Show enthusiasm while you teach. If a sentence has an exclamation point, put some emotion into it and watch the students respond. Share an interesting or an odd fact that might get students excited. If you are excited about the topic, your students will pick up on that and will be more interested in what you teach.
Instructional "Rabbit Trails"
Take the occasional “rabbit trail”. For example, if in a reading selection the Northern Lights is mentioned, take a break and investigate the Northern Lights on Youtube or in pictures. After a few minutes, come back to the lesson. Often times they will be more engaged because now they can connect with the concepts more.
Make a notebook of sub plan lessons, subdivide by subject area. Make a list at the beginning of each section to write the date and name of the lesson used for your records. It makes it easier for the next time you make plans.
When on recess duty, go to the middle of the playground, don’t stand 50 feet from the door. Walk slowly and turn so you can monitor the entire playground. Identify the potential problem areas and keep closer to these areas.
Cover the names at the top of papers as you grade them to allow you to stay more objective as you grade. It will keep you from showing bias against the little rascal that is driving you crazy, or favoritism toward the one who is always trying to please you.
Vary your strategies for choosing students in classroom participation. If you only call on the ones who raise their hands you will leave out a large portion of the class. Try mixing things up and use a strategy to cover various areas of the classroom and call on students who don’t raise their hand. Example: Try choosing from the front/back/left/right, choose every 3rd student in a row, choose a color. Bonus: Ask students to identify your strategy. A word of caution, this works better for reviewing material rather than introducing a new skill. Remember to remain sensitive to students who truly are struggling to know the material.
Finding Page Numbers
Be creative with finding page numbers. Make it into math problems to stretch their brains. Use money terms such as 2 quarters, 1 dime, 1 nickel, 3 pennies, written on the board as 2Q+1D+1N+3P =? (p. 68). This helps students begin to understand unknown variables with something familiar to them. Another concept is to use metric terms such as meters and centimeters. Ex. Find page 2 meters, 38 centimeters (p. 238).
Leading students to answers
When assisting a student struggling with a problem, lead them to the answer instead of giving them the answer. This may mean breaking down the steps into smaller points, highlighting a direction, or giving a strategy to help them focus.
Quiet Hallway strategy. Walk on your tiptoes and make the SHH! gesture with your finger on your lips. Pretend you are sneaking down the hallway. Tell them you are trying not to get caught in the hallway. They often mimic you and have fun sneaking down the hallway. This works well for small groups as well as the whole class.
Set up a Calendar
Set up a year long calendar, separate from your personal calendar, to write down school activities that are beyond your lesson plan week.
Birthdays- If you know they are turning a specific number, tell them happy birthday in days. i.e. 10 years is 3652 (365 x 10 + 2 leap year days). It makes them think and they get a kick out of it. Oh, and the puzzled expression on their face is priceless.
Pledge of Allegiance
When reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, introduce the pledge by recognizing and honoring members of the military, American heroes, or significant Americans past or present that contributed to our country and recite the pledge in honor of them. Personalize it by inviting students to bring information on family members that have served our country.
Time Filler/Thinking Strategy
20 Questions- Choose an item in the classroom. Teach the students to develop a strategy of how to find the answer in less than 20 questions. Expand it outside of the classroom as they get better.
Walk around the room as you instruct. You can eliminate attention problems without missing a beat as you walk by.
Greet the students by name with a smile each day at the door to your classroom.
Be tough the first few weeks of school with expected behaviors. It is easier to turn a growl to a smile after a month than a smile to a growl. (translation: You can ease up later easier than you can toughen up later) You can be tough, but caring at the same time.
Tips for Teachers
The purpose of this blog is to share from my 25 years of teaching experience at the elementary level little tips for new or aspiring teachers. Visit each day to see a new posting. If you have something you would like to know more about, leave a comment. You can also follow this blog on Twitter @ArthurClassact .
ARTHUR BROOD TEACHER