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upnorth's Message:

Thank you Mme Escargot! I'm switching from 3rd to middle school this year. I'm buried in work and very stressed. Your generous offer to share your wise organizational techniques is greatly appreciated.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
JenniScience 06-22-2015 11:58 AM

Your organization is amazing! What would you suggest for someone who has absolutely no wall space to post an assignment board? I simply have a SmartBoard in the front and cabinets on every wall and windows. There is not a single wall surface to put something on for assignments! Help?

Mme Escargot 08-10-2012 08:05 PM

I don't know why I can't seem to add an attachment to this thread, but it just won't let me. I do seem to be able to add them on other threads, though, so I will post the reward coupons on the Organizational Tips Needed thread here :

http://www.proteacher.net/discussion...d.php?t=422863

binkbonk 08-10-2012 11:49 AM

OH! Another thing I do - I have a study guide for every test that has the test date on it and a place for a parent signature. I collect them the day of the test. I then attach the study guides to their tests and again require students to bring them home for a signature. Then I collect and keep. Students may then clear out their notebooks/folders for the next unit. The Unit Tests/Study Guides are then redistributed for Midterms and Final Exams. No need to recreate a study guide for midterms/finals - they are already done. Also, I have no complaints about grades, because parents are aware of when we have tests and what their child needs to study and I have their signature to prove it. Same with any "surprise" over grades, I have signatures on all unit tests, so grades cannot be that much of a surprise. Can you tell I went to the CYA school of teaching?

binkbonk 08-10-2012 11:34 AM

I have a shelf with bins labeled for each period and that is where I ask them to turn things in. On that shelf I also put a box that is labeled - extra copies. I use an empty copy paper box. Whenever I am done passing out copies, I throw the extras into this box. Then when someone says "I lost my copy." I make them dig through the box to find it.

KCJ 08-10-2012 10:45 AM

1. Just gave in and bought an office assistant thing from Staples. In it, my grade book (I keep a paper one just in case technology fails me), sub plans, lesson plans, pencils, pens, highlighters, etc.
2. Word walls--two actually. One for enrichment vocabulary (word a day, prefix/suffix/root words, content area words) and one for academic vocabulary, which is tied in with learning goals.
3. Writing Center/Station: fully stocked with lined, copy, construction paper, cardstock, and white boards, plus pens, pencils, highlighters, and art materials. Love foldables.
4. Classroom library--split up into fiction, nonfiction, printed materials.
5. Language games--bingo, quizno, commercial games as well as stuff I've made myself or downloaded from PT.
6. Group table--for guided reading, conferences, and testing.
7. Resources cabinet--all the resources for reading/language arts: books, binders, cards. I also keep the electronic equivalent from all the stuff I've purchased online--ebooks, teacher guides, and so on, split up by subject and grade level.
8. Supply closet/drawers--anything and everything remotely needed in classroom, especially pencils, paper, folders, and writing materials.
9. My personal BB--with information that needs to be immediately available. I would love to buy one of those flip binders that stands up on your desk, but they're $50 and I'm cheap. So I display this stuff in my bb: phone extensions, procedures, conference/meeting reminders, groups, calendar, and pictures (a few personal ones and some of the students)
10. Schedule/Learning Goals, and a way to track the goals: charts, graphs, etc. I am not a huge fan of Marzano evaluations, which we have to do, but I do think it is a huge incentive for my students to know their progress and take ownership of their learning. This just keeps it visual and motivates them and myself to keep on track.
Sorry for the long post--I hope it helps!

Mme Escargot 08-10-2012 09:04 AM

I just happened to notice your post; sorry it's been a couple of weeks! Here are the reward coupons you requested. I copy each kind on a different color of paper, cut them up, and put them in envelopes --- one kind per envelope, with a sample one taped to the front so you know at a glance which kind is in each envelope. If I'm rewarding a kid, I let him / her choose which kind of coupon he wants.

