Archive for the ‘Teaching Tips’ Category

4 Tips on Encouraging Healthy Habits for Kids

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Healthy Habits Pledge_Teacher Created Resources

Incorporating fun physical outdoor games and indoor classroom exercises are great ways for teachers to encourage students to establish healthy habits. The National Health Education Standards & Common Core State Standards aim to support a whole-child approach to education-one that that ensures that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged in their learning. Here are a few tips for establishing healthy habits in the classroom.

 

  1. Share the Healthy Habits Pledge above with students and discuss each line. Challenge students to learn the pledge and share it with family members. The goal here is to inspire the whole family to focus on good nutrition and support healthy habits. Post the pledge in the classroom and review it from time to time as students gain more insights into personal health.
  2. Introduce daily exercise to your students. Use physical activities to start the day and/or to transition from one activity to another. Throw in an extra exercise on tough days, or use more than one when weather conditions inhibit outdoor activity. These short, physical exercise breaks are a positive way to settle students for their day’s work.  And don’t forget breathing exercises! They can be done at any time of day and can help refocus or calm students as needed.
  3. Gather and display reference materials for the classroom on topics of nutrition, fitness, and overall health. Resources might include library or trade books, magazines, posters, and kid-friendly materials printed from government websites.  If appropriate, save links to relevant websites in a dedicated folder on classroom computers.
  4. Encourage students to start collecting packaging and nutritional labels from food products. Explain that they will be learning to read them and using them for comparisons. Establish an area in the classroom where these can be stores or displayed.

For free sample pages, classroom exercises, and ideas see Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids.

 

 

Reading Strategies for ELL (English Language Learners)

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Reading Strategies for ELL/ESL

As teachers receive more and more ESL/ELLs (English Language Learners) into their classrooms, it’s important that they learn to integrate them with the rest of their student population.  The following reading strategies will help you with the process. Comprehensiable instruction and opportunities for verbal interaction will motivate students to engage in learning and actively participate in classroom activities. Here are some great reading strategies to help ELLs be more comfortable with reading.

Echo Reading

Use this strategy to help struggling readers with fluency, pronunciation, intonation, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. The teacher (or other native English speaker) reads the text first, using proper intonation and a good pace. Students follow along silently and then “echo”, or imitate, the first reader.

Echo reading helps ELL students 
-Improve sight reading and speaking skills.
-Build confidence in their pronunciations.
-Remember important concepts.

Ways to Use Echo Reading: During chants, jingles, songs, poetry, and short stories.

Tips for Teaching this Strategy:
-Use gestures to show students which text to read.
-Have Students who are native English speakers lead the reading; it’s helpful for ELLs to hear voices similar to their own.
-Adjust the length of the text being read to meet the needs of your students. (e.g. For Emerging ELLs, the first reader should read one line of text; for Developing ELLs (and higher levels), the first reader can read several lines of text.)

Sample Activity
Hold a hand to an ear to demonstrate the idea of hearing an echo. Explain that bats use echoes and different tones to locate food sources and other important information. Vary the pitch (higher or lower) while reading to encourage students to practice different intonations when they echo read.

 

Directed Reading-Thinking Activity (DRTA)

Use this strategy to model how to make and confirm predictions. Here are the steps to DRTA:
1) Choose a text. Preselect stopping points where students can pause while reading.
2) Preview keywords or pictures. Ask questions to guide students’ thinking.
3) Have students make prediction about what they will read.
4) Stop at set points so students can check predictions, revise them, and make new predictions.
5) Ask questions to help students match their predictions to the reading.
6) Discuss what has been read before reading the next section.

Examples: Use objects or pictures to preview a text and make predictions; ask questions about keywords and vocabulary; focus on characters and what they might do.

Tips for Teaching this ELL Strategy
-Use as a whole-class or small-group activity
-Remind students to use what they already know to make predictions

Sample Activity
Have students look at pictures in a book to predict what a story or text might be about. Have them write one or two questions they have about the story. Review the students’ questions to determine where to stop and discuss the story. Read the selection as a class, pausing as planned. Call on the students who quote questions related to that part of the story, and conduct discussion about the reading thus far.

For more strategies on teach ESL/ELLs, see Strategies to use with your English Language Learners

5 Best Practices for Teaching Math

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

5 Best Practices for Teaching Math-TCR Collage

Hello again, it’s Staci from Let’s Teach Something!  I’m so excited to be back with Teacher Created Resources again.  I’m here this time to give you a little insight on some math practices that have best worked in my classroom. Here are my top 5 best practices for teaching math: In & Out Tickets, Scavenger Hunts, Daily Warm-Ups, Anchor Charts, and Whiteboards.

In & Out Tickets

IN OUT CARDS-TEACHER CREATED RESOURCES

I have little cards (about 1/2 the size of index cards) that I use in my classroom as tickets.  I laminated mine so I can reuse them.  The students write on them with a dry-erase marker.  You could also just use a scrap piece of paper and recycle them when they are used.  I use them 2 different ways…

1)  I pass out the tickets at the end of a math lesson and the students have to answer an “exit question or equation” on their ticket.  As the students leave my room, they have to give me their ticket.  If the answer is correct, they get to move on to the next class.  If the answer is wrong, they have to sit back down and try again.  If, after the 2nd attempt, they still get it wrong, I make a note and work with the student one on one either before or after school (or during work time in class.)  At the door, I keep a clipboard and make note of how the students are doing on their in & out tickets.  If a student consistently has to go back for a second chance, this alerts me that it is becoming a trend and it’s time for me to do a little intervention work with them.

