By Teachers, For Teachers
Throughout years of teaching, you come across a few tips or two. If you’re lucky enough, you may even get the knowledge and wisdom of a veteran teacher, who has seen and been through it all. Here are a few clever classroom activities and tips that you can try in your classroom. They may just end up being the lifesavers that you need to help you get by.
Make volunteering in your classroom easy by filling a tote with everything that they need. Place a pencil, scissors, markers, glue, and any other supplies that is needed to complete the task in the tote. Before the volunteer comes into your classroom, place the instructions for the task, along with a sweet treat and a thank-you note telling them how much you appreciate all of their help. When the volunteer arrives, direct them to their tote and instruct them that everything that they need is in there.
Before open house, create a classroom scavenger hunt. Together as a class, brainstorm all of the things in the classroom that the parents should try and find: The calendar, cubbies, student mailboxes, the birthday chart, daily five, the writing center, and so on. Once you have your list, then type it up and place it on your students’ desks before open house. During the event, instruct students to direct their parents to their desk to complete the scavenger hunt. This method insures that parents will not miss a thing in the classroom.
Create or print out a blank monthly calendar, then duplicate the sheets so that each child can have one calendar for each month of the school year. Send home a letter to parents explaining that each night their child should read from 15 to 30 minutes. When the goal is met, the parents must initial in the box for that day. At the end of the month, any child who returns their calendar fully completed and signed by their parents, will win a prize from the prize box.
Before smartphones, people would have to use a telephone directory book to find out a person’s phone number. These phone directories (which you can still find at the Dollar Store) make a grade spelling book for students. Request that each child send in $1, or a purchase a phone directory book. If you insistent that they bring in the book themselves, then make sure that it has the alphabetical tabs on each page. Each week, have students add words to their book. If they need help spelling words during a lesson, and it is not already in their book, then they must add it. By the end of the year, their books should be filled with a lot of words. They will also know how to spell a lot more words than they did in the beginning of the school year.
If you’re looking for a way to motivate your students to turn in their homework each day, then you must give this a try. Tell your students that their class goal is to earn a homework pass. The way that they can do this is by earning the letters “Homework pass.” Each day that everyone in the class turns in their homework on time, the class will receive one letter from the phrase “homework pass.” Once the phrase is spelled, then the class gets a free homework pass to use for any assignment that they wish.
Character education is an important program that schools across the country implement each year. To encourage children to be kind to one another, create a “kindness counts” box. Each time that you see a student being kind to one of their classmates, they will receive a ticket to place into the box. At the end of the week, a ticket is drawn and that person receives a free book. Each time that you place a book order, order a couple extra books and use these for student prizes.
If you’re looking for a student teacher gift that is of real value, then you must create this one. Ask your colleagues to fill out a quick form that will help your student teacher as they move onto their career in teaching. On the form, have your colleagues describe one teaching strategy, and one behavior management strategy that they think works the best. Then, laminate them and place into a binder so that your student teacher will have a valuable keepsake that will help them in their teaching career forever.
If you find that students are always forgetting to write their names on their papers then you will find this tip especially helpful. Place a rubber stamp next to the basket that students place their paper in. If a child has written their name on their paper, then they are allowed to stamp their paper. This fun reminder is a great way to get students to never forget their names on their papers again.
Do you have useful teacher tips that you would like to share? Please leave your advice in the comment section below, we would love to hear what works best in your classroom.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.