Easy Chair Numbering

Some schools have one specific teacher teach special classes like art, music, PE, health, etc. Often the general classroom teacher does that, but not always. Anyway, if you teach a class in a room with chairs but no tables (like the music classroom pictured below), this idea might interest you.
Easy Chair Numbers photo
First, number note cards from 1-30 (or however many seats you need). Consider using different colored markers or cards so you can group students easily (all the students with purple cards are in a group, etc.). Then tape the numbers to the back of the chairs. Then you can assign each student to a seat. Having numbers on the chairs helps students be accountable for a single chair if you’re a teacher who has students move their chairs around a lot.  No this idea is not complicated or extra cutesy, but it’s helpful. Also notice that the teacher divided the class up into 3 sections using masking tape on the ground. (Always check with your principal or custodian to make sure this is ok at your school.)
Have an idea you think is pretty snazzy? Send it to me (squareheadteachers at gmail dot com) so you share it with other teachers! Thanks!

 

Where Should I Sit? (Student Spacing Trick)

Where Should I Sit Photo
There are times when students need to sit on the ground. It may sound like an easy task, but most teachers have heard “There’s not enough space here!”  or “Scoot over! You’re too close to me!” right after you give that direction. Here’s an easy solution:
 Cut out a bunch of small foam circles. Then as you’re giving directions, drop them on the ground in a spread out circle so students know where to sit. This is an idea that many PE teachers use (but they use those dinner plate sized rubber circles that are pretty pricey). This idea takes the genius of that concept and adapts it to an economical, storage-friendly solution.  Just be sure to have kids return the foam circles when you’re done with the activity (or maybe right after they sit down, so they don’t become a distraction).
Have a good idea to share? Send it to me (squareheadteachers at gmail dot com) so other teachers can benefit also! Thank ya much!

 

Write On Plastic Pocket Charts

Check out this cool idea a reader submitted. It’s simple, but genius!
If you use a pocket chart to hold vocabulary words, you can diagram them right on the pocket! Use an overhead marker or a whiteboard marker to diagram words onto the clear front pocket of the chart! This way, you can leave it up for the week while you’re focusing on a specific principle, and you don’t have to write on the word strip.
pocket charts
Have any other great ideas?  Send them to me (squareheadteachers at gmail dot com) and I’ll post them on this blog! Thanks!
pocket charts 2

Minimize Distractions and Visual Clutter in Your Classroom

curtains D
Piles and clutter drive me crazy (in my classroom and my home)! And it’s not just physical clutter that I can’t stand. Visual clutter also bugs me. Here’s a super easy trick to hide stuff and minimize the visual clutter in your classroom.
curtains A curtains B
Use panel curtains and a tension rod to hide sections of a bookcase and other areas.  But more important than addressing my pet peeve, these curtains minimize the distractions in your classroom. If every inch of your classroom has multiple colors, shapes and patterns in view, your students will have a harder time concentrating on what you’re saying and showing them. I recommend choosing a solid color or light pattern for your fabric. It doesn’t have to be boring white, but it shouldn’t be super eye-catchy.  While it’s pretty trendy right now to pick a bright color scheme and use it in every pattern possible all over your room, think about what it does to your students who already have a harder time focusing. Kids only have so much focusing power in them, so help the focus on what’s really important (which probably isn’t your cute color scheme). 🙂
curtains Ccurtains E
How have you minimized the visual clutter in your classroom? Send me a picture (squareheadteachers at gmail dot com) and I’ll post it here to share with other teachers. Thank you!

Cowboy Classroom Theme Ideas

Looking for a fun western theme this year? Here are some ideas:

Word wall = “Word Herd”
cowboy theme 2

Student Spotlight = “Buckaroo of the Week”
cowboy theme 1

Student Display Bulletin Board = “Work Worth Hootin’ and Hollerin’ About!”
cowboy theme 3

Classroom Jobs = “Ranch Hands”
cowboy theme 4

 

Any other ideas to add to this list? Please comment below! 🙂

Parent Volunteers

I’ve been helping a friend plan for her first year teaching 6th grade. Here’s a letter we came up with to give to parents at the beginning of the year. We wanted to find a way to let parents/guardians help the class even if they can’t commit to a once a week in-class time. Here’s a draft of our letter. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Parent Volunteer Are Awesome!

Welcome to Miss ________’s 6th grade class! I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to work with you and your family to provide the best educational experience for your child. If you would be willing to help out our class this year, please indicate below. Thank you in advance for your help!

 Miss ____

  – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Student Name ____________________________________________________________
Parent/Guardian Name(s) __________________________________________________
Parent/Guardian phone number _______________________________________________
Parent/Guardian email ______________________________________________________

___ I’m willing to help in the classroom on a regular basis

         Day(s)/Time(s) that work best: _________________________________________

___I’m willing to help from home. Miss ___ can send things home for e to help with (cutting out laminated items, assembling packets, etc)

___ I’m willing to come on class field trips if needed

___ I’m willing to help with/come to class parties and special activities

Write Your Name (poster)

write name poster STICKERI don’t know about you, but most times when I’m in a workshop or meeting and I’m given a handout, I instinctively write my name in the top right corner. You may laugh, but that’s the kind of automatic thing we want our students to do! I saw this idea on Pinterest and decided to make my own. Some students just need that simple little reminder and hopefully this will help! This poster is the size of regular printer paper (8.5″ x 11″).

Click here to download the free PDF: write name poster

As Seen on Pinterest

If you haven’t gotten addicted to Pinterest, you should. In fact, you should join me on Pinterest and see the tons of great teaching ideas out there! Here are some cool ideas I found recently:

Hang anchor charts with fun ribbon!

Poster showing what belongs in a student desk and how it should be organized. Genius!

“If MLK Jr. Had Instagram…” What a great way to have place history in a context kids know! Click here to read more.

Letters in Environmental Print! Ask kids to find and bring in 5 labels, then sort them into the alphabet.