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Time Management

We all struggle with time management. This was sent to me by email last week and had several ways to manage your time. I have chosen my top ten favorites from the list. The sender said she read these while attending a workshop by Deb Chapman. I hope you can use some of these.

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Teaching Vocabulary Can Be Comical

A colleague of mine, Ralph Carnesi, shared an idea for teaching vocabulary. He uses the comics from the newspapers!

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Teachers Pay Teachers

Scholastic.com has several wonderful features for teachers. I want to highlight the Teachers Pay Teachers site. If you have never looked at this, I hope you will very soon.

After you click on Teachers Pay Teachers, you will find the following description of this site: “An empowering place where teachers buy and sell original teaching materials and make teaching an even more rewarding experience.”

There is a place where you sign up to sell your materials. By the way, it’s free! Under that you will find Featured Teacher-Created Items with the following tabs: ELA, Math, Science, History, and Other. When you click on one of those, it will give you some examples of each. To the right of that, you will find the $3 or less store and the Top Items and Top Sellers tabs. At the bottom of the page there are Used Teacher Stuff and Most Recently Posted Products.

I suggest you click on Browse All Teacher-Created Items. That will take you to Browse Catalog by the following: PreK-12 Subject Area, $3 or less Store, Type of Resource, Adult Education, State/Province, Grade Level, Free Downloads, University Discipline, and Seller. You might want to click on the free downloads. Yesterday, there were 1459 free items. I have taken advantage of several of those.

If you choose PreK-12 Subject Area, you will find the following: Arts, For All Subject Areas, Math, Social Studies/History, English Language Arts, Foreign Language, Science, and Specialty. I clicked For All Subject Areas. You can search any topic. Yesterday, I searched main idea. There were 30 items relating to main idea. Then I scrolled down to see, which items pertained to my grade level. I found about 5.

You can save a lot of time and gas if you use this website. It’s a great resource to help supplement your curriculum and it’s great that teachers can get paid for their wonderful lesson plans, worksheets, etc. I really hope you will take the time to explore this fabulous tool that Scholastic has provided.

Classroom Management

In order to promote learning in our classrooms, there needs to be an easy to follow discipline policy that the faculty and students understand. If everyone is clear on the expectations, then you won't have to waste class time for a lot of discipline issues. In each of our classrooms, we have our Classroom Management poster displayed. These are the steps that each of our faculty members follow to control the atmosphere of our classrooms.

Step 1: Verbal Warning
State student name along with verbal warning for the behavior. "Gary, you need to stop talking. That is your verbal warning."

Step 2: Time-out
Student moved to time-out area in your room. "Gary, since you are still talking, move to the time out chair."

Step 3:Incident Report
If Gary is still talking, incident report is filled out with time and student is sent to a buddy teacher's room. Teacher will call the parent and can fill out a conduct referral to send to the vice-principal. The vice-principal will then call the student into his office. "Gary, get your binder and go to Mr. Hoffman's room."
(When a student goes to another teacher's room, they are usually required to write a paper about their behavior.)

Our vice-principal, Bill Wicevich, is an expert dealing with disciplinary issues with our students.I asked him to give me his input on student behavior. This is what he wrote:

"When we talk about discipline for middle school students, we are really referring to choices. Our goal at Greenway is to help our students focus on choices and helping our students to determine the best choice at that given time. As you can tell, we concentrate on preventive actions.

Middle school students are known for the reactive behavior. Many times they react or respond without thinking. You will hear adults respond, think first before you react or say something. Our goal is to assist our students in responding or reacting with appropriate words and actions. We understand by helping our students to respond appropriately, then we keep them out of that old discipline cycle. Once a middle school student gets in trouble with their teacher, then the Assistant Principal gets involved. The teacher calls the parent/guardian and then they must get involved. You can see all the negative responses that the middle schooler gets from adults. We must keep in mind that the student didn't make the best choice for them at that time. We then reinforce what could have been better choices.

By being proactive and assisting our students with their choices, we keep them out of this negative cycle of life. The student is happier and continues to make the best choice in any given situation. It takes hard work and dedicated staff to make this happen and that is what we have at Greenway. We will continue to assist students on their choices."

Mr. Wicevich encourages our staff to make a connection with the parents. He wants us to always call home when a problem starts. We also need to find the time to talk with the student. We never know what that student is dealing with until we have a conversation with them.

Middle schoolers need structure and boundaries. Most of them don't mind having a discipline policy as long as it is simple, concise, and fair. If you already have a classroom management procedure, make sure you are following it. If you do not have one, sit down with your colleagues and administration and develop a simple plan that will work in your school. The less discipline problems we have, the more we can teach. We will have less stress and better attitudes if we don't have to deal with discipline problems all day long.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Inside Sandra's Middle School Classroom are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.