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Table of Contents
 
Jossey-Bass Teacher
Title Page
Copyright Page
Foreword
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dedication
Acknowledgements
 
Chapter 1 - Creating a Supportive Learning Environment from Day One
 
THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
ARRANGING SUCCESSFUL CLASSROOMS
STUDENTS’ DESKS
SEAT ASSIGNMENTS
KEEPING DESKS CLEAN
THE TEACHER’S DESK
BASIC CLASSROOM SUPPLIES
SEVENTEEN TIPS FOR MAKING OUTSTANDING BULLETIN BOARDS
HELPING ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS
THE ROOM ENVIRONMENT
NOISY CLASSROOMS IMPEDE LEARNING
GREETING YOUR STUDENTS
GETTING TO KNOW YOUR STUDENTS
WELCOMING NEW STUDENTS
THE IMPORTANCE OF RELATIONSHIP BUILDING
RESOURCES TO HELP IN RELATIONSHIP BUILDING
CLARIFYING EXPECTATIONS
TASKS TO ACCOMPLISH
FIRST-DAY-OF-SCHOOL CHECKLIST
ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS
CREATING AN INVITING SCHOOL CLIMATE
 
Chapter 2 - Nurturing Positive Student Behavior
 
PROACTIVE CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT
ESTABLISHING RULES
THIRTY HOT TIPS FOR MANAGING CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT OF GOOD BEHAVIOR
THE REWARD HIERARCHY
TIPS ON USING POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT IN THE CLASSROOM
POTENTIAL CLASSROOM REWARDS
HELPFUL RESOURCES
CELL PHONES AND TEXT MESSAGING IN CLASS
CORPORAL PUNISHMENT
TIME-OUTS
BULLYING IN SCHOOLS
“FIGHT, FIGHT!”: INTERVENTION STRATEGIES
MOTIVATING THE UNMOTIVATED
THE TEACHER AS A SKILLED HELPER
 
Chapter 3 - Time Management and Organizational Strategies
 
THE EROSION OF SCHOOL TIME
PRISONERS OF TIME
BLOCK SCHEDULING
ELEVEN TIPS FOR MINIMIZING CLASSROOM INTERRUPTIONS
TEACHER TIME ROBBERS
FULL-TIME TEACHERS’ WORKWEEK
CLASSROOM ROUTINES
STORAGE SOLUTIONS
THE CHALLENGE OF PAPERWORK
COMMUNICATIONS
TEACHER TIME LOG
TO-DO LIST
ASSESSING STUDENT TIME-ON-TASK
CONQUER PROCRASTINATION NOW!
TIPS ON GETTING ORGANIZED
BEEN TO A GOOD MEETING LATELY?
STUDENT HELP
 
Chapter 4 - Creating Successful Lessons
 
PLANNING EFFECTIVE LESSONS
BEGINNING A CLASS
ACTION VERBS FOR WRITING INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES
LEARNER-CENTERED LESSONS
PLANNING UNITS OF INSTRUCTION
THIRTY-EIGHT HOT TIPS FOR MAINTAINING INTEREST
SEVEN CARDINAL RULES FOR EFFECTIVE VISUALS
STORYBOARDING
REVIEW TECHNIQUES
MIND MAPS
NINETEEN TIPS FOR CLOSING A LESSON
DIFFERENTIATING INSTRUCTION
TEACHING TO STUDENTS’ STRENGTHS: HOMEWORK THAT HELPS
PUTTING MORE PIZZAZZ IN YOUR PRESENTATIONS
HUMOR IN THE CLASSROOM
SEEKING STUDENT FEEDBACK
GUIDELINES FOR FAIR USE OF COPYRIGHTED EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS
 
Chapter 5 - Interactive Teaching and Learning Strategies
 
QUESTION AND ANSWER
TWENTY-TWO HOT TIPS FOR ASKING EFFECTIVE QUESTIONS
INQUIRY LEARNING
BRAINSTORMING
CREATIVITY CRUNCHERS
BRAINWRITING
LIST MAKING
CLASS DISCUSSIONS
FISH BOWLS
ARTWORK
MUSIC
GUIDED IMAGERY
JOURNAL KEEPING
FIELD TRIPS
GUEST SPEAKERS AND PANELS
DEBATES
VIDEOS AND DVDs
PODCASTS
BLOGS
INTERACTIVE TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM
VIDEO RECORDING
DESIGNING EFFECTIVE POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS
DYADIC ENCOUNTERS
DEMONSTRATIONS
BOARD WORK AND WHITEBOARDS
ACTION RESEARCH
INTERVIEWS
CONSTRUCTION
CARD SORTS
SURVEYS AND QUESTIONNAIRES
ORAL PRESENTATIONS
ROLE PLAYING
DRAMATIZATION
GAMES AND SIMULATIONS
COOPERATIVE LEARNING
 
Chapter 6 - Assessment and Testing Tools
 
ASSESSING STUDENT PERFORMANCE
FORMATIVE VERSUS SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT
MONITORING STUDENT PROGRESS
VARIABILITY IN ASSESSMENT
GRADING STUDENT PERFORMANCE
TWENTY TIPS FOR MAKING GRADING AS PAINLESS AS POSSIBLE
TESTS AND QUIZZES
GRADE CONTRACTS
THE MULTIPLE-OPTION GRADE CONTRACT
AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENTS
PORTFOLIO ASSESSMENTS
PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENTS
SELF-ASSESSMENT
DESIGNING RUBRICS
THIRTY ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENTS
INTERPRETING STANDARDIZED TEST SCORES
HIGH-STAKES TESTING
 
