Student Teacher Binder - Student Teaching Guidebook A-Z - Student Teacher Welcome - Student Teacher Organization. (K-6)
This realistic student teaching guide identifies and manages daily situations in the elementary classroom. It is one teacher's opinion and observations over the years.
- Kindle, paperback, and audio versions also available on Amazon.
- Download includes e-book and printable teacher planner & newsletter templates.
Staff Refrigerator - Always put your lunch on the top shelf. When the eventual lunch bag leaks, it is better to give wet sandwich sympathy than to receive it.
Letter of Recommendation (LOR) - Your receipt for a job completed and proclaims your reputation. Do not leave student teaching without one from your master teacher, university supervisor, and principal. University courses tell others what you learned, but the LOR tells what you know.
Class Clock - Set it three minutes slow. That way you will not be disturbed by Big Ben interrupting lessons, letting you know it's recess time. Remind the class of your hero status, as you repeatedly let them out to recess three minutes early every day!
Everyone Failed My Test! - You just have to learn how to adjust and prevent it from happening again. Break the results down and learn from your mistake. What went well and what did not? A good test will have easy, medium, and difficult questions. You can throw out the results and start over, but that will effect your credibility and backlog other lessons. A good solution is to consider this one of those easy grades: Class, take the test home tonight and fill in the correct answers for more credit. Re-grade their tests, giving more points based on the new answers. Now your failed test just became a take-home test, making both you and the students happier.
Home Shopping Network - Watch as those ladies reel you in with smooth talk and compliments, before they stick it to you for three easy payments of $39.95. Use their energy and sales technique to "sell" your lesson, especially reading a long story at the end of a day. Also study how products are presented using bright colors, themed backgrounds, and voice inflection. Who wouldn't buy an imitation sheepskin shoe shammy or writing assignment from these gals?
Proximity - Everyone behaves better when the teacher is a step away. Maintain class flow by circulating through the room during the lesson. If they know you are watching, they are less likely to get distracted by accessories. When there is commotion, don't stop your lesson. Instead, walk to the noisy area and stand there. Students usually get the hint that it is time to get on-task. Likewise, when a student is speaking, move away from them. Now the student must project their voice across the room for you and everyone to hear, and your proximity keeps the far side of the room engaged in listening.
Discipline/Punishment - There is a need for a discipline policy as much as a reward system. Punishment attempts to decrease an undesired behavior. The key is to find the right balance between issuing rewards and punishment. Getting to know your students also involves knowing what they don't like and using it against them as a consequence. For well-behaved students, telling them publicly to improve is shame enough. They value their good reputation. For others, verbal remarks have limited effect, and you need to use time-outs, isolated seating, or behavior cards. Don't give the impression of a kangaroo court with impulsive punishments. Make them aware of a logical progression of consequences. The loss of recess or fun activities, like art, should be a last resort because if that fails there isn't much left. Then you will need outside support from parents or the principal.
Pencils - For the student losing pencils all day every day, keep a pink crayon ready at all times on the chalk tray. I don't have another pencil for you, so here's a pink crayon to use. You will have to find a pencil of your own later. It works!
Yard Duty - More fun than crossing a narrow bridge lined with a gauntlet of sassy trolls. Remember it’s your “duty” to keep everyone safe, so stay off the phone and limit side-conversations with other teachers. If you are talking to another adult, make sure to keep your eyes moving, like a lifeguard. Parents and other staff will notice your recess alertness and wonder why you are not responsive. This is part of your reputation, and you also represent the district’s liability. Here’s your chance to show professionalism with a monotonous task.
The difficulty is supervising unknown students during a 15-minute recess. There should already be a school-wide policy for recess infractions. Other teachers will appreciate your handling recess problems without getting them involved. Let them know what happened at recess and how you resolved the situation.
Fighting is an immediate trip to the office. Send the combatants down separately while gathering witness names and testimonies. Give a brief note with the facts, and let the office know you can clarify later when you have more time.
Other recess strategies include issuing warnings by recording name and date on your clipboard and letting them know: This is your only warning from me when I am on duty. I have your name on my clipboard, so next time you will receive the consequence.
Timeout on a bench for a few minutes is helpful, as well as standing in close proximity to students on the verge of misconduct.
Always ask yourself what the student will say to their parents. Mom, I was pushed by another student at recess, and the recess teacher did nothing. Now you have the problem!
Sweepers - There are always some students who like order and neatness. Designate three students to “sweep” the library or computer lab for waste left by your class, or chairs not pushed into the tables, etc. The librarian, custodian, and computer lab technician will appreciate your effort if you leave it ready for the next class. These little things build your good name.
Handwriting - Like a wet dog trying to roll around on new carpet, handwriting is also on its way out the door. What’s a teacher to do? There is value in having a skill others do not, namely, formal writing. However, the whole world is going towards keyboards.
As a colleague once noted: who will be able to read the Declaration of Independence and Constitution if kids don’t learn cursive?
As I tell my class complaining about having to write anything in cursive:
You are a generation caught between three writing styles: print, typing, and cursive. All three are good skills to have. If the boss wants something in formal handwriting, then you have that skill over someone who may not.
Demonstrate an example of good cursive and discuss a bad example as well. Cursive is based on height, size, shape, and slant. Have the class practice copying a page from a textbook each day for a week. Then have them choose which piece they want graded. Cursive is a subjective grade, so group them into three categories: easy, moderate, and difficult to read. One grade per trimester is sufficient. If they want to try and raise their grade, then they may submit another sample.
If cursive is no longer expected at your school, then the same grading method can apply to printing. Keep in mind their everyday handwriting may not be the same quality as their formal penmanship. When they know it is being graded, they will take their time and try harder.
