Friday, April 3, 2015

Teachable Moments, part 2 (the roster)

A large part of teaching relies on being reflective of one's practices.  Some lessons I've bombed and that's alright. I made corrections and retaught it with a different strategy with a different outcome. I don't make the same teaching mistakes twice.

Sometimes I embark on various different tasks and when I'm done, I realize there was a much more efficient way to get the job done.  Here is part two of teaching lessons I've learned the hard way.

The Roster 

I'm almost embarrassed to share how long it took me to figure out the glory of the roster.  With our new gradebook, it's always a challenge to find things because they aren't always in the most logical place.

In the past, I printed a roster when I needed it (which wasn't often).

After observing other teachers and listening to their conversations, I realized there were some much better uses for this glorious piece of paper.  Here are my top 5!

5) Collecting anything (permission slips, progress reports, etc).  I print a roster, label it at the top (example: progress report), and staple it to a manilla envelope.  I then place the envelope near my collection zone and place the responsibility on the students.  Whenever they turn ___ in, they highlight or check off their name.  I normally model this day one so they can see which system I'm using.  I tend to give a positive reward for turning the form in on the first day they could, which encourages them to not only be responsible, but get things done in a timely manner.  I tend not to give a negative consequence until the third or fourth day the form was due because sometimes it's not up to them, it's up to their parents.

4)  Leave it for the sub with notes about nicknames and how to pronounce any unique students' names.  Bonus points if you can print one with students' pictures.

3) Use it for informal conference notes.  Check off students' names after you meet with them about ___, then pat yourself on the back for not skipping anyone.

2) Put the roster in useful places, like by the phone and in the emergency folder/backpack.  Having a list of parent phone numbers right by the phone makes calling home (for positive reasons or classroom concerns) that much faster.  It's also great for making random groups of students or assigning writing partners.

1) Grading.  With our new system, I'm not 100% confident in its ability to you know, save assignments.  So we've had to create paper backups of everything.  However, I soon realized that if I write down all their scores first, it makes entering grades a breeze because everything is already in alphabetical order!

BONUS tip:

Using your handy dandy roster, print your student names on sticky labels (size 8 font) and put them on the back of your teacher ID.  This helps during emergencies!

How do you use your roster?

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