Back to School – Fresh Paint and Fresh Ideas

My classroom wall after my awesome wife painted it.  The students will feel more at home.

My classroom wall after my awesome wife painted it. The students will feel more at home.

Monday is the first day of school for my students, but I have been at the school for seven working days.  Thursday and Friday of last week my awesome wife came to my classroom (at my request) and put a fresh coat of paint on my classroom walls.  I asked her if I could pay her, at which she responded: “You can’t afford me.”  She did an amazing job (as the pictures show) and it is amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do to a room, not to mention a few plants and a sensie.

The next item on the agenda was the OBU Bison logo and the phrase at the top of my wall which states “Honors are not for the elite, but for the prepared”, a motto that is what drives the educational philosophy of my classroom.  I have also discovered and invented some new tactics I will be using in the classroom this year that will make the educational experience for my students that much more exciting and worthwhile.

  1. My Class is Digital – I use several free digital services in my classroom to enhance the learning potential.  I use Class Dojo for classroom management and rewards for good behavior, Edmodo for turning my classroom into a digital community where students can turn in work, receive assignments, participate in polls, get push notifications about due dates and receive badges for different academic achievements or personal goals.  I also use Quizlet to provide students with a more viable and easy to use study tool that students will find fun to memorize terms.  I still provide a paper/pencil option for assignments, but students have this option and most of them will make use of it.   Students may also use their cell phones and wireless devices/laptops in my classroom as long as they are using them for educational purposes.
  2. Riding the Bus – I will be taking time after school (of my own accord) to ride a two bus routes a week.  What this will accomplish is for me to see where the students live in my district and what type of living conditions they have.  This will go a long way to helping me understand where my students come from.  I think every teacher should do this every year.
  3. Bloom’s Questions – One form of homework in my classroom is that students must not only read the text assigned, but write a certain point value of questions for use in discussion groups the next day.  They have the 6 different levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy along with question stems and verbs for use with each level.  Knowledge based questions are worth 1/2 point while Evaluation level questions are worth 5.  If I assign, say, 10 points worth of questions, a student can write 20 Knowledge based questions or 2 Evaluation based questions….but wait until I start assigning 20 points worth <grin>.
  4. My desk.  I still have to get a few more framed pictures on the wall, but it's looking good.

    My desk. I still have to get a few more framed pictures on the wall, but it’s looking good.

    Write the Test – I provide my students with question stems and instructions about creating expert multiple choice questions.  Twice a week, students will have to create at least one multiple choice question about the text they are reading and will have to read it to their small group.  The goal is to stump the small group.  From these questions, I will create the unit test.

  5. Carousel – I have placed dry erase boards around the room with a cork board next to it.  I will place terms with their definition on the cork board and then each group will find a dry erase board (there are 5).  Students will take a text they are reading with them and will find every example of the term in the text that they can in 2 minutes and list it on the dry erase board.  After 2 minutes, they move clockwise around the room to the next term where they add to the previous group’s examples.  After 10 minutes, we discuss the examples they found and why the examples best represent the terms.

Author PictureRoger Colby is an English teacher by trade, making the lives of teens in his class difficult and yet rewarding even if they cannot see the use for the important skills he is teaching them (for the most part).  He is a father of four rambunctious children and is husband to a wonderful, understanding wife who gives him space to write about weird places and even weirder happenstances.  He has many dogs, cats, chickens, birds, a turtle, a gecko and a hamster.  It is a noisy house.

 

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One thought on “Back to School – Fresh Paint and Fresh Ideas

  1. Pingback: The Day Job | Writing Is Hard Work

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