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Re:[teacherartexchange] Curriculum


Date: Thu Jun 22 2006 - 07:15:48 PDT

Hi Julie,
It is good to plan your curriculum around themes or big ideas. I use a curriculum map that I actually post and check off. The kids can check it so they are not always asking "What are we doing next?" Also it helps if lessons are more than one day quickies. A little history, analysis and even reflection at the end. However, starting your first classes with rules lessons and procedures and practicing them as time goes on helps tremendously. I have an example I can send you. One of mine and one that is blank if you wish. I use Microsoft Excel to create them.

I also found that starting class with a journal or sketchbook "silent" time for 5-7 minutes each day helps. It gets boys and girls used to routines and quiets them for the start of the class. I use a timer. Actually, making a folder and the journal/sketchbook provides an opportunity to practice the procedures you just taught them-right down to who passes out the folders and how to pass and sharpen pencils. The folders and sketchbooks are placed in crates according to classes. Leaders pass them out at the beginning of each class. Students take out their sketchbook, look at the posted assignment on the board and work silently for the next five minutes. It is crucial in the next weeks to practice this. Most often they are drawing assignments but many times I put a print up and post a direction to do a "quick write" or analysis of the work. Sometimes, I relate them to the lesson or unit. I teach Grades 5-8 and special ed. in an urban setting and get the classes for 100 minutes once a week.

Using a table signal when the students are working helps a heap! Most of our classes shot up to 30 - 35. When the students work often it seems they all need you at once. I put a large red plastic cup inside their table box. (The box contains grade level folders for reference sheets, pencils, scissors and erasers.) The rule is "Ask three before me." Students must ask three others at their table for help or assistance before they turn the red cup over. The cup signals me that help is needed.
This was especially helpful in junior high. That idea is from our second grade language arts teacher although many here probably use something similar.

If and when you start centers you really need to practice the procedures for these as well no matter what time of the year.

I, too, use treats. In the beginning of the year I will award them by tables for following procedures, etc., but then as time goes on the "treats" get less and less. We do work on points for good behavior. I award up to 20 points per class for following rules and sometimes for great discussions. When their class reaches 100 They earn a "party" which is a treat and either "free art" or movie if appropriate. Some earn more than others. I never take points away.

Most of the things I do are a result of the posts from this list. People here are awesome. The trick is to take the ideas and make them your own according to your (and your students') personality.
Good luck! Every year gets better and better!

Let me know if you want the curriculum maps.

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