Friday, August 9, 2013

Classroom Rules and Procedures!

There is a BIG difference between RULES and PROCEDURES!

Too often I see teachers making the FATAL error of turning some procedures into rules and regretting it all year long! To be truthful, I made this error many times and lived to regret it! Each year I tried to come up with a better set of RULES!! I finally got it figured out so I could live with them the entire school year without kicking myself.

The main difference is this:

Rules MUST be responded to with a CONSEQUENCE. They must be "punished," in a sense.

Procedures just need to be RETRAINED! They never need to be "punished!"

This is why "they" tell you to only have four or five RULES. And a set of standard responses/consequences.

You need THE BIGGIES to be the RULES. The ones where, if broken, the rhythm of the classroom, the purpose for you all being there is impeded. In other words, YOU CAN'T TEACH AND THEY CAN'T LEARN!

THE BIGGIES: So what are they? After many years of trial and error and many regrets, I finally decided for myself there really are only a few that stop you from teaching and students from learning.

Here are the RULES I would recommend for a Middle School classroom:
  1. Do not use vulgar language.
  2. Listen when the teacher is talking.
  3. Respect the rights and property of others.
  4. No personal grooming in class.
These RULES worked for me and I believe they would work for you, too!

These RULES cover the basics, where you can make a case-by-case decision: Is this a rule or not? Does this behavior stop the teaching and learning process from happening in my classroom. Do I need to apply a consequence?

BY THE WAY: The easiest First Consequence, is to say, "Rule Four, Janie!"  She will know you've seen her with that mirror and lipstick. And usually stop!

Or if someone is constantly whispering while you are talking, "Rule Two, Sam!" He has a chance to stop without a consequence, but of course, you follow through if he continues to whisper!

The Procedures are the classroom structure you use to ensure that teaching/learning moves along nicely. They are things like how to line up, how to pass papers in, what you are supposed to be doing when you enter the room, etc.

If the class lines up noisily, you just say, "I'm sorry, did we all forget how to line up? Please sit down while we go over that Procedure! Then you project a clever, cutesy image with type and discuss it and then have them try again. And again. BUT YOU NEVER PUNISH!

So, I urge all teachers to be very sure of the RULES you want to enforce. Are you sure you want to punish for every tardy? (The school probably already has one for this! Don't duplicate!) Are you sure you want a Be Ready with Book Open type of rule? This is more a Procedure and easily re-trainable!

Email Marcia for a much more detailed Dropbox download with Rules and Procedures handouts, a PowerPoint, and more!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spur-of-the-Moment Snowflake Lesson

Snowflake taken on black paper with Ollo-Clip lens on iPhone.

Take your students outside while it's snowing BIG FLAKES!

Give each student a piece of black construction paper and a hand lens.
They'll also need a clipboard with a piece of white paper and a pencil.
Wave black paper in the air to cool it down to the outside temperature.
Lay flat on ground or bench, even teacher's cars!
Watch while SNOWFLAKES collect on paper.
Start sketching SNOWFLAKES!

When inside, give each student a piece of colored chalk and have them draw on large paper or the black board if you have one, whiteboard with colored markers, otherwise.

Take time to admire each sketch, challenge those without the six-stem structure, and take photos of all the beautiful SNOWFLAKES!

Great lesson!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Try My GeoGenius PowerPoint!

I love showing PPTs to my students! The best kinds start or end the day and don't relate  much to the lesson of the day. (Yes! That's "legal!") They're just good general interest PPTs that catch your students' attention and raise awareness of the Earth and all its Glory!

My GeoGenius PPT checks out how Geo-Savy your students are. Give them the half-page FollowSheet to be handed in as they leave the room.

You can certainly tailor the last slides to your own state! I've added a couple of Missouri-specific questions there, but go ahead and change, by all means!

Email Marcia (mjkrech at yahoo dot com) for a download of the PowerPoint and Followsheet.

And have a great time chatting with your students about all things Geology!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Marcia's Teacher Tutorials

Have you seen my new feature called Teacher Tutorials?

I know many of you miss the Newsletter I put out last year. What with all the new demands in my life, I wasn't able to continue with the Newsletter this year.

However, I think my Teacher Tutorials are a good alternative! And I hope you agree!

Teacher Tutorials came about like this:
I get so many "How do you do that?" questions.
I thought I would address them one by one.
I LOVE decorating tutorials. I love anything that tells you step by step how to paint a chair or your kitchen cabinets, or how to make a quilt binding, or how to clean your shower stall with a Dawn-vinegar solution (via Pinterest.)

Why not do the same thing for teachers? 
CONNECTION! Marcia's Teacher Tutorials! 
Including lots of free materials for new and "new" Science teachers!

The first one covers the Most-Frequently-Asked Question of all time: How should I arrange my classroom so I can do all the wonderful active-learning, hands-on activities and labs you suggest?

Here's the beginning of my first Teacher Tutorial: 

Sure Fire Method for Setting Up Science Tables for the Beginning of the Year!

Step by Step Set Up!

Looking for a good way to set up your classroom tables for the beginning of the year? Follow Marcia's suggestions to get your new school year ready to go, prepared for an active learning atmosphere, starting on the first day of class!

Step 1:
Arrange your tables or desks in any arrangement you are comfortable with. I do NOT usually start the school year with the arrangement in the above photo! But if you are comfortable with this set up, use it! I usually used the traditional all tables facing the teacher podium. Click here for seating chart tips that can be used throughout the year with rearrangeable sticky photo tiles!

Click here to see the rest of the first Teacher Tutorial!

Hope you are liking the new Teacher Tutorials! 
Go here to see them all.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Earthquake in Alaska

"A major earthquake measuring a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 has rocked remote portions of Alaska, the U.S. Geological Survey reports. The USGS issued, then canceled, a tsunami warning for Alaska's Aleutian Islands. It also lowered the magnitude to 6.8."

Click here for more details.