Teaching Techniques Tips

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How can I even out the test scores?

Kids Hate Friday Homework?

Then don't assign it. That doesn't mean that you should give students a "free day." Adjust your testing schedule and give a short test once a week rather than one long one at the end of a chapter or unit. Shorter tests are easier and faster to grade. This also gives students more grades which helps to even out those low test scores.

How do I grade oral presentations?

Need Help Grading Oral Presentations?

Are students memorizing poems? Speeches? Parts in a play? Not sure how to grade them? This scale from
A Beka book works really well:

No errors or hesitation - A
No errors, hesitation or slight error - B
Average, couple of small errors - C
More errors or hesitation - D
Not sufficiently prepared - F
Nothing at all - 0

This is very subjective, but it at least gives you a guideline to start with. Try not to compare students.

How can I have a great first year?


Be consistent. Do what you say you are going to do and do it with every student!

How can I have a great first year?


Always be careful to correct students in ways that show them respect. Sarcasm embarrasses them and causes them to react angrily toward you.

How do I handle criticism from parents or the principal?


You're going to run into it - a parent, the principal, your neighbor-teacher. Stay cool under fire. Criticism can be turned to an advantage. Instead of wasting energy trying to defend yourself, listen to what the critics say and learn from it.

How can I involve the students in the classroom decor?

Have Big Windows In Your Classroom?

Have students help you decorate them with themes from your class using Tempura paint. It is water-based so it comes off easily when you start a new unit and it doesn't stain rugs, carpets or clothes. It will really brighten up your classroom. I like to paint themes about the school mascot.

How can I make sure everyone has a book?

Students Don't Bring Their Books To Class? (hs)

Petition the principal for a classroom set of each of the books that you teach from. Students always have one handy and you never have to send them to their lockers.

How can I have a great first year?

Be Flexible.

When teaching, be flexible and ready for surprises. Principals have been known to assign teachers a single class with grades kindergarten through fourth grade.

How can I teach the children to differentiate fact from fiction?

Teach Critical Thinking

In the age of Internet, when there's exposure to lots of materials, not all of them accurate or true, high school and college students have to be taught that not everything served to them by the media, Internet and even academic books, is "true".
Here are a few solutions:
* Record some advertisements, election campaigns, etc. Discuss the "hidden agenda" and the "hidden messages" in them.
* "Tackle" the class: Give them a reading list that contains "inaccurate" materials, and discuss it after they read it. The material could be: Outdated research, an Internet site that was written by a company or an amatuer, commercial material that "disguises" itself as "neutral," Holocaust denial, etc.
* Present how the same event could be written differently by different people.

How can I instill discipline in the classroom?

Are Your Students Too Mouthy?

Communicate your concerns to your students in a non-accusatory manner. You must be very clear with your expectations. Suggest appropriate words or phrases. When the behavior recurs, address it, give a consequence, tell your students what you want to hear instead. Finally, be consistent. Do not allow them to get by with it on some occasions and not others.

How can I have a great first year?


Show and require respect in the classroom at all times. Do not back down on this one.

How can I have a great first year?


Plan relentlessly. Create back-up plans and plans for teaching students of varying abilities. Create a good set of sub plans. You never know what is going to happen.

How do I make posters stick to the wall?

Can't get those posters to stay on the wall?

After you have them all laminated, use your hot glue gun to hang your posters on the wall. They will stick until you take them down. The glue doesn't marr the paint and it peels off the back of the posters easily when you take them down!

What can I do to make my first year of teaching a great one?

Naming The Problem

Memorize students' names right away. It shows respect and a sincere desire to reach them at their level.

How can I make the room decorations a learning tool?

Need help decorating all those bulletin boards?

Use the themes from your texts. Doing a unit on energy? Make a bulletin board showing all the sources of energy.

Students love to help cut things out and even to color for you.

What can I do with PE students on a rainy day?

Newspaper Activities for a Rainy Day

Have students look in the newspaper to see how many different sports were played yesterday. Who won? Who lost? What kind of equipment does each sport use? A ball? A puck? A net?

Extend this activity by having students look up the origins of one of the sports and the equipment that is used in it.

How can I have a great first year?

Coaching and Clubs

Participate in extracurricular activities. This strengthens relationships with students and can be enjoyable. Caution: Don't allow the extracurricular activities to consume more time than it should. Your primary job (and thus your focus) is to teach students.

What if I make a mistake?

