Tips for teaching order of operations part three: online PEMDAS games

mathblocksThe order of operations is an important concept in math.  It’s also a frustrating concept to teach and learn.  Most students need lots of practice, multiple tips, and a myriad of ways to think about good old PEMDAS*.

Part three: online PEMDAS games

After you’ve taught order of operations until you’re blue in the face, take a break and let some online games have a crack at it.  Your students might find that practice is a little more fun when it comes in the form of a computer game.

Here are a few good order of operations games.  You can paste the links into a convenient place for your students to choose from, or let them work from this blog post.

Kids, let’s have some PEMDAS fun!  This guide is organized to help you find a game that suits your order of operations confidence level.

Good for beginners:

Order of Operations at SoftSchools.com: I like this game because it takes actual calculation out of the equation, so to speak.  Students click on which operation they should perform first.    The program models how to show your work.

Another no-calculation order of operations game: This game also lets you just deal with order of operations, not the calculations.  It’s a good way to build your confidence in knowing what to do first.

Good for practice:

The Order of Operations Millionaire Game: practice PEMDAS in the style of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?  This is a one or two player game.

Leveled order of operations game:  This game provides practice problems that are leveled.  You can choose to deal with parenthesis or just keep it simple.  This is a good game for building your skills.

Connect Four-style order of operations game: This game can be for one or two players.  It lets you solve practice problems, then place your piece for Connect Four.   You can change the level of difficulty.

Rags to Riches: build your virtual fortune as you solve order of operations problems.  It’s fun to think about making money at math practice!

Good for PEMDAS pros:

Funbrain Order of Operations game: This one asks students to place the numbers in order to create an equation that yields a predetermined result.  This is higher-level order of operations thinking.  Good for students who understand the concept, not so great for struggling students.

*PEMDAS: Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.  Don’t get creative with the acronym.  This is what every math teacher after you will use.

Posted in Academics,Math,Tips for Parents,Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ Jun 23, 2014

 

Tips for substitute teachers: find allies ASAP

tablesSubstitute teachers are often thrown into the classroom after receiving little or no training.  Therefore, it’s up to the sub to pull things together.  I highly recommend that you enlist allies as soon as possible.

When you check into the school, greet the secretaries and other grown-ups in the office.  Most likely it will be teachers and instructional aides.  Tell them which teacher you are subbing for.  If they offer help, take it.

Once you get to the classroom, find the lesson plans as quickly as you can.  If you can’t find them, talk to neighboring teachers.  They can help you search.  If this doesn’t yield fruit, contact the front office.

If it’s close to start time, don’t read the lesson plan all the way through.  Just glance at the warnings, allergy notices, etc, and first hour or so.  Then go make friends!

Your time is far better spent talking to neighboring teachers.  The next door neighbors and across-the-hall teachers can explain little things at any point during the day.  They are a good first line of defense against unruly children or unexpected problems.

Accept the help of anyone who offers to check on you.  Remember that teachers and administrators know that children are sometimes naughty for substitute teachers.  Don’t feel like they will think less of you if you ask for help.  In most districts, there are not enough substitutes to go around, so they want you to do well.  Turn the tables: tell students that they will be receiving random inspections throughout the day.

You might find allies among your students, but be careful.  That first child who offers you lots of advice is quite possibly the class snitch.  This child will not do much to help your relationship with the other students.  I recommend getting some advice from quiet-but-not-busybody children, and trying to enlist the cooperation of students who seem like they could get squirrely.  Often if you can direct that energy into something positive, the child will be quite helpful.

Good luck!  When subbing for elementary school, if all else fails, read them a story…or two…or three…

Other ClassAntics posts on substitute teaching:

How to build emergency sub plans

Benefits of being a substitute teacher

 

Posted in Substitutes,Tips for Parents,Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ Jun 2, 2014

 

Teacher sayings and expressions

Teachers have a language all their own.  Here are some of the most common sayings.   I think these tips should be of interest to first-year teachers, parents, and children’s book writers.

  • First-year teachers: learn these phrases all at once rather than over years
  • Parents: learn to control or at least influence children the teacher way
  • Children’s book writers: add realism and familiar language to your work

General tip: tell kids what you want them to do, not what you don’t want them to do.  For example, teachers tell kids, “WALK!”  People who don’t spend all their time with hundreds of youngsters are more likely to say, “STOP RUNNING!”  Unfortunately, kids tend to focus on the action and skip right over the don’t/stop/not.  The result is that the child continues to run, or do whatever it is you asked him not to do.