Chapter 7 - Building a Learning Community
 
TWENTY-FOUR HOT TIPS FOR WORKING WITH OTHER TEACHERS
WORKING WITH A MENTOR
TELEMENTORING
GUIDELINES FOR COLLABORATIVE TEAMS
SUGGESTIONS FOR EFFECTIVE ACTION PLANNING TEAMS
WORKING WITH YOUR PRINCIPAL
IMPROVING PARENT-TEACHER RELATIONS
PARENT OR GUARDIAN CONFERENCES
THE SUCCESSFUL OPEN HOUSE
TIPS FOR HELPING SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS
WORKING WITH SUPPORT STAFF
WORKING WITH VOLUNTEERS AND AIDES
 
Chapter 8 - Staying on Top of Your Game
 
TWENTY-TWO TIPS FOR BECOMING AN EFFECTIVE TEACHER
TEACHER EXPECTATIONS REVISITED
ARE YOU AN EFFECTIVE TEACHER?
TWENTY-SEVEN MISTAKES TEACHERS COMMONLY MAKE
THIRTY-TWO STRATEGIES FOR NURTURING PEAK PERFORMANCE IN OTHERS
EFFECTIVE SCHOOLS
INDICATORS OF QUALITY
NATIONAL TEACHING STANDARDS
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFICATION
EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH
LEARNING WHAT WORKS: ACTION RESEARCH
PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
EDUCATION JOURNALS
STRESS AND BURNOUT IN THE CLASSROOM
FAMOUS AMERICANS WHO ALSO TAUGHT SCHOOL
TEN INSPIRATIONAL TEACHER MOVIES
 
Chapter 9 - Helpful Resources for Teachers
 
SCROUNGING FOR SUPPLIES
THE INTERNET AS A LEARNING RESOURCE
COMPUTER SOFTWARE FOR IMPROVING TEACHER PRODUCTIVITY

Jossey-Bass Teacher
Jossey-Bass Teacher provides educators with practical knowledge and tools to create a positive and lifelong impact on student learning. We offer classroom-tested and research-based teaching resources for a variety of grade levels and subject areas. Whether you are an aspiring, new, or veteran teacher, we want to help you make every teaching day your best.
From ready-to-use classroom activities to the latest teaching framework, our value-packed books provide insightful, practical, and comprehensive materials on the topics that matter most to K-12 teachers. We hope to become your trusted source for the best ideas from the most experienced and respected experts in the field.

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FOREWORD
I guess it’s to be expected that a man as multifaceted as Dr. Ron Partin would likewise create a multifaceted book filled with strategies, techniques, and useful materials for beginning and veteran teachers alike. An educator, guidance counselor, scholar, and consultant—among other interests and avocations ranging from bluegrass music to genealogy—Ron is best known to me as providing the backbone to multiple graduate courses developed by Performance Learning Systems, Inc., for over thirty years.
Ron conducts research in all facets of education, guiding the legitimacy and credibility of PLS courses internationally. He has coauthored graduate courses and penned many rich articles to benefit teachers. First and foremost, Ron’s intention is to assist the classroom teacher to impart knowledge to students.
This third edition of The Classroom Teacher’s Survival Guide provides a rich recipe book or, depending on your generation, a drop-down menu of multiple options for teachers to use immediately and with tremendous success. It’s a virtual bible for K-12 educators, parents, home schools, administrators, coaches, and others. I have been known to use some of the techniques in my own instruction of teachers!
Beginning teachers, in particular, will find The Classroom Teacher’s Survival Guide a life raft of support as they navigate their first years of school, as it is comprehensive, user-friendly, and provides practical strategies and tips for the everyday problems of organizing and managing a classroom. It’s no wonder that some districts in this country consistently order The Classroom Teacher’s Survival Guide for all their beginning teachers. Nothing could get them off to a better start.
Veteran educators will find these cutting-edge concepts and practical ideas a stimulus to meeting new challenges and finding more enjoyment and satisfaction in their teaching, as this third edition taps into the newest research and trends toward technology, globalization, and multicultural teaching.
Turn to any chapter or any page in this book and you will find ideas, activities, tips for successful teaching, checklists, forms, certificates, and, of course, substantiating research. Ron has included books, online resources, and Internet sites for virtual field trips, as well as advice, suggestions, and encouragement in a wide range of topics, including parent conferences, cooperative learning, alternatives to lecturing, homework ideas, learning modalities, and how to use action verbs in developing lesson plans. And that is just for starters.
Because Ron is so well versed in the current research about teaching, learning, and education now and in the future, his approach incorporates many real-life, interactive, and technology-based exercises for students that are also filled with fun and that are reality based, enriching, and empowering for students.
As I travel around the country—and now internationally—presenting and instructing on behalf of good teaching, coaching, and sound learning, I am constantly met with educators seeking creative ideas to use with their students. Passionate and dedicated to teaching, these educators thrill at resources or suggestions for activities or lessons they can readily and immediately adapt to their classroom. Ron’s book answers these needs and then some.
Mentors, coaches, staff developers, and supervisors can also find ideas, suggestions, and creative options for the educators they support. Oftentimes the coaching relationship calls for a teacher or administrator to observe his or her peers on whatever the person being coached wants to focus on, whether delivery, classroom management, reading, or other topics. To have a lesson or teaching tips at the ready augments this process and allows more in-depth time for feedback and coaching.
Written with humor, peppered with quotes, current in its examples, research, and references, The Classroom Teacher’s Survival Guide belongs in every new and veteran educator’s classroom or office.
 