The ones which give extra points on a test or quiz are usually reserved for the winners of team games to review for a test or quiz : 5 points for the first place team, 3 points for 2nd place, and 2 points for 3rd place.

Edited to Add : Ok, I accidentally posted without attaching the coupons; but now, for some reason, my computer won't let me add any attachments. Will try again later. Sorry!

mcq32 07-24-2012 01:47 PM

I know this message is late into this conversation but could you attach your reward coupons. I teach 7/8 grade math and have been looking for new ideas for this coming school year. Thanks so much! Your resources are great!

Creek4 08-21-2011 06:46 AM

Chocolate !!

minkteach 08-20-2011 02:51 PM

I am moving from elementary to middle and am so thankful that you posted all of these wonderful ideas. I will be teaching mostly earth science and a math period.

1st yr 1st gr 07-28-2011 09:26 AM

I really appreciate all of your wonderful materials! Do you do daily bell work? Have you ever used stations in your classroom? I really would love to try them; I think it would be a great way to differentiate my instruction Do you have any fun ways of introducing vocab? I feel like I have so many questions and I am so excited for this new challenge!!!

powellstarkey 07-18-2011 11:33 AM

A teacher journal/notebook. I have been using this system for a few years. I write down things in for each class I teach on each and every day. If I am absent a day I just include sub notes on that day if necessary. It has really saved me numerous times. I use this notebook to keep my attendance, notes on behaviors, lesson plan notes and concerns. I love this system.

dutchgirl 07-18-2011 11:30 AM

Thank you so much for sharing your creations! They will be so helpful!

Mme Escargot 07-18-2011 11:15 AM

And here's the Missing Materials form. I use a class set of textbooks, on the rare occasion that I use textbooks, so I don't have that included on here.

Mme Escargot 07-18-2011 11:07 AM

Here's a log I use to document recurring things like tardies. You can tweak it for other recurring problems. I have one for each of my classes, and make the student sign or initial it in the appropriate column next to his / her name.

For some reason it keeps lopping off the last column. It looks as though switching it to landscape orientation will take care of it. ( Which is what it is in my original -- don't know why it changes when I post here )

Mme Escargot 07-18-2011 11:01 AM

I had a private request for my Tardy form and my Missing Materials forms so here they are. the tardy form is very simple and to the point. I have two per page and just cut them in half.

Mme Escargot 07-18-2011 09:58 AM

This is specific to foreign language. I would send it to you in a PM if I could, though I don't know if it's even possible to attach things in a PM -- I've never tried. But since you're a new member, I can't PM you anyway.

Mme Escargot 07-18-2011 09:42 AM

And, here is my letter to parents letting them know how they can help their child be successful in my class even if the parent doesn't know French. I'm sure it could be adjusted to fit other subjects. ( By the way, administrators always like this letter when I'm interviewing. I guess they like to see that I'm keeping the lines of communication open.)

The second page of the attachment is my parent contact informaion sheet.



I'll be happy to share the rest of my things, but I feel like I'm taking over this thread.

What else would anyone like?

Mme Escargot 07-18-2011 09:36 AM

And here is the "How to Study Effectively with Flashcards" handout. I imagine it could be adapted to work for other subjects -- science terminology or language arts new vocabulary words, etc.

I keep it on my computer at school so I can send it electronically to parents when they ask me for advice in how to help their kid. I also post it on my teacher website. For that matter, I post all my class info, parent letters, etc, so parents always have access to the information.

Mme Escargot 07-18-2011 09:25 AM

Here is my Open House version of the Class Info --- condensed for parents, and including course content information for them as well.

I have taught in several different schools over the years, each with different policies, so some of the specifics may be slightly different on all my different documents, depending on when I created it. Please bear with any inconsistencies.

Mme Escargot 07-18-2011 08:42 AM

Your name doesn't fit you anymore!

Welcome, fellow LOTE teacher, to the wonderful world of middle school foreign language!