Cute little rhymes and euphemisms: these little sayings help teachers convey messages that kids need to hear over and over.

  • Dot, dot, not a lot: don’t use too much glue
  • Criss cross applesauce: the new way to ask kids to sit cross-legged or “Indian style”
  • You git what you git and you don’t throw a fit: just be grateful for whatever color of Popsicle you received, etc.
  • Sit on your pockets: the polite way to ask kids to sit on their bottoms, as opposed to crouching or balancing on their knees so the kids behind them can’t see
  • Bubble in your lips: if your mouth is all puffed up like a blowfish, you can’t talk
  • Bubble in our lips, hands on our hips:  you can’t talk or poke your neighbor while in line
  • Indoor voices: speak in a soft voice
  • Playground voices: funnily enough, you never have to remind kids to use their “playground voices” outside, but you DO have to remind them not to use the “playground voice” inside.

Do you know other teacher sayings?  Please comment and add them to this list!


 

The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams by Derek Jeter

TheLifeYouImagineYour students will love to learn life lessons from Yankees superstar Derek Jeter.  His book, The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams shows students how the same program that took Jeter from scrawny eight-year old to World Series champion can help them achieve their dreams.  Here are some tips for using the book in the elementary school classroom.

Chapters of The Life You Imagine delve deeply into life lessons such as “Set Your Goals High.”  The format is ideal for a character-building program that can spread over several months of class discussion.

My sister younger is a diehard Yankees fan with a particular devotion to Jeter.  Back when she was a college student with a flexible schedule, she visited my class for lessons based on Jeter’s book.  We made an event out of it.  My sister wore her Jeter jersey while she read from the book and led discussion.  My students loved taking time to reflect on the big picture.

I recommend that you read the book on your own before sharing with your class.  Highlight or underline the best passages in each chapter.  The book is a little long to read aloud to elementary school students, but many passages will resonate with them.  It’s best to read selections from the book rather than to summarize.  That way, Jeter’s voice comes through.  Hearing this advice from a Yankee rather than a teacher makes a difference.

My students really took the lessons to heart.  They enjoyed recapping what Jeter said and thinking of how to apply his advice to their own lives.

Jeter’s advice to set high goals inspired my students.  Jeter points out that many people try to do well—but not many try to be the best.  That’s insightful.  That’s inspiring.  Watch how hard students work when they are trying to be the best, not just good.  They’ll work to be the top student, not just make the honor roll.  They’ll try to be the best player, not just make the team.

Jeter shows that when you set your sights on being the best, your idea of hard work changes.  You dig deeply and find what you’re really made of, what you really can do.  After reading about Jeter’s constant practice, skill building, and dedication to being the best at everything from schoolwork to sports, it’s hard to slack off.  I think it’s no coincidence that my class that most loved Jeter’s book was also the class that won the district writing contest for their class book.  Those students worked very, very hard on that project.  They put in Derek Jeter-level dedication and saw results.

The lesson that most resonated with my students was “The World is not Fair.”  Much of the chapter describes Jeter’s experience of growing up biracial.  He writes about how he was treated differently when he was out with his black cousins versus his white cousins.  He shares memories of being followed around stores by clerks who suspected he planned to shoplift.  He relates that being biracial sometimes affected how he was treated on the ball field.  All of my students were deeply moved by this.  It made them more aware of unfairness and more committed to helping to make the world fair.

My students were inspired by Jeter’s candid talk of failure.  When he was first drafted to the Yankees, he made 56 errors in spring training.  He worried his career was over before it began.  Luckily, Derek Jeter called on his reserves of inner strength and powered through.  Knowing that Jeter faced failure, that he worked so hard for what he has, inspired my students to overcome their own obstacles.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough!  I hope you and your students enjoy it.

To finish the post, I bring you The Play.  Jeter’s famous flip that was so cool, it doesn’t even need his name in it.   It was amazing!

Posted in Book Reviews,Tips for Parents,Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ Feb 15, 2014

 

The Best Educational Apps for Smartphones and Tablets

Educational apps are a parent’s best friend.  Load a few onto your smartphone or tablet and you are ready to entertain/educate your child on a moment’s notice.

