Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Classroom Management Ideas for Less Teaching Interruptions


Student outbursts are the most common cause of classroom interruptions. These interruptions can break your teaching momentum and cut down on teaching time and student engagement. Two solutions that can lessen these interruptions are (i) to have a system for anonymous reporting of classroom issues and (ii) to make a game of tracking the amount of interruptions with students for them to decrease the amount the next day. These ideas are simple ways to have less interruptions from students while you are teaching. 

I love to share awesome classroom management tips. As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a commission for purchases using my links. Learn more. The ideas and paid links below are based on Amazon finds that are helpful for reducing the amount of teaching interruptions in your classroom.

Track the interruptions for each dayUse handheld counter trackers for classroom management. Every time there is an interruption, make a click on the counter. The next day, students can try to come under the previous day's number of clicks. It helps to prevent kids from constantly calling out in class. You can wear a small counter tracker on your finger, or use a handheld counter with a lanyard for the wrist. I prefer the finger tracker because it is more discreet. It can also be used for tracking the behaviors of individual students. Check out these free templates for tracking student behaviors.

 
Have a Confidential 'Report It' box: Having a "report it " box system in your classroom, allows students report to you any issues they feel you should be aware of, inside and outside the class. That way, you would not need to be spending time during the day dealing with issues. Check the report box after school and address the issues with individual students. Students can use the box as they feel necessary. Let them know that you are the only one with a key and that their reports will be addressed. Any opaque locking suggestion box, like this blue one, will do. I found this free template of storage box labels that you can use for your 'Report It' box labels. It is an editable file. There are also tons of free incident reporting forms on TpT that you can have for the report box.

More ideas will be added soon.

Saturday, 7 May 2022

How Can Teachers Save Their Voices


Many teachers end up shouting more than they need to on a daily basis in their classrooms. If the class gets too loud, or if we need to get a student's attention, our first instinct is to shout. There are other things that teachers can do in these situations other than yelling. Teachers can use electronic devices like wireless doorbells and voice amplifiers to save their voices. The use of wireless doorbells is a game changer in classrooms, and now teachers do not have to yell over the class anymore to get their attention. Voice amplifiers are small enough to be wearable and easy to use. Teachers can also keep voice level posters and lighting systems up as reminders for students to be aware of their levels. This can be part of a voice level management system.

I love to share helpful classroom teaching tips. As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a commission for purchases using my links. Learn more. The ideas and paid links below are based on Amazon finds that are great for keeping your classroom's noise level under control, without having to use your voice.


Use wireless doorbells: Teachers no longer have to go through the list of chants to quiet their students. Even if you love doing it, it can take a toll on your voice. Wireless doorbells are what every teacher needs to give their voices a rest. In its simplest form, when students get loud, just push the button and the doorbell rings, they'll know that this is the cue to quiet down. This can prevent you from having to raise your voice. With most doorbells, there are tons of different sounds to choose from. You will have to set out guidelines with your students for using it, to know that with the different sounds that they hear, one means time to settle down, or clean up, etc. It’s especially great when wearing face masks in the classroom. Since your voice does not carry as well in the mask, the doorbell does the trick. You can use a clear view hand sanitizer sleeve and attach the handheld part to your lanyard.

Use a Voice Amplifier: With an amplifier, you can use it while wearing a mask for students to hear you better and understand what you are saying. You can talk at a normal voice and not strain your vocal cords.

 

Have a voice level management system: Have a bulletin board or posters with voice levels described with corresponding tap lights next to each level. Tap the light for the level that students nedd to be at. Paddle hand signs for class instructions can also be used as part of your voice management system. The bulletin board above reads 'Too much noise means less work'.  

More ideas will be added soon.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Teacher Carts for Moving from Classroom to Classroom


Do you teach different classrooms and need to carry your teaching materials from class to class everyday? Teacher carts can give you the storage and the flexibility to work anywhere in your school. They make your laptop, folders, and teaching aids easy to move with for times when you have to go into another classroom. Generic podiums and lecterns are expensive for a school teacher budget but these mobile teacher carts are a great alternative for their price and versatility. There are different types of teacher carts that can suit your specific needs. Even within the classroom, you know that teachers hardly ever sit. Using mobile desk carts for your classroom can allow you to monitor what students are doing. You can roll right up behind misbehaving students, during the lesson, as a proximity classroom management tool. The different types of mobile carts that teachers use are desk carts, trolley carts, and  mobile podiums and lecterns with shelves.

I love to find awesome classroom decor ideas. As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a commission for purchases using my links. Learn more. The ideas and paid links below are based on Amazon finds that show how teachers are using mobile carts in their classrooms.

  • Roll with a Mobile Desk: If you are constantly on the move at your school, this mobile desk can hold everything you need for teaching different grade levels, including your laptop. You can use two zip ties to attach a power strip to make it a mobile desk with the ability for electricity access. For moving around the classroom, you can use it while demonstrating with a projector. It has a shelf for the remote and storage on the bottom. It is adjustable, so it can even work as a podium for students when giving oral presentations. It adjusts up and down well for standing and sitting. The wheels lock if you don't want it to roll.
 