Since your subject is kind of close to mine, I'll start with my Class Info sheet. it's always nice to have one already done that you can just adjust as necessary to fit your needs, instead of having to start from scratch. I'm sure it would work --- with adjustment --- for teachers of other subjects too.

Mme Escargot 07-18-2011 07:12 AM

Here is my lesson plan template. It's nothing fancy, really, but it works well for me. We had to post ours electronically in a folder on our school drive, but I like to print them out too and keep them in a binder all year.

I highlight anything that requires making copies, so I remind myself to do so and can gather everything I need easily. This prevents me from getting down to the copy room and realizing I've forgotten a paper or two. I highlight in a different color anything that I still need to type up or make. I didn't have room for a materials column, so if I need anything out of the ordinary for a particular lesson, I just note them in the far-right white space.

TEKS are our state standards ( the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. ) We have to reference which ones we're addressing that day in our lessons, hence the column. And my subject matter ( French ) calls for a lot of re-cycling and building off previous material on a daily basis, so it was worth a "Material to Review" column to me.

As always, feel free to tweak to fit your own needs. I hope it's helpful.

1st yr 1st gr 07-18-2011 05:04 AM

I would really appreciate all of your forms. This will be my 1st year teaching middle school spanish; last year I taught 1st grade. Thank you for all of you advice already!!!

Nik 07-18-2011 04:56 AM

I would love to see the lesson plan template, please. Thank you so much!

MiddlingAZ 07-17-2011 03:42 PM

I have several questionnaires I use, but got some ideas from yours! Doing the V8 whack and thinking how useful some of this info would be. Thanks!

Mme Escargot 07-17-2011 10:54 AM

I'm more than happy to share more forms and other things I have. I can only do one attachment per post though, and I don't want to take over this thread any more than I already have. So here's what I have to share. Let me know what you'd like, and I'll attach.

• 6-week "coupons" - given to all students
• Reward coupons
• Class info sheet for beginning of year -- expectations, materials, grade categories and weights; info about HW and Absence policies
• Form for Hall Pass for students who have used up / lost their coupons
• Form for Missing Materials
• Tardy form
• Lesson Plan template that I created for myself
• Letter to Parents for beginning of year with suggestions for how to hep their student be successful in my class
• Info form for parents to give me their contact info and preferences


The only thing I'll attach here is my Personal Profile Questionnaire that I give students on the first or second day. You will need to change or remove questions #22 and 23.

I usually create some sort of a getting to know each other scavenger hunt based on specific info they share, such as "Who has an older brother named Conrad ?" "Who was born in Toledo, Ohio?" ( I forewarn them and tell them to let me know if there is anything they don't want anyone but me to know. ) And the very last question is always off-limits.

Elem2MS 07-16-2011 06:39 PM

I love the forms Mme Escargot! Do you have any more? I am about to begin my first year of teaching and I am 7th and 8th grade English, Reading & Wirting Enrichment and Speech.

Mme Escargot 07-12-2011 09:16 AM

If a student has lost a reference sheet, study guide, worksheet, etc. and wants a replacement, I charge 10 cents. This cuts down on the ones who are too lazy to try to find it in their mess of a binder or their black hole of a backpack, if they're allowed to have backpacks in class. I always point out that the school should not have to pay ( in ink, paper, and wear-and-tear on the machines ) to make extra copies for irresponsible students. I also point out that if I refuse to replace it, their only choice is to borrow someone's and copy it by hand or take it to the school library, where they will be charged 10 or more cents per page, and that if it is two-sided or multiple pages, they are actually getting a bargain from me.

They are welcome to borrow the money from a classmate if they don't have it, and sometimes they choose to wait if it's not something they need that day. If they need a paper in order to do an in-class assignment, however, and don't have the paper or 10 cents, I make them copy the paper in question by hand during classtime.

