Jasper Roberts - Blog

Mix it Up: Stations on Day One!

Last year I tried this, and it was amazing. I was totally inspired by The Literary Maven last year, and it was a massive hit with students! We had so much fun, and I really enjoyed having a more relaxed atmosphere in the classroom on the first day, so much so that I did stations for Open House, too (more on that in another post). This year, I'm changing it up a bit, but also keeping some things the same. Make sure to check out the above link to see my inspiration from last year, some of her items were freebies last year, not sure if they still are or not, but definitely take a look!


1. I will assign seats, even if they change after the first week. It will hopefully give some of my students, especially my sixth graders, a bit more reassurance than trying to just find a random seat on the first day.

2. I will likely extend this into TWO periods to get everything done, as we ran out of time last year!

So my first station is the Syllabus and Classroom Scavenger Hunt. This was a great teamwork activity. In their groups, students had to do a syllabus and classroom scavenger hunt and answer questions about the class. My top scoring group at the end of the period received a No Homework Pass, so it got a bit competitive! I made up a bunch of questions, and assigned various point values to each question, so they had to be strategic as well!

Station 2, this is where I got the handouts from the link above. The speech bubbles were so cute for introducing the idea of SMART goals! Students definitely needed more time, cutting and gluing seemed to take the longest at this station, and remind students to pick up after themselves!
At Station #3, I'm going to set out a variety of books in different genres, and have them go on a speed date with each book. While they're browsing, I'm going to have them fill out a simple chart, with their name on it, that they'll turn in to me. This will give me an idea of what kinds of books they're in to, and I'll hopefully have some suggestions for them when we begin independent reading conferences. The chart is still in the process, but it'll basically ask the name and author of the book, the genre (good pre-assessment), did they like it or not, and why?
At Station #4, they'll pick up a student packet with a scope and sequence idea, plus their anchor pages for the ISN, a Parent Questionnaire, and a Manila Folder. This folder will be where they store their assessments, so they'll have some time to decorate it and make it their own. They also need to label it correctly on the tab, Last Name, First Name. Believe it or not, make sure you have an example. Also, I have them write their homework in their planners from the board.

Station #5: This is my favorite station, because I learned so much about what they want in their school and of me! On chart paper, I put the following questions up: What does the ideal classroom look like? What are three important characteristics of a teacher? What does the perfect student look like? What does an ideal school look like? A change this year is that students will use sticky notes, to prevent them from writing as BIG as possible, and they are also signing their names to the stickies (they'll be up for Open House)

Station #6: This is a new station this year for me. I'm at a new school, and I wanted a fun activity where I could sit down and informally talk to my students, so I came up with this! I created these Meet and Greet cards, kind of like playing cards, and students will draw them and we'll go around in a circle and answer as quickly as possible!

 Finally, Station #7 is Growth Mindset, I'm all about that this year, and I really want to focus on it from day one! I purchased this awesome Growth Mindset Bundle from The Daring English Teacher, and I'll be using the Crest with my 8th graders, and the Pennant with my 6th graders, and the first four pages of activities and surveys with both. You should definitely check out this resource, it rocks!

Have a WONDERFUL beginning of the school year, everyone!

Classroom Procedures and Organization

Hi everyone!! This week I'll be coming at you with a whole slew of posts, including my classroom tour, scope and sequence, back to school night, and today's post, one of my favorite topics, Classroom Procedures and Organization!

When I'm asked what my biggest issue is that I face with middle schoolers, you might expect my response to be, "The drama, the emotions, the unpredictability...", but it isn't. For me, my biggest issue is getting my students into a routine that works for them and me, so that our class can run smoothly. I've noticed that for the most part I can keep everyone happy when there's a set routine in place, at least for 42 minutes.

I feel like middle school students are constantly stuck in this state of indecision and insecurity, that tends to manifest in all the negative traits we associate with tweens.

It is SO important, repeat, SO IMPORTANT, to have classroom procedures and organization with middle schoolers. 

But fear not, we can stop some of these issues when students know what's expected of them, and where to get what they need!

In my classroom, I have my "Information Station" posted in a place that is centrally located, and easily accessible. This area is where students check the "While You Were Out Spiral" (in the silver tray), sign out for the restroom (clipboard), turn in Word of the Day, turn in homework (Blue, Green, and White bins), pick up supplies, check the calendar, and pick up forms we use daily. 
These forms include the "Request to Retest" form, No Assignment Form, and Word of the Day form. Also, I LOVE this sign I picked up from Teach Create Motivate, along with my calendar from Erin Condren!

What are my forms? 

The Request to Retest is for students who do not achieve mastery on an assessment. They fill this out immediately and turn it in to me, and then I schedule a retake for them. It gives them a chance to reflect on what they need to review before they retest.

The No Assignment Forms are GREAT for keeping track of missing work. Students fill this out when they don't have an assignment and turn it in, and I have a record of it. These are super helpful for Parent Teacher Conferences, and when entering grades!
I clip my NAF (No Assignment Forms) in my gradebook, and put them in a bin box once the assignment is turned in. This way, I can remind students to turn in their missing work as well. I also draw a box around the assignment to indicate that it's missing.

My Word of the Day forms are for effort extra credit, and give students practice at learning and using new words. This is an optional or extra time activity for them!

Since I'm still setting up my new classroom, I'm still looking for a dedicated space for student ISN's, but otherwise, this is where students head when they need something in my room! It makes student movement so much easier and purposeful, and since it's an open space away from student desks (this is KEY), there is less of a traffic backup!

Finally, even though I project my daily agenda, I keep a Homework board so students can see all period what is due the next day.

Want some of these forms? Enter the rafflecopter for your chance to win my Classroom Management Forms pack

I am teaming up with 50 great teacherprenuers to bring you tried and true classroom management and organizational strategies that work in our classrooms. Please make sure that you hop to each participating blog! We are also hosting a giveaway. Enter to win one of two great prizes. We are giving away the chance to win a $50 TpT Gift Card and classroom resources from over 30 teacher authors. Good luck! 

Be on the lookout for more from me this week. :) 
Happy Back to School!

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