Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Works4Me Ideas and Tips for Teachers by Teachers

Balanced Behavior

From Pam Carroll (pcarroll2@wsfcs.k12.nc.us), a third grade teacher at Marvin Ward Elementary School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina:

"I use a balance scale, along with the small blocks that come with our math kit, to reinforce positive group behavior. When students receive a compliment from another teacher or when I see them following directions, I give them a positive block on the left side of the balance scale. When students misbehave as a group, I drop a negative block on the right side of the balance scale. When the positive side touches the table, we have a Positive Party. Recently my students voted to have a Teddy Bear party. I was surprised that the boys voted for this type of party but it was a hit! To make sure this party was not a distraction to the curriculum, I had the students read to their bear during reading, make flash cards for their bear during math, and write a letter to their bear during writing. When the negative side hits the tabletop, we just empty the bucket and start again. It does not take the students long to see that when they misbehave, it takes longer to make the bucket drop the positive side all the way down to the tabletop."

Relating to the Text
From Kyla Ward (kyla.ward@mps.k12.al.us):

"Sometimes small connections can make a world of difference in gaining students' interest. If it's a literature text with older language, try using a modern song that expresses the same sentiment as a pre-reading journal topic. If it's grammar, replace the sample sentences from the book with sentences that use the students' names; they love to hear about themselves! Sometimes I even make references to college football games in the sentences. Use anything to get their attention and keep interest while developing a skill. They may not care about a sentence about John Doe going to the movies, but watch how they perk up to see their names, school activities, etc."

Recommended Read
From (gailmh12@verizon.net):

"I recommend the book Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. I checked this book out from the town library this summer as a fast read because it was on the bestseller list. I couldn't help thinking about some of my former fifth grade students as I read this book. This is certainly a book that most classroom teachers can relate to. Many of us have had students like the ones in this book, which makes it seem very real."

Question of the Week: Block Scheduling?
From the Works4Me Worker Bees:

"Block schedules versus timed periods. Which do you prefer and why? How do you make your school’s prescribed schedule work for you?"

Send Us Your Answer
View Replies & Post Your Tip

Exiting Students
Heard Last Week in the Works4Me Lounge:

"Prior to school starting, my colleagues informed me that I was getting the worst of the fourth grade students. Since school began, I have had six students withdraw from my classroom to go to another. The students tell their parents they simply want another teacher. Parents think their child is gifted when he/she is not, or parents want more attention given to their child. I have at least six challenging students with ADHD in my class. I need helpful insight as to how to deal with the difficult parents that I have learned will lie to get their children what they want. I am not getting help from the administration or staff at my school. I am a new teacher and am the first African American general education teacher this elementary school has had since its opening in 1990. Any suggestions or insight would be greatly appreciated."

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DISCLAIMER Works4Me is a vehicle for instructional staff to share their ideas with other instructional staff. As such, it does not constitute an endorsement of any particular curriculum or teaching method by the Lewis Central Education Association, the Iowa State Education Association or the National Education Association or any of its affiliates.