Before school starts, I always clear it with any new principal, whether he / she's new or I'm new to a school. Additionally, I make sure to clearly state the policy in my parent letter home and in my class information sheet at the beginning of the year; and parents are required to sign something stating that they have read and understand my class rules and policies. I also state clearly ( and truthfully ) that the money goes toward buying class supplies as needed. I collect the money in a small plastic container. Be sure to start off the year with some change in your collection container, so you're not stuck with a kid wanting to give you a $1 bill and you have no change to give him back.

MiddlingAZ 07-11-2011 01:25 PM

What is the lost paper fee? Thx!

upnorth 07-11-2011 11:58 AM

Thank you Mme Escargot! I'm switching from 3rd to middle school this year. I'm buried in work and very stressed. Your generous offer to share your wise organizational techniques is greatly appreciated.

mrsjhardin 07-07-2011 01:59 PM

Thanks for all the wonderful information. This will be my second full year in 6/7th grade. I appreciate the advice.

dbmwhaley 06-30-2011 04:28 AM

These are all awesome ideas!!! Thanks for sharing!

Nik 06-28-2011 05:23 AM

I really appreciate you explaining that so well. Thank you so much!

Mme Escargot 06-27-2011 10:37 PM

For anything that has to be turned in, whether it was HW or an in-class assignment, I always make sure I have something for every single student before they leave --- either the assignment or the form they filled out explaining why not. ( attached in an earlier post )

I have a basket for turning in on-time, current work or HW. At the end of each period, I paperclip the stack and transfer it to my take-home-for-grading folder for that class, or to the class' drawer ( stacked drawers ) if they are going to need to continue working on it the next day.

Most of my HW assignments are completion grades so I can go over them with the class the very next day, for immediate reinforcement of the concept. Before we go over the assignment, I walk around with my clipboard and my "Completion Grade" record sheet, checking to see what each student did.* I record a 0, 25, 50, 75, or 100. Students who have 50% or less have to fill out the "Why I don't have my HW" form for me ( attached earlier. ) If a student is/was absent, I record AA ( Absent when Assigned ) or AD ( Absent when Due ) in the box. Whenever--or if ever -- the kid makes up the assignment, I keep the notation but add the grade. I usually average together every three or four completion grades into one numeric grade to be entered in the gradebook.
* ( At the end of the period I randomly draw a few names and collect their assignment to look over to make sure that they made a valid attempt at the HW and to see if they made corrections while we went over it. It can change their completion grade for that assignment. )

I have an Absentee folder for each period ( color-coded, of course ) and the kids know where to find them. I try to pick a reliable kid in each class to be responsible for collecting hand-outs for anyone who is absent and for recording the assignments for them --- with name and date; but I still double-check them at the end of the day. I also add any relevant reminders from my "Absent Student forms" ( attached in an earlier post .) When they return, I will usually give kids ONE reminder to check the Absentee folder. Any work they never bother to collect, I eventually transfer to a file for documentation when they have a zero and claim that they "never got that assignment." Everything is also posted on the 6-weeks calendar for them to check -- their responsibility.

I also keep a folder for myself in which I set aside copies of tests and quizzes for each absent student so I have them all together and don't have to go looking for copies when the kid comes to make up the test / quiz.


I also have a Late Work / Make-up Work tray ( in a different part of the room from the basket, to avoid confusion. ) Under the tray --- just for me--- I keep 5 different manila folders, one for each day of the week. Late papers and make-up work collect in the tray all day, throughout all the class periods; but at the end of each day I transfer them to that day's manila folder. I always used to have trouble remembering when kids turned things in, and how late it was, until I started this system. The M-F folders help me keep track of that. I try to make a note on each of the papers that day, indicating 2 days late or whatever; but if I don't get to it, the folder will indicate when it was turned in, when I finally get around to it. If the folder is full I move it away from the tray -- to my desk or take-home bag --- until I get a chance to process the papers, so no one can tamper with them.

