Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Open House

Open House was a week ago for us! I really enjoy this whirlwind evening as a way to meet parents and give them a glimpse into my classes.

As a high school teacher, there's typically a few things I make sure to do/cover at Open House:
  • I always have a handout or newsletter that gives some general points of interest. Most of the details can be found on my course syllabus too. Items that I include: my education/degrees, my district stats (how long I have been in the district, what course(s) I have taught / am teaching, extra curricular involvement, etc), my website and a list of items that can be found on it, course topics (typically chapter titles), course description, grade breakdown, and a short letter about support from home.
  • Some years I have passed around a page for parents to "sign in" on for my records. This year, I experimented with giving each parent a small slip of paper to fill out and turn in as they left. The slip asked for their name, student's name, their email, course, and a spot for questions/comments. I was able to reply via email back to any questions/comments/concerns. 
It is my mission to accomplish 3 main things at Open House (keep in mind I only get 10ish minutes for each class):
  1. About me - I like parents to see my personality and learn a little more about my background.
  2. Grades - In my experience, parents like to hear firsthand about how grades are calculated and what is expected.
  3. My portal/website - It is important to me to highlight the many resources available on my portal.
Another Open House is in the books, folks! Onto the next big event...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tech Tip: StarBoard

I am very fortunate to be able to teach from a StarPanel (also known as a StarBoard) in my classroom. If you ever have a chance to use one or get one for your room, it has changed my life!

The one I have is made by Hitachi, but there are many out there!
It comes with a pen to use, and you write on it just like you would on a tablet. I am able to pull up PowerPoints, Word docs, websites, anything ... and I just start writing. You can change colors, insert images, play interactive games, etc. and it hooks directly to a projector so whatever you do is seen by your students instantaneously! I personally like this better than the SmartBoard, but they both function very similarly. All that I do, I save to a PDF, and upload to my website! It's perfect!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tech Tip: Power Point

I teach mostly from Power Point slides, and I receive many questions about where I get the backgrounds from... {drum roll}

Highly recommended!!! :) My students LOVE guessing what the new one will be each day!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bulletin Board #3

On to my last "bulletin board." I am very fortunate to have a white board and a Star Panel in my classroom that are used as my primary way of teacher. SOOOOO... in reality, my 3rd bulletin board is really a chalkboard and I have converted.

The border, quotes, titles, etc. are all mounted with this amazing supply...  I cute the business card magnets down to size. They are super easy to apply (peel and stick)... voila!

On the left side, I placed a bunch of quotes relating to kindness, respect, and paying it forward. I am a major quote collector, and I worked really hard to find profound quotes from notable people. Each quote is laminated with magnets on the back.

In the middle is a section for NEWS! I update it once a week or so with notable events or activities going on at school. Some items I include: games, theater/arts productions, assemblies, speakers, college visits, etc. It is also a great place for general school announcements.

On the right side is my spot to highlight birthdays. Sometimes birthdays tend to be unintentionally forgotten because it is high school and most teachers have 120+ students on a given day. This is my way to remember birthdays and individually recognize my students. I want them to feel remembered. At the beginning of the year I either print (from our grade book program) their birthdays or have them fill out their birthdays on an information sheet. Then, each month, I update this portion of the board with the date in chronological order followed by their names.
Thanks to Pinterest, each student gets a pencil and a sticker on their bday! :)

The news and birthday posters were bought from a local school supply store. I laminated them, and they are 100% dry erase worthy now! :)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bulletin Board #2

I stumbled upon this awesome invention... dry erase paper!
Available at or your local school supply store
I don't peel off the backing, rather I staple them directly to my bulletin board (see below). Even better - I have been able to make a set last for a whole year! Major cost saver... who doesn't like that?!

It took me awhile to determine the best way to post daily objectives and homework, and this is my fix! I have one dry erase paper per day per class. It's as easy as can be to write up the details for the week and erase on Friday. LOVE IT!