Almost everything "they" should
have taught you in college!
I want you to know that I started out
this year taking all of your advice (teaching procedures, picking up
and everything has gone more smoothly than it has in my 8 years of
teaching. --Email from a teacher in Georgia
are welcome to use these ideas in your classroom, within your science
department, within your school district, or to distribute to any
teacher who may find these lessons useful. I only ask that:
1. You cannot sell these lessons or make a profit on them in any way.
2. You cite the lessons original source, and do not white-out the copyright footer on the pdf files
3. Do not copy and paste lessons onto your website. A link to the original is to be used.
4. Do not claim these lessons as your own work.
NOTE: This disclaimer is modeled after a couple of my favorite websites: The Science Spot and Middle School Science. Thanks, teachers!
VERY BEST--MOST WORTHWHILE--ADVICE EVER:
comes from my
And over thirty years of teaching experience. As a new teacher, you
to understand that discipline problems are NOT
related to how well you can discipline, but to HOW
WELL YOU MANAGE THE CLASSROOM! HOW WELL YOU TRAIN YOUR STUDENTS TO
FOLLOW BASIC CLASSROOM ROUTINES!
Train your students from
the very first minute of the very first class period! I train mine to
walk in quietly, pick up the papers near the door on the Pick-Up Table,
sit down, and quietly begin the Bellwork. IF THEY DON'T, I
them to go back to the door and try again. In severe cases, I
don't allow them to come in the room at all on the first day of school,
but make them sit on a
chair outside the door of my classroom. I have routines for just
about EVERYTHING. And I consistently
my students if they "forget." ABSOLUTELY
NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THIS!! NOT EVEN YOUR ACTUAL SUBJECT
I trained my student
teachers to use this approach and they have had NONE
of the usual first year teacher troubles with discipline. They
understand why other new teachers in the building were having problems,
and were grateful they knew what to do!
here for a BIG file of the
actual images I use as I train
my students. Click
herefor the page I give my
AND BUY THIS
BOOK! IT IS
THE END-ALL BOOK on how to do
just what I've
talked about here!
doesn't matter what
textbook you have! You don't need to use
it much. In fact, I've taught Science many years with NO textbook at
use it for definitions
and major concepts and the order of your units. DON'T hand out the
first couple weeks. You want your students to associate science with
labs and activities, not books. And DON"T make your students read
outloud! There are so many better ways to introduce and reinforce
material! Read my Teacher Tutorial on this topic!
You need one for the first day.
The best I've ever seen has little picture tiles that stick to a sketch
of the room. Great way to effortlessly learn names. Photocopy last
year's yearbook photos. Laminate and cut out. Add names and use sticky
tack or repositionable double-sided tape for scrapbooking to affix to
seating chart. Click
already know the
rules! They just want to know if YOU know them! And if YOU care if they
follow them or not and if YOU will enforce them. Make an 8x11 sign for
each rule with graphics and post in classroom. More than five or six is
breaking rules! HAVE
SOME! Read my Teacher Tutorial on this topic!
CLASSROOMRULES AND PROCEDURES: Read this Teacher Tutorial and Know the Difference!
LEGAL PAD: Write
out every lesson for every day. Plan more than you
think you need for each day. Make notes in redon what
works and what doesn't to refer to next year. Keep them
in a folder forever.
OVER-PLANNING ALWAYS PAYS OFF!
start every day with a short, quick bellringer! Make them up
a week at a time and have projection copies made ahead of time, including
out the week's
Bells on Monday.
SECRET: Kids appreciate a
routine they can count on. Every
day can be different but the routine is the same.
this first! "Enter room quietly. Pick up papers. Sit down. Number
pages. Put in notebook. Copy Homework on Homework Page.
Do Bell on Bellwork
Page. Take out
Homework that's due today." How
to teach: Stand at door.
Welcome students as they enter. Motion towards Pick-Up Table. Tell them
to pick up papers, find their photo on class seating chart on podium,
sit down, copy homework on homework page and begin bellwork on
bell page. Read my Teacher Tutorial on this Topic!
ahead of time. You may need to make changes, but that's okay! Hand out
on Mondays. Make
transparency (Project on a SmartBoard) to make corrections during the week.
I hand out bright fushia pink run off papers
for the first table of contents of the Front Section. Place to write
their name. Then other colors for Study Guide Section, Worksheet
Section, Lab Section, and Project Section.
On NOTEBOOK DAY,
I put up
transparency of each Table of Contents and they copy onto their colored
TOC pages. Some kids are so efficient, they do this on their own using
the Notebook Order pages I hand out weekly. Reward these kids with a
piece of candy on NOTEBOOK DAY. <smile!> Email me for a FREE Audio Podcast on how to set up Science Notebooks.
