Saturday, November 14, 2015

The TICKET to Getting Your Students to Class on Time

So, you ask, what's the ticket to getting your students to class on time? The answer is literally a ticket! I am happy to report, that for the most part, my students generally arrive to class on time. Like most teachers,  I have the few stragglers that tend to arrive tardy on a regular basis. It drove me CRAZY to constantly remind the same students to get to class on time. They would say, "Yes, tomorrow I will." Then tomorrow would come and the same old students would be late, yet again.
The Ticket to Getting Your Students to Class on Time
I knew I had to try something. Something that would encourage my students to get to class on time, so that they were not missing out on the instructions at the beginning of every class.

As I was cleaning out my basement storage area, I came across a roll of tickets that were used at a past event that I was a part of. It dawned on me that I could use those tickets in my classroom. Ah ha! I could use the tickets to encourage students to arrive to class on time and they in turn, would be rewarded for their punctuality! Who doesn't love being rewarded for doing something positive every once in a while? Note, I do believe that students should be encouraged and rewarded, but not to the point where they expect it all the time.

I decided on a variety of rewards (you do not necessarily need to spend money). I started this 'ticket system' with my ninth grade students. Since they were transitioning to a new school and still trying to find their way, I thought it would be best to test out this system with them. I had approximately four students who continually came to class late on a daily basis. While this system was not fool proof, I did see improvements in their attendance (even after this little experiment was completed).

As students entered the class on time, I gave them each a ticket. Once the bell rang and students were seated, I began the 'attendance drawings'. I usually had three draws to keep the excitement going. Some prizes I gave included chocolate bars, pencils, homework passes, and even holiday-themed erasers (and they LOVED these!) Even the simplest prizes, the students enjoyed.
Getting your students to class on time! - The Classroom Sparrow

So, if you're tired of repeating instructions, talking to the same students about tardiness, and want to reward students who are constantly on time, then try out this system and let me know how it worked for you!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mini-Books: The Essential Classroom Resource

mini-book essential resource

If you've ever wondered what mini-books are, who uses them and how the heck to store them, then you're going to want to keep reading! Mini-books are an essential classroom reference resource in a compact, easy-to-use package!


Who are mini-books for?
Mini-books can be used as reference guides for not only students and teachers, but parents as well. Send home the mini-books with students, so that their parents can help them with their writing tasks, as they complete homework assignments.

What are mini-books?
Mini-books are exactly what its name suggest, a small book (approximately 3.5 x 2 ¼ inches) full of information pertaining to a particular topic.
Mini-Book Sizing (The Classroom Sparrow)
 When can mini-books be used?
Mini-books can be used anytime! Depending on the type of mini-book, it can be used as an introductory activity to a particular topic, as a reference when completing an assignment, or perhaps even as a study guide before a quiz or test.

Where can mini-books be stored?
  • Students: Binder pocket, pencil case, locker, desk, etc.
  • Teachers: If you are looking to collect these books, you might consider storing them in trading card sheet protectors in a binder near your desk. The books neatly fit into the sections and they are also easily accessible (see photo below). The transparent trading card protectors allow students to easily identify and access the reference book as needed.
Mini-Book Storage (The Classroom Sparrow)

Why mini-books?
I created mini-books so that students could easily access information in one spot (sort of like a one-stop-shop). Due to the fact that mini-books are convenient in size, students can easily store them. As teachers know, notes often go missing, so make it easier by printing out all the required information into one easy-to-access (page) book. Also, students are less likely to be missing pages or wasting time looking for lost pages. Finally, you can save paper, as one book is equal to one page!

How to use them with your students:

As students generally enjoy putting the mini-book together, it only takes a few minutes at the start to get things going. Use the video tutorial and replay as many times as needed (instead of repeating instructions). Students will easily get the hang of the folding instructions, once they complete a book or two.

Mini-Book Binder (The Classroom Sparrow)
Folding instructions:
(a) Oral instruction: A folding instruction page comes with each mini-book, so teachers can use this page as reference to guide students on how to properly create and fold each mini-book.

(b) Visual instructions: In hopes of saving teachers from repeating themselves, instructions can be provided via an interactive folding instructions video (below). Students can pause the video as they fold along, as the video does have timed sections for students who wish to work alongside the videos instructions.

*The video serves as an excellent visual for students who need clear directions, which can easily be left for a substitute or given as a homework task for the students.


All of my mini-books are bundled into this growing mini-book package. They are a great addition to any English Language Arts classroom and suitable for a variety of levels. CLICK HERE  for the link to my growing mini-book bundle. 

What's included in the bundle?
Grammar
Punctuation
Story Writing
Essay Writing
Parts of Speech
Poetry
Figurative Language
MLA Citation
Reading Response
Paragraph Writing
Friendly Letter
Point of View
Speech Writing
Homophones
Shakespeare
Capitalization
 

NEW! Mini-workbooks for kids:
Onomatopoeia
Personification
Simile
Idiom
Homophones


I look forward to hearing how these mini-books have helped to keep your student's information organized, saved you time in the photocopy line,  and provided an interactive and fun way for students to learn a variety of new skills!

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