Every year teachers learn new tips and tricks, have personal “lesson learned” experiences, or teach a new grade level or content area and have to learn new teaching techniques or subjects. I’ve joined a blog hop with other secondary teachers to share what we’ve learned in 2015 and what we will look forward to in 2016.
1. Teacher tip: to prevent your grade book from getting the best of you, these are my go to tips: 1) highlight the grades after you input them into your digital grade book. 2) if a student doesn’t turn in an assignment when it is due, draw a diagonal line through the grade entry square–if it never gets turned in you can easily make it an x. 3) if a student is absent, outline with pen the square of the grade box so you know not to count it as late when they come back to class. (you can read a more detailed post on this HERE!)
2. Personal life lesson: this seems like common sense, but my type A personality had to develop the patience for it. Instead of trying to rush through as many house chores as possible during my daughter’s naps, I have her help me with chores throughout the day. Now that she helps me unload the dishwasher, I don’t have to unload AND load it during her nap. Yes it takes a really long time because she gives me everything one at a time, but she’s helping and the chore gets done. She helps me vacuum by moving things out of the way and by turning the vacuum on and off. Since she knows the differences between “mommy shirt,” “daddy socks,” and “Jamie jammies,” she sorts the clean laundry into three piles and as she sorts I fold. Everything takes longer, but it is totally worth it in the long run. I have my “me” time back during her naps and getting her used to helping out and doing chores now (she’ll be 2 in February) will hopefully make it easier to transition her to doing chores on her own as she gets older.
3. A goal I have for 2016: regularly email parents a “what’s going on in the classroom” chart. I started it this past semester and think it made a huge difference in my overarching sanity with keeping a clear and regular connection between myself, students, parents, and my classroom. I emailed it directly to the parents so there weren’t any issues of students forgetting to give their parents the hard copy. I made a 4 column chart home with the next 6 weeks in rows. I wrote a paragraph on top of the chart giving parents a summary of how the last 6 weeks went and what I envision for the next 6 weeks. I had one column each for the general topic being covered, what I anticipated as the in class activity, and what I anticipated for any potential homework. This let parents know what my goals were, what was going to be expected of their kids, and the types of activities and assignments I was planning so there weren’t any surprises for anyone. Naturally things can change, so I always reminded the parents that the planned activities were subject to change if need be. Since this regular communication has been very well received, I will continue doing this in 2016.
Visit the other blogs linked up at Secondary Sara to get more tips, tricks, and lessons learned for 2016!
Sending out an email to parents letting them know what to expect for the next 6 weeks is a great idea! It can be so hard to keep in contact with parents. Thanks for sharing!
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You’re welcome! It was definitely one of those “duh” moments for me, and I shudder to think how much smoother in some ways my first couple of years teaching could have been had I been doing something like this.
I love your grade book strategy! I do something similar, but your slash-into-an-X idea is great! I’ll be back to read your updated post about this strategy!
Thanks Charlotte! It should post on Jan 2 and there will be a picture to go with it.
Oh man, Stephanie, I feel you on having to “shelve” the Type A from time to time!! It’s true what you said though. Sometimes it’s better to relax a bit rather than take up all of your free time getting chores done!
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I like your goal for 2016. I started this at the beginning of the year giving them a bi-monthly update of what we did in an email and phone message. Then the service we used started translating into French, a choice we don’t have, and not Spanish and I had to stop because the parents were confused. Now that every parent is required to provide and email I think I will go back to this in email form only.
Bi-monthly is very admirable! I’d love to be that consistent in classroom-home communication one day.
Great ideas…I especially love your idea about emailing parents. I am going to try that…maybe it will cut down on the time I spend responding to parent inquiries about what’s going on in the classroom.
Thanks! It’s definitely great to have parent involvement/active communication, but it can absolutely be (sometimes overly) time consuming.