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Do you have a chatty classroom?! But how do you stop it from happening in the first place? And what do you do when things start to get too loud? Here are a few ideas. Cheers to a quiet er classroom! Yes, even the boys! What do I do now? Better yet, have you heard this phrase during a guided reading group or math intervention group? One of the most important things you can do is to teach students what to do so you never have to hear that phrase. It all starts with a question.

When you teach Scientific Inquiry the essential component to enforce with your students is to question everything.

When students start to question and wonder, they automatically start creating their own hypothesis, testing it, coming up with conclusions, and even re-testing their hypothesis.

Read on for some ideas to get students questioning, teaching the whole scientific process, and ideas for simple less mess science projects! The holidays are quickly approaching…and student attention spans are quickly fading.

Do you notice more behavior issues around the holiday season? Decline in attention span? Decline in engagement in activities? Kids are just so excited for the holiday season and break from school…can you blame them?!

I found that these few simple, easy to implement, and free ideas help to bring attention back to the classroom in a fun and engaging way during the holiday season. Enjoy time off and spend time with your loved ones. I was too, until I stepped outside the box, and thought, why am I not teaching word prefixes and suffixes?

There is just no practical way to teach my students all of the vocabulary words they may possibly encounter when taking a standardized test OR in their reading novels. I started teaching my students word roots and stems from day 1, and the results I saw were incredible, much improved test scores, and significantly improved reading comprehension, and confidence.

Are you ready to start improving student vocabulary skills but not sure how to get started? Check out the Word Masters Unit featuring 36 weeks of lessons ready to print and go!

Want to try out Word Masters, but scared to take the leap? Try one week FREE! How do you help students understand story elements? The plot diagram is a go to classic…but HOW are you using it? It starts out with a read aloud picture book. I LOVE designing curriculum! Teaching has been my life and is also my hobby! I love to create teaching materials that inspire and excite students to learn.

Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5 Other Grades. Dear New Teacher, Welcome to the best profession there is. Here are some words of advice for you, new teacher: Sincerely, Heather Renz, from Mrs.

Have fun, and enjoy the end of the year! Teach the multiplication tables and work with multiples as much as you can so the terms become second nature. When students have strong basic fact skills, they can focus on the new concept. Do whatever it takes to master multiplication facts. Here is a link to a set of flash cards ready to print and go to master those facts to make learning fractions a breeze. Use class data and create fractions every day Every day of the year, ask a question that students respond to, then compute the fraction, convert it to a decimal, and then change it to a percent.

Make sure that the numerator equals 24 students voting. Next allow students to use calculators to quickly get the decimals and then get the percent. Make sure the decimals add up to 1 whole class. This daily practice gives students confidence working with fractions.

Confidence is key when doing math. Here are some other questions to get you started: Use money to teach fractions Students in my classroom loved money. I also used it to teach fractions. Pull out your plastic coin manipulatives. Use each coin to teach fractions of a dollar. For example, the penny: You can then move on to combining coins, addition of fractions, and reducing the denominator.

For example 2 quarters: Fractions is a key math area where you really need your manipulatives circular pie manipulatives, number lines, number cubes, snap cubes, etc. I have found that by allowing students to see with their own eyes and handle the manipulatives that this diffucult concept become much easier.

Students can choose to cut their pizza into any number of pieces I like to start at 6, 8, and Use this to cement the concept of equivalent fractions. Have students draw their pizzas. Have students record the problems, then draw the pizzas. One of my favorite activities to use with a recipe is during my teaching of the Oregon Trail.

Take a recipe that would feed 8 people and increase the recipe so it feeds 24 people, 32 people, etc. Ask parents to volunteer to help supervise this activity.

Bring in measuring cups and all the ingredients. Have students do the math and figure how much of each ingredient they will need. Students love cooking and the eating is the best part! Put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and enjoy! Take an online fractions quiz for grade 3. Fractions quiz for grade 4. Play Fractions on a Number Line. Play Cross the River Fractions fraction recognition Hint: Ordering fractions game Worksheet practice ahhh…hold on a second Worksheets used in isolation without touching and manipulating fraction pieces can be frustrating without background and deeper knowledge.

Worksheets do have a place when teaching fractions, however I typically introduce them after lots of hands on practice. I have found that once students have grasped the basic concepts and have had hands-on practice, using worksheets helps, too. Here is a link to a lesson kids love, quilt block fractions reinforcing fractions, symmetry, and ties well into teaching the Oregon Trail.

P ractice, practice, practice! Start out the year with class rules and review after breaks Starting out the year with a class discussion of the rules and expectations is essential for a successful year.

