Sunday, January 10, 2016

Getting to Know Your Students

Calendar Items : Posted First Because of Its Importance
Please be sure to share the exam schedule with your students!
Monday: All Classes Meet
  SOL Retakes (please see Ms. Pryor’s email and ensure all students attend)
  Computer Science Exhibition (9:30-10:40 in P104)

Tuesday: SOL Retakes (again, please see Ms. Pryor’s email and ensure all students attend)

Tuesday-Friday Exams
Please see this link for the exam schedule

January 19: Special Education Progress Reports Due
January 21: Faculty Meeting, Fall Semester Grades Due  
January 22-24: Hamlet Performance

Excellence in Education: Embracing Students from Day 1
With many classes beginning on January 20, I thought I’d share some strategies that engage students through a positive class environment, and, of course, the most significant variable affecting class climate is the teacher. A positive, high-energy, high-expectation classroom doesn’t simply happen by chance; it’s a reflection on the teacher’s commitment and skill. In such a classroom, students try harder and enjoy learning.

So what are some strategies that help you create a welcoming and caring classroom environment from Day 1?
  • Greet students at the door with a handshake and a smile
  • Instead of a multi-page syllabus filled with rules and expectations, write a letter to your students and their parents about you and your class. Be welcoming and positive. Then, have the students write a letter to you.
  • Student-student interviews with a twist. Instead of reporting back to class about their partner, have each student write a brief bio or a “dictionary” entry for their partner. For example, Gillespie, Reed: proper noun. 1. Born in Washington, DC. 2. educator. 3. 1 daughter, 3 step-children (ex-step-children??)
  • 2 Truths-1 Lie: Have each student write down 2 truths about themselves and 1 lie. Then have them go-around the classroom and have their classmates guess, which one is the lie. Be sure to participate.
  • Example: Has met the President of the United States; Has never broken a bone; Graduated with a 4.0 (students have to guess which is the lie)....any guesses?
  • Have students work on creating a class slideshow. Let them figure out what’s required to be included and what the expectations are.
  • Hand out candy as students walk in. Allow students to take as many as they want, within reason, but they aren’t allowed to eat it yet. Then, for each piece of candy that a student took, he/she must share something about who they are.
  • Put students into equal-size groups and have them challenge other groups. These challenges can be physical, intellectual, etc and then the other groups have to try to complete the challenge. They can range from 2 people in our group traveled to Europe this summer to 3 people doing push-ups with a groupmate on their back to 1 person in our group is bald. Give the groups time to brainstorm challenges and then begin the challenges. Groups earn points for each group stumped
  • Create a class playlist. Get each student to write down their favorite song and then create a YouTube playlist for all the songs. You can have some fun with this throughout the year by making playing 1 song when students enter the classroom and having students guess whose favorite song it is or you can use the playlist when students are working at their desks.
  • After doing some of the above activities, have students write down 3-6 facts about themselves on a sticky note as an exit activity. Then at a later date, post the stickies around the classroom and have students guess who it is.
  • So, what are some of your favorite activities? Share ‘em with me and I’ll include them in next week’s memo.

  • Top card: It’s hard to reach every student in every class every day. A strategy I read about and used was to have each student complete an index card about themselves on the first day (the basic bio stuff, some questions about how they learn and what they like, and 3 things most people don’t know about you). Every day I chose 1 card for each period and my goal was to pay extra attention to that student in class and spending some 1-1 time with him/her.

Props to Ms. Pryor for a smooth--save for the fire alarm--SOL testing week. As most of you know, we’ve tried something different this year and the early analysis is that it’s been a great success. Of course, it’s a team effort. Thanks to all the teachers in red who gave up their classrooms, to those of you who have served as hall monitors and test administrators for classes other than yours, and to our cafeteria staff for adjusting their schedules.

Need to Knows
The county EdTech team and LTI (Learning Technology Integrators--ie Bert) will be conducting learning walks to see how teachers and, more importantly, students are using technology. These snapshots are designed to provide a comprehensive picture of support needs, so that they can provide instructional staff with the support they need.

Positive Referral Link :

Technology / Website Permission Request Form

January 12: Duane Coston

Worth Your Time

How to Create and Run Games on Triventy (perfect for end-of-semester reviews) from Free Technology from Teachers, a great resource

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