Give it every day! Doesn't have to be
much, in fact, it should mostly be small assignments. The trick is to
classroom time every day for at least partial completion of
Provide a handout for
recording homework. Collect on Friday and give ten points. Parents like
a front/back newsletter for
the first day. Hand it out at the door while the students enter the
room, find their seat, and sit down. Put up a transparency with 3 or 4
questions about the newsletter. They should all be working on this when
the bell rings. Take roll using your seating chart, then put up an
answer transparency. Refer to the newsletter as you
introduce yourself and the course.
teams work best for me now. The best teams have fewer members, thus
more involvement. Pick them randomly the first time and then divide
with some of each ability level in each team. Keep track so you mix up
each time. Run a team
competition for about two weeks, then give prizes to the winning team
and start over with new teams. Click
here for details and many examples.
Put a table by your door. Train students to pick up their own papers as
they enter the room. Saves you lots of time.
Buy a big box of sidewalk chalk. Much better than the skinny stuff they
stay on their toes when they know they will be quizzed over the week's
material every Friday. Make it 25 points or less, if your Big Tests are
100 points. Remind them that the quiz points of the
quarter/term/grading period add up to a Big Test grade.
This lady runs the school! Make friends with her! Be especially
friendly if she's the one who hands out the extra supplies.
Traditionally not the Science
Teacher's best friend because of the messes we make. Train your
students to clean up after labs. Don't dismiss until all lab
stations are spiffy and for sure, until all paper scraps are in the
my opinion, actively engaging young people in the learning process is
the best way to teach! Gets the best TEST results! Click
here. And click
you organized! Use plastic sheet protectors. One per page. Put inside:
original, answer sheet, transparency or any extra notes.
Arrange in order of teaching. One Unit per notebook.
Science Department allows a student to raise their grade by 3% using
BONUS POINTS. If you give one point per page, it takes loads of pages
to get that many pages. In the meantime, they've reviewed the course
content and know the material well! I try to put out a couple BONUS
PAGES every day.
BELL BONUS: Use a small white board. Change the Bell Bonus
Question every day. Sometimes a Challenge Question, sometimes a simple
review question. Students answer on scrap paper and must hand in right
after the Bell rings. Don't take them late! Encourages students to
arrive early. Worth one point each!
best grading system I know for a general science, introductory-type
course is: 50% Daily/Homework Points and 50% Tests/Quizzes. Add in
Bonus Points on the Daily Side. Weighted grades are not necessary. You
achieve some weighting by the number of points you assign. 10-25 points
per Quiz vs. 100 Points per test. This give most kids a fair chance at a passing grade.
lower lighting in the classroom. I only turn on half the ceiling
lights. Then I put smaller table lamps on the counters and add
torchieres to the corners of the room. Also fun: hang twinkle lights
along chalkboard top or around doors and windows.
garage sales or your own seasonal decorations stash and decorate your
classroom! Kids really appreciate the homey feeling this gives a
classroom. Add cheery curtains to the windows!
Make it a
habit to stand in the hall during passing time. Tuck a pad of passes
and a pen in your pocket. Greet your students with a smile. Write
passes if needed. Encourage laggards to hustle into class! Close the
door as the bell rings and look around expectantly for students to be
on task. Take roll while students do Bell. Your behavior makes a strong
Try to change activities every 15-30 minutes, on average. Especially if
you teach a Block Schedule. Labs run longer, of course, as do some
written assignments. But you could break that up with a game in the
middle! Go from quiet to noisy, from individual to pairs, to teams to
lab groups, and back to pairs or individual.
TIMER: I time
everything! Keeps kids on their toes. They learn more when they feel
obligated to hurry, believe it or not! It's
always smart to set the timer for a little less time than most should
need. This makes them hustle instead of dawdle. You can always add more
time if most seem to need it.
Be sure to hang plenty of plants. Train
yourself to water on Fridays.
cheat. Expect it. You can take a stand against it, but kids will cheat.
So, adopt practices that thwart cheating. Such as: Write four versions
of each quiz, write at least two versions of your tests, walk the room
during tests, keep a close eye on any test-taker who keeps a close eye
on you! I almost never collect homework. Instead, I give
Effort/Completion Points, then put up a transparency with the answers.
Then I quiz it all on Friday so they figure they better LEARN it by
doing their own homework! NOTE:The top 10% of your students will cheat the most because they have the
most to lose!
up student lists with blank columns to record Effort/Completion
and other Daily Points. Total up at the end of each week and record in
your gradebook as Week One Points, for example. Be sure to add Homework
Page and Bellwork Page Points! I also take points for
Objective/Learning Targets Pages.