Notebook Organization Melissa, 8th Grade English Teacher

“My 8th graders were extremely unorganized and they were constantly losing their homework, worksheets, and essays. When it came time for an open notebook quiz, they couldn’t find their notes. So I modified the rubric generator for the notebook and I put that up on a bulletin board. I heard of an idea last year from another teacher in another school system where the teacher kept a notebook along with the class. So I then bought notebooks for each class and kept a notebook along with them. If a student is missing, he/she can see what he/she is missing by going to the notebook. So far, my students haven’t lost any of their work and they are forever checking my notebooks because they know if they are missing even one item, they will lose a lot of points when I do a notebook check! Slowly but surely, their notebooks are becoming more neat and organized!”

Remarkable Women Peg, Junior High School Teacher: Sparta, NJ

“During the month of March (or anytime), recognize notable women in history. Encourage students to read biographies of these women to learn about the significant contributions they have made. A list of some notable women can include Sally Ride, Shirley Chisholm, Emily Dickinson, Pearl Buck, Betsy Ross, Margaret Mead, Marion Anderson, Helen Hayes, Ella Grasso, Eleanor Roosevelt, Grandma Moses, Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis, Harriet Tubman, and many more.”

Community Awareness Ken, Special Education Teacher: Denver, Colorado

“Take students on a field trip to a community site. Before the trip, have students decide on the group rules for the trip, questions to be asked and answered, and a list of things that will be viewed. Each student should bring a notepad on the trip. After the trip, ask the children to complete a mural illustrating their experience. Permit students to discuss their interests related to the trip, divide them into “interest” groups and ask each group to write the story of their experience. Have each group report to the entire group. Collate the final writing products and have all of it bound in a book to be displayed in the classroom.”

Graphic Organizers as Learning Tools Sam, Special Education Teacher: Houston, TX

“Use graphic organizers, semantic maps, or webs to develop a theme on any topic. Start with a concept and build around that concept by asking students to tell what they already know. Once the mapping is complete, create categories that tie the various responses together for each category. Show students the relationships of the categories and explain how virtually any topic has many perspectives that can be considered. For example, when studying any given “culture,” the areas that can be explored include historical, economic, geographical, social, and political perspectives.”

Playing Detective Roseanne, 4th Grade Teacher: Big Canoo, Georgia

“Kids love mystery! Have students develop brief paragraphs about famous people in history without naming the person in the description. Also, have them describe where this person lived without naming the place. Have students trade their papers with each other (in pairs). Ask the “reader” to list the hints that are evident in the description and to name the person and place from those hints. Reproduce the paragraphs on index cards and use them as a game for the entire class at the end of the year. Great review!”

Author Month Lenny, 6th Grade Teacher: Lowell, MA

“Pick a month that you designate as “Author Month.” Divide students into groups and assign a particular subject to each group. You can begin with major subject areas like Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, or Language Arts. You can always add Music, Art, Physical Education, or Home Economics. Once the main categories are picked, ask the students to search for authors who wrote about the topic that was assigned to them. Display the list of books that students compile at the end of the month.”

Indoor Recess Thomas, 2nd Grade Teacher: Nevada

“On those consecutive rainy days, see if your school’s gymnasium is available during your recess time or day. Instead of having an indoor classroom recess, hold your session in the gym!”

“Plan The Menu” Jacky Sreans, Elementary Teacher

“In our school, we have a really dedicated cafeteria staff. Last year, they challenge the teachers of our building to use their resources as much as possible for student benefit. With the help of my principal, I was able to include a great culminating activity for my Nutrition Unit. My class researches and plans an entire week of school menu. After we learn about a balanced diet, we visit the cafeteria and learn about what foods they have available or can order. We plan the menu about four weeks prior to the serving week. The menu must be balanced and overall healthy. Students get really involved and are very creative with the menu. We submit the menu for approval to the principal and the head of food services. Upon approval, they order the items and we serve the school. This year we included our hygiene unit and actually served the school for one lunch period. I would highly recommend this activity to all teachers that have the resources to do such an activity.”

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