Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pet Peeves - Pencil, Erasers, Names, and Feet

All teachers have those little things that drive you INSANE during the course of the school year. Initially for me it was the constant need to get up and use the pencil sharpener...ugh! (or worse yet...not having a pencil...nothing slows down notebooking more). I made my peace with that years ago by having a pencil loaner bin filled with the cheap plastic pencil sharpeners (that catch shavings). I buy those at Staples during their penny sale and as a teacher you can get more then the "four per customer" rule. I did not buy enough for this years class and made a mental note to get more. Make sure you put your name on it with permanent marker THEN put a piece of clear tape over it. That has kept them from disappearing and is an easy way to tell the difference between yours and a student.

Of course my next little pet peeve is that students will not take a pencil if it doesn't have an eraser so that leads to a 5 minute search through the pencil loaner bin for one that does. Sigh... To deal with that I bought a bunch of the pink erasers, cut them in thirds, and put my initial "H" on it (all over it). Sure some of them got lost, misplaced, taken but I put them on my Christmas "wish list" and I got a bunch for gifts this year.

So now that I have made my peace (sort of) with pencils and erasers I jumped to obsessing about no names on papers. I'm sure that there are many teachers out there who know what I mean. You start grading a stack full of papers and sure enough there are 3 or 4 students who have not put there name on something. Well when you are notebooking there are times where you can't pre-glue something in because students need to have the ability to open something wide to work on (foldables or booklets). To combat that I do several things...first I say, "Don't start anything, everyone turn your booklet/foldable over and put your first name...give me a thumbs up when that is done." Of course you have the handful of students not listening and they give you the "thumbs up" sign just because everyone else is doing it. Another thing I try is to appoint one person at the table to check that everyone has their name on the assignment and only that person gives me a thumbs up. Ultimately (and this is the one that I use the most) I circulate around the room and do a name check at each table as students are working independently. I am always surprised when I do these "name checks" how many student STILL don't have their name on their work.

My current pet peeve has NOTHING to do with notebooking and it is completely new to this is the shuffling of feet while walking down the hall. We have fine sand/dirt that gets tracked in since I am on a "main hall" where most of the foot traffic order to get to the library, recess, gym, computers, etc. Students are not picking up their feet but are sliding their feet and when you get the sand underneath it makes a horrible sound. My current line I say to students is, "Pick up your feet you are not 100 years old." This works momentarily but I still have the dedicated shufflers who either just love the sand sound...or just want to annoy me :)


Anonymous said...

I could totally relate to your name on paper dilema. I usually tell students to put their finger on thier first name, last name, number, and date. Which does help with most of them. Although I was getting papers that just had first names and no last names or were missing thier numbers, which is the quick thing I do to put them in order for grading. So I have also started doing name checks, but I added an incentive. Right after I pass out papers I walk around and look and then give tickets to everyone that has first, last, number and date. I use tickets for incentives anyway and put them in a cup for a drawing at the end of each week. It seems to be improving the thoughtfulness of the students. Sorry this is a long comment, but I thought I would share what seems to be working for me.

Tara said...

I don't know if it will help in your situation (I'm guessing all the dirt in the halls wasn't put there by your class alone), but I always tell the kids to "leave the playground on the playground." After some modeling, they know to stomp their feet like crazy before we come inside. They make a game of it, being silly and "over-stomping." This is one time (use of hand sanitizer is another) when I actually LOVE their silly exaggeration! If they forget to stomp their feet, you can always say, "You know, if you take all this playground into the building, there won't be anything left to play on during recess!"

Kimberly said...

I teach 4th grade in Texas, my students also slide down the hall, I usually in a fun way not a sarcastic or mean way say oh my goodness we need a walking lesson and it depends on the student as well. This one little girl laughs a lot so I knew I would not embarass her, and the others would get the point. "Oh my goodness we need a walking lesson, not a skiing lesson, and I go and hold her wrist and she walks beside me and I say right, left, right, left." The other kids get the point, and she laughed the whole time.