These are other types of mobile desks above. Click on the pictures to compare prices.


 
  • Mobile Podium: Small mobile podiums are great for classroom presentations and teaching. This podium has a second shelf for storage. The holes in front allow for you to hang different plaques in front and change them easily. 

  • Use a mobile lectern: This is a podium with lots of storage that can keep your laptop and textbooks handy, and it can move easily around your classroom. It is not too wide so that it can move through isles comfortably. I would not recommend it for rolling on carpets though.


  • Trolley carts: Trolley carts like the 3-tier carts are must-haves for a teacher that moves from classroom to classroom. There are actually different styles to choose from and you can see them all in this blog post.

  • Rolling Crates: A roller crate is smaller than other carts but is usually very strong for holding teaching materials. Some teachers use them for carrying all the classrom laptops from one classroom to another, or for carrying student lunches. You can use them for carrying your own classroom supplies or special equipment for your students like lab supplies or library books.

Getting the right furniture for your classroom is vital for having efficiency for your work flow and for your students' comfort. You may find useful information in these other posts about classroom furniture below.







Monday, 2 May 2022

Classroom Reading Nook Ideas


These are layout ideas for your reading nook or independent reading area of your classroom. A reading nook should have a calming atmosphere that is comfortable and quiet. Even the tiniest space can be turned into a reading corner that is soothing for students who want some alone time with a good book. Important things that you can have in your reading nook are tons of leveled books, comfortable flexible seating, extra pillows, wall posters and decals, etc.

I love to find awesome classroom decor ideas. As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a commission for purchases using my links. Learn more. The ideas and paid links below are based on Amazon finds that are great for making a classroom reading nook.

 

  • Use bookshelves to section off your reading nook: If you have two or more bookshelves, arrange them around your space to create your reading nook area. The shelves will help to block out distractions so that students can read in peace.

 
  • Plush rugs and soft pillows for cushioning and comfort: A plush rug in a solid color makes a reading nook inviting because kids love the feel of a soft carpet. Add throw pillows to match your theme for even more soft comfort. 

  • Milk cratesMilk crates can double as seating stools and book storage seats in small classroom reading nook.

  • Add a picture backdrop for Ambience: Use a party backdrop that matches your classroom theme to give a warm ambience to your class. The theme for the classroom in the picture above is a camping/woodland theme and the teacher added this forest scene camping backdrop under the bulletin board. Lots of options for backdrops can be found here at Amazon.

 
  • Use Wall decals: Decorate the walls with a wall decal to set the tone for a calming atmosphere or to have elements that match your classroom theme.

For more classroom library organization tips, check out this blog post about easy ways to make a classroom library.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

How to Store Classroom Chromebooks

classroom Chromebook organization

Do you have a dozen Chromebooks and cords all over your classroom? It is easy to create an organized system for storing them without taking up too much space in the classroom. You would need a cart or rack to be sturdy, but also easy to maneuver for keeping the Chromebooks organized and charged. The labels should be clear enough for students to know which Chromebook, charging cord, and charging port is assigned to them. 

I love to find awesome classroom decor ideas. As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a commission for purchases using my links. Learn more. The ideas and paid links below are based on Amazon finds that are great for your classroom Chromebooks. The most affordable Chromebook storage and charging stations are at the bottom of this list. The last four bulleted points below are cheap DIY hacks for storing Chromebooks, all you'll need are kitcken storage racks.

(Sorted by price in ascending order)

  • Black Chromebook Storage Cart: If you need a Chromebook cart that does not take up a lot of room, this Chromebook cart should be an ideal solution. It holds up to 14 Chromebooks, and there is cord management on the back side of the charging cart and a tray for the cords and power packs on the bottom of the charging cart. A mobile cart like this keeps the Chromebooks together and makes it easy to move from room to room.

  • White Chromebook mobile cart: This metal mobile cart holds up to 16 Chromebooks for students to use. The back is laid out nicely with room to store and plug in all the chargers, and there are clips to guide the cord placement for each slot. Its design makes it easy to plug in and unplug the Chromebooks. Just be sure to number the slots and Chromebooks for optimum ease and organization. It rolls around and if you need to move it you only have to unplug one plug.  Also, it is super easy to keep all of them charged up for the next day in class. In a classroom setting where you have a number of laptops and Chromebooks, this is essential equipment. 

  • Metal Locking Charger Box: This Chromebook charger box can be mounted on a wall or kept on a counter. Many charger boxes look cluttered with the cords hanging all over the Chromebooks. In the picture above, the teacher created a solution for her cable management by adding a piece of plyboard to the inside of hers to keep the cords separate from the laptops. This is how you can do it too if you have a similar problem: Cut a 3/8" piece of plywood to fit the inside dimensions. remove a couple of the dividers temporarily to get it inside the case, mount it with screws through the vent holes and put the dividers back in. Put the back screws in first on either side, plug the chargers in and then lift the shelf into place and put the front screws in. Bundle up the charger cords and cable tie them while leaving a tail for the part that plugs into the Chromebook. Use cable clamps with a short screw and to hold the cables in place.

