Three Ways to Promote a Love of Reading

Next up in the three tips series…

Three Ways to Promote a Love of Reading:

  • Let students see you read. During silent reading, the teacher should be reading with the students. Stop checking email, grading papers, or prepping for the next lesson. Letting the kids see you take the time to read shows them that reading is important!
  • Stop tracking reading. Just trust that the kids will read! When you tie a required number of minutes to reading each night, it forces students to get it done and to stop enjoying the reading. Also allow students to abandon books they aren’t enjoying.
  • Allow alternative reading choices. Some kids fall in love with reading through audiobooks, pictures books, and graphic novels. Recognize that now every reader loves traditional chapter books.

How do you promote a love of reading?

Share your tips with me @barry_christine or leave me a comment here.

Three Ways to Establish a Positive Classroom Culture

The next installment in the three things series is on establishing classroom culture.

Here are my three tips:

  • Focus on the positive. Praise the positive behaviors early and often. Pick your battles. Not every negative behavior needs to be directly corrected. For example: If a student is talking in line, instead of  correcting her behavior, praise the students around her that are walking in line correctly. The misbehaving student will likely change the negative behavior.
  • Correct in private. If a student’s behavior does need to be corrected, try to handle this correction in private instead of in front of the class. Avoid setting up a power struggle in front of the class. It won’t be good for anyone.
  • Set up means for students to praise each other. In the past, I’ve given students the opportunity to fill out an act of kindness nomination when they witness another student performing an act of kindness in the classroom. Reading these nominations aloud each week always helped to establish a positive and caring classroom.

What are your tips for establishing a positive classroom culture?

Share your tips with me @barry_christine or leave me a comment here.

Three Tips for the New Year

Continuing the three things series…

Today, I’d like to offer you three tips as you return to school in the new year.

  • Reteach procedures and behaviors. Students had a lot of unstructured time over the holidays. Procedures that were in place before the holidays (and all the sugar!) most likely are a little rusty now that kids have returned to school. Treat January just like the beginning of the school year and reteach procedures and behaviors that  classroom to run smoothly.
  • Get organized. Make sure you have a planner to write down all the important dates for events happening in the second half of the year. I also like to use my planner as a to-do list. Just like I teach the students about breaking down big projects into smaller tasks, I do the same for myself. Big projects, like my teaching portfolio, I break down into smaller, weekly tasks. It helps me to stay on task and get the work completed.
  • Try a new idea. Just like you are energized in Septmber to try out all your new ideas you pinned during the summer, spend some time in January trying one of those new ideas! Renergize your classroom with some fresh and fun ideas to spice up the winter blues.

What are your tips?

Tweet me @barry_christine or leave me a comment here.

Three Things…

Many times I like to read short and sweet posts that will help me make changes in the classroom or affirm what I am doing. Sometimes short and sweet really is best!

I’d like to start a new series that will include just three things. Maybe three tips, three suggestions, three questions to consider. I’m hoping that this short list will help you to make some positive changes in your classroom.

Here’s my first installment.

Three technology-related items I cannot live without in my classroom:

1. Code Studio: We use this site weekly for students to complete their coding coursework. I believe that teaching students coding skills is one of the most critical skills we can give them. Coding teaches critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making skills as well as programming language.

2. Edmodo: Edmodo is used daily in my computer classroom. I dessiminate assignments, collect work, grade work, provide feedback to students, send links to all students at once, and allow communication among my students. I cannot imagine teaching without using Edmodo. It is also great when I am out for the day and there is a substitute in the room because I will electronically send the assignment to my students! 

3. Microsoft Office suite: This is the program I use to teach computer skills. I teach students how to use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. This set of programs is the standard for office productivity and my students leave middle school with a good understanding of how to use these programs.

What else would you like me to cover in my Three Things posts?

Tweet me @barry_christine or leave me a comment here!

New Year’s Resolutions for the Classroom

Do you plan to make any resolutions or changes to your classroom where you return to school in the new year? Just like at the beginning of the school year, students are ready and willing to begin another fresh start in January. What can you change to make your classroom a better learning environment for everyone?

Here are a few ideas to spur your thoughts:

  • Is there a routine or procedure that you can incorporate that will help your classroom to work more smoothly?
  • Is there a new technology tool you would like to try out?
  • Is there a practice you have been using that just isn’t working up to its full potential?
  • Is there a new unit you’d like to incorporate?
  • Are there any new field trips you’d like to add to enhance your curriculum?

Try something new in your classroom in the new year!

Let me know what you try by tweeting me @barry_christine or leave me a comment here.

My Christmas Wish for You…

During your holiday break, I wish the following for you:

  • Extra sleep
  • Bathroom breaks when you need and want them
  • No kids asking, “Will this be on the test?”
  • No detention duty
  • Lots of delicious cookies and treats
  • No papers to grade, lessons to plan, meetings to attend, or disciplinary referrals to write
  • And, of course, peace, love, and happiness

Enjoy the holiday season and your break!

Every Student Succeeds Act

Last week, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act. This new legislation is a reform of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act.

The new law gives more power to the states and eliminates some federal oversights, instead giving that responsibility back to the states.

The new legislation calls for expanded preschool options and an elimination of student test scores in teacher evaluations, among other things.

I hope this new legislation will help our students and teachers and continue to expand on the progress that has been made in the past decade.

Check out the fact sheet at the White House website here.


Tweet me @barry_christine or leave me a comment here.