Teacher Mistakes Are Okay

Teachers never make mistakes? Right. ::rolling eyes:: And they commute to every day from Mount Olympus. Of course, teachers make mistakes. I've been making mistakes for 33-years in the classroom, especially when I write fast on the board and accidentally leave out letters.The important idea here is that I don't try to cover up my errors with, "Oh, I just was testing you to see if you were paying attention." How are children going to learn that it's okay to make mistakes unless the teacher models this behavior?

How can I make the classroom more comfortable?

Classroom Atmosphere

Teachers make your classroom inviting. Keep live plants in the room. Decorate walls with bright posters. Keep necessities in the classroom - tissue paper, extra pencils, scrap paper. Allow students to bring bottled water into the classroom. If you have room, make a reading/homework corner where students can kick back on beanbags or big pillows to work. Play nice instrumental music in the background. Students appreciate some noise - just the way it is at home. If they feel comfortable in your room, they will feel more comfortable with you as well.

How do I teach children to respect one another?

How To Say I'm Sorry

How to apologize - Admit your responsibility. Explain what you were thinking or trying to accomplish. Tell the person you recognize that you hurt their feelings and that you feel bad about it. Tell the person you wish to be their friend and seek forgiveness. Ask for forgiveness. Do something to show you wish makeup for the hurt or offense. Think over the situation and what you can do differently in a similar situation next time.

How can I help students adjust to school at the beginning of the year?

Helping your new students adjust

Make sure activities are developmentally appropriate for children. Interesting and challenging, but doable, activities will help children feel comfortable in their new setting. Make an effort to get to know each individual child as quickly as possible. Parents can provide information about children's likes, dislikes, and special interests.

How can I have a great first year?

Great Expectations?

Set high, consistently reinforced expectations for behaviour and academic performance. If your expectation going in is mediocre, then their performance coming out will only be mediocre.

How can I have a great first year?

Variety is the key

Keep students occupied to the very last bell by offering a variety of interesting choices of activities for kids, especially for when they finish work or have down time.

How can I add horticulture to the classroom?

Flower up your class! (elem)

Growing pots of flowers in class (on the windows, or on a shelf in the class itself) can be very useful.
* It can bring good fresh scents into the class, especially if you use flowers such as sweetpea.
* The children learn about the responsibility of handling living things, as well as a flower's life cycle.

Are my standards too high?

Setting Expectations

Set clear, reasonable standards that communicate consistency and high standards. If your standard is near the bottom of the barrel, then that is how your students will perform. Challenge them to work harder and smarter than they ever have before!

How do I get my discipline plan started on the right foot?

Setting the Tone in the Classroom

How do you set the right tone in the classroom for the whole year? On day one let the class know that they are safe in your room from ridicule. Tell the class that the first rule is: Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Mocking or sarcasm is never allowed.

How can I have a great first year?

Reach Out

Reach out to parents and to your administration, preferably early on and before a problem arises. If you don't, however, don't be afraid to go to them later. They can be your best allies.

How can I have a great first year?

Team Teaching

Teaching in teams broadens your perspective. It keeps you from limiting yourself to your specialty area. Meet weekly with your team, share ideas, switch classes, group different grade levels together (5th and kindergarten) so that they can teach each other.

How can I make my posters last longer?

Protecting Posters in the Classroom

Before you hang that new poster on the classroom wall, laminate it. The poster won't tear up as easily and it won't fade. Make sure you use the laminater at the school or district office!

Where can I get low-cost materials for the classroom?

Free Teaching Kits - K-12

Teachers, does your classroom need a boost? TeachFree.com offers free and low-cost teaching kits for public and private school teachers. These kits include posters, worksheets, videos, and, of course, curriculum materials for you!

How do I work with local colleges and professors?

Working With Colleges and Ed. Professors

Take part in follow-up programs for recent education graduates, and if there is no such program, stay in touch with fellow graduates during the first years on the job to compare experiences;
Give university professors feedback on how well their classes prepared you for a teaching career; and
Make yourself available to professors after you graduate to visit the campus and describe your professional experiences.

How do I develop a good working relationship with my principal?

Building Relationships With Principals

Ask for professional development opportunities, seek assistance in setting up a mentor relationship if a program is not already in place, request that a principal visit your classroom and give you constructive feedback prior to the formal evaluation period, and request time to meet with your principal.

How do I gain repsect from my students?

Should Teachers Know It All?

Do teachers know all of the answers? Of course not, but young children might expect us to know everything. Let them know right away that you don't know all of the answers, but together you will track down the answers you don't know in dictionaries, resource books, online or wherever you can. If answers can't be found, that's okay. It's the chase together that counts, not the teacher dispensing answers like a candy machine.

