Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein

Oh my goodness!  A new Shel Silverstein book is out and I had NO idea it was coming!  Many thanks to my mom for gifting me with this precious collection of previously unpublished poems and drawings from one of my all time favorite authors.  I must say it is very bittersweet reading through the poems.  Here is one particularly poignant one for you to enjoy:

WHEN I AM GONE
When I am gone what will you do?
Who will write and draw for you?
Someone smarter–someone new?
Someone better–maybe YOU!
I’m trying not to cry…
~Joy

Getting Back to Reading and Writing!

I can really use some help here!  I have taught only math for the last 5+ years.  This year I am going back to teaching math along with reading and language arts.  I have some questions that I am hoping my wonderful readers can answer for me.  Just leave a comment (or two…or more!) with your suggestions or ideas. 

1. What are your favorite books to use in the classroom?  Keep in mind that I will be teaching 4th and 5th graders with special needs…meaning I need a good mix of books ranging in reading level from kindergarten through 5th grade.

2. What is your favorite tip for motivating kids to write (and enthusiastically)?  I find this to be one of the most difficult things to teach, especially when I have some kids who are currently reading less than a dozen words.

3. What other miscellaneous tips or advice can you share with someone who has been out of the reading/writing loop for several years?

I will be compiling a list of all responses from Facebook, Twitter, and this blog and I will post them next week.

Thanks for your help!

Joy 🙂

5 Teaching Ideas To Transform Your Classroom Now!

Here are my five favorite ideas from the book Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov and Norman Atkins.  I highly recommend reading this book.  It has quick to implement suggestions that will make a huge difference in the classroom.

#5.     Exit Ticket

The Exit Ticket is a very short and quick way of checking students’ understanding right at the end of class.  It can be a single question or a couple of quick problems to solve.  The Exit Ticket should be used to guide instruction and inform the teacher if the class is ready to go on the next day or if there needs to be reteaching done first.

#4.     Cold Call

Cold Calling is when the teacher calls on all students, even if their hand is not up.  It is great for keeping student attention.  It can even be used to ask the same student multiple questions in a row.  I have had the most luck with this by having the entire class keep their hands down (which is suggested in the book).

#3.     100%

This is a necessity in all classrooms.  Unfortunately, many teachers don’t realize its importance.  100% is the minimum requirement of participation and cooperation in the classroom.  When I give a direction, I will wait until all students are following it before going on.  This shows the class that I will not tolerate any student choosing to disregard what I say.  This one little step makes a huge difference in classroom discipline.

#2.     Directions

Stand still when you are giving directions.  It gives them importance and makes the students focus on what you are saying instead of what you are doing.

#1.     Format Matters

This one encompasses quite a lot, so I will just go over my favorite parts.  When students are giving answers, require the correct format.  That may be requiring them to correct their grammar or requiring them to add the label to the number of a math problem.

I truly hope you get the chance to read this book.  I came away with a wealth of knowledge and have implemented quite a lot of the suggestions in my classroom with great success.  What teacher resource books have you found helpful?

Joy  🙂