Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Teacher Assistant of the Week

At my school we have a span of grades K-8.  I still don't think the middle school grades get the same experience as others in the city, but that's for another day...

Since our kids only see 2 content teachers (myself and my coteacher), I teach Math and Science and my coteacher teaches ELA and Social Studies to both our homerooms.

One of the ways we still get our kids to help us out in the classroom is having a Teacher Assistant of the Week.  This way we don't have to assign a million and one jobs for the classroom to our kids like the elementary part does, but our kids still learn a bit of responsibility week by week.  And, the Teacher Assistant of the Week gets to help out in both rooms.  When I have my coteacher's homeroom, all I have to do is ask who the assistant is, and they are also my assistant when I have that class in front of me.  It alleviates the constant picking and choosing students to help out with things that need to be done around the classroom (passing out books, getting mail from the office, etc.)

So for this coming school year, I made a checklist, laminated so kids can use it everyday, for the morning routines they have to help me with, and the afternoon routines they must complete before the end of the day.  I didn't have the checklist this past year, and my kids were pretty good with getting things done (until we got towards the end of the year), so I'm hoping the checklist will be a good addition to the classroom routine this year.

Here's a picture of the checklist that I have on a clipboard.  I'm going to attach a white board marker so they can literally check off everything they've done, and just erase with a tissue.

One of the jobs the Teacher Assistant of the Week has to do is record assignments for those that are absent.  So I made this folder (the Make Up Assignments page is from Pinterest...thanks, Laura Candler)  and inside are copies of the Make Up Assignments page.  I tend to tell the Teacher Assistant of the Week to not fill one out until the end of their first class, since many of my students come to school late.  But the assistant is responsible for getting the assignments organized for the person who is absent.

I also made a back to include more spaces in case a student is absent for more than one day.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Donations to Classroom Homework Pass

Every year my co-teacher and I have a "Tissue Box Homework Pass" where if the kids donate a tissue box to the classroom, they get a homework pass that they can use in any of the 4 subjects.  It's worked out pretty well in the past... I usually write "Thank you, (student name)" on the tissue box to give them credit for bringing the tissue box in.

This year, one of my students always brought in a container of anti-bacterial soap for the classroom.  I always gave her a "Tissue Box Homework Pass," but I figured this year I would do a general "Donation" homework pass to encompass anything the students bring in for the classroom.

And yes...I did use Vistaprint again... same deal as the other homework passes I blogged about!

Bulletin Board Letter Storage

Yup - another idea from Pinterest...

Take any CD holder.  I got this one at IKEA for $3.

And you can use the pockets for bulletin board letters.  I put the letters in order on the left side, and numbers and punctuation marks on the right side.

On Pinterest, I saw a teacher use a big binder with the CD sleeves to use.  I didn't need one that big, so this one was perfect.  I'm sure the younger grade teachers would need a bigger one! :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bathroom Sign Out

So I know pretty much every teacher has a "Bathroom Sign Out" that they use to keep track of which kids are going to the restroom.  I just wanted to post this because I thought the comic was hilarious.  I wonder if my students will get it... lol

 and then there's just the actual sign out page.  I used to have just a notebook, but I never could keep up with I figured pre-typed pages worked better than just the notebook!

First Project funded!!

So I've been working on a few things for my classroom, but nothing has been finished yet... I'll blog about them as soon as they're done!

In the meantime, I wanted to post about how excited I was last night to find out one of my projects through was fully funded by Starbucks!  They funded the whole project.  So I will be getting 4 bulletin boards to hang in my classroom and be able to display my students' hard work!  :)  They won't come in until after the school year begins, but I am so excited that they are coming!  Thank you, Starbucks!!

Now....if only a donor will check out my calculators project and fund that ;)  We'll see how that goes!

Calculating Tasks

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

So I've always wanted to try to get a project funded through  I've decided to try out two small projects, and if these work, I'll work on my initial goal of trying to get a class set of microscopes for my science class.  Here are links to my two projects! :)  If you know of anyone that would love to donate, please share my links.  It would be greatly appreciated!!

Calculating Tasks

Displaying Student Work

Homework Passes

Someone had posted on Pinterest about using vista print business cards for something in their classroom.  I can't remember what, but I decided to use the free 250 business cards to make homework passes for this school year.  I ended up having to pay $7 in shipping and handling, but I think it was well worth it!  And the day I created them and ordered them, they gave me a bonus special of another 250 business cards...So all in all, I ended up getting 500 free business cards for under $10.

I'm hoping these will spark my future students' motivation to complete homework.  Some classes I've had in the past have been great with homework completion, and others not so much... Haven't figured out yet what the requirement will be for them to earn a homework pass, however, I'm glad I ended up making these!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Data Binder

I'm definitely a binder person - everything I need to organize for myself usually ends up in a binder.  So classroom data/school year data wouldn't be any different.

What do I keep in my data binder?

- Class Lists/Important Information
- Student Data (MCAS)
- Student Data (Aimsweb)
- Grades
- Curriculum Calendar
- State Standards (Common Core)
- Team Meeting Notes
- Faculty Meeting Notes

The "No Homework" Binder

Ok, so I'm totally new to this...but figured since I am trying out so many Pinterest ideas for my classroom for next year, I wanted to start blogging about them.  The first idea that I have already completed and is ready is the "No Homework Binder."  Definitely not my own idea, since I borrow teacher ideas all the time, but figured it would definitely be useful with the lack of homework preparation I've seen with many of my students.  I'm hoping it will keep my next class more accountable for completing their homework assignments!

Basically, it's just a binder with alphabetized tabs inside, along with a reflection sheet that the kids fill out on their own and file behind their tab.  This way, I will have something to show parents at Parent-Teacher Conferences when I have a student who consistently misses homework.

So here's the binder (I borrowed the cover from

 In the inside front cover I have copies of my reflection sheet.  On the right hand side, I have all my tabs A-Z, and within the Table of Contents tab I am going to put my class lists with their homework assignments for each term.
 Here's a picture of my reflection sheet.  I haven't figured out how to link it to the document, but once I figure out how to do that I will!  So for now, a picture will have to suffice!