Science in the City

Nov 30, 2012

An Amazing Holiday Gift for You

A holiday gift from the secondary teachers at TpT to you!  Even though in secondary grades we may not have as much time to spend on holiday and seasonal activities as the lower grades, there are ways to do it!  Here are some great tips for ways to integrate some holiday cheer into your classroom, and help maintain student focus around this time of year.  There are teaching tips and holiday-related freebies from secondary teachers in each subject area on TpT.  

Check it out (click on the image) and HAPPY HOLIDAYS

And if you are not a secondary teacher, there are editions for grades Prek-K, 1-2, and 3-6 as well.  
2012 Winter Holidays Tips and Freebies: PK-K Edition    2012 Winter Holidays Tips and Freebies: 1-2 Grade Edition    2012 Winter Holidays Tips and Freebies: Grades 3-6 Edition

Nov 29, 2012

Behind the Scenes: The Truth About Exit Tickets and Vocabulary

I Made a Simple Change to my Classroom Warm Ups and saw Surprising Results! 

I have always done bellwork, or a "Do Now" when kids come into class.  I have always made those either an open ended question to what we are doing now, or a review question or test question from what we did yesterday.  This year I am changing it around, and I have to say I am very happy with the results.  I wrote more about my bellwork routines here

Students can't test well when they can't understand the questions

I have a lot of kids whose reading scores are very low this year (average reading level about 4th grade, give or take, in 7th and 8th), and a lot of SPED and ELL kids.   This is discussed further in this post

Description and results when warm up/exit tickets were used to teach tier vocabulary

What I did to focus on vocabulary

I decided to focus bellwork on those "tier 2" vocabulary words. You know, the ones that are not content specific, but kids don't know....words like

essential, abundant, similar, variation....

Each day I put up a word and either use it in a sentence, or put pictures with it, and then have the kids do two things: 
 - infer the meaning of the word
 - use it in a sentence of their own.

Some examples are in in these inferring vocabulary resources

Test Prep Tier 2 Vocabulary Cards Growing Bundle

At the end of the week bellwork is a matching quiz on those words.  I am so happy to report that the end of the week quizzes have been great.  I'm hearing things like "I know these!  These are the words we've been doing" 

To make sure we are quizzing/reviewing content, I'm doing a ticket out at the end of each class.    It really allows them to settle down and process, puts a good closure to the class, and I can catch misconceptions before they go.  They are in the habit now of handing me their ticket out on the way out.  

I have also worked with them on vocabulary using the strategies discussed here but I have found a focus during warm ups to be one of the most effective strategies. 

I have seen a dramatic improvement in their confidence levels, their comprehension, and their overall test scores. 

Description and results when warm up/exit tickets were used to teach tier vocabulary

Nov 26, 2012

My Simple Little Middle School Classroom Management Breakthrough

Stamp 2 Clip Art
I have been working on management, with one group of 7th graders that I have.  Classdojo, and many other suggestions and tricks have gone a long ways.  But my current favorite is a stamp.  I bought a box of a few different stamps on clearance at Wal-Mart for a dollar.  I will come stamp their paper when they are in their seat working, especially at the start of class during bellwork.  Sometimes when they do stations I will stamp when they have completed the station.  It's amazing! 

They run to their seat and get quiet so they can get their paper stamped! I hear across the room "I'm working too!  Stamp mine!"   

Who knew that would be such a big deal to 7th graders.  Its cheap, easy, and honestly kind of fun for me too.  I'm all for positive reinforcement, but I'm trying to get away from candy.  This is a great alternative! 

Don't forget the cybermonday sale
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