Every year at conference time, plenty of parents entertain their young ones by whipping out a smartphone.  Kids happily play games on those things, and if educational games are the only option, you can bet they’ll get plenty of use.

Click here for a curated list of the best educational apps.  The list comes to you from Verizon, but I heard about it from graduate student Rachel Hodges, whose master’s project involves spreading the word about educational apps and tracking her impact.

Verizon has gathered free apps and, through the site, offers discounts on many other apps.

Some of my favorite free apps from Verizon’s list:

For Apple For Android
Hopscotch: coding for kids Comic & Meme Creator: tell a story with comics
Pocket Law Firm: learn the Bill of Rights BrainPOP Jr. movie of the week
Kids Planet Discovery: geography, nature, culture Skymap: GPS enabled roadmap for the night sky
News-O-Matic, Daily Reading for Kids World Citizen geography quiz
Ocean Science: explore our oceans World History for Kids: interactive timeline
Shadow Move: a spatial reasoning game Common Core Mastery: Common Core Math
Geometry+++: challenging tangram puzzles BioIQ: mathcing game teaching the parts of a cell

 

Posted in Academics,Tips for Parents by Corey Green @ Nov 28, 2013

 

Let Fly Lady Help You Organize Your Classroom, Home and Life!

flyladyI learned about Fly Lady from Dear Abby.  Fly Lady is Marla Cilley, a clever woman who helps you learn to organize and manage so you can be FLY.  (Finally Loving Yourself.)  With Fly Lady’s tips, you’ll be Finally Loving Your Classroom because it will be like you, calm and collected.

FlyLady.net is extensive, so I recommend you begin with the Get Started section.  From there, she’ll teach you how to rein in the CHAOS.  (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome.)

I was struck by how well Fly Lady’s tips translate to the classroom.  I’ll give just a few examples—I don’t want to ruin the fun of reading Fly Lady’s site.  (Really, it’s both instructive and entertaining.  Fly Lady’s writing has voice!)

Polishing your sink: for Fly Lady, the first step to organizing your life is to polish your kitchen sink, then keep it that way.  When your kitchen sink is in good shape, your whole kitchen works better.

I think the classroom equivalent is keeping your teaching surface clear and uncluttered.  Do you teach from a podium, small table, or your desk?  Organize that surface and spend time each morning and afternoon keeping it clear.  Your whole classroom will function better.  You’ll feel better.

Getting Dressed to Shoes: Fly Lady explains that you look and feel differently when you are completely dressed with shoes on your feet.  You are ready for anything.  Fly Lady learned this tip when she worked for a direct sales cosmetics company.  They required that you not make any sales calls, even from your phone, without being up and dressed for the day, down to shoes.

Show up for school each day dressed to shoes, dressed to the nines if possible.  You will feel professional, in control, maybe even fierce.  Please check out my fashion tips for teachers.  I had a great time writing them and really hope they speak to you.

Declutter 15 Minutes a Day: It’s obvious why this tip helps everyone, homemakers and teachers alike.  Clutter is the enemy of clear and unstressed thinking.

At home, it takes 15 minutes a day to declutter.  At school, a class can accomplish the same thing in 2-5 minutes a day.  You can teach your students about man hours, and why a whole class spending two minutes decluttering is the equivalent of one person spending an hour.  Your students will enjoy having a clean, uncluttered classroom and will be glad to help keep it that way.

Visit Declutter 15 minutes a Day on FlyLady for decluttering games that make the process fun.  You and your students might enjoy inventing variations on the themes for the classroom.

Take Regular Breaks: this tip is another one that translates very well to the classroom. It’s important for teachers and students to take regular breaks.  Step away from grading and chat with a colleague.  Give the class a two minute dance break.  Spend lunchtime actually eating lunch.  Little breaks help you and your students stay fresh.

I hope this sneak peek piqued your interest in FlyLady.net.  I hope you and your teacher friends enjoy the site!


 

A Smart Girl’s Guide: Advice Books from American Girl

knowingwhattosaySavvy girls will love the Smart Girl’s Guide series from American Girl.  Everything connected to American Girl is top quality, and the Smart Girl’s Guides are no exception.  I highly recommend them for classroom use and feel they would be excellent for the school psychologists and social worker’s lending library.

Titles abound, but the first one I read was A Smart Girl’s Guide to Knowing What to Say: Finding the Words to Fit Any Situation.

