Classroom “Attention Getters”

Sometimes the little things in a class can make it fun.

I have a low tolerance for noise, (and my voice gets tired after teaching all day). But I have found one attention getter that involves sound/noise. And I only use it for one purpose:

I ring the bell to alert the paper passer to come up and pass out papers.

One (quiet) ring: “Ding.”

BellThe kids love it, and it saves my voice from saying “paper passer, I need the paper passer.” It is distinct enough that it quickly alerts the paper passer of his or her job (I rotate classroom jobs weekly). The kids are also alerted that a worksheet is being passed out.

Note: I have never had a child express or alert me that the noise is aversive, but make sure to assess that the noise does not bother any students with hyper-sensitivities to sound.

Understanding Accommodations and Modifications

Students can receive accommodations and/or modifications in school. In America, most students who receive them are either on a 504 Plan (usually related to medical and/or ADHD) or on an IEP (Individualized Education Program).

It is important to understand what these terms mean, and what you are asking for/receiving when your student or child is receiving accommodations or modifications. The major difference between the two is:


  • There is NO fundamental change to the curriculum.


  • These DO alter or lower the curriculum to meet the student’s needs.

Accommodations and modifications can deal with: teaching strategies, testing presentation, location, timing (often extended time), type of response, adjustments to work load, environment, etc.

Examples of accommodations during state testing are: oral presentation (when not testing reading), small group setting, extended time, large print. An example of a modification would be taking an alternate test.

I hope this helps!


Monday Mornings: Proverbs, Quotes, and More

gif_Education-037-bwJack Canfield, in his book The Success Principles, discusses the importance of what we do before we go to bed. I thought his point about  parents reading to their children was interesting (another good reason to read to your kids!):

“Whatever you read, see, listen to, talk about, and experience during the last 45 minutes of the day has a huge influence on your sleep and your next day. . . . reading good bedtime stories is so important for children–not just to get them to fall asleep, but because the repeated messages, lessons, and morals of the story become part of the fabric of the child’s conscious.”

He discusses how, as adults, we should be mindful of our time right before sleep and try to actively have a positive ending to each day.

This sounds logical to me; let’s all try to be aware of how we are ending our day and see if it has a positive impact on our lives.


Make Learning Fun with Bingo!

BingoOkay, so I have just about every Bingo you can buy: addition/subtraction, sight word, weather, preposition, time, famous landmark Bingo, etc.

Why do I love Bingo? Because it is a fun way for kids to learn, and because the way we play it is fun.

How to make Bingo fun:

The main way to make Bingo fun is to let a student be the Bingo caller. Before I had a Smart Board, I used the old fashioned overhead projector; both work fine. The student gets to write the word or math problem down and then call it out. For math, the Bingo caller also gets to call on a student for the answer, and students love to call on other students like they are the teacher.

I keep track of who has been a Bingo caller to make sure everyone gets a turn. The winner of Bingo gets to be the next Bingo caller if they haven’t had a turn.

It is a great afternoon activity to reinforce those skills you’ve been teaching, and making your own Bingo cards is pretty easy too if you want to focus on a specific skill.


Monday Mornings: Proverbs, Quotes, and More

Squirrel“Be kind to animals.”

The office manager where I work rescued and nursed this little baby squirrel back to health; he has now been released back into the wild. What a sweet picture!

She has the quote, “Be kind to animals,” on all her instant messaging.

It is important as a parent or part of a school staff to always be polite and on good terms with your office manager; they are often the lifeline of a school.


Classroom Rules

When I taught my own class (before becoming a resource teacher), I had only four rules, and I reviewed them every day for the first two weeks of school.

Here are my four rules:

Classroom Rules 1-1

My class was very orderly and all the students knew what was expected of them. Different teachers have different tolerance levels for noise/kids getting up out of their seats, etc.–it really is a preference. But for me, the simplicity of four rules worked best.