How can I instill discipline in the classroom?

Should teachers show their feelings ?

The idea that teachers should be in constant control of their emotions is a myth. The first week of school, I read Carol Hall's poem, "It's Alright to Cry." While this doesn't cause a rash of teary-eyed kids, it does start a epidemic of shared feelings. A good stepping stone for class discussions about feelings.

How do I instill order in the classroom?

Classroom Discipline a Problem?

Set up a discipline program with your students. You should list five things that you want as rules in your classroom. Then let the students choose five rules. You must be consistent with these rules. Post them in your classroom so that everyone in the room can see them as well as the consequences. For Jr. High and High School kids, type the list and send it home for the parents to sign.
Best of Luck!

How can I have a great first year?


As a teacher, keep an open door to parents. Invite parents in to visit.

What is an easy way to remember special occasions?

think ahead

Most flower merchants have scheduled delivery programs that you can sign up for months or even years in advance.
Avoid the last minute rush by booking ahead, way ahead.
Just give your favorite florist a list of your important dates and let him take it from there.
Also, make sure you understand their cancellation policy, credit charge dates, phone verification, etc.

What is a good classroom management strategy?

Classroom Management

Respect is the key to classroom management. Always live up to the rules you set up for your students. Keep your rules simple and justifiable.

How do I teach listening skills?

Teaching Listening Skills

The best way to teach listening skills is to have young children repeat what you have just said. As they get older, having children write what you said teaches the skill as well.

Listening skills are important since so much of the education system in place today relies almost wholly on the student being able to hear information and synthesize that information into something usable.

How do I break up a fight?

Defusing Student Anger

How do you defuse two angry students? One way to defuse anger that students carry into an elementary classroom from the playground or physical education is to sit both students far away from one another and ask them to answer three questions on paper.

1) What happened to cause the problem?

2) What will the other person say that you did wrong?

3) Why isn't this problem going to happen again?

By the time the two students finish writing their answers, the intense anger they have will probably be defused.

Give each one a turn to briefly explain their sides. Usually they will reluctantly admit to being part of the problem. And we all know that two wrongs don't make a right.

Finally, see if you can encourage them to say they are sorry and shake hands as a good will gesture. It works! I've done it for more than 30 years in my classroom.

How do I reach parents?


Reach out to parents and form relationships with them before problems ever begin.

What can I do to wake up my students?

Teacher, Phone Home

Are your students slacking off? Having a hard time curbing some poor behavior? Start a phone call campaign - students usually jump right back into the fray when Mom or Dad gets on their case. You needn`t try to call everyone at once. Pick the five students in each of your classes that are most in need of help. Take those phone numbers home with you (and your grade book) and start calling at a decent hour on Saturday morning.

How can I use the newspaper to teach about the Food Triangle?

Food Groups

Have students search advertisements for foods their families eat. Arrange these pictures into the food groups and make a Food Triangle.

What can I do to avoid reteaching the same concept multiple times?

Avoiding Reteaching

Teach in smaller chunks. Give weekly tests rather than unit or chapter tests. Given in smaller chunks, material is absorbed easily. Review as part of teaching rather than as part of reteaching becomes a habit. Every time you are going over a new concept, show the students how it relates to the old one by using sentences like, "Recall last week when we..." or "Does anyone remember how to...?" This extra minute or two in your lecture time is more than made up for in your Independent Study time. Students feel more confident of their ability, recall more information, and, best of all, recognize that they cannot "just learn it for the test."

How can I improve test scores?

Students Scoring Poorly On Your Tests? (hs)

Have students write five questions each for the test. Choose appropriate questions for the test, but let the students study from all of them. Photocopy student work and pass back out as a practice test.

How do I build good relationships with veteran teachers?

Building Relationships With Veteran Teachers

Ask to visit colleagues' classrooms so you can learn about different approaches to teaching and find one you admire. Seek the help of a mentor who has skills and knowledge you would like to develop.

How can I gain the respect of my students without being mean?

Never Smile Til Thanksgiving?

Shake each child's hand on Day One. Make a pleasant comment about what he or she is wearing. Give them the positive strokes they need.

How can I instill discipline in the classroom?

How to deal with behaviour problems?

When dealing with students, especially ones that have behavior problems, it is important to remember that the student should be treated as an individual and treated fairly. The punishment should be given directly after the incident occurs after conferencing with the student to see what could have been done differently. If you are fair, and consistent, the behavior problems diminish and often disappear.

How can I put excitement into my teaching?