2)  I’ve also used the ticket system on homework.  I give them a ticket and tell them it’s their ticket into the class.  Same procedure applies if they get it wrong as with the ticket out.  They get two chances before I work with them individually before or after school or during quiet class work time.

Scavenger Hunts:

Scavenger Hunt -Teacher Created Resouces

It’s easy to get the students up and moving during math.  Send them  on a scavenger hunt!  If you are doing a subtraction lesson, give  them subtraction problems where the answers lead them to a room  number where the next clue would be located.  If you are doing a  shapes lesson, show them shapes and they have to find something in  real life that is that same shape and they have to take a picture of it  or draw a picture of it.  If you are teaching about time, place clocks  all around the school (or your classroom) and each clock has a new  time under it where they have to find that next matching clock! Math can be very interactive, just get creative! :)

Daily Warm-Ups:

Daily Warm-Ups-Teacher Created Resources

Giving my students a quick warm-up each morning when we start math helps get them in the math mood and helps to reinforce what has already been taught.  The old saying “If you don’t use it, you lose it!” comes to mind when I give them the quick warm-ups.  If I teach my students about telling time and then never ask them to practice, they will lose it.  This quick warm-up gives them that quick practice without having to spend a lot of time doing it.  A little each day goes a long way!

 

 

 

 

Anchor Charts:  

Anchor Charts-Teacher Created Resources

Anchor charts have been around forever..and it’s because they work!  I allow students to help me create them. My philosophy: students who actively participate in the creation of classroom resources retain the information better.

In this photo, my Kindergarten students helped create anchor charts for 3D objects.  We discussed their attributes and I added them as they discovered them.  Then they each got a sticky note and were able to draw their own 3D object at the bottom of the anchor chart.  Sure, it’s easy to create my own anchor charts before or after school, but using class time to create them WITH my students creates a lasting foundation for my instruction.

Whiteboards:  

Whiteboards-Teacher Created Resources

I LOVE whiteboards (or chalkboards if you have those in your classroom).  If I could, I would have a whiteboard installed on all 4 walls of my classroom.  Students love writing on them and I can tell, at a glance, the thought process of my students as they work on the boards.  I especially love using them in math class.  It’s so easy to line the students up and rattle off math problems.  The students write the problem on their part of the board and you, the teacher, can stand back and watch all of your class and can address questions immediately.

If someone adds wrong, you can simply stand behind them and watch their thought process and correct immediately instead of having to wait to “grade” their work after school.  If you do not have a large board space in your classroom, you can also use this technique with individual white boards.  It gets a little trickier with keeping an eye on all of your students, but it’s still more effective in allowing me to give feedback more immediately.

I hope these math practices help you in your classroom and your students enjoy them as much as mine do! Be sure to stop by my blog for more from my classroom!

 

Writing Effective Report Card Comments on Behavior

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Writing Effective Report Card Comments on Behavior

When it comes to writing report card comments and progress reports, it can be challenging to find effective words to communicate the details of each student’s progress. When writing report card comments, remember to focus on the positive first. Comments on both academic and personal behaviors should be assessed and written in a report card so that students and parents can see their strengths and areas of improvement in order to create a progressive, effective outcome. We have included some thoughtful, constructive, and easily-customizable report card comments designed to address behavior issues and strengthen parent-teacher communication and improve student behavior.

Proficient

  • ______ is a good citizen. He/she is dependable, responsible,
    and respectful.
  • ______ shares and listens. He/she works well with others.
  • _______is a pleasant, respectful, and well-behaved student.
  • Making Progress

  • Since our last conference, _______’s behavior has been improving.
    He/she is showing interest in his/her schoolwork and seems eager to learn.
  • _______ is showing increased desire to demonstrate appropriate attitude and acceptable behavior in the classroom.
  • _______ is learning to anticipate the consequences of his/her actions. This is improving his/her behavior because he/she is taking time to think before acting.
  • There has been noticeable improvement in _______’s behavior. He/she has made an effort to cooperate with his/her peers and practice self-control. Thank you for your support.
  • Lately, _______ has been working to correct his/her behavior, and I am very proud of him/her. I hope he/she continues to maintain improvement.
  • Needs Improvement

  • _______ can be very aggressive towards his classmates. Perhaps we should have him/her meet with the school counselor.
  • Please encourage _______ to use socially appropriate language at all time.
  • Socializing seems to be more important to ­_______ than classwork. He/she has great potential, but will not realize it until he/she pays better attention in class and focuses more in his/her work.
  • _______can be disruptive and disorderly. Please encourage him/her to be more responsible in his/her behavior, and call me to schedule a conference.
  • The above comments open the door to communication between the teacher and parents. It demonstrates reporting behavior progress in a clear, concise, and constructive manner. A teacher’s well written report card comments will be effective and can have the power to encourage and impact students and their parents positively.

    For more tips on report card comments in all subjects see, Writing Effective Report Card Comments.