can and can't see. This will help you see if you need to make modifications.
3. Your setting of desks and furniture needs to be a portrayal of your educational philosophy. Don't be afraid to change your room based on your objectives. Your goal is to reach the students as effectively as you can.
4. Please put your desk/workspace in the back of the classroom. This gives off the impression that the classroom is more student-centered. You have your own space, away from the students, which will give you the ability to keep an eye on your students at all times.
5. Make sure your activity space is separate from your quiet/reading space
6. Make sure there are safe and clear traffic paths for everything and everywhere!

How To Group Your Students!

Interest and Ability:
You can group them by their interests on the activity you've set for them. Probably would only work if you are giving them choices and/or topics to choose from. With ability, you can place them in groups depending on their learning styles and learning abilities.

Popsicle Sticks:
One way is to write each students name on their own stick. Place them in a cup and simply pull out the sticks at random, calling out the students names after saying "Group 1 is....," "Group 2 is..." etc.
The second way is to first figure out the number of groups you want with the number of students in each group. Then to write that many numbers on the popsicle sticks for the students to draw out. For example: Say you want 4 groups of 6. On the sticks you're going to have six 1's, six 2's, six 3's, and six 4's. The students draw out their stick and whatever number they have on their stick is the group number they are in!

Count Off:
Fairly easy idea. Point to each student and count off one through however many groups you want. Continue the process until you go through the whole class.

Birth Months:
This would be used if you don't mind how many are in each group, or if you're really good and know how many students will be in the months that you call. For example, you would call out "Group one will be students whose birthday is in January-April." Or you can do it by season: "Group one will be students whose birthday is in the Summer"

Numbers Assigned:
This will only be used if as a part of your class management, you've assigned each student a number that they have the whole year. You can group them by even numbers, odd numbers, 1-5 in one group, etc.

Hand Out Playing Cards:
There are many ways you can use a deck of cards! Have them pick their card from the deck. You can group them by having all the hearts, spades, diamonds, and clubs together. You can have all even numbers together. You can split the class in half by having the red cards all together and the black cards all together. Of course, you can take out and put in whichever cards and however many cards you want to make it even.

On separate index cards, write synonyms of one word. Have the students pick their cards and then they have to find their synonym mate. That person, or people, is their partner or group. You can change this up by doing addition facts (ex: one card: 5+8= and on the other 13). Be careful and make sure that only one card goes with one other card

Group of the Day:
The different groups would have to be set up at the beginning of the school year for them to know. The idea is that depending on what day of the week you are teaching the lesson, that's the group they get in. Each student has a different group they work with on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.

Matching Pairs:
This is similar to the synonyms idea. On one index card write one pair, and then write the accompanying pair on another. For example: Jack and Jill, Milk and Cookies, Peanut Butter and Jelly. Make them pairs that your students would actually know!

Burger Buddies:
Have the students pick which fast food burger the like! Choose between McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, etc. Probably should do this after lunch though!

Colored Pencils:
Similar to the numbered popsicle sticks idea. However many students you want in each group, that's how many of one color you need to place in the cup for them to pull out! Red goes together, blue goes together, etc.

Animal Noises:
One bits of paper, write out an animal that has an easy and distinctive noise that it makes. Hand them out to the students. Once they each have one, tell them to start making their noise while wandering around the classroom, trying to find their partner/group mates that are making the same noise as themselves.

Types of Collaborative Learning
  • Role Assignment
    • Someone might come up with an idea of how the project should go forward.
    • Each member of the might be responsible for a separate portion of the work that is then combined to create the final product.
    • Members of the group may review the other’s work (checker)
    • Someone might help plan how the final presentation will be done.
    • A group member might check the work for accuracy, such as typos and punctuation, before it’s published.
    • A member of the group might have the role of presenting other’s work to the class.
  • Think –Pair- Share
  • Investigation Assignments
  • Experimentation assignments
Noise: Develop and practice a Quiet signal. Remind students that the closer students are seated, the quieter their voices can be.
Deadlines and Task Structure: Give students specific tasks to finish within a predetermined time limit and use a timer.
Instructions: Have students tell each other the instructions to make sure they understand prior to starting the task.
Questions: Answer team questions only. Individual questions should be dealt with in the team.
Circulate: Monitor discussions to check for understanding and to be aware of collaborative skills that may need to be addressed.
Roles: Structure tasks through roles. Have runners, checkers, recorders, reporters, timekeepers, etc.

There are procedures for everything in life. Procedures and routines create the structure that is needed to manage the learning environment.
Procedures that must be taught:
Ø Procedure for dismissal at the end of the period or day
Ø Procedure for quieting a class
Ø Procedure for the start of the period or day
Ø Procedure for students seeking help (Styrofoam cup, index card)
Ø Procedure for the movement of students and papers(lining up by group names, passing papers to the end)
Wong, H & Wong, R. (2004) The First Days of School

Most behavior problems are caused by the teacher’s failure to teach the procedures. (Wong, 2004)
Three step process:

  1. Explain-state, explain, model and demonstrate (clearly)
  2. Rehearse-rehearse and practice (supervised)
  3. Reinforce-reteach, rehearse, practice, and reinforce until it becomes habit or routine(reinforce correct ones, reteach incorrect ones)
Example for quieting a room.
Give Me Five
1. Eyes on speaker
2. Quiet
3. Be Still
4. Hands Free
5. Listen

Abbreviated list of procedures to rehearse:
When you are tardy
Entering the classroom
Participating in class discussions
When you need pencil or paper
Changing groups
Getting materials without disturbing others
When you finish early
Asking a question
Responding to a fire drill
When a visitor is in the classroom

Complete list may be found in Wong, 2004.

Any change in activity for students is considered a transition. We already know that no two children are alike. For this reason, no two children will respond the same way to a change in activity. Preparing students for a transition gets them in the right frame-of- mind to move to a new activity.

An example of a transition tool uses shapes. Other transition resources can be found on the following websites.

Look for Transition Ideas Here

What I Wouldn't Give for a Song **