—Stephen G. Barkley
Executive Vice President, Performance Learning Systems, Inc.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ronald L. Partin, professor emeritus and former coordinator of the graduate guidance and counseling program at Bowling Green State University, holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology and counseling and has more than thirty years’ experience as an educator, scholar, and consultant. As a counselor educator, he taught courses in counseling, educational consultation, group dynamics, and learning psychology. A former high school teacher and coach, Ron is in frequent demand as a speaker, trainer, and consultant. He uses his classroom experiences to teach and motivate, with his everyday examples and ready-to-implement techniques.
Ron is the author of numerous journal articles in the areas of time management, goal setting, creative problem solving, stress management, and effective teaching skills. He is the coauthor of Classroom Management: Orchestrating a Community of Learners®, a graduate training program completed by over fifty thousand teachers nationwide.
Ron is the coauthor of The Social Studies Teacher’s Survival Kit (Prentice Hall, 1992) and author of The Prentice Hall Directory of Online Social Studies Resources (Prentice Hall, 1998) and The Social Studies Teacher’s Book of Lists (Jossey-Bass, 2nd ed., 2003).
Ron serves as research editor for Performance Learning Systems, an educational services company. Ron is known for facilitating fun, interactive workshops and has been invited to present programs to over four hundred schools, businesses, and professional organizations.
Ron and his wife, Jan, are now enjoying their second adulthoods as residents amid the mountains of western North Carolina. Their twin sons are both gainfully employed and are excellent parents. Ron collects hobbies: woodworking, genealogy, golf, square dancing, bluegrass music, gardening, stained glass, and travel. His overwhelming passion continues to be helping teachers thrive in the classroom. He may be contacted at rpartin@bgsu. edu.

Dedicated with love and pride to our grandchildren,
Braedon, Jacob, Brooke, Aaron, and Drew

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The greatest source of ideas for this book were the hundreds of teachers who participated in my workshops and classes over the past thirty-five years. Where known, the original or published sources are credited for any ideas used. This project would have been much more difficult without the emotional support and encouragement of my wife, Jan.
The selection of clip art in this book is from a variety of electronic sources, including the following: clipart.com and iclipart.com subscription services, DeskTop Art by Dynamic Graphics, Desk Gallery by Zedcor Corporation, Digit Art from Image Club Graphics, Metro ImageBase, Click Art from T/Maker Company, Image Club, Images With Impact!, School Clip Art from Quality Computers, and Volk Clip Art from Dynamic Graphics.
Articles originally published in Heart of Teaching newsletters, © 2001-2005 Performance Learning Systems, Inc.®, an educational services company located in Allentown, PA, and on the World Wide Web at wws.plsweb.com. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
The diligent efforts of Marjorie McAneny, senior editor, K-12 Education for Jossey-Bass, Justin Frahm, production editor, and the rest of the editorial staff at Jossey-Bass greatly contributed to the successful completion of this book. Special gratitude is extended to Steve Barkley of Performance Learning Systems for his support and kind words expressed in his foreword to this book.

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Creating a Supportive Learning Environment from Day One

THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

The foundation for a successful school year is laid on the first day of school. Everything you do on that day sets the tone for the rest of the year. Spending time planning and organizing the first day’s activities is one of the most valuable investments you can make as a teacher.
Your three primary objectives for the first day of school are to get acquainted, establish your expectations, and stimulate enthusiasm and interest in what you will be teaching. The best advice for the first day is “Be prepared.” You want to convey to your students that you are organized, are in control, and know what you are doing. It is wise to develop a checklist of items to cover the first day. (See the sample checklist at the end of this section.)
This chapter will address the key things you can do to assure the first day gets the year off to a positive beginning.

ARRANGING SUCCESSFUL CLASSROOMS

Before the first day of school, spend time organizing your classroom for maximum efficiency. The physical arrangement of your classroom can influence your students’ behavior and learning. The placement of desks, bookshelves, pencil sharpeners, and cabinets can influence traffic flow, student interaction, as well as noise, attention, or disruption levels. The impact of the room arrangement is too important to leave to chance.
Plan the classroom learning environment before the beginning of the school year. Your goals for the class must guide your choices. Whether you wish to maximize group interaction with lots of small-group activities or lecture most of the time, the physical arrangement can help or hinder. Students get a pretty good picture of what their year is going to be like from the decor and arrangement of the classroom as they enter for the first time.
More than creating aesthetic appeal, each piece of furniture redefines a part of the classroom space, directing attention, pupil interaction, or traffic flow. Overlooking the importance of even casual rearrangements within the classroom is easy. Something as simple as the placement of a new pencil sharpener, a new bookshelf, or an area rug can have a significant impact on the learning events of your classroom.
The environment you see may be quite different from what your students perceive, especially younger ones. When no one else is around, crouch down to the children’s eye level and view your room as they see it. Waddle around the room to see how the furniture directs your attention and movement.
Draw your current classroom arrangement to scale on graph paper. Include all the furniture, windows, doors, bulletin boards, electrical plugs, cabinets, wastebasket, and pencil sharpener. Observe your class for a day, noting on your drawing the traffic patterns. Indicate any bottlenecks. Are there any areas that invite students to stop and talk? Does the present arrangement direct students through work centers or group activities? Are there dead spaces that no one ever enters? Be sure to place electrical equipment so that students cannot trip over the cords.
Arrange any special areas in the room. Some teachers have reading areas, perhaps with stuffed furniture, a rug, or pillows. Have the necessary supplies and materials sorted and organized for any learning centers, art area, writing area, labs, and so on.
Give special attention to minimizing unnecessary noise in your classroom. Where possible, use soft, quiet, sound-absorbing materials: carpeting, rubber, sponge, cardboard, and cork.