The books are really fun, with lots of pictures and whitespace, but ample content.  The books are easy on the eyes and relaxing to read.

…Knowing What to Say really does cover any situation.  Here are the subsections:

Small Talk (I love “25 things to say after ‘hi'”)
Asking for What You Want
Making It Right
That Hurts
Sad Times
I’m Embarrassed
Saying the Right Thing

Illustrations show students the importance of posture, body language, and facial expressions in communication.  That way, girls can make sure their nonverbal signals are on par their newfound conversational prowess.    The book is full of quizzes, simple exercises, and demonstrations.

The American Girl books are excellent, and I encourage my boys to read the fiction series.  However, these Smart Girl’s books are way too girly for boys to read with any dignity during class.  Even reading them at home is risky–the wrong kid finds out, and the boy’s rep takes a dive.

Not to worry: as a teacher, you can read the books, then teach students these tips.  (Just don’t mention your source.)  If you’re like me, you will find the books relaxing and fun to read.  You will be positively itching to share the information with students.

There are many books in the series.  Enjoy Smart Girl’s Guides to…

Boys
Liking Herself, Even on the Bad Days
Friendship Troubles
Her Parents’ Divorce: How to Land on Your Feet When Your World Turns Upside Down (American Girl)
The Internet
Knowing What to Say
Manners
Starting Middle School
Money
Parties
Staying Home Alone
Surviving Tricky, Sticky, Icky Situations
Style
Understanding Her Family

The books retail for $9.95 each*.  A smart teacher will try to get the school library fund to pay for the series, or apply for a grant—from an outside source or from the PTSO.  I really think many schools would be better for owning these books.

*They run a little cheaper at bookstores: most are about $8.95 on Amazon


 

The Perks of Preschool

As an elementary school teacher, I see firsthand that preschool attendance is a predictor of academic success.   This info-graphic from EducationNews.org explains the importance of preschool to success in school…and in life.  Teachers, parents and education majors will be especially interested.

We remember preschool as a place to play, eat graham crackers, and sing songs.  It’s so much more than that.  Students learn social skills, motor skills and academic skills as they do games, crafts and activities.  These fundamentals affect school performance immediately.  Any kindergarten teacher will tell you that the child who enters school not knowing how to use scissors tends to struggle in academic lessons.

Very special thanks to Allison Morris, who helped create the graphic and suggested that ClassAntics readers might like it.   Click here to see the info-graphic on EducationNews.org.

Preschool Infographic

Posted in Tips for Parents,Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ Apr 5, 2013

 

Doodle for Google Contest Ends at Midnight ET March 22, 2013

Calling all artistic students!  Enter the Doodle for Google contest and your art could be on Google’s home page!  You could win a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for your school among other cool prizes!

To enter, create a Google Doodle around the theme “My Best Day Ever…”   Be sure your illustration incorporates the word “Google.”  Click here to download the entry form.  The entry MUST be on the official form.  Entries can be submitted by upload through Google or by mail.  Click here for FAQs about the contest.  Teachers can download an educator’s guide, classroom poster, and official pamphlet here.

Judging will be based on 3 criteria:

  • Artistic merit: based on grade group and artistic skill
  • Creativity: based on the representation of the theme and use of the Google logo
  • Theme communication: how well the theme is expressed in the artwork and the supporting statement

Doodles that contain copyrighted images will automatically be disqualified.  Only ONE doodle per artist will be accepted.

The American Museum of Natural History will host a special exhibition of the 50 State Winners in New York City, after the announcement of the National Winner on May 22, 2013 through July 14th, 2013.

Looking for inspiration?  Click here to see past Google Doodles and here to read about the history of Google Doodles.

Good luck!

Posted in Tips for Parents,Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ Mar 15, 2013

 

An Easy Way to Remember Little Tasks

In a classroom full of kids and commotion, it’s easy to forget small but essential tasks. Here is a quick way to get organized.

I learned this tip from a school secretary, who could always remember to pass on messages, look up the answers to questions, and tackle tasks small and large. Her secret? A steno book.

A steno (stenography) book is used to take shorthand. It’s a small notebook with spiral binding at the top and lined paper with a line running down the middle of the page. Click here to order them for a good price at Amazon.

The steno book is  the best place to keep a to-do-list because of the spiral binding and nice weight to the paper. I keep my steno book on my desk by the computer so it’s easy to stay on task and prioritize.

