Babbling Abby's Teacher Week topic today is Creative Ideas. (How about that use of alliteration!?) I am going to share some ideas of things I do in my classroom that make life a bit easier for me and hopefully will for you too! Some of these ideas are actually activities that you can use when teaching content areas.
1) Gem Jar - This is a classroom management idea I use to reward whole class behavior. I have a cut out of a jar taped to my whiteboard. There are also a bunch of magnetic gems. When the class WOW's me, I add a gem to the class jar. When other classes compliment our behavior in the hallway, the cafeteria, or Related Arts, I add a gem. When the class fills the whole jar, I let them vote on their class reward. We've done Pajama Day, Popcorn Party, Brownies, Ice Cream Sundaes, Movie, etc...
2) Flow Charts - I love flow charts! They are great for all subject areas and for classroom procedure. I made a flow chart this year for my morning procedure which is pictured below! I also have a print out of the flow chart for their PRIDE Planners. You can use flow charts for a ton of different math skills (adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, etc...) The possibilities are just endless.
3) Finger Language - I am sure many of you use your own version of this, but I like to keep it simple. I just have three hand signals. 1 finger for a question, 2 for the restroom, and 3 for using the trash can. I love not having children ask me if they can go do something. This way, I can just acknowledge their request in silence so as not to disturb the rest of the friends while their working. =)
4) Classroom Map - In third grade, we teach South Carolina history and geography. This year, I decided to make a blank giant map of South Carolina posted to one of the front bulletin boards. At the start of the year, we will mark our location and a few other major cities. As the year goes on, we will add important locations, events, regions, and people. For example, we teach about the 3 major Native American tribes in SC, so we will mark their locations as we discuss each. There are also 6 regions of South Carolina which will be added to the class map when we come to it. The map itself was made on laminated poster board. This way, I can write on the map with Vis-a-V or white board markers so I can wipe it clean at the end of the year and use it again!
5) 8 Step Model Drawing - This is the method used in Singapore where problem solving is a whiz due to the use of this method. I implemented it last year and have noticed a significant difference in my students abilities to understand and SOLVE word problems correctly. The thing I love most about this, is there are steps and children can feel successful when completing the steps. For more information on Singapore Math, visit this link. I purchased this book to help guide me last year when I was just starting out. I really recommend it!