The student is responsible for writing "Absent" on his make-up work. If he forgets to do so, it's his own fault if I forget and just count it late. I'm all about personal responsibility on the part of the student. I also don't remind them about late work and make-up work. If it's important to them, they'll get it in; if not, the forms I have them fill out give me plenty of documentation for parents or administrators that it was the kid who dropped the ball, not I.


I told you it was a lot....Hope this was helpful!

Mme Escargot 06-27-2011 09:17 PM

but here goes.... I'm going to split it into two posts. Will start with background info in this one, so you'll know what I'm referring to later.

I have one blank six-weeks calendar chart for each level / course that I teach. I laminated the calendars and use overhead markers to write on them, so I can clean them with just a few squirts of water at the end of each grading period. They are on the wall so the kids and I can easily reference them. At the end of every day, I record what we did that day, any study or reference handouts I gave out, and what the assignment / HW was. ( plus shorthand reminders for myself if something was "off" in one or more periods --- such as forgetting to hand something out. )

I color-code my class periods to help me keep everything organized. I use my color system for class-period labels, my take-home-for-grading folders, my absentee folder, my class records and notes.

I keep a 1" inch binder for each period for all documentation. I usually get the white ones which allow for an insert on the front and binding , and insert a piece of colored paper to correspond to that class period's color. ( labeled too, of course ) At the end of each grading period, I clear out the binders by transferring all the documentation papers to a hanging file.

I also have a clipboard for each class period on which I keep :
--- my absence / tardy records (just for my own use, not official ones)
--- my form for keeping weekly behavior, etc. notes
--- my HW / assignment records --- one for completion grades; one for collected work.

I'm attaching the template I made for keeping my records. It's very simple. I write or type the students' names in the column on the left and photocopy a bunch of copies on colored paper ( the class' color ) or preferably colored cardstock. I can use them for two-weeks' worth of absence records or assignments/HW records.

Nik 06-27-2011 01:52 PM

I want to see your conference presentation on classroom organization! My questions are many, but I would really like to hear (read) more about the organization of late and make-up work. I have trouble getting work from students who have been absent. And then there is the confusion with the people that "forgot" to turn in the assignment when it was due. Currently I have a chart on the bulletin board where I mark that each student turned in each assignment. I also have an assignment notebook where I write each day's assignment. Help me, please!

LoriVincent 06-26-2011 12:11 PM

an open line of communication with your team members and with parents/compromise with team members
character: consistency, patience, sense of humor, etc.
a positive repore with the students
(please set boundaries, however)
routines and procedures
a great pencil sharpener
ways for the students to feel appreciated and valued(praise, special privileges, rewards)
good time management and organization, well planned in advance, flexible enough to work with "teachable moments"
differentiation and technology
choice and/or ownership in assignments
a nicely stocked supply closet: post its, Sharpies, paper clips, Expo markers, and Vistaprint stamps are my favorites.

Mme Escargot 06-26-2011 12:10 PM

for documenting that a kid did not have his HW, so they can't claim that they turned it in and that you "must have lost it." If they tell me they don't have it, they know my standard response is going to be: "Go get an orange form." ( Students who were absent fill out a neon green form... ) When I collect assignments, I count to make sure that I have a paper from EVERY student --- either the assignment or the form he filled out telling me why he / she does not have it that day. I keep the forms in a binder per class period as documentation.

Mme Escargot 06-26-2011 12:06 PM

I'm also attaching the forms I created to help me keep track of everything. I copy each type of form on a different color of paper to keep it easier for me. Most of them are for the student to fill out. Feel free to tweak to fit your own needs.

Mme Escargot 06-26-2011 11:43 AM

Most of my 16 years of teaching have been at the middle school level. Middle school is the best!

The hardest thing, I think, is managing all the papers. With 6 periods, you may have 180 students --- maybe more. Unless you have a really good organizational system in place, it's so hard to keep up with the papers being turned in on time; the late assignments ( and trying to keep track of how late they are ); the make-up work from absences; the quiz / test re-takes ( if you are required to or choose to do so ) etc.