Encouraging Students

Use innovations in teaching, in technology and, even, in rewards. Write student-centered lessons that require active participation. Relate information to their lives. Contact local businesses to supply with rewards for good behavior and for great work. Don't be afraid of technology - usually the students know more than you anyway! Let them teach you a few things.

How can I start the day off right?

Want to jumpstart your school day? (all grades)

Teachers, make sure that you greet your students at the door! They like the added attention and they feel like you want them there. Make sure that you shake hands and smile - nobody likes a crabby teacher!

What can I do to liven up my classroom?

Movin' On Up

See your principal to make sure that it is okay to move your class and to find out if there are places he would rather you didn't go, then put a sign on the door and move. I particularly like to go outside and sit under a big tree when things are feeling a little stifling in the classroom.

How do I prepare for a day of teaching?


This was hammered into you in college, but it is still true. Prepare for two hours - some days they seem to get it before you even teach it; other days, they never seem to get it! Be prepared to wing it too! Too much structure can make you too stressed to be creative and enjoy yourself.

How can I have a great first year?


Do you want your students to be enthusiastic? Do you want your students to love learning? Be a model for a love for learning.

What are some good guidelines for assigning grades?

Don't Know How To Grade Homework Fairly? (hs)

After all, it is just practice! Instead of grading for accuracy, grade based on completeness. We all know that students need more practice. So assign 10 points for complete. 5 points for half complete or more but not all, and 0 points for less than half. Count homework as one test grade per grading period or per chapter.

How can I get new students comfortable with me quickly?

All About Teacher

Prior to school starting, send out a postcard with information about myself to all the families. Ask them to bring in a family photo to keep in our class for the children when they get homesick. This picture is kept in their locker/cubby so they have access to it at any time of day.

How can I make the classroom run more smoothly?

Disciplinary Guidelines

Too many rules? Feel like a babysitter instead of a teacher? Get rid of some of the rules! Simplify them and let students help create them. It gives them a sense of ownership and it puts responsibility on them. As long as they aren't sticking the gum on the bottom of the desk or on the floor, then lighten up a little. Your students will be surprised and appreciative.

How can I find free books?

Free Book!

Sign up with atlaskids.com and receive the free book, Father Bear Comes Home. No, really, completely free! Sign up today!

What´s a great way to ease separation anxiety?

All about _________.

During orientation day (or meet the teacher day), ask your teaching assistant to take a picture of each child with their parents. Attach the photo to the front of a folded piece of construction paper. Then ask the parents to write a short note to their child inside the "card". On the first day of school, spend time with each child reading the notes written especially to them.

What can veteran teachers offer me?

Working With Veteran Teachers

Veteran Teachers are great for:
•Sharing lesson plans that put curriculum guides into practice;
•Supporting and participating in a new teachers' planning process;
•Offering tips on the practical problems new teachers didn't learn about in school--make do with fewer resources, classroom management, bureaucracy;
•Showing respect and collegial support;
•Observing your classes and you observing theirs; and
•Helping you locate materials.

How can I have a great first year?

Student Profiling

Have each student complete a "student profile" so you can learn about them as individuals. A profile should include not only information for record keeping and communication purposes but also their likes and dislikes, hobbies, employment experience, why they took your class, what they expect to learn, what grade they expect to earn, where they have traveled, etc. Use the information during the year to relate the material to your students. Filling out one for the class about yourself is a great way for them to get to know you. This is a great icebreaker.

How do I avoid professional isolation?

Feeling Isolated

Find other teachers and team up to share ideas with and to listen to each others problems. You need some support from others that are having or have had the same experiences - just to remind you that everyone messes up and that it's not just your students acting that way.

How do I avoid burnout and disappointment in my first year?

Reaching Students

Put aside the notion that you will reach every student, especially those in the older grades. Some students make it a point of honor not to ever be a real part of your class.

How can I make the classroom run more smoothly?

Too Negative?

Do you spend the entire first day of school saying, "No this" and "No that?" Write your classroom rules so that they are positive - instead of "do not enter the classroom after the bell rings," try "be on time." Your attitude really does set the tone for the entire year - don't make students dread it!

How can I help mom and dad adjust to their baby being in school?

Memories and Keepsakes

At the beginning of each year, give each parent the option of sending in a disposable camera, marked with the child's name. Keep the cameras all year long and take candid pictures of the children at work and play. It is a great keepsake! Parents love it!

How can I get to know my students better?

Extracurricular Activities

Get to know your students by coaching or by taking part in extracurricular activities. If you're not the coahing type (whatever that is), then go to their games, go to their plays, go to their musicals, go to their concerts. You will see a different side of your students and your students will recognize that you care about them.

