Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Teacher Report Card

At the end of each school year, I like to take time to myself and reflect on my teaching. What worked. What didn't. What I should do again next year. What I should definitely NOT do again next year.  I find that one of my most helpful ways of doing this, is having my students actually reflect on our time in class as well.

Teacher Report Card
The last week of school I provide my students with what I like to call their Teacher's Report Card.  My students love this - the thought of giving their teacher a grade makes them absolutely giddy inside.  Yes....5th graders can get giddy too.  For the most part, I find that the students are very honest but respectfully so.  The fact that they don't put their name on it, helps them reflect with an open mind and be truthful. Some will even go so far as to write with their other hand. But for me, it's not about figuring out who wrote it but about what they said.

I make a point of not reading these reports until the end of the school year is over.  Well actually I'll be's typically a few weeks after school is over with a delightful beverage in hand.  Every year, some students says something that sticks with me and makes me rethink the things I do in my classroom.

You can check out my form here.  Feel free to use and adjust it to suit your own needs. 

It's truly my belief that my students help make me a better teacher and in turn, I hope I make them better people too.  Do you do something like this at the end of the year?  Comment below and let me know.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Culture of a Classroom

I've been receiving a lot of emails about the poster I have hanging in my room which shows a list of cultural norms within our four classroom walls.  I discovered a version of this poster on Pinterest and adapted it to suit my own needs.  Well after many of your earnest emails asking me to list this image in my TpT store, I finally had the time and adjusted the psd so that it could be used in any classroom.

I ended up getting the poster printed through Vista Print all for under $20.  Which in my opinion for a poster that I refer to DAILY was well worth the money.  For those of you wondering, it is the "Large Poster" which has the dimensions of 24" x 36" and then I uploaded my own image.
If you are interested in getting a copy, head on over to my TpT store. 

You can see my original post here regarding the poster.

This would also work with the Classroom Rules Posters I created.  Both are available in my TpT store. Just click on the poster you are interested in to be taken there.  (Interested in Specific Colors and Design - contact me)


Monday, May 21, 2012

End of Year Memory Books

School yearbooks are great souvenirs for the end of the school year, however, I also like creating classroom memory books with my students.  And for those students who were unable to purchase the school yearbook for some reason, the book we create in class may just be their only memento of their school year.

I've created a quick and easy book that you can make with your class.  Each students fills out a sheet with all their favorites from the year and fills out a few questions or open ended statements.  When finished, I collect them all and make a copy for each student in my class along with a copy of the About My Class page.  And of course, no memory book would be complete without an autograph page or two. 

Quick, easy and in most cases a cheaper alternative for a memory book for ALL your students.  Check out my End of Year Memory Book template at my TpT store!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Annual Awards Show - Academy Awards Style!

First year awards - a little different
from what I give now
Each year, I throw my students an end of the year party and hand out awards.  However, my awards aren't your typical "Student of the Year" bit.  Instead, our party has an Academy Awards theme where students win trophies, give speeches and movies are shown!  This year is my FOURTH annual awards show and I can say it gets better each year.

My students are nominated and awarded trophies based upon the videos they create in technology class which is guided by myself and the formal technology teacher.   The students write, film and edit a video on a subject/topic chosen by me.  In years past, students created videos for the American Revolution where they put a modern twist on the problems and events that occurred, they wrote short stories that taught a lesson, stop motion photos (again on the American Revolution) and finally this year commercials were in conjunction with our school-wide annual Heritage Day.  All my students were assigned a country from Asia and had to create a travel commercial that promoted travel to their country.  You can see the plan sheet here.
Invitation to event

Once the videos are complete, I sit down with the technology teacher and we determine different categories for the students' videos to win in.  We try to keep to traditional Academy Awards such as Best Acting, Best Editing and so forth.  After we have selected the winners (all students win some type of award), I order my trophies from Crown Awards where I have the students' names and category they won engraved on them.  These trophies are always a HUGE hit with both the students and parents.

With the help of parent volunteers, I host the award show in our Parish Hall.  The parents help me decorate the hall with our theme in mind and a red carpet is rolled out for them to walk on.  I send out formal invitations about three weeks in advanced to all my students and their families.  Everyone who attends is treated to a buffet dinner, watch the videos that were produced and see an end of year slideshow that I create of the class.  (Students are also given a copy of all the videos and slideshow on a DVD.)  After students are awarded their trophy, they get to make a short acceptance speech.  These are always an absolute blast to hear! They also hear a final speech from me about our time together.  Prior to the end of the show, I make sure I get an individual picture with each of my students so that I can frame it and give it to them on the last day.
A past student and I at the first award show. 

Both the students and I look forward to this event all year!  What events do you do with your class at the end of the year?
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