STUDENTS’ DESKS

The single most important decision influencing the physical classroom environment is the students’ seating arrangement. Ideally, the arrangement of students’ desks should not be permanent, except for large lecture halls or laboratories. The purpose of the learning activity should dictate the most favorable seating pattern. Unless furniture is bolted to the floor, it can be moved during the day as the lesson dictates. The custodial staff ’s ease of cleaning should play only a minor role in such decisions. What to do:
• Traditional seating in rows has endured because it is very functional for many classroom purposes. Particularly early in the year, seating students in rows enables you to observe behavior more easily and minimizes distractions. Research has shown that row seating produces higher levels of on-task behavior in elementary classrooms.
• The greater the distance between students, the less they will distract each other. However, theater or row seating can facilitate independent seatwork, lecture, movies, and tests.
• If your class uses several seating arrangements regularly, teach your students how to move from one to another as quickly and quietly as possible. You may want smaller children to help each other carry desks without dragging them across the floor.
• Seating students in clusters or around a table facilitates group interaction. This arrangement enhances small-group discussions and cooperative learning, but it also invites chatting and socializing.
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• Whole-class discussion is facilitated with a circular, semicircular, or open-ended rectangular seating arrangement. Traditional rows are probably least supportive of student-to-student interaction.
• Performance classes, labs, and special activities such as story time might dictate atypical seating choices or even no seats at all. The important thing is to monitor your seating pattern’s effects. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different arrangements to achieve different results.
• After a few weeks, experiment with other seating arrangements. Simply changing the seating patterns, even which direction the seats face, will influence your group’s dynamics.
• To minimize the tendency to look primarily at the students in the front and center of a classroom, make a conscious attempt to scan the back corners, where the more disruptive students tend to cluster. It is often wise to move such students to the front center, as that is the natural region of most eye contact. Interestingly, some researchers have discovered that students’ test scores increase after they move to the front center. However, avoid seating two troublesome students next to each other.
• Give careful consideration to the direction students normally face in your chosen seating arrangement. As they will attend most to whatever is in their direct line of sight, try to arrange for students to face away from windows and doors to minimize distractions. Facing windows or bright lights creates excessive glare, causing eye-strain.
If you have several learning centers or areas in your room, separate noisy from quiet areas. Plan your seating so that you can move freely among students when providing individual assistance. Avoid seating arrangements that hide some students behind bookshelves or cabinets. Avoid creating mazes that force students into long, winding traffic patterns to reach the pencil sharpener or wastebasket.

SEAT ASSIGNMENTS

You must decide before school begins whether to assign students to specific seats or to allow them to select their seats. Most teachers prefer to assign seats at first. It is best to announce that the initial seating assignments will be temporary. After having learned their names, established behavioral control, and taught students your desired procedures and routines, you might allow them to choose (or assign them) different seats. However, if you have several difficult students, it is best to maintain control over the seating pattern, separating troublemakers from one another and keeping them where you can easily monitor their behavior. You need not single them out or draw attention to the fact that you are putting them where you want them. Whatever seating pattern you select, always be sensitive to the special needs of hearing- or visually impaired students.
If you use printed seating charts, use a pencil to fill them in, as they will change. Keep any seating charts current in case a substitute must use them in your absence.
Hot Tip for a Seating Chart
Becky Laabs, a veteran art teacher at Bowling Green City Schools (Ohio), devised a creative and handy seating chart that you can make too. On the outside of a manila folder, sketch your classroom-seating layout, with a small rectangle to represent each student’s seat. Cut out small pieces of cardstock and print a different student’s name on each one.
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Attach each name to its appropriate spot with Velcro. Future changes in assigned seats will be easy to make, simply by switching the removable rectangles. Make a different colored folder for each class, if you have more than one.
Store daily lesson plans, papers to be returned, or other items inside the folder for easy access. The folder will prove especially valuable to any substitute teachers during the year.
Another option is to tape or staple a clear transparency over the master seating chart. Names can be easily changed using an erasable marker on the transparency film.

KEEPING DESKS CLEAN

Some students’ desks begin to resemble an attic, hiding assorted old papers, tattered books, pencil stubs, broken crayons, pens, and miscellaneous treasures. Teachers have resorted to a range of tactics for encouraging students to keep their desks tidy, from spot checks to formal inspections with checksheets. Some choose to ignore the mess and allow students to suffer the consequences.
One strategy that many teachers adopt is to institute visits by a desk fairy, a mythical creature that visits their desks after school. If the desk is orderly, the fairy leaves a special surprise such as a certificate, sticker, or ribbon.