How can I cut down time spent correcting papers?

Tired of Grading Homework? (hs)

Then don't! Instead, after going over answers to homework in class, walk around the class and check to see that work is complete and mark in your gradebook right then. It only takes about 1.5 extra minutes of class time and you save the effort of collecting and passing the papers back!

What are some things that I can do to have a great year?

Making Friends

It is true that your best through the year will be the custodial staff and the office staff. Take the time to be friendly, say 'thanks,' and even have students help you straighten the room every day. A little kindness on your part goes a long way.

What is a good way to picture history?


Timelines help children get a "big picture" of the time era or topic under study. Some people like to create permanent wall timelines that act as a master record of everything learned. Others like to do the same in notebooks. We prefer to create separate timelines for our individual unit topics. We have created timelines about lighthouses, flight, and newspapers. We once made a fun timeline that chronicled the space race between America and Russia. We ran two fishing lines across a room. Then using clip art, magazine clippings and coloring book art we attached the various spacecraft, mission dates and discoveries onto clothespins and attached them onto either the Russian or American timeline as appropriate. Some great online sites to help with your timeline creations are Modernism Timeline, Timelines of Art History, and History Timelines on the Web.

Is there a fun way to teach fire safety?

Fire Safety Training


Have to teach fire safety to those little ones, but the curriculum is just too boring? Try this new Sesame Street kit for free for teachers!
Fire Safety

How can teachers effectively teach geography in the classroom?

Effective Teaching Tips

If youngsters are to acquire an appreciation of the physical world in which they live and ultimately learn to think geographically, schools must restore geography as a prominent course in the curriculum. Schools can take the following steps to ensure that students become competent in their knowledge of the world around them:

1- Increase coverage of geography at every grade level of the school curriculum. Children cannot achieve geographic literacy unless they have ample exposure to the subject.
2- Teach geography as a separate school subject. In addition, encourage teachers to infuse the five geographic themes into other school subjects, such as history, economics, and earth science.
3- Add depth to studies of this subject. Avoid mentioning many geographic facts while investigating few in depth.
4- Use multiple sources and media of instruction, such as video programs, primary documents, computer software, wall maps and charts, globes and atlases, and periodicals with numerous pictures and maps. Avoid reliance on standard textbooks.
5- Emphasize active learning by applying knowledge to investigate real geographic problems.
6- Use the local community as a resource for examples of the five geographic themes. Involve children in hands-on investigations of nearby places such as farms or parks.

How can I have a great first year?

Phone Home

Call each parent about the first two weeks of school to tell them one specific and positive anecdote about their child. Send home a 5x8 card and ask the parent to chat with their child about the child's goals and parent's goals for the child for the school year. Use that card to track phone calls and notes throughout the year.

How to teach students about money?

How to teach children about money?

Its never too early to teach children about the concept of money. Even when they're 7-8 you can already explain about your balance, bill payment; show them how you make tax returns.

How can I make the classroom run more smoothly?

Creating A Peaceful Classroom

1. Have a genuine interest in your students.
Greet students at the door. Learn about students' culture(s). Be aware of teen slang terms. Offer praise and encouragement frequently. Attend to students as individuals, not just to the class as a whole.
2. Communicate classroom rules clearly.
Enforce rules fairly and consistently. Consider each incident's unique circumstances while making discipline-related decisions.
3. Be objective, not judgmental.
Try to adopt the students' perspective. Look at issues from a variety of perspectives.
4. Show that you are human.
Be prepared to admit your mistakes. Use humor, when appropriate.
5. Minimize the power differential in everyday communication.
Sitting behind a desk or standing behind a podium can send the message that you want to create some distance between yourself and the students.
6. Address problem behavior directly and immediately.
Unresolved conflicts and issues often resurface. Addressing a problem early lessens the chance that it will expand.
7. Adopt a collaborative approach.
Maximize student opportunities for choices within the classroom. Consider the perspective that this is "our" classroom, not "my" classroom. Actively solicit students' opinions.

What is a good way to enforce good behavior?

Got A Cell Phone?

Since most classrooms don't come equipped with a phone, if you have a cell phone, put it to work in your classroom. Obtain a list of all of your students' phone numbers (Home and parent's work) from the front office. When little Johnny misbehaves in class, don't write him up, don't give him detention. Call his parents right there in front of the class and explain to mom or dad what Johnny is doing. Make Johnny get on the phone in front of the class. I have done this. It is well worth the cost of the calls. It works when nothing else seems to!

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