Agenda and Behavior
As most teachers do, I have my daily agenda board. I took a small whiteboard area, and divided it up using bulletin board border (idea stolen from here). I used basic chevron background and text bubbles in PowerPoint and laminated them for my categories. Again, since I teach only 7th grade math, this board is easy to update (although last year when I taught three grade levels, I had the same system, just with three bordered sections - one for each class).
In the space next to the agenda is my positive behavior incentive initiative - Give me Five. At the end of class, students can get points for each of the five positive things that they have done over that class period. Each point equals a stone that I put in a jar (bought at the dollar store), and when the jar is full we have a class party. I've found this actually works really well depending on the class. I've had students stay in class instead of go to the bathroom so they don't lose a point, and they do feel pretty bad when I don't give them points for SWAG or respect.
For my personal organization, papers I need to pass out are organized into the following bins: Today, Tomorrow, and Future. This gives me a place to put papers when I'm organized enough to make copies in advance (I could stack the trays, but I have a ton of counter space so I leave them spread out).
For student handouts, I have a hanging folder crate for any papers the students might need. This helps keep students from taking precious time before and after class for simple requests. This crate includes:
- Extra handouts - for students who "misplace" their work (I put all extra copies in here)
- Scratch paper - great for a math classroom
- Quiz reflection sheets - I allow students to do quiz reflections, and I keep the forms here so they can access them whenever they need.
- Extra credit - Each student has a Sodoku or Ken Ken packet as extra credit they can work on if they finish work early. I like this because it's mathematical problem-solving, something they can work on continuously, and fun. At the end of each quarter, students turn in packets and I give points for any puzzles completed. (Idea stolen from colleague)
Here are just a few things I have set up in my classroom to help our daily routines run more smoothly.
Bring to Class - Because of my use of math notebooks and the fact we do foldables and other activities in these notebooks, often students need to bring supplies like scissors, glue, or markers to class. To try to get them to bring these to class ahead of time (and not have to waste time letting them go back to their lockers), I put up my "Bring to Class" whiteboard outside my door (bought at Target for a few dollars).
No Name Wall of Shame - Papers with no name get put here. Students know if they have a '0' for any assignment they swear they've turned in, that they should look here. Graphic thanks to here.
Pencils - The bane of a math teacher's existence. Every year I try a new strategy to offer pencils to students who do not have them without constantly losing them, and I have yet to find the perfect solution. This year I was inspired by this Pinterest pic. Using awesome duct tape bought at the store, I put flags on all my pencils. This way, if they somehow leave my room, people can easily spot them and make sure they get back. That being said, when I left them out for students to take, I lost them within the first few months. Now I'm back to the trading system - where students need to give me something of theirs before they get a pencil, so they are motivated to return the pencils (not the most efficient system, but I'm no longer losing pencils at a ridiculous rate). 'Sharp' and 'Not Sharp' graphics from here (need to redo my "Sharp" taping to look nicer, pencil holders from the Target dollar section).
To help organize for various non-routine issues that come up, I've gotten more organized this year.
Substitute Folder - Using a plastic folder with pockets and fasteners, I've made a sub folder. In the front pocket I put the lesson plan for the day I am absent, plus attendance grids the sub can send to the office for each class. In the middle section, I have tabs that include the daily schedule (and my personal schedule), class lists, and seating charts. I still have open tabs that I have yet assigned - if anyone has good ideas for a middle school sub binder, please comment! (Most ideas I've seen are more elementary-age related, or really not necessary). Again, at some point I'll print off cute covers for this, but at this point the basic label will do.
Emergency Folder - I use this for fire drills and other emergency evacuation drills. It's great because I just grab it and go. I have a basic folder that I hole-punched up top and tied a pen to (so I always have something to write with). Inside I have the green and red cards we use to show whether we have all our students or are missing students, and then class lists so I can take attendance.