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PREVIOUS TOP TIPS FOR TEACHERS

 

 

  3 March 2007

Be happy!  Moods are infectious.  You are more likely to have a "happy classroom" if you set the tone.

 

 
  24 February 2007

Explain to your pupils which marker pens can be used on which boards - so they can prevent you ruining your interactive whiteboard again!

 

 
  17 February 2007

Say "Please" and "Thank-you" frequently to your pupils (when it's appropriate, of course, and not in a sarcastic way).  This positive role-modelling will make for a more polite and agreeable classroom.

 

 
  10 February 2007

Frequently change the seating layout of your classroom - or at the very least make sure that pupils sit in different combinations - so that they learn to form friendships and exchange ideas with lots of different people.

 

 
  3 February 2007

Make it OK to make mistakes.  It is more important to focus on the process of a child's thinking than on the answer.  Smart teachers encourage pupils to analyse their own thought processes.

 

 
  27 January 2007

At the end of a lesson, dismiss first those pupils who can answer the question, "What do you know now that you didn't know before the lesson?"

 

 
  20 January 2007

Introduce a special "Champion's chair" into your classroom.  (It could have a padded seat or a cushioned back or be specially decorated.)  At the beginning of each day, award use of the "Champion's Chair" to the child whose behaviour (or attitude - or effort) most impressed you the previous day.

 

 
  13 January 2007

Designate a "Time-out" chair or space that can be used as a retreat for pupils whose actions or attitude would benefit from a few moments of reflection.  "Time-out" can be called by the teacher (to allow time for a situation to defuse) or a pupil may choose to go there voluntarily (if they recognise that the course of action they are following could have unwelcome consequences.)

 

 
  6 January 2007

Knowing the correct answer is not so important as being able to ask interesting questions.  Encourage pupils to ask interesting questions by making or buying a simple "trophy" to be awarded to the pupil who asks the "question of the day".

 

 
  30 December 2006

Encourage pupils to keep a diary - perhaps recording the most important thing they learned or did each day.  (A study of 300 of history's geniuses revealed that most of them kept detailed records of their thoughts.)

 

 
  23 December 2006

Don't throw away all those Christmas cracker novelties (and all the other peripheral "bits and pieces" that seem to be a part of Christmas celebrations).  Store them all away for use as prizes and incentives.

 

 
  16 December 2006

To encourage pupils to complete jobs (tidying, collecting books, etc.) promptly and efficiently, use a simple visible timing device - such as a giant egg-timer, a kitchen "pinger" or track down a visual timer online.

 

 
  9 December 2006

Choose and display a Word of the Week (together with its meaning) then challenge pupils to use it in their conversation or written work - and reward them for doing so.  An extensive vocabulary of interesting words can be acquired in this way.

 

 
  2 December 2006

Set up an Interesting Items table and put something different on it each week.  Encourage pupils to pin up notes on an Interesting Ideas wall behind the table (What is the object? What was it used for? What else could you use it for? Suitable adjectives. How would you make one? etc.) and reward the most creative entry.  You could encourage pupils to bring in items to display on the table.

 

 
  25 November 2006

Set up a good work display area where you post some of the best examples of pupils' work - together with notes explaining why each piece has been chosen.  Aim to add new examples every few days.

 

 
  18 November 2006

When your class is working particularly well - congratulate them and explain why.  (It is better to "catch them doing something good" rather than reprimanding wrongdoing.)

 

 
 

11 November 2006

 

Treat every child as if they were your favourite.  
  4 November 2006

Use a digital camera to take pictures of students and groups working well.  You could print these out - or display them on the classroom computer - or on the interactive whiteboard.

 

 
  28 October 2006

Programme the caretakerís phone number into your mobile.  (At least you'll know who to call if you ever get locked in!)

 

 
  21 October 2006

Pupils remember beginnings and endings of lessons best - so break your lesson into several short sections - thus increasing the number of beginnings and endings.

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  14 October 2006

Make a simple "noise-ometer" to indicate acceptable levels of noise in the classroom. (Silence - whispering - quiet talk - discussion - noisy activity.)  A simple moveable arrow sets the level for the current classroom activity.  You could also include a second arrow to show the actual level.

