Don’t pay money for a plastic grocery bag dispenser. Use empty tissue boxes! Stock your classroom with at least one Kleenex box full of plastic grocery bags. They are perfect for waterproofing things for the soggy walk home, isolating stinky trash, and just generally keeping things neat.
Worksheet: Article about Whole Foods discontinuing use of plastic grocery bags: use it to summarize, as a springboard to a writing assignment, or for the 5 Ws (Who What Where When Why)
Challenge students to list ways to reuse plastic grocery bags. Click here for ideas to get you going.
Paper or Plastic? Unit by Monroe County helps students understand the life cycle of the bags and the energy required to make them.
Extra credit can be a great way to motivate your students and help them feel in control of their grades. Here are some tips to help you make extra credit a stress-free and effective addition to your classroom routine.
Provide standing extra credit opportunities that require no work from you. Writing assignments are good for this. Current event summaries, book reports, one-page essays, short stories, mini-reports–anything students can do on their own, anytime. Just create basic requirements (number of paragraphs, complete sentences, etc) and provide a turn-in box.
Use materials from your textbook for extra credit. Don’t spend a lot of time hunting down extra credit. Use what you already have: workbooks that aren’t quite suited to the current curriculum, supplemental materials from the textbook, etc. I like to use the reteach/practice sheets from our math book. At the beginning of each chapter, I copy the pages and set them out. Students can take them at their convenience.
Use online programs for extra credit.MobyMax, Ticket to Read, and SuccessMaker are all good options. They provide a steady stream of leveled material and require little or no input from you. Once in a while (monthly, in my case), see who has done what and decide how much extra credit to reward.
Create extra credit assignments in the grade book, ready to fill in as needed. I like to create extra credit assignments within a category and leave the grades blank. Input 100% if the students do the assignment. If not, the grade is empty and it doesn’t hurt them. Online grade books want a due date, so I make it for the penultimate day of the quarter. Students who like to track their grades will enjoy filling in the blanks with extra credit.
Create extra credit opportunities within an assignment. One easy way is to assign the even problems, but offer the odds as extra credit. Make word problems, extended-response questions, or critical thinking questions extra credit. Students will be more motivated to do them than if the problems were required.
As a teacher, we see a lot of kids with bike helmets. It’s scary to see how many kids wear their bike helmets improperly. The helmet can’t do its job if the fit isn’t right.
Most of the time, an ill-fitting helmet is either too big or worn too loose. As a teacher, you can’t do much about the too-big helmet aside from tell parents. However, you can help kids adjust the fit right away.
Bike helmet fit comes down to three things:
Eyes: the helmet should sit an inch above the eyes (use two fingers to measure that about an inch of forehead shows)
Ears: the straps should form a Y around the ears and come just under the ears
Mouth: the child should be able to fully open her mouth. If not, the strap is too tight.
Make sure kids tighten the strap enough. It’s scary to see a loose strap that lets the helmet come right off the head at the slightest impact or nudge. Below is a simple video, less than a minute long, that demonstrates these concepts.