Category Archives: Student Organization

Organizational Tips for Your Middle School Classroom

 I am breathing a sigh of relief. Aaahhhh…. Can you hear it? The first day is now behind me and I’ve got only one more day of going over rules, getting everyones’ materials labelled and put away and just getting to know the kids! It’s exhausting! We’ll be starting into the actual content and course material next week and I’m looking forward to the calmness and routine of that, for sure.

 

An aside… For those of you who read my previous post about being an emotional mess because of my first going to Kindergarten – he was fine! Surprise, surprise – I know. I didn’t get a lot of details from him about his day, but he says he’s going back tomorrow, so I take that as a good sign.

 

So, since much of my day was spent trying to organize my kids and our class – I thought I’d share a few organizational tips with you.

 1) Take your students’ geometry sets, rulers, scissors, calculators and anything else that usually goes missing through the year. Label them all and YOU keep them. Distribute when the students need them and collect at the end of class. I’m trying this out this year and I’m hopeful that it’ll keep us all more organized!

2) Give your students their ID numbers and then use them for everything. I ask my students to put their ID numbers on all of the papers that I need handed in (easier to find who’s missing). I have numbered the cubbies where students store their extra supplies  (that way I don’t have to switch the labels every year) and even where students leave their footwear is labelled. My motto this year is, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” I wrote that – I did! No, I didn’t. Someone much smarter than I – but I’m going to try to follow it AND have my students follow it as well.

 

 

organizational tips to get your classroom ready for a new school year photo

Clip Art: http://office.microsoft.com

3) Have students create a table of contents for all of their notes. I’m trying this one for the first time this year. Basically, I’m going to have students go to the first page of their scribbler and label it “Table of Contents”. Then, I’ll ask them to number the first few pages of the scribbler. As we add math problems, notes etc to scribblers, I’ll first have students add a title for that material in to their “Table of Contents”. I’m keeping it simple. They can write “Math problems pg 118, #4,5,6,7,8,9” ——————————————————-PG 5,6. My thinking is that they should be less likely to tear random sheets from random places in their scribblers for random reasons. I learned last year that not everyone starts a scribbler at the first page and works to the end of the scribbler. Who knew? Multiple students would flip through the scribbler to a clean page and just start there! Oh the horror. So, this year I’m trying to use tables of contents for all subjects. We’ll see – but again, I’m hopeful!

 

What tips have you got to share?

 

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The Student Agenda – If you have one, why don’t you use it?

Do your students use the agendas that they’re so excited to buy that first week back to school? I’m lucky – many of my students do buy an agenda. Using it, however? That’s another story.

I’ve actually realized that I’ve been part of the problem.

I teach grade 7. I have been using the fact that I teach junior high, as an excuse of sorts. “They’re old enough to know what they need to do. If they don’t do it – that’s really their problem. I’m trying to teach them to be self-sufficient and independent here!”

Well, I’m thirty. I KNOW that I need to exercise. Do I always do it? Sometimes, I get lazy – plain and simple. Wouldn’t it be nice if I had a cheerleader helping me along? Wouldn’t I be more apt to go for a run? Well, I’m going to be more of a cheerleader to my students this year (probably in more ways than one). They know what they need to do (just like I do) but they’re going to need my help to get and stay on track.

 

Here are some things that I plan to share with my students to help them get on the right track with using their agendas.

agenda tips, lessons from the middle

 

Need-Do-Due Poster: Help your students use their agendas

Need-Do-Due Poster: Help your students use their agendas

 

Here are a few things that I’m also going to try this year, in regards to agendas.

1) Give students more time and REQUIRE that they use their agendas. I wasn’t forceful enough in the last few years with getting students to use their agendas – the result? They didn’t use them. I don’t plan on using my brute force or anything, but I do plan on setting my expectations MUCH higher!

2) Spend MORE time talking about the agendas at Meet the Teacher night – how I plan to use them, what parents can do to help etc. I plan to really talk them up!

3) We always send home monthly reports about student behaviors, homework etc. I’m thinking about switching to weekly reports and then having students staple the reports in to their agendas. Then, parents will know to ask to see the agenda each week to check out their child’s report.

 

I’m excited about the changes I plan to make with the use of agendas in my class this year. If you would like a copy of the tips and poster above, head over to my TeachersPayTeachers Store to grab a free copy. I hope that my raising of expectations and putting more responsibility on the students will increase their overall success!

 

What are your thoughts on student agendas?

 

Lessons from the middle, canadian teacher blog, middle school lessons