Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Well, hello again!

We all know that Christmas and Summer Break are really the two times of the year that teachers can actually catch up on things. That means I've finally been up-to-date on the laundry, grading, planning, and several DIY projects. (Not ahead, mind you. Just up-to-date. I'm not some sort of miracle worker.)

My sister just graduated with her elementary ed degree in FL, and will be long-term subbing in a few days in Kindergarten. So naturally I've been pinteresting (I'd say pinning but it's been mostly just browsing) for some younger-ed stuff. It's really gotten me thinking about some of the things I do so similarly to elementary ed with my high school students. My mantra for the interactive notebooks has been that if a kindergartener would enjoy it, so would a high school student. So I've been thinking lately about centers and other such common elementary practices that sort of fade out of education as students progress to higher grades. I want to bring some of that back to my classroom. I saw yesterday on this blog post how a teacher used 4 standard groups each day to go through routine math practice after a mini-lesson. I love this format! I'd love some suggestions from those of you that use centers in secondary - how do you keep kids accountable? What are each of your groups used for? Break it down for me - I really want to make this work for my students!

I'm also about to post my ISN pages for all 3 preps - so be on the look-out for those. The plan is to post by topic, to make it easier for you to keep track of, rather than uploading all the pics into one huge post. Before we get there, I'd like to show you a couple of general organization pics and room updates first. 

Ok #1 is my bragging rights cabinet. Here, any time a student is proud of something (A on a test, great behavior, fast time for a math fact drill, etc.) they decorate an index card and post it for all to see. This was a picture from about 2 weeks into the semester. Right now, it's covered with over a hundred cards.

This is my "What I Respect" window - I saw this somewhere out there on the internet and couldn't find the link, but I LOVE being able to refer back to this both when giving corrections and when praising a student. It also serves as a great reminder to me of how I want to help students become better people. This actually covers 2 full window frames. Some of the words/phrases include the following: effort, dedication, perseverance, hard work, honesty, integrity, professional attitudes, encouraging words, persistence, and going above and beyond.

Here's my I Can board - just a large photo frame from a garage sale, with 4 pieces of scrapbook paper behind the class. Each class is a different color, and I just use a dry erase board to update this for each new lesson. It's hung using a command hook.

First let me say, I have NEVER had a word wall. The closest thing I've had in the past was posters with vocabulary (You know the ones I'm talking about math teachers). Nevertheless, a word wall became a requirement for all teachers in my school district this year. I came THIS CLOSE to just buying and printing one of these off of TPT. They would have been cute, simple, and would have served my needs. But then I decided that I wanted to BUILD my word wall with my students over the course of the semester. And I had a huge, blank wall. So I hot-glued (shhhh) some purple scrapbook paper up, made some letter labels, and as the semester went on, added words for each class using their class color (blue for Algebra 2 and so on.) It took maybe 10 minutes to actually put up, maybe another ten to make and print the labels. 

Ok, on to some organization! I just wanted to quickly share how I organize the MOUNTAINS of paperwork in a secondary math classroom. 

First, I have a bin for each class in the back of the room. Here's my algebra bin below. In the front, student files that hold their tests, retests, behavior documentation, homework no-credit slips, and semester-summary pages (each six weeks I have them list out each test grade, each quiz grade, and label which ones were retested and which ones were eligible for retest but not retested). 

Behind the student files, I have folders labeled 1-100. These correspond to their ISN pages, and when a student is out, they just visit that file number to get the supplies to make up their missed work. 

Next, we have my teacher files. In front (the purple files) are classroom management masters, templates, and non-content related files. Behind that, I sort all of my master copies by topic. I group the topics by very broad ideas such as "Pre-Algebra Basics," "Linear Functions," or "Systems of Equations and Inequalities." Then within each group, there is one file folder per topic. So under systems, I have a folder for graphing, substitution, elimination, word problems, linear programming, non-linear systems, and systems in 3 variables. There's also a folder in teal at the back of each group for any study guide or multi-topic review pages. I keep ISN pages in these folders, ideas for pneumonic devices, worksheets, games, centers, and even notes to myself to include certain sub-topics.  It makes it so easy to share topics with other teachers in my department - I can just hand them that topic's folder, and let them copy whatever they want! I also keep my files electronically sorted the same way - by topic grouping, and then by individual topic. 

I keep my tests and quizzes in binders, with a tab for each unit. Since these usually change year-by-year, they end up in the "review" section of the topic groupings, so I can still pull questions from them during review games. 

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