Now on to Teacher Talk/Advice. If you want to participate head over to Blog Hoppin' to join the linky party.
Assign each student a special number spot (I do it abc order by first name). I use number spots on everything: cubbies, folders, student files, and line up spots. When we line up to leave the room to go to PE, music, library, assemblies, recess or any place that is not determined by choice (like going home/lunch choice), students line up in their number spots. My little friend Abdi was #1 last year, Alina was #2...and so on. At first this was kind of difficult for students to learn to remember where to stand to line up, but I had a list and helped them and soon students remember who is in front/behind them. I could quickly spot missing students who forgot to line up at recess because I'd scan my line and see a "hole" if a child didn't line up. I can sort through my folders quickly or spot missing homework. It really helps during fire drills or any time you need to account for the whole class. And there is a drastic reduction in racing in from recess (pushing and shoving) to line up first or last. When we each have assigned number spots everybody has their own place to go.
Anything the children can do to help you - let them! I have students count and take the lunch choices down, they file their own papers, self-check assignments, take out homework from their folders and turn it in, ... I admit to babying my students, but when they cut our assistant hours down to roughly 20 minutes per teacher per day!!! I had to figure out how to get all that done without doing it myself. Kids love to help and with training they can do a great job.
Document everything. I mean everything. I've come out on top several times because of this - whether I had a newsletter that explained the day books are due, a homework policy, phone calls, or a behavior tracking log. It's very important to record as close to verbatim things a child may have said, actions, or whatever it is. This makes giving specific feedback so easy whether you're bringing a child up for special ed services, or communicating expectations to parents. Document it!
Tip # 4
I'm on board with the other teachers who use a new-student bin. I use a Rubbermaid Bin sort of like this one. In it I have filled school supply boxes, popsicle sticks for my name jar, folders with welcome to school notes, extra folders for all areas, extra name tags, and anything else that everyone else has. Each year I get several new students so this makes their entry quick and easy.
I can't wait to read everyone's Teacher Talk Tuesday advice. Now jump over to Blog Hoppin' and join in the fun.