Every grade has it’s own challenges and rewards when teaching. Regardless of the age of the students you teach friend drama always seems to occur at some point or another. How do you handle the best friend break up or the partner pair that just throws the whole class off?
Friend drama or students who plain dislike each other can leave you as the mediator and tangled in some sticky situations. Who will work with who today? Are they going to be speaking tomorrow? Oh no tears!
Here you will find some useful tips I have learned from working as a camp counselor and in an after school program setting. I hope you find them helpful!
Learn and Grow!
- It’s ok not be be friends with everyone. / You don’t have to like everyone you just have to try and get along.– You don’t have to be friends with everyone. They can just be your classmate and someone you are nice to in school, on the playground, if you see them at the store… You don’t have to invite them to the movies or over to play if you don’t want to. However, in this room we are kind everyone.
- If you want to be a friend ,be nice, be a good friend.– What does it look like to be a good friend? Do you stick up for them if someone says something mean or ask them whats wrong if they look sad? What would you want in a good friend? Don’t say or do something mean to them because you would not like it if you were in their shoes.
- ALWAYS REMEMBER! Friends can not be forced!- Friendship happens over time. Sometimes you and someone will play a lot on the playground or sit near each other on the bus, but it might not mean you are friends. What do you know about them? Do you do nice things for them and play together or hang out together outside of school? Friendship takes time and work.
Students work all work at different paces. Having 5 yell ‘I’m done! What now?’ , can be a challenge when you are trying to help another student or pick up the phone. Early finishers are perfect for students who need extra engaging tasks after the assignment is finished. They allow their peers to keep working and you to help others or answer the phone that keeps ringing in ELA!
Included here are some nice ways and ideas for using early finishers in your room. Check out the images at the end of the post for even more ideas!
- Write one task on the board for students to do if they finish early.
- Leave an early finisher bin in the room. Students can select an early finisher activity to complete from the bin.
- Have an “I’m Done” jar with tasks students can do.
- Allow students to do homework.
- Do you have class jobs? Maybe you are the mailbox sorter and have not sorted! Ask to sort the mail.
- Write a friendly letter to a classmate.
- Have a shout out jar. Ask the students to write a shout out of something they saw a peer doing that was nice and put in in the jar.
- Have some Madlibs photo copied for a fun Friday!
Bell ringers , morning work, brain worm ups, whatever you decide to call the first task of the day is fine by me! I love the idea of giving students a task, brain teaser, or word problem to get their brains in gear and help them settle in for the day ahead. The bell work usually takes 5 minutes but can last longer you will visually see all students are ready to learn when they have to bell work completed. No wandering students here! The morning work helps not only the students mentally prepared for the day but, if students are given breakfast in the classroom they know to sit and eat at their desks. You can establish a book and break fast routine. Hey, gotta get those 2o minutes in someplace! Here (and in the images) you will find ideas of bell ringers to get your class’s brains in gear.
- Read 2o minutes while having breakfast.
- What is going on in a picture in a few words or phrases.
- Word of the day! Can you use it in a sentence?
- Give students a journal prompt. ( What did/ will you do this weekend?)
- Put a BIG word on the board. How many other words can the make using those letters?
- Pull out a prefix card or two. How many words can they make using those prefixes?
Self Correcting Materials
If I had to list some of my top favorite classroom items self checking materials would make that cut, especially during stressful weeks. I have honestly asked myself many times, Didn’t I just grade this? after the 3rd round of editing or endless piles of mad minutes.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the term or unsure what self checking tasks can be a huge time saver and many examples are posted here! Keep reading for ideas and links to self checking games, activities, worksheets, and other items to use in your classroom.
List of Ideas: * You will find images for many of these ideas lower down or in the links section*
- Flash card games, here are some links for FREE flash card to use in your room. All you need to do in download and print the PDFs. This site has daily routine and emotion cards, perfect for your special education room.
- Color the answer math worksheets (Mystery picture math)
- Color by sight word (Similar concept to above)
- Solve a riddle after your work is completed pages
- Puzzles students can match math facts, parts of speech, words to colors, or anything else you can think of.
- Computer programs ( Many tell students to re-do what they got wrong or keep them on level until a concept is completed. There are also programs and games that can e-mail you with student quiz results!)
- Online math and language games
- Matching activities
- Window reviling cards
- Flap fold over papers
- Quizlet (depending how you use it)
- Board games for review or understand language/ math skills, takes a bit of time to create but can be used year to year if laminated. Move forward if correct and back if not. (Try to use popular games students know such as Sorry, Monopoly, Shoots and Ladders etc. Many old boards can be gotten at Goodwill and reused for this!)
Links for others who have great ideas!
–https://www.ixl.com/ ( This site has games and quizzes for kids to use at various levels independently)
-Tired of correcting mad minutes? There is a link for that!Mad Minutes of Mad Fun!
-This website has a bunch of downloadable games and activities. They are not all self correcting but they are almost all FREE! The site includes graphic organizers, printable pages for handwriting, behavior management printouts, and more.
Can be created in various content areas but this was a nice example
The ‘cootie catcher’ is back and better than ever! Students will love this and use it since it is fun ! They are easy to make for most students and can be created for various levels in less than 5 minutes.