Thursday, August 27, 2015


Behavior Management Means Preventing Problems Before They Start:

Intelligently-planned and strategically-implemented classroom rules will make your teaching job easier from Day One. By taking into account your personality and anticipating any problems that might crop up, you can maximize your chances for an orderly and learning-centered elementary classroom.

Strategize, Get Inspired, and Write Your Rules:

Long before your shiny new students file into the classroom, you need to spend time planning and organizing your discipline strategies and class rules.

Communicate Your Discipline Plan To Students:

The rubber really hits the road on the first day of school when you introduce the rules to your new students and begin enforcing your behavioral vision.

Getting Parental Support and Cooperation:

  • Communicate with parents proactively from the start. On the first day of school, send home a copy of your detailed rules. Include a small cut-off section at the bottom for parents and their child to sign and return to school, indicating their agreement to the rules. It's a good idea to offer an incentive to the students for returning the forms so that you can maximize your chances of getting them back. Save the signed agreements in case there are any problems later on.
  • The best way I've found to communicate with parents is through weekly newsletters that also offer time to practice language arts skills.

Enforcement And Long-Term Issues:

disciplined classroom requires daily maintenance and monthly reflection. Don't be afraid to proactively address problem areas as soon as they're apparent.


Friday, October 4, 2013


Translation tool or dictionary?

Closeup on dictionary entry for educationGareth Davies is a teacher and teacher trainer based in Czech Republic. His students are typical of many language learners, preferring to use a translation tool rather than a dictionary. Gareth shares the ideas he uses to change their minds…
In a recent teacher training session I asked a group of teachers what their favourite book was and I told them that if anyone matched my answer, they would win a prize – none of them did. My answer was my dictionary. I love my dictionary. I love the smell as I leaf through the well-thumbed pages. I love the weight of knowledge the book carries and I love the unique insights it can give me.
But how can my dictionary become a useful classroom tool? In the past when I’ve asked students to look something up in their dictionaries they’ve rolled their eyes and complained that it was a ‘waste of time’. They preferred to get a translation from me or look up the word in a translation dictionary. But I persevered; I wanted my students to appreciate dictionaries even if they didn’t love them as much as I did.
I suppose the first question is why isn’t a translation tool sufficient?
If it provides students with the language they need then surely that’s enough? That’s true to some extent but translation does not provide any detail about meaning and the usage of the word, the nuances and connotation; a good dictionary will have all of these. Take a word like childish for example. A simple translation would tell you that the word means behaving like a child but that would miss the connotation that it is usually used in a negative or disapproving manner. Therefore, a translation is a quick fix, whereas a dictionary can be a virtual teacher.
So the second question is: how do I get my students interested in dictionaries?
I am sure it’s not just my experience that students roll their eyes when you ask them to look something up in a dictionary. I think it’s important as a teacher to model the behaviour you want from your students. So for me it was essential for them to see me using a dictionary and this is where technology really helped. Using digital dictionaries on CD-ROMs I can quickly and effectively show definitions of words on the screen whenever a student has a question. This could be either as a whole class or just when one student has a question. The genie function is especially useful as you can roll your cursor over any word in a ‘live’ document to bring up an instant definition. This helps students to see the value of the dictionary and helps us to discuss how to use them.
Another way to inspire students is to do small activities using dictionaries. My favourite is a spelling test where the students have to write words in one of two columns – sure how to spell – not sure how to spell. After I’ve read out the words the students check them themselves in the dictionary. On a whim in one lesson I gave one group a paper dictionary to check their answers and the other the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (OALD) app on my phone. The students with the app finished quicker and it wasn’t long before others were asking to use it.
A second activity I’ve used is a quiz race. I ask the students 3 or 4 questions and tell them to find the answer in the dictionary; for example: how many meanings does pick have? What’s the difference in pronunciation between record as a verb, and record as a noun, etc. For this I give one group the phone with the OALD app, one the computer, and one a paper dictionary. They then have to race to see who can find the answers first. These types of activities show students how useful dictionaries can be to help them become less reliant on the teacher.