Use your steno book to record little things you need to do. Examples:

Call Josie’s mom about chaperoning the field trip

Fill out paperwork for the speech pathologist

Print worksheets for Friday’s science lesson

Gather materials for afternoon committee meeting

Organize construction paper drawer

Gather manipulatives for math lesson

…and so on. All those tiny tasks!

This system started working for me right away. I don’t know how I taught without it. Now I use this system both at home and at school.

SUPER TIP: The steno pad became management magic when I started having the kids write on it, too. Individual requests, like “please print a new permission slip for Bryce” are so easy to forget. If a student has a specific request, I ask them to write it on my list. Then I can continue teaching and the child can go back to learning, secure in the knowledge that I will honor his request. (Students are not allowed to write on my list without my permission, though.)

An unexpected benefit accrued when students realized that my steno pad list was so successful. Some students started their own to-d0 lists and excitedly told me how it helped them remember little things that used to cause problems. Other students would look at my list when they had unexpected free time, and sometimes they did some of the tasks for me.  Third graders love to organize books, shelves, papers — especially when they have  a friend helping, too.

The steno pad to-do list helps you prioritize. You can tackle items in order of importance, or according to how much time you have. If you have 4 minutes until you need to pick your students up from PE, you might be able to tackle a small item like printing worksheets off a website.

You don’t have to write as large as I did for an easy-to-read illustration, but don’t use every line and let the page get crowded with tasks. Every day or few days, reassess and start a new page. I often found that some items didn’t need to stay on the list because they turned out to be unimportant, or they were Overcome by Events. (Something changed and now I don’t have to do it.)

Write on one side of the paper and flip to the next page as you go through the book. Then, if you want to conserve paper, you can turn the book around and write on the back of every page, going through it again.

I hope the steno list helps you feel less stressed and more organized.


 

FreeRice.com in the classroom or at home

Make your next computer-lab session a FreeRice.com extravaganza with these fun games from the philanthropically inclined quiz site.

FreeRice.com began as a fun way to while away your work day while “earning” rice to be given by the United Nations World Food Programme.  The original quiz was a multiple-choice vocabulary challenge.

Now FreeRice.com is an online bonanza of high-quality quizzes.  My students just love it!  Although all the quizzes are educational when taken by a student at the appropriate level, some become guessing-games for elementary students.  (I’m looking at you, Chemistry Symbols Full List!)

Here are my recommendations for elementary students’ use of FreeRice.com:

English Vocabulary: it’s leveled, so kids will likely spend a long time working on words that are appropriate for them.  If you get kids to really slow down and take this seriously, they can build not only their vocabulary, but their test-taking skills.

English Grammar: standardized tests abound with questions that look a lot like those on English Grammar.  Finding worksheets for practice can be difficult.  Thank goodness for FreeRice.com.

Multiplication Table: you can never have too many programs for practicing multiplication.  (In the computer lab: you can easily look around the computer lab and see that everyone is indeed on FreeRice.com and not Poptropica.)

Basic Math (Pre-Algebra) is PERFECT for elementary school.  Don’t let the Pre-Algebra name fool you; this quiz starts at a level much easier than that mainstay of junior high curriculum.  Depending on your kids’ ability to answer the questions, they will remain at basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division until they show ability to handle simple order of operations questions.

Identify Countries on the Map and World Landmarks are outside your kids’ comfort zone, and definitely outside what most elementary schools teach.  However, FreeRice’s pattern of repeating incorrectly answered questions will help students learn the locations of these landmarks.  Best for 4th grade and up, when kids really begin to learn history.

My personal favorite: Famous Paintings!  This is outside of your kids’ knowledge, but will be fun for them anyway.  For you, it’s a good way to brush up on your ability to identify paintings by the masters.

Have fun at FreeRice.com!

UPDATE: Comment by Team Freerice — June 27, 2012:
We’re so pleased to have Freerice as a Classroom Antic! Thank you for helping us to raise rice by raising awareness.

Posted in Academics,Tips for Parents by Corey Green @ Jun 22, 2012

 

Super Bowl Guacamole: Eva Longoria’s Best-ever Recipe

For years, I have read magazine interviews in which actress Eva Longoria* mentions that she makes the world’s best guacamole.  This month she was kind enough to share her recipe with Self magazine—just in time for the Super Bowl**!  Eva Longoria’s guacamole will go very well with chili.