 

 
  7 October 2006

Appoint monitors for everything!  Sharpening pencils; collecting books; delivering registers; cleaning the board; opening windows.  It not only relieves you from some of the petty worries of maintaining an effective classroom but it also helps to develop a sense of responsibility in pupils.

 

 
  30 September 2006

Establish good relationships with caretakers, cleaners and admin. staff!

 

 
  23 September 2006

Enrol on a course to learn something completely new.  Not only will it broaden your horizons but it will also give you an insight into what your pupils experience regularly.

 

 
  16 September 2006

Locating information spatially can help recall.  Create several posters summarising the main points of  a lesson; hang these at strategic points around the classroom and deliver each part of the lesson standing by the relevant poster.  Pupils will be better able to remember and recall the main points of the lesson.

 

 
  9 September 2006

Every now and then (perhaps when you are writing their reports) ask your pupils to write a brief report on how you are doing as a teacher.  It can be a most enlightening (and very useful) experience.

 

 
 

2 September 2006

 

Watch children's programmes on TV.  Use the catchphrases and steal the best ideas (especially quiz-show formats).

 

 
  26 August 2006

Do not delay the start of your lesson to wait for latecomers - and don't try to deal with latecomers as they arrive.  Make it known that you will start the lesson on time and that any latecomers will be kept back at the end of the lesson to explain their tardiness.

 

 
  19 August 2006

Don't pretend to know everything.  When you admit there are things you don't know, pupils feel less vulnerable about admitting their own uncertainties.

 

 
  12 August 2006

Create a display on which every child in your class has their own space.  Then, at the beginning of each week, encourage them to update their section to show (for example): what I did at the weekend; something I'm good at; what I want to be when I grow up; my favourite book character, etc.

 

 
  5 August 2006

Never throw anything away!  News-papers, boxes, packaging, etc. can all be recycled as part of art, craft, science and maths lessons (or add a practical element to almost any lesson.)

 

 
  29 July 2006

Establish a "special signal" to indicate when you need quiet in the classroom - so that you do not have to raise your voice.  Some teachers use a raised hand as a signal - but I've seen a small hand-bell and an aborigine rain-stick used very effectively.

 

 
  22 July 2006

Display a "joke of the day" - which contains a deliberate spelling or punctuation error.  Pupils who spot the error can claim a team-point.

 

 
  15 July 2006

Write 3 or 4 keywords (from the lesson) on the board at the beginning of the lesson - then ask pupils to indicate with a special sign (e.g. arms crossed over chest) when those keywords occur during the lesson.  This keeps pupils alert - and also helps to reinforce memory.

 

 
  8 July 2006

Create a Challenge Corner and display a new challenge each week.  This could be a puzzle, a riddle, an illusion, or something to think about.  You could hold a competition to invent something new - or to make up a new joke.  Entries can be posted throughout the week and discussed before end of school on Friday.

 

 
  1 July 2006

Make sure your coffee mug is so outrageously distinctive that no one else will want to "borrow" it.

 

 
  24 June 2006

Play soothing background music as pupils come into the classroom to create a calm and purposeful classroom ambience.

 

 
  17 June 2006

Provide each pupil with a traffic-light card - which can be folded to show red, amber or green.  This can be used in a host of different ways, from pupils indicating their readiness to learn, to assessing their level of understanding of a specific topic.

 

 
  12 June 2006

Display an elementary Mind-map at the beginning of the lesson (to expand on the learning objective) - refer to it throughout the lesson (as new information is uncovered) - and return to it during the plenary part of the lesson (to check how much has been learned).

 

 
  5 June 2006

You are more likely to promote a positive attitude in your classroom by rewarding good behaviour (rather than punishing or correcting bad behaviour).  Devise a simple reward scheme with tokens that you distribute liberally - NOT for correct answers - but for correct attitude.  I use raffle tickets - and hold a mini-raffle at the end of each session.  (It is possible to win even if you have earned only one ticket - so no-one need get discouraged because they have not got "the most".)

 

 
  29 May 2006

Greet every child as they come into the classroom and say something positive about them.  We know from experience that compliments make us feel good - so put your pupils in a positive frame of mind at the beginning of the day.