I have actually presented session at conferences on classroom organization, and will be happy to share ideas with you. It was aimed at LOTE teachers ( Languages Other Than English ) but most of the ideas are applicable to other subjects too. There is way too much information to type here, but I will attach the hand-out I give them, with bullet point key words. In my session, I elaborated on each, but you can ask me for an explanation of anything that piques your interest and I will be happy to explain it in more detail.

Deb4kids 06-25-2011 09:07 PM

Wow! This is amazing advice. I'm moving up to teach 6th LA/SS at the middle school, so it is very timely and appreciated.

Thanks PTers!

ellicat 06-22-2011 01:55 PM

PTers are awesome! Thanks for the fantastic management suggestions!

MiddlingAZ 06-22-2011 11:11 AM

Great list and right on target.

I would expand on place to turn in work. Since I teach 5 classes, I have a tower of 10 click together trays on a corner of my desk (which is up against a cabinet--otherwise it might tumble!), labeled with each period. The bottom 5 are for papers to be graded, the top 5 are for papers which have been graded and are ready to hand back. It really helps to have a spot to put papers immediately even if someone dashes up while I am taking attendance with a late paper.

In addition to the homework section of my whiteboard, I have a get-ready section. It states the bell work and what they need to get out to be ready for class to start, such as paper, textbook, highlighter, etc. That's where I also bullet the agenda, very brief, e.g., *grammar p 63 *journal entry #10 * hand in hw paragraph

For absentees, I have two folders stapled to the wall, one for 6th and one for 7th. I have students grouped in 3 rows of pairs with a captain & co-captain, which changes every midquarter. They are responsible for reporting absentees and putting any handouts into the folder with the absentee's name (plus other jobs like distributing textbooks--sometimes I have them appoint someone else to do a job). Somewhere on the handout (or note paper) they quickly copy the agenda & homework with the date. They just need to do that by the end of the period--there's always a few seconds of downtime at some point.

I have one entire skinny bookcase for their ELA Portfolios, which hold tests and writing assignments collected through the year (including reading responses). Each period needs a shelf because they are stuffed by Q4. This is so helpful for parent/student conferences, IEP reports, etc.

I have a set of cubbies by the door which holds the tub of markers, the hole punch, bandaids/skin wipes, paper towels, kleenex. But the top is where I put anything for them to pick up when they come in the door, like grammar workbooks, novels, photocopies.

My students love a colorful room. I stapled up sections of fade-proof bright paper on the bare walls to create boards for some posters and student work.

OH--a checkout system for your room library! And a regular very stern talking to about taking books without checking them out.

Lstrm 06-21-2011 07:32 PM

Vanvic, platypus, & Logicat gave you excellent suggestions on the things you'll need to supply yourself.

Teacherwriter is correct about trying to keep your space as functional & uncluttered as possible. You will have students with disabilities. The quickest way to overwhelm & distract them is a cluttered environment.

The school is going to load you up with too many students & desks. You may have a portable cart with laptops that takes up a ton of room. They'll give you items to hang up such as emergency exits, procedures, bus charts, etc. You may want a system for passes, depending on the school rules. You may want to post the school schedule & it'll help your students with disabilities if you maintain a class schedule.

Like Platypus, I have three class rules. Mine are: Appropriate Language, Respect, Follow Directions.

Good luck!

ellicat 06-21-2011 12:56 PM

You are all so helpful! At least I feel like I have some place to start. I'm so overwhelmed!

teacherwriter 06-21-2011 09:39 AM

I'm a sub and have spent a chunk of time in middle school. I second the ideas of lots of books, good posters, and pencils. Indeed, make sure you have plenty of office supplies in general. When I sub, I carry a gigantic bag with me that includes a stapler, tape, scissors, any office supplies I might need, because the bloomin' middle school classes where I work never have any supplies! So do your future subs a favor! Another thing is good storage--cabinets where things can be sealed up and some sort of horizontal space for posters, projects with glue that needs to dry, etc. I always have a problem finding space for projects, and the only injury I've had in a class was one where the classroom teacher left some things out that should have been securely stored, and two boys got into them, and one injured the other.