It helps set the tone from day one. There will be times you need absolute silence testing , and times when a whisper voice is appropriate.

Sometimes, there will be another expectation of the noise level. When the noise is too loud, you need to establish routines to get the class back on the track, keep reading for more ideas! Post your classroom rules on the wall as a visual reminder for kids to always refer to. This will ensure you set your classroom on track for the year. Here is a link to a FREE classroom noise meter, ready to print and use. We often THINK that we are treating all of our students the same, but we might be experiencing some implicit bias.

Some bias towards the kids with good behavior, or away from the kids with poor behavior. The more we recognize these biases, the better teachers we will become. Spend more time building a working relationship with the kids who seem to need a little extra care and compassion. When kids know that you care about them, they are more apt to work for you and follow your class rules.

Interested in learning more about your own implicit biases? Check out this Harvard survey to learn more about yourself and your social preferences. Trust me, this is unique and will start to change the way you teach.

You can also use an auditory signal. This works great not only in noisy situations but it also works great on field trips! Allow kids movement breaks Students need to wiggle and move so let them. I really believe that moving helps learning so give Brain Breaks and have students move then get back to work.

When your group is super chatty, stop and have everyone stand up and do physical movements. Set a timer and do this for maybe 1 minute. Sometimes this breaks the cycle of chatting when they should be working.

Accountability Charts You can have each student keep track of their own behavior. Ask students to evaluate their behavior. Are you working and doing the right thing? Is your voice level appropriate? You can just verbally ask students and they can self reflect on their behaviors. For some classes, this works great! Other classes might need a little more concrete visual. There are lots of different styles of accountability charts out there that work for each kid to keep track of their behavior throughout the day.

If students need a little extra help in honestly evaluating their behavior, you can choose to sign off on their behavior chart. Want to get started with behavior charts? Here is a link to some editable behavior charts, easy to customize to best fit your classroom! So, make time to allow students to chat! I like to allow time first thing during the day. This allows kids to talk to each other about what they did over the weekend, the exciting thing they did the previous night, or just to catch up with friends.

I also like to set a timer so students know when chat time is over see 12 for more info on the timer. I think building in time throughout the day for partner talk and small group talk is important during lessons.

This allows appropriate socialization regarding the lessons at hand. Those students who are super chatty might need to have a simple behavior contract to help them monitor their chatting.

Again, set a goal for the student that is meaningful. Class points You can give class reward points for doing the right thing. If the expectation was followed, students earned a tally point, if not, I earned the tally point.

At the end of the day students did the math to see how many points they earned and lost. Students subtracted their points from my points and the difference reinforce the language of math they equalled the points they got to keep. It was simple for me to implement and keep up with. It could be as simple as an extra minute recess that day, getting to watch a 30 minute educational video, getting 30 minutes of silent reading time, etc. Provide activities for students who are fast finishers Fend off chatting by making it clear what to do when the task at hand is finished.

Make a list of choices and ask students to refer to the list if they forget. Here is a link to a blog post I wrote, all about how to challenge your fast finishers. Have student leaders help monitor group behavior Students monitor their own behavior when they are all working together, and best yet, your job gets easier! Set up an incentive program and have student groups earn points toward a goal. Better yet, have students help decide what the goal and rewards are going to be. Students can take turns being the group leader role.

Use a noise meter Giving students a visual helps them know the expectation. Maybe a student came in after the directions were given. You can use a poster or an online reminder. If you want your classroom silent, kids may get antsy about when they can talk again, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and hour? This can cause kids to start to whisper, and all of the sudden the noise level is at an unacceptable level. This visually shows kids how much longer they are expected to be quiet, whisper talking, etc.

It helps set a concrete expectation, and kids have less anxiety and impulse to talk knowing when it is acceptable again. Here is a link to a great set of classroom timers that you can pick with animation and audible alerts that kids love. Introduce poetry with poems that your students can relate to. You have to hook students on poetry from the get go. She has the measles and the mumps, a rash, a gash, and purple bumps. Most of my students can connect with these two themes of being sick and not wanting to take the garbage out.

Read each poem aloud to students more than once I am a firm believer in reading a poem at least twice. Often on the first reading because students are so engrossed in the story the poem is trying to tell that they miss all the poetry elements. When you reread the poem, ask students to listen for patterns and for the overall flow of the words.

Do any words stand out? Why do you think the author chose the words she or he did to convey the meaning? These pieces of the puzzle help create the mood, feeling tone, and message of the poem. It takes many readings. Set up a poetry corner in your classroom I love getting students excited and keeping them excited about reading poetry.

