Teaching Ideas & Best Practices

  1. Accommodation - Wear a microphone and use a hand-held for students, and utilize a speaker for a student with hearing challenge. Also, move within a close proximity and check often to ensure understanding.
  2. Motivation - Use a points system for behavior challenged students. "Catch ‘em being good" - give out tickets, a star, or a sticker. There could be a prize box (with prizes from the dollar store) for when a goal is achieved or, on Friday, have a draw of names (from the tickets given out that week.)
  3. Assessment - Keep a separate binder for marks and student work. Then, at night, record the work grades, whether they finished or not, etc.
  4. Accommodation - A language challenged student was allowed to draw pictures to show her answers to questions whenever possible.
  5. Accommodation - (More for the daily routine than lesson accommodations.) 1. Use a visual schedule so he/she knows what is happening today. 2. Allow him/her to sit on a chair at carpet time. 3. Use a stress ball to keep his/her hands busy and pay better attention. 4. Conduct his spelling test at the back of room using movable letters (rather than writing them).
  6. Motivation & Management - "Who wants to be a Millionaire Lifelines." Randomly call on any student, not just those with their hands up, to get everyone thinking and paying attention. If someone doesn't know the answer, they can "phone a friend" or "ask the audience." We always return to the original student to see what their answer is after he/she is helped by the class.
  7. Best Practice - Use manipulatives in math whenever possible. In the FOSNOT Math kit, for example, they have math racks, which help with counting and visualizing different combinations of numbers (1+6; 2+5; 3+4; 4+3; 5+2; 6+1 - all give us 7).
  8. Accommodation - Notes that were written on the board to be copied by students were put on a paper right in front of a special student to copy, providing less distraction and extra time to complete.
  9. Best Practice - Pumpkin Unit. Lifecycle of a pumpkin booklet; pumpkin story; media www.starfall.com to show virtual pumpkin carving; pumpkin books to gain more background (ELL); pumpkin carving safety; grade 7's (reading buddies) came to help with carving; tasted pumpkin pie and pumpkin seeds 9using all our senses).
  10. Motivation & Management - One student was easily upset and would blow up in anger quite easily. He would often run out of class or even out of the school. We worked with him to set up safe places where he could go to calm down (one in class, one in the library and another on the bench outside the Principal's office. Each of these safe places meant that he was able to remove himself, cool down and stay safe on school property.
  11. Best Practice - In language, students use a four square template to recount a story that they are to write. It helps them to have a good beginning, middle and end. They can also use pictures to help them.
  12. Assessment & Recording - A class list was used to make a checklist of writing conventions that were followed. For example, a check for use of capital letters, answers in complete sentences, use of proper punctuation (periods, commas, question marks, quotation marks, etc.). If they were not doing these things, an (X) was placed in that column and remediation could take place.
  13. Motivation & Management - A chart was used for each group. Whenever they were doing one of the desired behaviors (quickly getting ready, quietly working, etc.), the group received a sticker. At the end of the month, the group with most stickers was given a reward (free time , additional computer time, indoor games box, etc.).
  14. Motivation & Management - Work closely with the EA to help an autistic child. We worked together to help plan and deliver accommodated or modified work for him.

Junior Grade Ideas

  1. Motivation & Management - a. Use a countdown (from 5 to 1) to get students to quiet down. WAIT for total silence before speaking; thank those who are ready; if a few are not say, "I can wait, but so will you at recess." Also "Arm's length voices" means that when you are talking you need to speak so their voice only goes as far as their arm's length. Sometimes, such as in the library, we used a short arm so that it was even quieter.
  2. Assessment - In the first days of school, Schools Boards are having teacher measure the reading ability of their students using such tools as CASI (PM Benchmarks for primary). These tools help teachers understand the reading and writing composition abilities of their students right from the start of the year.
  3. Management - The best thing is to get to know your students as well as you can. You will then learn what works for them and be able to use a variety of techniques that are custom made for your students.
  4. Best Practice - For math class, we played a game called "I Have." I prepared a set of 35 cue cards with different math facts on them. For example, one card says "I have 15, who has that divided by 3?" and then the person that had the answer would read their card. From there, "I have 5, who has that times 9?" and so on. I would hand them out as the first thing that we did every morning. I recorded how long it took to complete the set and then we tried to beat out time from the previous day. We even challenged other classes in the school. We also did it at our Parents Math Night. It was a lot of fun.
  5. Motivation & Management - "HERB" Chart. HERB stands for Homework, Effort, Respect, and Behavior. There is a recording chart in the class with book pockets (one for each student, numbered so as not to advertise who is who on the chart). Each pocket has a green, yellow, red and pink piece of paper in it. If they are doing one of the HERB behaviors, they can go up a color. If they are not doing the behavior, they can go down a color. They start the day at green and can go up to pink, or down to yellow or even red. At the end of the day, they get a point for green or pink; if they are at yellow or red, they get zero points. At the end of the week or month, there is a HERB party, where all of those who have attained the prescribed points can attend (we had a volleyball game, a movie, etc.). Students became aware of their behavior and tried to get their color changed back to green if they slipped up.
  6. Best Practice - We created a large scale medieval village for our Social Studies Unit. The students used sticks, clay, artificial trees, and Legos to build the castle, etc. All parts were very interactive and also included Language Arts, Visual Arts, Math (geometry) as well as Social Studies. The project was presented on October 30 at a Medieval Fest. GREAT.
  7. Motivation - This is usable in every grade. POWER WORK LESSON or DAY. Explain that this means that they must work extra hard today, stay on task and get lots of work done. It should not be overused but, if done well, it will motivate the class to really get into it.
  8. Behavior - Give choices. If students are not listening or acting silly, give them two or three choices. All choices need to be related to school work and should be acceptable to the teacher. For example, say "You can do your work quietly at your desk or you can choose to work over in the corner by yourself. Which do you choose?" If they say, "I don't want to do my work, now," you can say, "That is not one of the choices. I can give you a third choice, and you will need to do it at recess, (or during gym or some other favorite time) and we'll need to talk to our principal (or send a note home) about it." This usually gets them cooperating again.
  9. Motivation - SCAMO board (Stands for Sharing and Caring about Myself and Others). There is a large class grid with as little as 40 and up to 100 squares on it. Every time a student does something positive (like helping to clean up a mess, helping with work, to sitting quietly, etc.), a stamp is placed on the chart. This is a total class activity. When we reach the goal, we have a class reward. Not only are student proud of themselves, but they also encourage each other to act appropriately. The secret is to recognize this often and regularly. It will motivate the students for sure.