THE TEACHER’S DESK

Not all teachers require a desk. If your room is crowded and you spend little time at your desk, consider removing it or replacing it with a small table and a filing cabinet. Some prefer an old-fashioned writing desk, which makes monitoring students easier. A high stool eases the burden on the feet.
If you do have a desk, the next choice is where to place it. It does not have to be at the front center of the classroom. If you do not usually sit at your desk during class, place it in a front corner or even at the back of the classroom. It is best not to place it near the door, thus inviting people to grab things off it as they leave the room or to interrupt or distract you as you work there. Make sure your desk does not block any student’s view of the chalkboard.
Germs at Your Fingertips
A study by University of Arizona microbiologist Chuck Gerba revealed that the average desktop has four hundred times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. And the office telephone is even worse.
After collecting seven thousand bacteria samples from a variety of office building surfaces, Gerba found that bathrooms had the lowest levels of germs of all. The average keyboard had a count of three thousand bacteria per square inch, compared to the office toilet seat, which measured only fifty per square inch. His explanation: “People use disinfectant to clean that.”
The telephone had the highest bacteria counts, closely followed by the desktop itself and the computer keyboard. Water fountain knobs and microwave oven door handles also harbored high levels of germs. The report concluded: “The oily grime that collects on keys and headsets becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, increasing the risk of colds and other infections spreading through an office. They get this contaminated because they’re rarely cleaned.”
The area where you rest your hand on your desk contains some ten million bacteria! While the research examined business offices, it is unlikely that cleaning patterns are any better in schools.
Gerba suggested that regularly cleaning the desktop greatly reduces the number of germs. Daily use of disinfecting wipes decreased the bacteria count by 99 percent.
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Other teachers have an open-desk policy, inviting students to help themselves to staplers, tape, and other materials. Of course, a locked drawer or closet might be reserved for private belongings or confidential records. Whichever practice you adopt, communicate your expectations to your students at the beginning of the year.
Source: Gerba, C. (2002). Office germ study. Available from www.shinytech.co.il/en/news/office_study.pdf.
This article was originally published in the Heart of Teaching newsletters, © 2001-2005 Performance Learning Systems, Inc.®, an educational services company located in Allentown, PA, and on the World Wide Web at www.plsweb.com. Used with permission. Note to the reader: This book intentionally omits the standard http://prefix from all Web site addresses. Most Internet browsers do not require users to type that prefix into the address bar.
Teachers have different perspectives on the ownership of their desks. Some prefer to define their desks as private territory, off-limits to students. They may even arrange bookshelves and filing cabinets to create barriers from others’ intrusions.

BASIC CLASSROOM SUPPLIES

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Address book
Attendance forms
Chalk
Cleaning rags
Clock
Desk calendar
Dictionary
Disposable tissues
Eraser
Extension cord
Felt pens
File folders
First-aid kit
Glue
Grade book
Hole punch
Note cards
Old towels
Paper
Paper clips
Paper towels
Rubber bands
Rulers
Stapler
Staples
Tape
Tardy slips
Teacher’s manuals for texts
Thumbtacks
Tool kit
Whistle
Yardstick