One of my favorites is to transform my reading corner into a poetry display corner. I pull out all of my books relating to poetry and put them on display. Learn about the poet prior to reading their poetry A lot of poets write poems about their mood, life events, family and relationships, and nature. First, learn as much as you can about the poet. Where and in what time period did he or she live? Spend time analyzing poetry to really understand the authors purpose The fun part of analyzing poetry is figuring out what the poet was trying to say.

This is where the use of figurative language comes in. Start each day with a read aloud poem I like to start off each day during the poetry unit with a read aloud. Kids really enjoy hearing poems and the writing voice of different authors. Shel Silvertein has recorded quite a few videos on youtube and uses a great voice to read them. Remember to read a variety of poems so that you can reach all of your kids.

Here is a link to the Shel Silverstein Books youtube page with lots of videos to choose from. Poems often use metaphors, similes, onomatopoeia, alliteration, idioms, and other figurative language.

Teach students the meaning of these kinds of figurative language. Understanding these poetic devices will help unlock the meaning hidden within some poems and allow for deeper critical thinking.

Here is a link to a set of quick reference wall posters for figurative language and poetry Hint: Use the funny voices when you read aloud. Laugh at the funny parts. Let them experience the fun of writing their own poems about what interests them. Here is a link to a FREE lesson on writing a 5 senses poem. Encourage students to share their poetry Once students have written some poetry of their own, let them show it off! There are a few ways I like to do this. You can pair up students allow them to share their written works in buddy pairs.

I then encourage students to share kind feedback the poem their partner wrote. Have students read their poems aloud to the class. I like this as well because it helps foster public speaking skills and students get to share with the whole class a poem they wrote and are proud of. Display their written works on the wall! Often times my students write their own poetry and add pictures to go with it, and it makes decor in your classroom.

Decide what works for you with the materials you have. This is huge for me. Students who have unfinished work often end up taking it home as additional homework and incentive to finish classwork during the allotted time.

When students finish up their work early, I am happy to allow them to work on any unfinished work they may have. They are continuing to learn in the process, and less homework to take home, feeing up precious after school time.

Learn a Mastery Club Challenge. Mastery Club is student directed and very open ended. I allow students to learn and study and challenge that interests them and work in any order they choose. I also allow students to suggest personal challenges. My personal favorite is the addition of the hall of fame. When students mastered 16 challenges, they received their name on the hall of fame wall. I kept mine posted all while I taught 4th grade it even made the move as I changed schools within my district.

This was a fabulous motivator as students loved to come back to my classroom year after year to see how they continued to rank on the hall of fame wall.

You can get the whole Mastery Club unit ready to print and go unit here! Read Independently Encourage independent reading! To start collecting books, check around at local garage sales, they are a very affordable place to pick up books.

I have often been able to get books for a quarter or less. Use your book order points. Another way to encourage independent reading is to bring in fun seating for reading. Bring in camping chairs, a reading bench, carpet rectangle samples, and other fun spaces to allow students choice of reading location.

Practice Math Facts When students are finished with work early, I love encouraging additional math fact mastery. I use a variety of instructional techniques. For online practice, I like Xtra Math. Then students log onto their individual account and do customized multiplication practice. Students can log on from home, too, so parents are happy to encourage math practice. Play an Educational Game Online I love when kids are learning without realizing it. I have found that my students LOVE to play online games.

Organize your Desk quietly! We all know there are two types of students. Those who keep their desk immaculate, and those who have stacks on stacks of paper, pencils, and books crammed in their desk where the lid barely closes. For some students, getting time to clean out their desk and organize is great motivation, for others, well…you get the hint.

This one is hit or miss. Help a Classmate I allow students to buddy up when they are finished to help coach a friend through the remainder of their work.

I make sure that students know they are not doing the work for the friend but assisting them and answering their questions. I find it helpful to have these helpful students sit at the front of the classroom as designated student ambassadors. When students have questions they need assistance with they can approach the ambassador, and if the ambassador is unable to assist, students can then come see me.

This helps free up my time as well. I find this helps foster friendships and develop leadership qualities within my students. How to Introduce the Scientific Method I love starting my lessons with videos. Please preview this video prior to showing your class to ensure it is appropriate for your grade level, although I believe the first 1: Put references materials at the fingertips of your students that remind them of the steps in the scientific process and definitions of each step.

This is a great way for students to independently take charge of their learning throughout your lesson. Here is a link to a great reference chart for science and includes the scientific process. Here is a link to a great set of wall posters for easy and quick student reference. Use everyday objects and ask students for other uses of a common item. Here students can place work that must be kept home, be it notes or school events Students will know what work stays home and what goes back to school with them.

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