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Tip #5: Create Informational Sheets
Create a form to find out general information about the student. In this time of split families, learning which household the child typically does his or her homework and an email for both sets of parents can be golden information. It is also important to get this form signed by the parents. This will allow the parents to put correct addresses and phone numbers and to address any other concerns.
Make sure to ask the following information:
- Phone numbers for both parents, work and cell phones.
- Email addresses for parents for quick communication
- Brothers and sisters who are in the building (They can take missed assignments home to an absent student.)
- Any medical issues you should know: glasses or contacts, need to take medication during class, etc.
- Favorites (music, TV, books, hobbies, etc.)
- Other concerns that the teacher should know...
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Tip # 4: Plan Seating Charts
Create a seating chart with a plan. Some teachers prefer the traditional rows, while others try seating students in pods or in horseshoe configurations. Place students so that you will remember their names. Try these ideas:
- Sit students in alphabetical order. This works great with rows and then the desks can be changed after the names are learned. For a twist on this traditional seating order, sit the students in alphabetical order by their first name.
- Sit students based on what type of pet they have at home. For example, place the dog lovers together and the cat lovers at opposite ends of the room. Students who have both a cat and a dog can sit together in the middle, and the fish/hamster/snake lovers can sit together in the back. By connecting a pet to each student, this will help to remember the student's name and to learn a fun fact about each student. If students do not have a pet, let them choose one they might like to have.
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Tip # 3: Use Table Tents to Learn Names
Learning up to 180 names can be somewhat of a daunting task. However, there are some basic tips to learn the students' names faster. The quicker you learn the names, the faster you can create a warm classroom environment.
Have students decorate table tents with their names on them for the first week. The students will enjoy personalizing them. If students change classes, they can stash the table tents in a folder or binder.
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Tip # 2: Learn Names With Games
Take a little time to play games so that students can get to know each other a little better. The team building activities will help students to work with each other later in cooperative learning groups.
Game to Learn Names
One easy game involves a couple of different size balls. Place students in a circle. Throw one ball to any student. Before you throw the ball, you must say the person's name to whom you are throwing the ball. The person who catches the ball must throw the ball to another person and say his or her name. All students should get a turn throwing the ball and saying one person's name. Wait a few minutes and then start another ball. It should be a different color or size. The ball must go in the same pattern as the other ball, i.e. throw it to the same person as the last ball. Keep doing it until all of the balls have been thrown to all of the students.
If the ball drops, the game must start all over again. It is quite fun, and helps everyone learn names. This game can be done in the classroom, but is much more fun on the parking lot or on grassy field.
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Tip #1: Establish Authority and Caring Attitude in Classroom
Teachers who start out the year doing "fun" activities sometimes have discipline problems very early. To avoid problems, strike a balance between fun and academics and establish authority early.
The easiest way to establish authority is to set the classroom rules at the beginning. The rules should be posted in the classroom and should be given to the students to place in a binder as well. Take time to go over them and the consequences during class and send home a copy to parents. It is important that you follow through with the rules and consequences.
Another tip on fostering a healthy teacher student relationship is to brush up on classroom management strategies. The honeymoon period ends quickly. Be ready to deal with off task behaviors and take care of them quickly. Students will want to know their boundaries and will try to cross them. Keeping a safe environment for all students makes for a caring classroom atmosphere.