Try it and you’ll see: it really is the best ever!  I live in the Southwest, so I know a thing or two about guacamole.  Every year, students make guacamole and salsa for the class for their “How-to” presentations.

Best Guacamole EVER!

6 ripe avocados, diced
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 medium Serrano pepper, finely chopped
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp kosher salt

Mix all ingredients.  That’s it!

If you like the recipe, check out Eva Longoria’s new cookbook, Eva’s Kitchen: Cooking with Love for Family and Friends

*of Desperate Housewives fame.  I have seen some of Eva’s movies.  I really liked Over Her Dead Body—Eva is very funny as a bride who dies on her wedding day—and haunts her fiancé when he falls for a psychic.

**Funny story: one year I asked a routine question while teaching third grade math and a boy raised his hand.  Instead of answering, he blurted out, “Okay, who do you like: the Saints or the Colts?  It took me forever to calm the class down.  I asked the boy to write a paragraph about why you don’t poll the class about football during math.

Posted in Food,Tips for Parents by Corey Green @ Feb 1, 2012

 

The b-d Method for Setting the Table

Winter holidays often feature lavish feasts, and no matter how old you are, it’s hard to remember how formal place settings are designed.  Nothing causes tension at a formal meal quicker than anxiety over which drinking glass is yours …or your tablemate’s.

I learned a cool tip that helps kids with their table manners.  It’s called “b—d”.

As you can see from the photo at right, you make a sort of “good job” gesture with each hand and your fingers form lowercase letters b and d.

The b is for your bread plate.  The d is for your drink.

Your bread plate is on the left. Your drink is on the right.

See how helpful this can be at formal dinner parties?

It remains to be seen whether this tip will help children tell their b and d apart—or create “which bread plate is mine?” confusion for students who can’t tell the difference between b and d.

Posted in Tips for Parents by Corey Green @ Dec 16, 2011

 

The Lunch Wagon

Many schools have a giant plastic “lunch bucket” for each class. After eating, students place their lunch boxes in the bucket before going outside to play. Two students are charged with transporting the lunch bucket back to class.

It’s not a pretty sight to watch students transport this bucket. They drag it down the halls and scuff up the linoleum. Lunch boxes fall out—and not all are retrieved. For the youngest students, moving the bucket is pretty much an impossible task.

…the lunch bucket system is just okay. Here’s how to make it great!

Get a lunch wagon! Ask your students’ families for a used wagon. You want a classic Red Flyer type wagon. It’s nice and strong and will last for the rest of your teaching career.

I was incredibly fortunate — one of my class families had a wagon, and when I sent out a call, they responded immediately. Then they took generosity to a new level and painted the Lunch Wagon green, in honor of our G3 classsroom brand.  We have an alcove just outside the door to our classroom where the G3 Lunch Wagon lives when it’s not in use.  We use a pretty green vinyl tablecloth to line the Lunch Wagon bed, so it’s always attractive (and easy to clean!).

I hope you and your class like the Lunch Wagon system. The Lunch Wagon is loads of fun and very useful!

Posted in Classroom Management,Classroom setup,Tips for Parents by Corey Green @ Dec 5, 2011

 

First Week of School: Learn the Names Challenge

This tip is a great way to break the ice with your new class.

Tell your students that you will do something special for them if you don’t know all of their first and last names by the end of the first week of school (or first half-week, if you start midweek).  I like to promise treats: simple snacks, for example, that I can give to my students at snack time.

Suddenly, the kids don’t care so much when you mix them up!

Practicing their names is a good activity to kill time and help with getting-to-know-you.  Perhaps you finish teaching your going-to-lunch procedure, but there are still five minutes until lunch.  You can go around the room and try to say the names, or you can have the kids introduce themselves again.

Be ready with whatever you promised on Challenge Day.  You’re giving it to the students regardless—they just don’t know that yet.

You can’t let them down after promising a treat!  Besides, if you give them the treat even after saying everyone’s name correctly, you come off as generous and cool.

At Challenge Time, close your eyes and have the kids move around so they are sitting in different desks.  Now their name tags won’t help you, and the challenge is much harder because you used location as a way to fix names in your memory.

Don’t worry if you mess up.  The kids win either way!

Wasn’t that fun?

Posted in Back to School,Classroom Management,Tips for Parents by Corey Green @ Sep 1, 2011