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Top Teacher Hacks to try out next term

Classroom Tips, Teacher Guidance October 25th 2016

It’s another term and everyone’s getting ready for Christmas and the New Year! I know right… where is the time going?! We want you to make the most of the last school term of 2016 so with the help of Pinterest, we have looked into some top “hacks” to help you through! As you can imagine, there are so many ideas and tips out there, I have had to keep it narrowed down to my “Top Favourites”. I hope they help!

Use a Classroom “Cell Bin”

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As the need for technology advances, naturally there has been an increase in the number of mobile phones taken into school. This will of course mean that distractions in class are more likely to occur. To reduce this, why not create a “Cell Bin” as suggested by Claire Connolly. All these would be are buckets or jars where mobile phones will be placed when taken. All you need is a see-through bucket/jar and some black tape. The see-through material means pupils can still see their phone when confiscated. It looks like they are in “prison”. This will emphasise the idea that they have done something “wrong”. I know I would personally struggle without my phone so would certainly think twice about using it in class… Obviously you would hand it back to them at the end though, despite how tempting it will be to steal their Pokemon!

Control the noise in the Classroom with a “Noise-O-Meter”

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It is important that noise levels within the classroom are controlled, to make sure that each pupil gets the most out of your lessons without any distractions. Making use of simple materials, even paper plates for instance, why not create a Noise-O-Meter? This great idea, as "pinned" by Beth Kelly is a great way to point out to the class what the noise levels should be during the lesson. With the meter on display, it will be a tool for teachers to refer back to when pupils are being disruptive, without singling them out. It also encourages self-discipline in class.

Create your own "Cable Basket"

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Sick of cables hanging around the bottom of your desk, getting tangled, in the way and looking messy? Buzzfeed has pinned a great idea to help you resolve this issue! Why not create your own? All you would need is a simple, generic basket (obviously make sure that the power module will fit through) and some ceiling hooks. The hooks will easily twist into the bottom of your desktop and the basket will simply hang onto them! It's simple, cost effective and will keep your workspace tidy and safe.

Take the Classroom Outdoors

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There is a lot that can and has been said about outdoor space with regards to learning. The fast growing popularity of “Forest Schools” is a testament to this, so why not take your class outside? One of my favourite memories was of my History teacher taking us outside on a Summer’s day. One idea I found was to create a “Ball Abacus”. I found the idea from Twinkl Educational Publishing. All you need is a set of perforated plastic balls and some string! The outdoor space will allow plenty of room for the entire class to join in and the fresh air will keep brains stimulated and do you all some good, too!

Create Class Surveys

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To get the whole class involved in the lesson, why not hold a class survey as recommended by Scholistic.com? A simple question addressed to the entire class will ensure you get everyone involved, enthusiastically. All you will need is some cardboard, colourful paper and pegs for the pupil’s names. Having the board on display in the classroom will mean everyone can see what the outcome is. It will also give everyone a chance to learn about each other, discuss the results and draw some conclusions from them. Following that, you can then use the results for other analytical work.

Lesson Reflection Posters

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An easy way to find out what each student has learned is by creating a “reflection” poster. I found the idea from Education to the Core. Breaking the poster down to each pupil, use post-it notes and ask the pupils to write down what, in particular, they learned that day or week. This is a great way to gauge what they have achieved from your lessons. It’s also a good way to assess how far each individual pupil has grown and where their possible weaknesses are. They will be thinking about the lesson at the time, wanting to make sure they have something to write down at the end and thus keeping their minds stimulated throughout.

Design an “I’m Done-Board” for the classroom

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Back in school, (all those years ago) I remember being told that there was no such thing as “I’ve done it all, now I have nothing to do”. There is always more to do when you have finished a piece of work. Why not create a board or poster with possible further work on there to ensure that pupils don’t lose their momentum, a bit like this one from Clutter Free Classroom? This will ensure that there aren’t distractions for anyone else as they will always be focussed on a task. All of this will teach pupils how to be more self-sufficient. Ideal!

Use Binder Clips instead of stickers to Label Shelves

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Sick of stickers fading, ripping or even having to stick stickers on stickers to label shelves? Why not organise your shelves with the use of "binder clips"? There are so many solutions on Pinterest that involve binder clips, Buzzfeed has given us this one! The great thing about this idea is that the stickers are easily removed as the clips are metal. This will also reduce the damage done to your shelves. It also means that if the paperwork is moved to a different shelving unit, you wouldn't have to write out new labels!

The Classroom Flower Clock

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This is one of my personal favourite hacks: The Flower Clock by Learning to Teach. Remember the stress of trying to work out how to tell the time? The flower that you create around the clock is a great technique for pupils to learn from. Using the leaves to emphasise the arms and the petals as the minutes, a practical art piece is created. The colours and technique also create a lot of “fun”, which will strengthen the desire to learn from the rest of the class. It’s a really straightforward technique that will take your pupils a long way!

There are, of course, a lot more ideas out there, I just couldn’t fit any more in! I hope these all help you throughout the next term. You will have let me know about any other hacks!

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