  • Use wooden stands: This bamboo wooden stand holds five Chromebooks at a time. The cords can be hidden in a compartment under the laptop stand.

  • Use metal kitchen racks: You know the metal racks that you store baking trays and dishes in? They're also good for storing Chromebooks. Just stack the Chromebooks vertically for a cost-effective way to have a cheap Chromebook stand in your classroom that does not require any assemble at all. An optional tip it for you to use a glue gun to add some cushioning along the bars to prevent them from scratching your Chromebooks.

  • Store Chromebooks in a wire mesh desk organizer: These wire mesh racks are roomy and sturdy for being a storage stand for classroom Chromebooks. The racks are sold in pairs and each pair holds ten Chromebooks. If you choose to connect the pair, they can hold eleven Chromebooks.


  • Bamboo Dish Racks: Another kitchen based item that works for classroom storage is a bamboo dish rack. The long prongs are evenly spaced to hold Chromebooks upright. You should use zip ties or cables to anchor it onto a shelf to keep it secured so that the laptops won't make it topple over. This is one of the most affordable ways of having a DIY charging station. Two or three dish racks would be enough to service a classroom without causing you to break your budget.


As a general rule, it helps to color code the Chromebooks with the charging ports and the charging cords. Number stickers can be used instead of the colorful washi tape color coding system if you prefer. Having shorter charging cords helps to reduce the clutter around your charging station. Once you have the right setup for your Chromebooks, you will be glad that students are not tripping over wires. They will be able to use the power cords and plug in their Chromebooks every day.

Friday, 22 April 2022

Classroom Storage Ideas for Under your Whiteboard

What can be stored under your classroom whiteboard

The wall space under classroom whiteboards is usually overlooked as storage space but you may be surprised to find that many types of classroom tools can be stored there without becoming a hindrance to free movement. The front of the whiteboard can be a high traffic area, so if you need to place a bookshelf or table under it, it must be very narrow along the wall. This will allow teachers to be able to comfortably write on the whiteboard without stubbing their toes or stretching out their arms too far. If you have items that your students need to access for themselves, keeping these items stored in a low, easy to reach location would be convenient for young students. Especially now that for the sake of not spreading germs, we need more storage spaces for students to have their own personal tools that are not for group sharing. (There is a list of no-share tools in this blog post.) A low bookshelf or cubby shelf is ideal for stores of glue, scissors, crayons, Playdoh, etc, all sorted into bins labeled with students' names or students' numbers.

What Can You Store Under Your Whiteboard Area?
Teachers can hang up students' headphones or clipboards, either on the wall or on a low bookshelf or on a table that fits under the whiteboard area. Of course, classroom library books can be stored in the bookshelf. Modular storage drawers can store centers and worksheets without making the whiteboard area look too cluttered. 

I love to find awesome classroom organization ideas. As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a commission for purchases using my links. Learn more. The ideas and paid links below are based on Amazon finds that are great for turning the space under your whiteboard into a storage area.

  • Hang earphones under the whiteboard: Install wall mounted peg racks along the bottom of your whiteboard to hang students' headphones. Use a marker to write the student numbers above each peg or use number stickers.

  • Keep clipboards under the whiteboard: Use up the wall space under your whiteboard by hanging up student whiteboards on it. These adhesive hooks can be applied to the wall so that the clipboard can hang from them when they are not in use.

  • Plastic storage drawers: Keep classroom centers or art and craft supplies in labeled drawers. The drawers should be small enough to fit under the classroom whiteboard. See the many types of resources that teachers keep in plastic storage drawers in this blog post.

Reading nook pillows: Small items like pillows for independent reading time are often kept under the classroom whiteboard. You can't really stub your toes on them since they are soft.

 

  • Keep important items within reach: Some items are simply too large or too delicate to be kept at the students' desk. Classroom tablets and laptops, are an example of no-share tools that need to be stored safely but in an area that is easily seen and easily accessed by the students. A small table is also ideal for your whiteboard projector. Most teachers keep their projectors on the table and slide them up against the wall when the projector is not in use.

About Me

My photo
As a Caribbean primary school teacher, I share my unique classroom with the world through this blog. Readers step into my class through the pictures, articles and classroom samples of games and lessons used in my class. I have been teaching since 2005 at the std. 4 primary level in Trinidad and Tobago. I am particularly interested in sharing my own personal lesson plans, tests and activities. Teachers need to share ideas and support each other because in doing so, we help to educate our students and develop ourselves as teachers. Technology is ever evolving and we as teachers should get on board with it, collaborate and keep up to date with this new age that we live in. Our students belong to this technological era and we must embrace opportunities to learn from each other in this global community. I also love to express my creativity in the classroom. I am a bit of a craftster . So I'm always cutting, gluing or making something... a game, a chart, a learning center, etc. So, teachers and parents, feel free to stop by and see what's new at Nyla's Crafty Teaching!