My students’ willingness to use the dictionary app is something I can build on. Rather than using the CD-ROM in class, I have my phone at the ready in all lessons. It’s easy to pass it to one group then the next when the need arises. I make sure that they add the word to the Favourites when they look it up so we can see as a class all the words we’ve looked up at the end of an activity or lesson. Now instead of rolling their eyes when I suggest looking something up in the dictionary, my students are actively asking for it and when the phone is in someone else’s hands they reach for the paper version.
I was worried about using digital dictionaries in my class because not all the students could have access to them at the same time. But what I’ve discovered is that asking students to share the resources and asking them to use a combination of paper and digital, helps students to see what a valuable learning tool dictionaries are.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Creative Classroom Materials for Recycling at School Unique Ways for Reusing and Recycling Items in Your Classroom By Janelle Cox, Guide

Creative Classroom Materials for Recycling at School
Teach your students good environmental habits by reusing and Teach your students good environmental habits by reusing and recycling classroom items at school. Not only will you be demonstrating how to live an Eco-friendly life, but you will also save a lot of money on classroom supplies. Here are a few ideas for taking your everyday household items and recycling them at school.

© Ryan Mcvay Getty Images   
Cans, Cups, and Containers

A cheap and easy way for recycling at school is to ask students to save all of their cans, cups, and containers. You can reuse these everyday household items in the following ways:

  • Crayons cans - Collect small butter and frosting containers and use them for your crayons. Crayon boxes tend to tear easily, and this way students will have a durable crayon container that should last all year long.
  • Paint cups - Ask students to save their yogurt cups and use them as paint cups.
  • Paint containers - Ask your local photo shop to donate their old film containers. You can use these containers for individual painting projects. They are durable enough where they can be used again and again.

Cartons, Canisters, and Cardboard Containers

    Another way for recycling at school is to ask students to save all of their egg cartons, coffee canisters, and cardboard containers to reuse in the following ways:
  • Egg cartons - Egg cartons can be used to sort items such as as a paint holder, planter, or sculpture. It can also be used for crafts such as these.
  • Coffee canisters - These can be used to store art supplies,crafts, or for games.
  • Cardboard containers - Cardboard fast food containers can be used for crafts or special projects.

Bottles, Baskets, and Boxes

Hair dye or perm bottles, plastic laundry baskets, and boxes are a few other household items you may have around the house. Here are a few ways to reuse them:
  • Hair dye bottles - In the beginning of the school year, ask your students' mothers to save their hair dye bottles. You can use these bottles as glue containers.
  • Laundry baskets - Use plastic laundry baskets to store stuffed animals, dress-up clothes, and supplies. These baskets are cheap and durable.
  • Laundry boxes - Laundry boxes are an organized teachers dream. Cut the top off of the box and cover with contact paper, now you can use them to store papers. They can also be used for activities and games. You can even label each box according to subject, if you want to be ultra-organized.
  • Baby wipe boxes - Baby wipe plastic boxes can be used to store; markers, crayons, dice, pennies, beads, pencils, buttons, pins, shells, stones, buttons, or just about anything.
  • Cereal boxes - These boxes can be cut and used as book covers, as a painting surface, or as tag board.

Pawns, Paper Towels, and Plastic Lids

The plastic tops of water bottles and the lids off of butter and yogurt are great as game pieces. Here are a few other ways to recycle and reuse plastic lids, and paper towel rolls:
  • Water bottle tops - Water bottle tops can be used for game pieces. Have your students collect and save all of the tops to their water bottles. Color the clear tops different colors and use them as board game pawns.
  • Paper towel rolls - Use paper towel and toilet paper rolls for crafts, such as a star gazer, binoculars, or any of these ideas.
  • Plastic lids - Collect plastic lids from coffee, yogurt, butter, or anything similar to that size and use for crafts or in the learning center. If using in the learning center, clear lids work best for question and answer activities. If using for crafts, lids can be used as coasters, plaques, frames, or Freebees.

Additional Ideas

  • Wrapping paper - Can be used as the backdrop of a bulletin board, for collages, as book covers, or for paper weaving.
  • Shredded paper - Can be used to stuff pillows, bears, or special projects.
  • Hangers - Can be used as mobiles to hang student projects, or as a banner.

Reusing and Recycling Paper

Do not throw away any of your old papers. Dated calendars can be used to practice number writing, multiplication tables, and learning roman numerals. While extra worksheets and old posters can be distributed to students at free time for them to practice or play school. Old textbooks can be used to practice important skills, such as having students find and circle vocabulary words, verbs and nouns, or reinforcing grammar and punctuation.

Recycling Symbols Made Easy

Learn to recycle plastic bottles, cans, glass and cardboard