+ Teaching Tips From Dr Kathy Nunley’s Educator Newsletter

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From Kathy Nunley’s educator newsletter, here are recent teacher tips she garners from teachers across the world.

  • Gather students at the rug after independent reading, to share thoughts and “wonderings” about their reading.  [Toronto]
  • A classroom door can be a “Magic Door.”  If kids come in with an attitude, or swear by accident,” then they must  physically walk through the door and park their attitude outside before returning.  Teacher says she reminds them that we’re all in the class to have fun as well as learn in a positive atmosphere. [Toronto]
  • There is safety in “Think, Pair, Share:” students are allowed to think first, then pair with a partner to  converse before sharing ideas with the larger group.  [Ontario]
  • Teacher-in-Role: teachers take on a temporary character, to introduce a new topic or concept.  [Ontario]
  • If a student says they are satisfied when their grade is 70, return tests or papers with only 70 percent of it reviewed and graded.  Tell them that since they are okay with 70 percent, so are you.  [Ontario]
  • Students use lap-sized chalkboards and everyone gets a piece of chalk rolled up in a sock (which serves as their eraser).  Everyone sits in a circle to solve problems on their board.  Teacher can see everyone at once and easily see who may need additional help. [Toronto]
  • Attach a magnet to your eraser (use duct tape or liquid nails).  Now it sticks to the whiteboard or any nearby metal surface — easier than finding it somewhere on the floor.  [New York]
  • Use a sign-out sheet on a clipboard for students to take for a hall pass.  Keep another clipboard/sheet next to it.  Students sign BOTH sheets when leaving and returning, so there is always a list in the room of those who have left.  [Ohio]
  • Use a pocket pencil tree at the front of the room, with each student’s name on a pocket.  They pick up their pencil as they come in and return it on their way out.  An easy way to take roll, too.  [Idaho]
  • Ask parents who travel for business to donate their unopened hotel soaps for the classroom sink.
  • Have students summarize the main ideas of a novel by re-writing it in “Dr Seuss” format, complete with silly rhymes.  Allow them to change character names if necessary to make it work.  Great for Shakespeare!
  • Establish sections of your room for “Adopt an Area” cleaning assignments.  Post names each week on walls in the area, similar to the roadside signs: “This area adopted by Shawn Swenson”…Encourage everyone to adopt one area each term — or partner with a friend.
  • Save empty boxes that hold kitchen plastic wrap.  Serrated edges work great for tearing paper fast.
  • Make “bathroom pass” kits using small tool boxes.  Have one for boys and one for girls.  Include items like folded paper towels, liquid soap, small paper cups, hygiene products.  The kit functions as the hall pass and encourages hygiene.  Have student replenish the kits when returned, from the supply cabinet.
  • Teacher has weaned eighth graders from asking to go to the bathroom by placing a mirror near the door entering the room.  She is certain many kids ask to go to the bathroom to make sure they look right when the bell rings and they enter the hallways.
  • A quick, easy way to make individual whiteboards: put a piece of stiff white  paper (card stock) inside a plastic page protector.  A dry erase or whiteboard marker will write on this and it wipes off with a paper towel. [North Carolina]
  • Use dry erase markers directly on tables and desks.  If you use low odor, you must use a spray to completely erase.  If you get the regular, it wipes right off.  Use socks as erasers.  Kids love it.  At the end of the day, wipe tables off and they are ready for next time.  Amazing for math and spelling, says teacher in [Santa Fe]
  • Empty CD cases with a white piece of paper or card stock in it can be used for mini wipe-off boards.
  • In math class, break the class into teams and have them work the practice problems out as a group; then stamp them off as they finish. Give points for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams. [Montana]
  • With any academic subject, once it is done, make a storyboard for the content.  Fun, tactile group activity and easily observable for grading.  [Illinois]
  • Decorate the windows of your high school with window decals from colleges and universities your graduates have attended.  [Maine]
  •  Every time you make an error — whether a calculation error on the board or an error in the solution of a worksheet, reward the first student to recognize and correct it.  Keeps students alert; motivates them to question their (and your) solutions. [Ontario]
  • Wear an inexpensive tool belt when teaching; it can hold dry-erase markers, passes, pens, stamps etc.
  • Raise your hand while asking a question; second graders raise their hands with the answer. [Minnesota]
  • Attach an empty box of tissues to the full one as a rubbish bin.  Minimizes dirty tissues around the room!  [South Africa]
  • Always let students brainstorm regarding the topic you want them to learn about.  Start from the known to the unknown.  [South Africa]
  • Post examples of work in the classroom for things such as APA style, Formal Letter, Essay, etc.
  • In a middle school classroom, each student has a 3-ring binder of their work which is kept on a bookshelf (one bookshelf for each period).  As students come in, they take their binder.  Helps taking attendance too.  Class helper puts handouts in notebooks for absent students.  [Minnesota]
  • Write essential things on a wet chalkboard so other things can be erased but that stays until it’s washed off. For example, class rules, schedules, etc.  [Toronto]
  • Create a “Brain Dump” station where students consolidate & reflect on their learning at several points during the class.
  • With middle and high schoolers, use a stamp and stamp pad.  Kids do bell work while you take attendance, review questions, test prep activities, homework checks, etc.  After you’re finished, walk around the class giving a stamp to those who have completed the bell work.  Stamps add up to extra points on a test, a free homework pass, a piece of candy or some other positive reward.  Even seniors want the stamps!  [Florida]
  • Take tiny pictures of students that the school photographer leaves as leftovers and post them on a sheet of paper.  Write names below and leave for a temp so they have a name and a face. [Ontario]
  • Kids get a kick out of seeing pictures of themselves used on your screensaver.  Take pictures of students during labs and engaged in other activities in your classroom.  It’s fun to see the pictures pop up between lecture notes.  Sometimes include during warm-up, and bell work slides. [Michigan]
  • In an elementary classroom have a cassette tape made from records.  Play this as a “wiggle break” for the kids for the kids; explain that the movement and fun wake up the brain and help us learn.  Most of the songs can explain what to do, but you can make up your own dances.  Do –perhaps — every 20 minutes.
  •  Always have a wide selection of magazines in the room for kids to read and check.  Older ones can be used for cut-outs.  [Ontario]
  •  Put students  in groups of three or four.  In front of each, place small cubes, either 4, 8, or 12.  Each child can only speak using the number of words according to their cube number.  Helps kids focus on think skills and using concise language.
  • When students disagree, move them to a private spot and say “I can see that something has gone wrong.  Since I wasn’t there, you two take three minutes and come up with one (and only one) story about what happened.  It might turn out to be a misunderstanding.”  Teacher says 99 percent of the time they decide to play it off as a “misunderstanding.”
  • If you sing it, they will listen.
  • Tips for helping students remember — in lieu of planners: (1) they can mark a colored dot on their hand; (2) teacher can post a tweet on a class Twitter site; (3) using their cell phone, they can call home and leave a message; (4) use bracelets (found in office stores) that you can write on;  (5) have students send an email to themselves.  [Wisconsin]
  • Instead of using a planner for assignments, which some students find overwhelming), just have them make a daily list of assignments on a sheet of paper, changing ink color with each subject.  They can highlight and cross out as completed.
  • Applesauce cups wash in the dishwasher and work great for science or art. [Texas]

You can subscribe to Kathy Nunley’s Educator Newsletter at Kathie Nunley’s Layered Curriulum Sites for Educators:  http://www.Help4Teachers.com and http://www.brains.org.

Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH:  614-579-6021 or email aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com 


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