SEVENTEEN TIPS FOR MAKING OUTSTANDING BULLETIN BOARDS

Well-designed bulletin boards can be effective learning and motivational tools. Their value as an instructional device should not be overlooked or left to chance. Preparing bulletin boards can be time-consuming. Enlist others’ help. Occasionally allow students or parent volunteers to help create attractive bulletin boards.
Don’t assume that attractive bulletin boards are for elementary classrooms only. They are just as effective with middle and high school students. For inspiration and ideas, check Web sites and professional journals. Here are some tips for constructing great bulletin boards:
1. From a roll of colored paper, tear a piece to the approximate size of the bulletin board to make a cover. Mold this to the bulletin board by hand and temporarily pin it to the board. With a small pin or razor knife, tear or cut along edges to remove the excess paper. You are ready to place objects and letters on the board.
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2. Make two to three covers for bulletin boards at once, placing one on top of the other. When it is time to change displays, simply pull off the top display, revealing the next one beneath it.
3. Rather than repeatedly correcting students for the same errors, create a bulletin board display explaining the error and the correct procedures.
4. You need not decorate every bulletin board. Use blank ones for announcements, posters, student work, newspapers, magazine articles, and so on. Use some class time to have students brainstorm ideas for bulletin boards.
5. Generate graphics and letters with computers. Special software is readily available in most schools for printing banners and posters. Use letters of various sizes. Large ones grab the students’ attention and get them to read the rest.
6. Give your students time and materials to cut out bulletin board letters of various styles and sizes. Store these in envelopes for future use.
7. Project coloring-book images onto large sheets of paper taped to the wall. Trace and color the images to make large characters to include in your bulletin boards.
8. Use some bulletin boards to teach or reinforce a skill or concept. Make them interactive, engaging students in tactile or kinesthetic learning.
9. Reserve one section of a bulletin board for students to use to post interesting articles, invitations, unusual quotations, pictures, cartoons, and other items of interest.
10. At the end of the school year, whenever students have some free time, let them create a bulletin board for you. It will be ready for the fall, welcoming the new class back to school. You might want to have them cover it with newspaper to protect it during the summer.
11. Develop interactive bulletin boards. Use pockets and flaps to hide answers to questions displayed on the board. Post a daily question, riddle, or puzzle for students to explore when they enter the room. Some displays might pose a question to which students write their answers or estimate in a block on the bulletin board. These are especially valuable if they relate to a topic to be studied that day.
12. Hang a clothesline across one wall of your room. Attach students’ papers to the line with clothespins.
13. Velcro or flannel boards can be incorporated into manipulative boards that invite students to experiment. Bulletin boards can be dynamic, inviting students to interact and reform the display. Self-checking questions can be displayed, with answers covered by flaps.
Internet Sources for Bulletin Board Ideas
Bulletin Board Ideas from Teacher Vision www.teachervision.fen.com/bulletin-board/curriculum-planning/6515.html
Bulletin Boards Across the World www.gigglepotz.com/bulletin.htm
Bulletin Boards and Tips for the K-3 Teacher www.teachingheart.net/bboard.html
Classroom Displays and Bulletin Boards http://my.att.net/p/s/community.dll?ep=16&groupid=20303&ck=
Interactive Bulletin Boards for Secondary School Mathematics http://faculty.kutztown.edu/schaeffe/BulletinBoards/bbs.html
14. Shop fabric stores after holidays to purchase inexpensive fabrics with holiday themes. These make excellent backgrounds for seasonal bulletin boards and can easily be reused for many years.
15. Think of creative materials and ideas to incorporate into unique borders. Discarded fabric, game pieces, silk flowers, ribbons, leaves, greeting cards, or photographs can all be incorporated into attractive borders.
16. Go 3-D, attaching objects to your bulletin board display. Objects such as feathers, dried flowers, discarded ties, masks, hats, and costume jewelry can all be incorporated into your bulletin boards. Strive to use multiple textures to make the bulletin boards more attractive.
17. To help maintain interest, alter some part of a bulletin board every day or once a week. Changing a featured quotation or startling statistic each day keeps the students motivated to keep looking at it. Remember, a bulletin board is more than just wall decoration. It can be a great motivational device and instructional aid.

HELPING ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS

An ever-growing number of classrooms include students for whom English is their second language. Many of these English language learners (ELLs) may struggle with their schoolwork. Teachers can make a difference in easing their transition.
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Here are some tips successful teachers have implemented to help their English language learners:
• Pair ELL students with native English speakers for some learning experiences. Assure that the ELL students have access to translation dictionaries.
• The first few weeks, allow ELLs to work with selected buddies. You might use older students for limited tutoring with younger students.
• Use parent volunteers to help students improve their English skills.
• Use as much visual communication (for example, props, cues, and text) as possible to reinforce your verbal content.
• Allow students to record your oral presentations to review later.
• Simplify your language in explaining abstract concepts.
• Try to avoid using slang.
• Idioms particularly create problems for ELLs. Check out the Pocket English Idioms Web site (www.goenglish.com/Idioms.asp) for examples of common English idioms. When you do use idioms, clarify for your students what they mean.
• Use gestures and visual expression to reinforce your speaking.
• Nurture an atmosphere of acceptance. Model appropriate behavior and do not tolerate disrespectful treatment of any students. Encourage empathy in the rest of your students.
• Be sure ELLs can see your face when talking.
• Be sure to enunciate clearly, yet naturally, when speaking. Avoid speaking louder. That doesn’t help.
• Offer encouragement and praise as much as possible.
Go Green: Eco-Friendly Classrooms
Strive to model good environmental stewardship in your classroom.
• Provide bins for recycling paper, aluminum cans, and plastic.
• Create a tray for used papers that have a blank side. Encourage students to use the old paper whenever feasible.
• Minimize paper use as much as possible. For example, allow students to submit some assignments or projects electronically.
• Include environmental issues related to the subjects you teach.
• If relevant to your subject, help students do a classroom energy audit.
• Turn off lights and electronic equipment when not needed.
• Decorate your room with plants.
• Have students brainstorm energy-saving ideas for use in the classroom.
• Recycle printer ink cartridges.
• Use non-toxic cleaning supplies.
• Use rechargeable batteries where possible.
• Use acid-free glue.
• Open the windows when possible.
• Use school supplies made of recycled materials.
• Check out Live Green Teacher Grants at http://livegreen.discoveryeducation.com/ for funds to support your eco-friendly projects.
• Dispose of old computers through the Dell and Goodwill’s Reconnect electronics recovery program. See www.reconnectpartnership.com/ for more information.
• Encourage your students to get involved with the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), a “grassroots coalition of student and youth environmental groups, working together to protect our planet and our future.” See www.seac.org/ for more information.
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THE ROOM ENVIRONMENT

