Thursday, August 21, 2014
Question of the Week Beginning the Year Positively
Starting the tone early is critical for later success. I teach using Responsive Classroom, so during the first six weeks we are talking about expectations, modeling and practicing them. Most of my procedures and routines are reinforced in Spanish (though I introduce them in English and then move to Spanish within a couple of classes) which means we are still using the language even while talking about how our classroom community is going to function. This pays off great dividends later in the year!
-Mundo de Pepita elmundodepepita.blogspot.com
I always take the time to find background information about my students before the first day. This helps me remember half of their names before the first day of class as well as allows me to create a more meaningful seating chart for the students. I remember I always had to sit in alphabetical order by the same people every year. By taking the time to set up your classroom with a variety of groupings and dividing the diversity in your classroom, you will start the year off on a positive note.
-Madame Holst: www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Madame-h
-I ask the students to fill out a survey the first day to get to know them better and find out important information. You can adjust the seating chart based on any information they give you (such as a need to sit close to the front). I like to add questions that I can use later in the year, such as asking about their favorite celebrity or superhero so I can build that into a class worksheet to use later on.
-Spanish Research Shop starts the year by answering the question of Why to study a foreign language. Read more about it in this post.
I spend a lot of time building positive relationships with students and parents. I create and send a newsletter out to parents once per quarter featuring their students and the work we have been doing in class. The students like the recognition and it gives the parents an idea of what we are doing. I also spend a lot of time teaching procedures and having students practice them - how to pass out papers, how to change desk formations, how to throw something away even! It helps my students to know what I expect and is a proactive way to insure you get the behavior you want!
I color code my seating charts by class. Staple the seating chart to a red folder for Sp. I, a green folder for Sp. II, etc. I also use my seating charts to keep track of participation. There is a rectangle for each student desk and I draw a tally mark each time a student participates (I don't always keep track of this, but will pull it out a few times a week). I grade participation by these marks (18-20 marks is a 10 for participation, 16-18 = 9, etc.). I put any work that should be handed back in these folders. As we get close to the end of the semester, I remind students how many marks they need for a 10 and show them how many they have. This motivates them to participate more in class and keeps the grade from being very subjective.
Check back later for more responses! Have your own suggestion? Add it in the comments section!