This is my first year teaching 6th-8th grades using technology while integrating reading and history. I couldn't get a good feel for how you keep all the student's work organized. Would you please elaborate on this? I will have 12 classes...one 6th, one 7th, and two 8th grade classes a day rotating on an A/B/C model. I don't think mailboxes for that many students would work considering I would incur the expense.Any classroom management ideas are welcome!!
Wow, having 12 classes is intense! I had a colleague who used crates and dividers instead of mailboxes because of the cost issue. A personal space for each student is great, but it's not necessary. Do you usually have your students take their books home every day or do they keep them in the class?
Some things that I would definitely implement right away would be to:
1) Use your technology to give instructions. Specifically, if you have a projector and a digital camera, take pictures of desk setups that are commonly repeated and save them all to a Powerpoint. Insert text boxes that can be easily changed for page numbers. By projecting a picture of what you want your students' desks to look like you can deliver instructions verbally, in written form and visually. I know this sounds like a hassle at first, but it cuts down transitions dramatically. I'll be posting on this in the near future.
2) Have a designated spot for students to turn in assignments at the beginning of class so that they don't have to pass in homework during active class time.
3) If they do have to pass in work during class then have a procedure that is repeated the same way every time. I know a lot of teachers like to use student volunteer collectors, which is nice, but it's not the most efficient method.
4) Create a single "absent student drop-box" for each class where you drop off the day's lesson. This way, students who return will not have to ask you for the assignments.
Concerning how I keep my students' work organized, I actually plan out about 90% of the materials that I will teach throughout the year and comb bind them into color-coded notebooks that I give to each student. I hardly expect all teachers to do this because it takes a tremendous amount of preparation. However, if you can do something similar for future classes, it nearly eliminates the need to be forever making copies and passing out handouts.
Laura, I wish that I knew a little bit more about how your classroom works so that I can be more helpful. Hopefully, some of my future posts will apply to your class. For now, remember that the core of classroom management is to get students working as soon as possible and to keep them working as much as possible. Implement procedures for all commonly repeatable tasks.
I hope that his helped, even if it was just a little bit.
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