Editing - There can never be enough editing of student work. However, it is time consuming, and sometimes the focus needs to be more on content than the mechanics.
A good approach is to teach the concept, guided practice, and then assess as part of an overall assignment: I would like to grade your essay, and I will be assessing the elements we have practiced such as semicolon, conjunctions, and appositives.
Grading an essay for editing is subjective and requires some practice. An easy method is to mark every mistake and then compare essays. Was it excellent, good, or average?
Basic mistakes like capitalizing, spelling, punctuation, and quotations are weighted more than advanced mistakes like comma splices, dashes, and colons.
Peer editing can work if they are looking for a specific item. Some issues with peer editing are that only a few mistakes are identified; it can become personal with hurt feelings; and students may not be able to read illegible handwriting.
If you are short on time but still want to provide feedback, then you can do a quick edit, where you circle the first five mistakes you find on a paper. Likewise, a good way to prevent editing errors is writing a positive comment, noting what they are doing correctly. Nice appositive and conjunction use! Students remember comments like that.
Filler Activities - Fillers are what you do when there is an extra 10-15 minutes - Doh! Essentially, you are “filling” the time gap with a brief lesson or activity. Good, easy fillers may include current events, how to use metric and customary rulers, how to use a dictionary, presidential biographies, counting time on a non-digital clock, and folding paper into thirds, eighths, and sixteenths.
Student Teachers - Make an excellent first impression with your master teacher. Ask them how their day is going first – show initiative! It is already inferred that you are nice, friendly, and ready to work. Now how will you distinguish yourself?
A) - Students, parents, and colleagues will judge you by the clothes you wear. What impression does a doctor give if they enter the room wearing shorts and flip-flops? You command respect by dressing nice. It shows you are serious about your job. Keep the tattoos hidden. Older generations will always attach a stigma to skin art (or will want to know how Daytona Bike Week went this year.) People expect teachers to be that perfect, 1950’s stereotypical image.
B) - Bring enthusiasm with you to work. Show them you are willing to try and experiment with new ideas (you can deal with reality later). Think of yourself as a friendly general. Let them know you will take the lead and ask questions if you are unsure. Get the plan from the master teacher and implement it. Finally, show your situational awareness at all times.
C) - You will be observed and judged every day by students, teachers, parents, principals, and university supervisors. They are all cheering for your success! The students already think you are great, because you are in college and likely younger than the master teacher – you have rock-star status!
D) - Get to know everyone on staff and start building your professional network. Go out of your way to introduce yourself, and don’t forget the power of cookies. You make instant friends when you give people free food! It is easy for a school staff to forget student teachers – they are here for ten weeks and then leave. Make it harder for them to forget you. The staff is your eyes and ears when job openings arise.
E) - Arrive early to everything. The slightest impression of flakiness or lack of commitment is a reputation killer. People will be looking for your flaws, so don’t let them find any.
and the rest of the book...
• Tardies, Long-Term
#4 Attention Span
#7 Back to School Night
#8 Before School Year Starts
• Good Individual, Bad Individual, Good Group, Bad Group
#10 Common Misbehaviors
• Bickering, Defiance, Forgery, Graffiti, Lying, Manners, Self-Control, Tattling, Theft
#11 Book Orders
#12 Bulletin Boards
#14 Certificated vs. Classified Employees
#15 Clean Desks
• Countdown Clock, Last Bell
#17 Combo Classes
#18 Common Core
• Students, Parents, Weekly Letter
#21 Conflict Resolution
• Discipline/Punishment, Disputes, Disruptions
#22 Cooperation vs. Competition
#23 Copy Machine
#24 Cum Files
• Air Conditioner/Heat, Barf, Bathroom, Cell Phones, Drinks, Fly, Gum, Hand Sanitizer, Hats and Hoods, Markers, Office Calls, Passing Notes, Paper, Airplanes, Pencils, Rubber Bands, Scissors, Sneezes, Throwing Crayons, Tissues, Trash Cans
#29 English Learners
#30 Field Trips
#31 File Cabinet
#32 Fire Drill
#33 First Day of School
#34 Five Years
#35 Flag Salute
#38 Gifted Students
• Extra Credit, Subjective Grading, Sampling, Everyone Failed My Test, Grade Availability
#40 Group Work
#41 Home School
#43 Job Interview
#44 Last Day
#45 Last Week
#46 Lesson Plans
#49 Lifestyle vs. Job
#50 Master Teachers
• Personal Injury
#52 Mentoring/Little Buddies
#53 Middle School
#54 Name Tag
• Principal, Colleagues
#57 Open House
#58 Opening Routine
#59 Paper Clips
• Recognizing, Irate Parents
#66 Quiet Activity
#67 Rainy Days
#68 Red Dot
#69 Report Cards
#72 Rotating Classes
#73 Rule of 3
#74 Rule of 25
#75 School District
• Administrators, 403(b), 457 Plan, Insurance, Personnel Benefits, Salary, Sick Days
#76 Seating Chart
#77 Secretaries and Custodians
#78 Show and Tell
#80 Silent Reading
#81 Special Education
• SST, RSP, SED, SDC, 504 Plan
• Average, 15%, Good Students Bad Test Takers, Low But Always Trying, Opportunists, Sergeants, Thieves Liars and Malcontents
#83 Student Council
#84 Student Teachers
• Appearance, Good Qualities, Observation, Socialize,
• Art, Computer Lab, Editing, Filler Activities, Geography, Handwriting, Math, PE, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Speeches, Spelling, Writing
#86 Sub Plans
• Substitute, Tutor, Long-Term
• State Test
#94 Thank-You Cards
#97 Videos/ DVD
• Parent, Guest Speakers
#102 Yard Duty
• Spring Conference & Grade Update
• Back to School Night Classroom Policies
• Volunteer Interest
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