Sunday, November 11, 2012

Teaching Tips

I'm linking up with Miss Kindergarten for a teaching tip party!

Here are a few things that have worked well for me: 

Tip #1: Highlight your masters!

Have you ever accidentally put your master in with your stack of copies to hand out to the kids? Make a mark on it with a highlighter so that if one of the kids happens to get it, they know to give it to you and to get a copy WITHOUT a highlighter mark.

Tip #2: The fix-it game

I use this game when I want my room cleaned and straightened FAST! All I have to do is say "Mrs. Abeyta has something that needs to be fixed!" That is their signal to go around the room fixing as many things as they can. Whoever fixes the thing I'm 'thinking of' gets to pick a prize out of my treasure box (really, I just pick out someone who has been an extra hard worker that day and pick something they fixed...shh! Don't tell!) After the room is neat and tidy, I tell them to stop and they all come over to the carpet. I give them 3 clues (first letter of their name, last letter of their name, how many letters they have, a word their name rhymes with, etc.) for the person that fixed it.

Tip #3: Cutting out lots of things at once

Ok, so this is a trick Mr. Abeyta came up with. I needed to cut out some little booklets for my kids (I knew there would be no time during class for them to do this) and recruited Mr. Abeyta to help.

I was cutting out 3 at a time...because if I did more than that, the pages would move while I would cut. He takes one look at what I'm doing (and how many more pages I have to cut out) and says "There has to be a faster way to do this."

And there was.

He took a stack of about 7-10 papers, stapled them together at the top and bottom of the page and began cutting away. Genius! No papers moving around! Doing this seriously cut my time in half....maybe even more.

Tip #4: Make the small things fun!

I honestly feel like a large part of teaching is figuring out how to constantly keep them engaged...a.k.a 'entertaining them'. Doing random, silly things has helps me get/keep their attention. Here are a few examples....
  • When we are sitting at the carpet, sometimes I need them to turn their bodies and face a different direction (like when I want them to face my big white board instead of my easel). To do this, I say "I need to you to swivel and face the white board in 3." Then I count "1-2-3 SWIVEL!" When I say the word swivel, they swivel their bodies FAST and are in listening position. For some reason, they get a kick out of doing this...and I don't lose their attention during the transition. 
  • When we are getting ready to read something with a pointer, I make sure everyone's eyes are following my pointer...I'll (dramatically) move my pointer up, down, side to side, all around and wherever I move it, they follow it with their eyes so I can tell they are watching...and then we begin!
  • When I dismiss them back to their desks, I'll make them go back doing silly on their tiptoes, or marching back to their seat, dancing back to their seat, etc. But HOWEVER they go back, they are expected to go back quietly otherwise Mrs. Abeyta will go back to dismissing them the boring way (walking)
  • During calendar time, we will skip count by 10s, 5s, 2s while we do jumping jacks, hop, do a funny dance move  etc. or sometimes we will have a 'skip count contest' between girls and boys (whoever counts the loudest and stays together wins). 
 Make sure you head over to the party to get lots of tips or share some of your own! There are some great ones there already...and many more to come, I'm sure! 


  1. These are some great tips. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thanks for sharing your tips, they were all fantastic. I LOVE the idea of stapling sheets together before cutting. . .GENIUS. I'm glad I found your blog today, looking forward to some more great ideas.

    ✰ Stacy

    Simpson Superstars

  3. I love the idea of stapling things together before cutting them out! I highlight my masters like you do. It is quite helpful. Great tips.

    Surfing to Success

  4. I like all your tips for making the "small things fun!" I've been teaching first grade for 27 years and still LOVE it! I'm glad you love it, too!!
    I am a new follower.
    Connie Anderson:)

  5. Great ideas!! First grade is tons of fun... I taught it for 7 years straight until I moved up to 2nd. =) My sister and I are your newest followers! -Jackie-

  6. Thank you so much for sharing! I always try to make things fun, until they can't handle the fun of course. Anytime I really want them to listen hard I tell them I am going to tell them a secret and I swear them to secrecy! They get a huge kick out of that! I am a new follower!
    Second Grade is Out of This World

  7. Hi there! So nice to meet you through the LINKY!
    I have enjoyed reading your post and LOVE your transition ideas!
    Getting the maximum out of those few minutes can make or break your day, especially in first grade!
    Looking forward to following your blog and stop on by anytime for a visit!
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Ms. Marciniak's First Grade Critter Cafe