Open Thread: Teacher Pro-Tips

What’s your favorite, probably under-appreciated teacher advice?

Here’s mine:

Hole punch every paper you give students.

Copying a quiz? A class assignment? Whatever it is, put holes in it for their 3 ring binders before you hand it to the kids. Their organization will be miles better.

What’s yours? Put ’em in the comments.

hole punches.jpg

9 thoughts on “Open Thread: Teacher Pro-Tips

  1. 1. Give every kid a binder that they keep in the classroom. (I don’t know if this is a global pro-tip but it made a huge difference for me.)

    2. Make a checklist for what to do during every afternoon after teaching; even make a checklist for what needs to happen during that weird planning period that you don’t always use efficiently to plan ahead. (Again, this is probably just for me.) I had one last year and it was amazing. Then I had a baby and my organizational life fell apart, but I need to get this up and running again for the second semester.

    3. The smartest thing I ever did I only ever did once, which was I set up calendar reminders in August for all the things I forget are coming in the school year.

    4. Scan quizzes.

    • Dude — there’s gold in these tips. Thanks for sharing!

      1. What’s the purpose of the binder if they can’t refer to it outside of class? (Disclaimer: I’ve done this before to mixed reviews.)

      2. Ooh, totally wonderful idea.

      3. Yes! I do this, too. Especially those obligations that fall outside the regular workday. My pro-tip to your pro-tip is to have a reminder come in about a week before events that require prep or notification of the spouse.

      4. Tell me more about this. Is it about keeping a record of student work, especially as it develops through the year?

      • Re 1: It serves a bunch of purposes. First, I don’t like giving kids time to take notes but some kids really get nervous without a physical record of what we’ve done in class. Here’s a binder for ya, kids! Second, it makes it easier to continue work after the bell rings without me collecting and redistributing it the next day. Third, I can make sure kids have things like blank paper in there, some kids leave pens there. And then another thing: if kids are sick, I just put extra handouts in their binder and they’re waiting for them when they come back.

        Re 4: Probably only helpful because I write such long anecdotal reports on kids each semester. A better pro-tip, for anecdotes, is taking a picture of the whiteboard with the kids’ idea on it with their name written next to it, so I can remember when I’m scrolling through pictures months later.

  2. During a quiz lay a few answer keys in the back of the room, along with a few colored pens. Have kids make corrections to their quiz immediately after the quiz. The immediate feedback helps the kids with response reflection and error detection. Also, the “how did you do?” Conversation afterwards doesn’t involve guesswork.

  3. Create a Google spreadsheet class roster with the first name, last name, email, id, parent emails, and anything else you think you might need often. Having this info in a spreadsheet makes it way more flexible for future use—it’s easy to copy and paste a bunch of parent or student emails if you want to email a group, or simply to keep a record of who turned in that permission form that you want to track but not put into the gradebook.

    • Populate it via google form. I also ask kids what activities they’re involved in (Varsity sports; drama; clubs; etc) so that’s in my spreadsheet too.

  4. I also like to alphabetize all of the work on paper as soon as it is submitted, and then usually make PDF scans of it using our multifunction copier. Alphabetizing makes it much easier to enter scores into whatever gradebook you are using. Having a PDF copy of every piece of work students have ever turned in has been useful to me in hundreds of ways—from the kid who lost their test and would like a copy, to when I’m writing comments and want to see exactly how a student’s written work has changed over the semester.

  5. Write absent students’ names on the handouts/quiz/worksheets to help remind you that they missed that piece of information/assessment.

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