Marcia's Science Teaching Ideas
Marcia's Science Teaching Ideas

Classroom Management by MJ Krech
You 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!

Check out my Pinterest Board called Classroom Management! A great collection of ideas from teachers across the country!

Active Learning
If you feel as if you are doing all the work, not your students, try active learning! This teaching philosophy gets your students moving. It has your students use flash cards to learn the different models of the solar system, cut and paste vocabulary, or perform skits to show the features of the three main volcano types.  My hat's off to Louis Mangione for all his inspirational training and wonderful suggestions!

Introduce yourself to your students in a creative and interesting way!

A great way to introduce yourself to new classes! Read the poem, "What's in the Sack?" by Shel Silverstein to your students. Have a big sack in front of you while you read it. The kids are already wondering what's in your sack! Then have a student come up and with eyes closed, pick one item out of the sack. They sit down again and you tell your students what this item tells them about you. Have different students bring out 4 or 5 more items in the sack that tell them what's important to you. Make sure you include something that indicates how important to you your students are, such as last year's yearbook or snapshots of last years kids or a video of a good lab that you can quickly pop in the VCR and show them what fun you had last year. Then on the back of your Student Inventory Worksheet, have them draw inside a sketch of a sack 4 - 6 things that tell you about them. For younger students, you could have them bring in the actual objects and share a few each week. Thanks to Janet Enloe for this great idea!

Photo Tile
Seating Chart

Make student "photo tiles" for a seating chart--a great way to connect new student names with faces! First print out students' names in a small font, last name below first, with enough space for photos above the names. Then photocopy yearbook pictures of each student and glue them above the names. Cover the entire page with wide clear tape, front and back and cut them out. Put a blank copy of your seating chart inside a peel-back photo page. Using sticky-tack or double-sided tape, affix each photo on top of assigned seat. Students can seat themselves the first day of school by finding their picture on the seating chart. This makes taking attendance a snap and is a big hit with subs and counselors. Since the tiles are removable, new seating charts are easy!
Science Notebook "Experts"
Proclaim the owners of organized Science Notebooks to be EXPERTS. When someone needs a notebook revamping, put one of the experts and the "needy" student together with both notebooks and watch the messy notebook become "expert!"
Team Competitions

Six or seven teams work great. Run a team competition for about two weeks, then give prizes to the winning team and start over with new teams. These teams can compete in such games as "Show me the Mineral" or White Board Review Competitions. Merge teams into two bigger teams for Overhead Races where only two teams work. Give both teams a problem to solve or a definition to write. Each team writes on one half of a transparency. (It's okay to "peek" at the other team's answers, but it slows them down. Each team member writes only one word or number, then hands off the marker to the next in line. Teams line up on either side of the overhead. Great fun! Gets students up and moving!

White Board Team Competition

This is a basic Active Learning activity in my classroom. We have white boards, cut out of one larger one bought at a local hardware store. I train my students early on to move into four teams, send one team member to pick up the white board, marker, and eraser, and assemble in one area, placing the white board so they can work on it without other teams seeing their answers. They are careful to wait for me to count down and say, "Show me your answer!" so as to not tip off another team to their answer. I run White Board Games frequently, at least twice a week. Works great for the 13-15 year old bunch! I love to see their heads together, working out good answers.

Nap Time for the Older Student

A coworker of mine, Janet Enloe, discovered this motivator quite by accident. Her last students for the day were clearly tired. One of them whined to her about giving them all a nap-break like when they were kids, clearly half-joking. Janet offered the whole class the opportunity to take a 5 minute break with lights off and quiet music on, if everyone would stay quiet, heads down, and go back to work when the nap was done. They took her up on the offer and it worked like a charm! No one said a word, they all enjoyed the quiet break, and all the students went back to work with renewed vigor. Try it! Thanks to Janet Enloe for the great idea!
First Day Newsletter

Create 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 proceed to introduce yourself and the course. I also hand out this newsletter to parents who attend the open house which our building holds before the first day of school. Click here for a past version of mine.
Colored Chalk
I use colored chalk to make a point. The best kind to use is chunky sidewalk chalk. I've grown so attached to BIG CHALK, I rarely use the puny stuff anymore!
Of course, if you have a SmartBoard, I hope you're using the colored pens, notjust the black one!

