Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mixing Business with Pleasure

So, if you happen to stop by my blog on a regular basis, you know by now that I am currently in my first year teaching Civics to eighth grade students. It has been a challenging few months with lots of trial and error. I am always open to trying new things. I want to do what is best for the students, of course, but I also want to do what is best for myself. That means being as organized as possible. It really is the key to keeping stress levels at a minimum.

For those of you who are close to any children who are 13-14 years old, you already know that most of them are still a bit immature. I don't mean to say that ALL of them are, but in my experience....I will say "most." They are still learning self-control, discipline, and organization (heck, I even know some adults who lack these skills...LOL). I believe that it is a part of my job to teach the children these things. It is not entirely my job, but it is a part of what I do. Of course, Civics is important. I want them all to understand their government and the importance of their role in it. But, if they walk out not remembering any content at the end of this year....I would be just fine knowing they might have learned some self-control, discipline, and organization.

Enter my mad need for organization. I am an organization freak...spreadsheets, lists, daily planners. I live by them. I am always looking for a way to organize better to save time, save energy, and reduce stress. So, imagine how I must feel when 35 eighth graders bounce into my room with 50 questions at one time. They run right up to my desk asking all sorts of questions from "Can I go to the bathroom?" to "Can I have another homework paper?" to "Do you want to see my new cell phone?". I like to let them know that all of their questions are important, but I also want to make sure that we use our class time wisely. So, I made a rule that I will answer 3 questions at the beginning of class...the first three that are asked. The rest have to wait until the lesson is over. The students who arrive first have the advantage, so it also helps with getting the kids to class on time. In order to make this work, I have used my scrapbooking skills to create a sort of "Take a number" system. Using some of my Fancy Pants goodies, I altered these adorable clothes pins. There are three of them...each with a number from 1 to 3 on them.







I have them clipped to my podium where the kids can grab them as they enter the classroom. They then can sit down while I take roll. Once they see all of the numbers have been taken, they know that they will have to wait until after the lesson to ask their question, and they must go right to their seat. Now, if the question is not important, most of them forget about it once I am done teaching. Many times, if they allow me to speak before they bombard me with questions, their questions get answered before they even have to ask. For those who have bathroom or nurse emergencies, I do allow them to ask for that. You can tell who really has a problem from those who really don't. The system is still pretty new in my room, and the kids are still trying to get used to it....but, I believe that once they have done it for a few weeks that it will be second nature. It is all about developing those good habits.

I love that I was able to incorporate 2 of my favorite things, teaching and scrapbooking, together. I had so much fun making these clothes pins. I used paper, rub ons, and brads from the Fancy Pants All Fall collection. The tags with the numbers are chipboard tags by Fancy Pants, too. I cut the letters out with my handy dandy Silhouette! Gotta love that tool for school, too...the skies the limit for bulletin boards! How fun is that! I have lots of other ideas for my scrapbook goodies in the classroom, and I will be sure to share once I am done!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope every one's week started out on a good note!

13 comments:

  1. LOL I LOVE it!!!! You clever girl! Cute clothspins btw!

    Hugs,
    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome idea, very fun and crafty too!

    ReplyDelete
  3. First of all...I admire anyone who teaches middle schoolers! I was a sub before I became a SAHM, and middle school was usually my least favorite place to sub...

    Secondly, those clothes pins are just flat-out adorable. LOVe them!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Those are adorable Duhneed....I think I'll pass the idea on to my DD, who teaches 3rd grade :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a great idea!! Way to save your own sanity girlfriend!2 thumbs up for you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. adorable clips and a totally delightful concept! i can tell you're one awesome teacher! :D

    ReplyDelete
  7. Adorable clothespins and a very cool concept!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a great idea! I might have to pass this along to my SIL. She teaches 5th graders, and I'm sure she could make great use of this idea.

    ReplyDelete
  9. WOW WOW WOW

    Those clothespins rock and the purpose for which you made them is SUCH a great idea.

    Denine ... you constantly amaze with your creativity.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Love your clothes pins... what a great idea!!! Have an amazing week!

    ReplyDelete
  11. What an awesome idea!! They came out GREAT!!

    ReplyDelete