Saturday, September 15, 2007

Vocabualy List One

I have a slightly different philosophy about vocabulary and site words for my students. I believe safety words are important, but they do not provide rich language activities and class discussions. Consequently, I use words from current events and words used most frequently in the students' daily conversations. This list incluedes words that describe activities in the classroom. These words allowed me to discuss the class routine and rules. It really helped the students to learn the classroom procedures. ( We cover a list of words every two weeks.)

  • island ( part of my behavior plan)
  • numbers (writing numbers to 100)
  • words (reading and speaking new words)
  • message (language story on the board every morning)
  • calendar
  • chart ( point for responsible behavior)
  • calculator
  • treasure (behavior plan)
  • math
  • read
  • pencil
  • notebook (contains messages)
  • computer
  • add
  • folder (all loose paper go in it)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

One Full Caulk Board

The power of visual supports in my classroom have become invaluable to me. It amazes me what the kids to do and understand with some simple visual supports. It's very important to me that they present themselves as middle schoolers...
Yes, we have toys.
Yes, we work on puzzles.
Yes, we do simple crafts.
Yes, we work on functional skills.


Yes, we work at our desks, put things in folders, and follow whole group instruction too.

This year, more than ever, I have all the things we are working on for the week clipped to the board in the front of the room. When I ask them to get something out, it's right there for me to show them. It's also an added bonus for sub plans too. All the instructional material hangs in clear view. Method: I simple give the direction and point or hold up what I want the students to get from their desks. Benefit: It helps the students to be more independent. They are also proud of their accomplishments. I often hear, "see Mrs. Alwine, I have it!" That is such a great feeling and accomplishment. Here are some photos:

Item one is a spelling worksheet. Item four is the calendar we fill out everyday. Item five is the story of the week from News-2-You. Item six is our spelling dictionary. Every students has two binders. Each one has a different label.Hopefully this helps illustrate what I am talking about. Please ask questions if you wish.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Behavior Plan

I started a new form of positive management this year. One, I get bored with the same one every year. Second, I have the students for 2-3 years and I don't want them to get bored. This plan is very visual and it matches the needs of my current students. I usually try a mini-economy, which I will explain in a different post. This year I opted for something much more visual and concrete. The students have small 4x5 charts, 20 points total, on their desks. After they get a point in each box, for a given row, they may move to that assigned island. For example, all the students started at the beginning of the "map". As they completed row one on the chart they moved to island 1. They progresses along the islands as they earn points, until they move to the treasure box. The treasure box follows island 5. Once they land on the treasure box, they may pick from a real treasure box full of classroom goodies. Since it take 6 moves to get to the treasure box, I give them a small reward after completing one 4x5 chart.
They get point for responsible behavior:
  • complete work
  • do your best
  • be kind and a good friend
  • hands feet and objects to self
  • return papers and homework
  • good scores on tests
  • keep work area neet and orderly

At some point, I'm not going to tape the charts down. This will allow them to take more responsibility for their belongings. They will need to keep it in a folder or box. If it is lost, then they start over. I really believe in natural consequences. I tell the students all the time, "Your time in the middle school is about becoming a young adult. You are no longer a child." It's a difficult transition, but most of them really blossom.

Oh, Friday folders were a success. All of the students returned them today! *smile*

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Something New

I'm starting something new this year. It's a form of parent communication I found while reading a teaching site called Education World. (Link on the side.) Some school systems are sending home all paper work on a specific day of the week. Here are the benefits: The parents know when the folder is coming home, and they look for all correspondence from the school on that day. The schools report that it has helped with communication because families are so busy. Parents often miss important paper work if it is sent home on an irregular basis.

I'm starting them tomorrow and I'm calling them T.G.I.F. Folders. I'll include newsletters, completed work, homework, rewards, notes from the school and other Misc. information. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. I think it is a splendid idea. Here's the link about the folders. That way you can adapt it to your needs. Weekly Folders, From the Principal's Desk

This is a photo of the folders. On the outside, I decorated it a touch, and put a small note on the front explaining the folder. It's nothing fancy, but it looks good to me. *smile*