Another thought: I will likely not have a classroom at any level this year (no luck on jobs so far), but I imagine fewer doodads on the walls, a cleaner, less cluttered look. I'm always amazed how so many teachers affix posters and motivational sayings and lists anywhere and everywhere. The clutter stays there all year and doesn't function at all except as a noisy visual background. What about a bulletin board or other place you can change out frequently? Different posters, sayings, inspirational stuff, a collection of comic strips, whatever. But change it every few days so it doesn't fade into the background.

Yes to an assignment board. Dry-erase works well. Also post a small dry-erase board outside the classroom door so you can list the items students should bring to class. With luck, some of the kids will actually read it. :-)

vanvic 06-21-2011 08:23 AM

they like to read.

Post-it notes- for students and me.

Special places to sit- a rug, a bean bag chair, cool chairs

Logicat 06-21-2011 07:35 AM

#1-3 ditto patience, sense of humor, and pencils!!

4. A system for how students turn in work (turn-in basket, give it to you, put it on your desk, etc.)

5. A system for absent students- how do they get the work they missed, where do they turn in absent work?

6. Assignment board.

7. Lost & found basket. I use a file crate, and it doubles as the holding bin for basketballs, volleyballs, etc. that kids bring to play with at recess.

8. Classroom library, and system for check-out.

9. Calendar.

10. A plant is a nice touch.

platypus 06-21-2011 06:21 AM

1) pencils

2) Short list of class rules (I have 3, Be on Time, Be Respectful and Turn in Work in a Timely Manner)

3) Stuff on the walls (I also teach high school and the high schoolers like to have the room decorated too). The American Library Association www.ala.org has a lot of reading posters. I love the Banned Book Week posters (I have The Lorax and the robot poster from a couple of years ago) and I love the celebrity READ posters (I have Nathan Fillion because he is my future husband :-) and I just ordered the Rupert Grint poster).

4)A spot for their work/pictures of them. I take a ton of pictures of them in class or at school activities and then make a scrapbook of the year each summer. During the year, I put them up and some of their great writing on the doors of my closet.

5) My personal library. I read a lot of YA books. After my niece and I are finished with them, I put them on my bookshelf in my classroom. I also have had a couple of projects funded by Donors Choose for books. www. ########## .com (google writing fix, I don't know why it's doing that) has a ton of writing lesson plans using different mentor texts.

6) Word Walls. I use them for middle school and high school. I'm actually thinking about investing in some pocket charts for weekly vocabulary.

7) I love groups for my seating arrangement. I've had other teachers and the high school principal express concerns about cheating to me. I even left them that way when we took tests. Kids who made As made As. Kids who flunked regularly still flunked. The kids who Made Bs and Cs scored a little bit higher.

8) sense of humor

9) patience. I'm convinced that between the hormones and trying to find their own place and identity....seventh graders go completely insane. But I still love them.

10) pencils. I don't know what they do with them but they never seem to have any.

***I have a lawn chair that I left in my classroom after a game one day and it has become the de facto conference seat. If they need help or want to talk the kids get it and take it to wherever I am. So I went and bought myself a new one and left that one in class.


I started out in middle school with the thought that I would move down to elementary as soon as a position opened. Now I teach middle school social studies and high school English and I would never change it. I love the different atmosphere and I love the kids. You'll have a blast.

ellicat 06-21-2011 03:13 AM

I'm moving back to middle school after spending some time in lower elementary. What are the top ten things I should make sure my new 6-8 ELA middle school room has...and I don't really mean curriculum materials. I need help thinking through what my classroom should look like. Thanks!




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