Your classroom’s physical arrangement can minimize off-task behavior and invite learning. Experiment with changing your room setup, including the arrangement of students’ desks, making it a regular part of your preparation. It pays dividends.
• Be creative in arranging your room. You need not be bound by the traditional configurations, with everything arranged in a rectangle. Filing cabinets or bookshelves do not have to be placed against the walls. Placed at right angles to the wall, they create study areas or redirect traffic.
• Plan the traffic patterns you wish to create. Keep high-traffic areas, such as the pencil sharpener, clear of obstructions. If a student’s desk is immediately in front of the pencil sharpener, a disturbance is inevitable when other students use the sharpener. Avoid patterns that create congestion by funneling many students through a small path.
• When working with small groups, place their chairs so that the students face away from the rest of the class. This prevents their being distracted by the rest of the class, and it allows you to monitor all students. If an aide is working with small groups, you may use a portable chalkboard to screen the small-group activity from the rest of the class.
• Keep the room tidy. Before allowing a class to leave the room, have students pick up litter around their desks. A cluttered and dirty environment invites further abuse. Similarly, have any graffiti removed immediately. Research has shown that graffiti’s presence serves as a stimulus for more graffiti. Removal may involve some additional effort at first but saves time and damage later. Avoid creating an impression that abuse of the room is acceptable.
• Use posters, decorations, banners, signs, artifacts, and displays to create an inviting atmosphere. Changing them periodically to reflect the topic your class is studying is especially effective.
• Before school begins inspect your classroom to identify any broken, dirty, or unsightly clutter. Broken windows, hinges, desks, shades, or locks should be repaired or replaced. It may take time, but see your principal about how to get these things done. Don’t give up easily if you encounter delays. Doing some smaller tasks yourself may be easier.
Suggestions for Improving Classroom Acoustics
• Close the classroom door to eliminate ambient hallway noise.
• Keep windows closed if possible.
• Cover hard surfaces with sound-absorbing materials (acoustic tiling, carpeting, cork, or cloth).
• Ideally, floors should be carpeted and windows curtained.
• If floors are not carpeted, cover chair feet with slit tennis balls.
• Use felt or cork pads on desk lids to minimize noise from opening and closing.
• Turn off computers and printers when not in use.
• From the beginning of the year, set noise rules: indoor voices only, no slamming books or doors.
• Get every student’s attention before talking.
• At the beginning of the year, establish a nonverbal cue to signal that students are to stop talking and listen.
Source: Originally published in the Heart of Teaching newsletters, © 2001-2005 Performance Learning Systems, Inc.®, an educational services company located in Allentown, PA, and on the World Wide Web at www.plsweb.com. Used with permission.

NOISY CLASSROOMS IMPEDE LEARNING

A series of research studies by University of Florida professors Gary Siebein and Carl Crandell revealed that noisy classrooms seriously impair students’ learning. Observations in forty-seven Florida elementary, middle, and high schools revealed that most had background noise levels between forty and fifty-five decibels. Most people have difficulty hearing once background noise reaches fifty decibels.
The research revealed that students seated more than twelve feet away from the teacher in noisy classrooms hear less than 5 percent of what their teachers say when addressing the whole class. Research also shows that between 10 percent and 30 percent of students possess some kind of moderate to mild hearing impairment. Noisy classrooms further impede the learning of students with attention deficit disorder.
 
Source: Most classrooms are too noisy for learning. University of Florida News, December 5, 2001.

GREETING YOUR STUDENTS

On the first day, greet all students at the door with a smile and tell them where to sit. You might have a seating chart on the overhead with their names placed on their assigned seats. Some elementary teachers have name tents already at each student’s desk. It is wise to direct them to begin work on a specific task as soon as they take their seats: completing a word puzzle, filling in a personal information survey, or scanning their textbook’s table of contents. You are creating an expectation that learning begins as soon as your students enter the classroom, not necessarily when the bell rings.
The first day of school is likely the single most important day of the school year. Expectations are created; the foundations of routines and procedures are established; and first impressions are formed. You should be better organized and better prepared for the first day than any other of the year. Recovering from a bad start will take a long time.
Post your name and room number beside your door. That will help students avoid the embarrassment of discovering ten minutes into the class that they are in the wrong room.
The first five to ten minutes of the first day’s contact with your students is probably the most important segment of time the entire school year. Consider carefully what you want to accomplish these first few minutes and the most effective means of doing so. Choose your words carefully.
Your goal is to create a warm yet businesslike atmosphere. You must convey that you know what you are doing, have confidence in yourself, and expect appropriate behavior and effort from your students.
Don’t waste the most precious minutes of the year taking roll. That can wait. First, introduce yourself. Have your name printed on the board. Clearly and slowly pronounce it for your students and tell them how you expect to be addressed. If you have an aide in the room, introduce him or her. Spend a couple of minutes telling the class a little about yourself and your background. Share a bit of your life: family, hobbies, pets, interests, where you went to school, or experiences. If you are just beginning your teaching career, it is best not to emphasize your inexperience. Don’t overdo the introduction; a couple of minutes are sufficient. Some teachers allow students to ask them questions. Other teachers construct a biographical display or bulletin board. How much you choose to share about yourself and when are matters of personal comfort and judgment.
If you are particularly skilled in some aspect of what you will be teaching, you might exhibit your skill by demonstrating something students will be learning. Show them you are a pro; it helps establish respect and credibility.
During these first few minutes, your students are sizing you up. Who are you? How will you treat them? What are the boundaries of what they can do in your classroom? It is wise to convey positive expectations and enthusiasm. You aren’t going to get them very excited about your class if you don’t seem too enthusiastic yourself. Put some energy into your opening. Also use your most poised, assertive body language. If possible, stand, scan the class with your eyes, and don’t be afraid to smile.

