Thursday, May 11, 2017

Was Johnny in class today?

As the school year comes to an end, and also my maternity leave, I am doing a lot of thinking about what can I do to get better in the classroom. Because, let's be honest, we all can get better... and I personally think that if you think you are perfect in the classroom, then the classroom is not where you should be spending your days... Teachers need to constantly seek ways of improving... your lessons, your interactions with students and staff, your leadership, classroom management... everything. Change things around, be creative, be innovative, be spontaneous.

One of the things that I have been thinking about A LOT is flexible seating, and whether or not I can do it in a high school classroom. I don't think I am ready to implement it any time soon, but I keep thinking about it, reading about it, looking for ideas and guidance... Maybe one day.

And WHAT I REALLY WANT TO GET BETTER AT is keeping track of attendance. Why is it so difficult for me to take attendance? Thank goodness this year I don't have a Home Room! First year in the ten years I have been teaching at my high school. You have no idea how many times the secretary has asked me to submit Home Room attendance through the PA system. Embarrassing.
I've thought about putting a student in charge of reminding me to take attendance. I have a post-it on my desk that says ATTENDANCE with big bold letters.... nothing. I keep forgetting. So when I go back on the 25th of this month I am taking this picture with me:

Knowing me, I'll stare and the picture without even reading what it says in it...

Have a great end of the school year everyone!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Extra credit? Yes, please! An end-of-the-school-year tip for you and your students!

Can you believe the end of the school year is around the corner? And with it, students last minute anxieties and the inevitable question "can I do some extra credit?" My answer, "yes!" And no, I don't give them the kind of extra credit that will make my life busier than it already is with three kids of my own. Because let's face it, most of the students that ask for extra credit are not exactly asking to go from an A minus to an A (although I always have a couple of them). These students struggle, for whatever reason, in our classes. So why give them extra credit that involves more studying?

So, this is what I offer them to do. Pick a topic, any topic that has to do with Spanish (preferably something that we have done/studied that year in class) and create something that I can use for my future classes or to decorate my classroom. Anything? they ask surprised. Yes, anything. I ask them to check with me before they start working on it. I then add a couple of points to their fourth marking period grade. Throughout the past three years (when I started offering this option), I have gotten all kinds of cool things for my room. Grammar posters, cultural posters, Frida and Picasso's paintings (these high-schoolers are so talented!), games, calendars, videos (grammar and those "Visit Spain" kind of videos), stories to do TPR with my IEP driven class...

With this simple, no prep (yay!) thing, your students are happy (yay again!) and YOU get cool things for your room! (yay, yay and yay!)

Now, if you want to read other tips for the end of the school year, don't forget to visit these amazing teachers' blogs posted below.

And don't forget to enter into the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a TPT card! How cool is that?

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