Click here for my BELLWORK Page. Teachers call this by different names: starters, bells, bellringers, etc. Good way to focus student attention and give you time to take roll. I usually put up a couple of questions from our current unit. Another great source is the back of a chapter, where good thinking questions reside. Sometimes I put up a graph, chart, table, from Julia Cothron's book, or the textbook, and ask students to list as many observations and/or conclusions as they can.

Download older (but still good!) examples of Weeks 1-20 from my classroom!
Week 1 Bellwork, Week 2 Bellwork, Week 3 Bellwork, Week 4 Bellwork, Week 5 Bellwork, Week 6 Bellwork, Week 7 Bellwork, Week 8 Bellwork, Week 9 Bellwork, Week 10 Bellwork, Week 11 Bellwork, Week 12 Bellwork, Week 13 Bellwork, Week 14 Bellwork, Week 15 Bellwork, Week 16 Bellwork, Week 17 Bellwork, Week 18 Bellwork, Week 19 Bellwork, Week 20 Bellwork, The Last Bell.

Bell Bonus
Offer your students another chance to get a bonus point! Ask a question that reviews yesterday's topic. Many of your students will love to scramble in early for that extra point! I have a small white board on my chalk ledge for this purpose. Don't use this technique more than once a week. Challenges your students to pay attention!
Science Equipment Bingo

Give student pairs a blank "Bingo" card. Have them write the names of various scientific equipment you've reviewed/taught. Then hold up actual samples of scientific equipment or transparency images of the equipment. They sketch the item in the correct box to match name to item. "Bingo" for column, row, or diagonal. This can be any type of Bingo, actually. I've used Mineral Bingo, Rock Cycle Bingo, etc. Of course, can be used anytime during the class period.

Team Relay Games

Use two teams. Prepare an overhead transparency with a long line down the middle. Put the same question, puzzle, problem, on each side. Teams line up on each side of the overhead. Give each team one transparency pen of a different color. The pen is passed down the line like a relay race baton. First person in each line starts at the signal and gets to write down one thing only. If you have sentences that need correcting, for example, they only make one correction each. Then the pass the pen to the next person in the line and go to the end of the line. It's totally "legal" for team members to look at the other team's work. This often gets a team's weakest member past their turn with some dignity. Good game for requiring team member in the long line to pay attention to what is happening so they know what to do next.
Busy-Noise vs. Noise-Noise
Learn to distinguish between "Noise-Noise" and "Busy-Noise." You want Busy-Noise in your classroom. Busy-Noise means you are NOT doing all the talking; rather, your students are busy interacting and learning on their own! Busy-Noise means you are facilitating learning,NO just attempting to pour facts into brains. It means you've introduced the important concepts into their brains, BUT you've taken it to that all important next step: You are asking your students to DO SOMETHING with the facts! Noise-Noise means they don't know what to do, so they are gossiping, planning what to do during lunch or this weekend, wasting time, and NOT learning! Go for Busy-Noise! Learning is taking place!
"The Pick-up Table"

Put a table near your classroom door. Arrange papers for the day in neat piles on the table. Train your students from Day One to pick these papers, sit down, label the pages, and insert into their Science Notebooks! Saves time and puts the responsibility on their shoulders.
Collecting Papers

Rather than passing papers to the front, train students to pass to the left or right. It's even slicker to have papers put on the top corner of the next desk or table, rather than passed to the next person' hands. I train my students to wait till all papers have them passed to their table before they pass them on. They put their paper on the top. All the papers end up on one desk near the side when you can easily collect them. Works great--especially when the student on the end of the row has their paper on the top. Very easy to pass papers back. Just hand the stack to the person on the end of the row! 

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Created by MJKrech