Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Organizational Upgrades

Every year I try to reflect on issues that the environment may have caused throughout the year. During this reflection, I mainly focus on inefficiencies of my room or procedures. This year, I made some slight changes in some of the procedures and environment dealing with the ancillary aspects of running a classroom.

1. Late Work/Redo Folders
Students often forget to turn assignments in, are absent from school for a few days, or are handed their work back to redo. Last year, I had a single bin with a date stamp. Students stamped the correct date and then turned in their work. This folder/bin was used for any work turned in beyond the original due date and more specifically, work that had already been graded. On Fridays, I had to spend some time sifting through the periods of the work turned in before grading. This year, I added a leveled organizer and a folder for each period. The folder has the directions for turning in work with or without a late pass for their work. This is now setup by the door so students can do it upon entering or leaving the room. Students still stamp the work, but I added a brief form they have to fill out explaining why the work is in this folder.

2. Essential Question Posters
Each nine week module has three to five essential questions that drive everything we read and discuss. This year, my collaborative partner and I decided to make these into a poster and laminate them to display from the onset of each nine weeks. I already used this as a reference chart on the first day of school to get students thinking about their upcoming work. These questions have to be engaging and abstract, something to sparks open debate and can have multiple answers. Although, I really don't call them answers, because if it could be answers it wouldn't be as debatable. Think of them more like supported responses.

3. Behavior Form Clipboards
I want to provide immediate feedback on behavior this year. I found and adjusted two forms that are printed and hung on clipboards by my teacher-computer cart. This way I can easily grab the clipboard fill-out and give the students the form. One form is adapted from the Awesome Citation, which is given to a student for being awesome for a variety of reasons. I'm hoping this provides reinforcement of exemplary behavior. The other form is a behavior notification form. The teacher only fills out the top and the students must fill out the form, take it home to get signed, and return it in two days. If the student does not complete these tasks then the teacher calls home, notifies office, writes up, etc. as needed per the behavior.

4. Student Crates
I stole this idea from another teacher in the building, but it is worth sharing. I use a bookshelf beside the door to house a different color crate with the period number on the front. Students can keep their notebook and folders in this crate rather than placing in locker or taking home. If they have homework, then it is their responsibility to not leave it in the room. I found that students were able to maintain more of their work and notes throughout the year.

Have a great year!

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