Search Results for: label/classroom management

Classroom Management Solution: Lab Teams

The Problem?
Student A: (grabs the tray of materials) “I’m going to pour the baking soda in the cup!”
Student C: “Ok. Student A can do that, then I’ll do the next thing.  What were the directions?”
Student B: “I think the directions are under the tray.”
Student C: (knocks tray over and grabs directions) “DUDE, you weren’t supposed to pour the baking soda yet!”
Student A: “I don’t care.  Who made you king?”
Student D: (You don’t know this student is even there because he is just sitting there.)

There’s no learning.  There’s no cooperation.  We can’t even tell what the activity is and it seems the students don’t know either.  I’ll admit it.  The first few dozen times I did labs, this scenario was about how it played out…except with 5 groups.  Other than perfecting their arguing skills, I’m not sure what else my classes accomplished.

The Solution?
Lab Team Roles!  Each student has a clear purpose for the activity.  If they forget that clear purpose, they can refer to a poster or to the necklace with their role card written right there for them!

Students practice their roles often during the first unit.  I guide them through reading directions, waiting to deal with materials, deciding as a team who does what, and checking in with each other to make sure everyone understands.

When students have roles, labs went much more smoothly.  Of course there were occasional issues, but 99% of the time was productive.  Compare that to the scenario I led with and we are looking’ pretty darn good!

Science Lab Team Roles
Want to learn more about lab roles and download free signs and necklace cards?
Stop by my TpT Store for your freebie!
Science Lab Team Roles


Classroom Management Solution: You Need List

I read somewhere that being a teacher means repeating yourself.  I don’t know where I read that or if it’s true, but I know this: I don’t like repeating myself.  I make as many things in my classroom visual and written so I only have to go over it once.  Then, if someone has no clue, I can point at the spot where it’s written down.

My cooperating teacher used “roadmaps”.  It was a list of things that needed to be accomplished and this list could be written at the board at any time.  For after tests.  For after an assignment.  But ALWAYS for when class first starts!  The “You Need” Sign part of the roadmap was something I added to help some of my students who struggled with being prepared and organized.

One of my favorite Classroom Management Solutions is a “You Need” Sign.  I’ve used this in 4th and 5th grade even though I know these are mainly used in primary classrooms.  These are cards with every supply, book, folder, or notebook that they might ever need.  I put them on the board and voila.  I’m done.  Students know what they need and can get busy finding those things.  At first, I used index cards.  Then, I started using the pretty ones shown in the photo.

When I was self-contained, I would change out the cards during our transition from one subject to another.

When I was departmentalized, I had the cards up all day for my classes as they arrived.  We had a lovely routine and part of it was checking this list and having everything ready to go!  It was USUALLY the same things most of the time, but occasionally it was different.


So Many Blog Series Posts

I’m really into writing blog series these days instead of just one measly post about something.  In order to keep those organized here are the links and types of series posts I have.

Time to Teach
Time to Teach is topic-based and written regularly with great teaching and activity ideas.  These posts include video links, product links, anchor chart ideas, and activities for the given science topic.

Science Solutions
The Science Solutions series provides solutions to common problems in a science classroom.  Examples:

  • incorporating daily review
  • encouraging teamwork
  • students tracking data
  • making small groups
  • Science Activity Time reward system
  • assessment
  • reinforcing content vocabulary
  • what to do when you don’t have much time for science
  • IEP accommodations

Classroom Management Solutions

The Classroom Management Solutions series focuses on easy solutions to problems I had as a new teacher.

Science Penguin’s Science Plans
The Science Plans series has my weekly plans for the 2013-2014 school year.

New Year, New Notebook
The New Year, New Notebook blog series has photos of notebook entries for each unit that I normally teach!