GETTING TO KNOW YOUR STUDENTS

Spending time getting to know your students is one of the most valuable investments you can make. Establishing rapport helps build mutual respect and minimize classroom behavior problems. A deeper understanding of your students’ needs, problems, and interests will enable you to plan instruction that succeeds. Here are some tips for getting to know your students:
• Some teachers prefer to look at each student’s cumulative folder before school begins. This gives them a sense of their class’s special talents and problems. Of course, this may not be feasible for high school teachers with over a hundred students.
• Allow some time the first day to get acquainted with your students. A fun icebreaker activity, particularly if it can relate to your subject area, can be helpful. One way to learn a bit more about your students is to call the class roll this way: instead of replying “here,” have them respond by naming their favorite hobby or sport. The next day you could have them answer with their favorite song or food.
• The first day may be the only time you actually call the roll. The main purposes are to clarify the pronunciation of students’ names and identify what they prefer to be called. One of the best ways you can show respect for your students and earn their respect and trust is to learn their names. This should be a prime objective for the first week of school. Make a special effort to use a student’s name any time you address a specific individual the first week. Many effective teachers use name tags or name tents to help learn students’ names.
• Have students create name tents. A sample is found at the end of this chapter and additional ones can be found at the Classroom Teacher ’s Survival Guide Web site josseybass.com/go/classroomteacher. Print the blank templates on card stock. Give a printed name tent to each student, and instruct them to print their names in bold letters on one side. Students fold them, so the tent stands by itself.
• If you really want to impress your students, end the first day by having them remove their name tags or name tents. Then proceed around the room, identifying each student by name. You don’t have to hit 100 percent; they will be impressed that you even tried. It doesn’t take a great memory, just a focused, determined effort. If you accomplished little else that day, the year would be off to a good start. Knowing and using a student’s name communicates that you regard that person as more than an anonymous face among a group of students. Some have suggested that a person’s favorite word to hear is his or her own name.
• To help in remembering names, attempt to connect a student’s name with another person of the same name. For example, if you have a student named Brett and that is also your son’s name, try to visualize the two playing together. If you don’t know anyone by that name, associate that person with a famous person of the same name. Visualize a new student named George with a powdered wig like George Washington’s. As you make a mental connection, consciously use that student’s name every time you talk to or call on him or her for the next week. Stand by the door and greet each one by name to reinforce your name awareness.
Who Is Your Teacher?
Create a “Who Is Your Teacher?” bulletin board to welcome students the first week. You might include photos of your family and samples or photos of you enjoying your favorite activities. Share your interests, travels, and hobbies.
• Take photographs of students the first week and attach their names and cutouts of their faces on a master seating chart.
• If you have a printed roster the first day, be sure it is accurate. Make any corrections, but do not write your class roster in the grade book the first week. It will change. Indeed, assume that no matter when you finally write your class roll into your grade book, a new student will show up the next day!
• Make a special effort to welcome students new to the school or area. Try to pair them up with a returning student and make sure they are included in some of the student groups during lunch and recess.
• Some kindergarten and first-grade teachers send notes to their students inviting them to come to school in small groups a couple of days prior to the beginning of the school year. They might invite students to bring a favorite toy to share. This provides an opportunity for the teacher to get to know their students before school begins; and the students get a chance to meet their teacher and a few of the other students in a safe, inviting environment.
• Give students a chance to get to know you. One option is to let the group interview you for a few minutes.

WELCOMING NEW STUDENTS

The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called “truth.”
—Dan Rather
Arriving in a new school the very first day is a stressful event for most students. They may be filled with anxiety about whether they will be accepted, whether they will be academically competitive with their new classmates, and how their new teachers will treat them. Make a special effort to make new students feel welcome.
• In elementary classrooms invite the rest of the class to brainstorm things they might do to make a new student feel welcome. This is especially helpful if you know ahead of time that a new student will be joining the class.
• Spend a few minutes getting to know a little about the student’s background. Ask to meet with him or her a few minutes during the day to chat informally.
• Some teachers develop a brief questionnaire for new students to complete, detailing family information, interests, extracurricular activities, and past coursework.
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• Consider pairing the new person with a reliable student buddy or guide who can teach your routines and procedures. The buddy can show the new student around the school and introduce him or her to schoolmates.
• Give the new student some time to get acclimated before calling a lot of attention to him or her. If the student appears shy, don’t publicly make too big an issue of his or her arrival. If the student seems comfortable after a few days, you might spend a few minutes letting the student tell the class a little about his or her background, interests, and family.
• Consider calling the parent(s) or guardian of a new student to introduce yourself and to learn a little more about their child. Invite them to visit the school for a conference.
• Have several welcome folders prepared to immediately give any new students. Besides classroom and school rules and routines, include a personal note or letter welcoming the new student.
• To help the new student feel more comfortable with the class, find something to praise or acknowledge.
• Some teachers have everyone wear name tags during the week following a new student’s arrival.

THE IMPORTANCE OF RELATIONSHIP BUILDING

Positive teacher-student relationships provide the foundation for effective instruction and constructive classroom management. For example, research by psychologists Jan Hughes and Timothy Cavell indicated that a close, warm relationship between students who are at risk for behavioral problems and their teachers diminishes the chances of aggressive behavior in the future.
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Your goal is not to become your students’ friend, although many students may attempt to craft such a connection. There is a boundary.