Tag Archives: class management

Power Point as a Classroom Management Tool

Power Point gets a bad rap, I think.

True, there are other tools out there that can make cooler, more visually interesting and stimulating presentations. In fact, I’m using (Prezi for an upocoming one on using video). And true,  it is overused and overdone far to regularly. (Watch this if you don’t know what I mean.)

But it is an amazing tool for classroom management.

Put vocab up so you can flip through the words quickly. Put instructions up so you can go to the next step quickly. Have reading samples to go with guided questions up in a snap.

In middle school (and in other grades, I hear), students are distracted easily. With directions posted on the projector-directions without a cool picture taking up the whole screen or a dancing clip art man-directions that are stated simply and plainly and with key words bolded are invaluable. When the distracted kid loses his place, there is a cue right in front of him to remind him what to do.

Plus, it’s easy to edit on the fly. Step 2 not written clearly enough for period 2, hit escape and retype it. You realize kids may need a visual to understand the text, put one in and it’s ready for not just that period, but every period after it.

I know there’s nothing new here, but I think we get stuck thinking of tools only in their intended use and not how they can be adapted to the need. I rarely use PowerPoint for presentations, but I use if often to guide people through a demonstration. Sometimes it’s just the right tool for the job.

PS. If you don’t have office, check out Open Office. Not as cool, but free and effective!


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All in One URL: Krunchd

Usually when I take a class to the library to do research, I try to incorporate as many real life strategies as I can: tabbed browsing, social bookmarking, google searches… But that isn’t always possible when working with kids who need more structure in their lessons (or the ones who just don’t follow directions very well).  Plus, teaching those skills, or just using them during class, can sometimes take up too much time.

I was facing that problem when I decided to take the class to the computer lab for some background research on Mt. Everest for the novel Peak.

That’s when I found Krunchd. You can load mutiple URL’s into their site and it will give you one web address. When students type in that one address, one window opens that allows students to scroll through all the websites you’ve inputted. Here is the one I set up for my students. See the arrows on the upper right? They move you back and forth throught the different pages, but they don’t stop you from exploring the different sites. Pretty cool.

fur.ly is another site that does the same thing, but with Kruched, you can name part of the URL, while on fur.ly you can’t. Both sites, though, are quick to set up and use with students…no learning curve necessary.

What works: This site lessens the time it takes for students to type in the address and to move from page to page. Cutting down on the time it takes to get ready to learn, the more time students have to actually learn. Plus, by loading the page with lots of different types of text, students can choose what they want to look at (words, pictures, videos, etc.)

What to watch for: While student were easily directed to the sites I wanted, they were not stopped from exploring each site. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but one of the sites I chose had videos and many student got side-tracked from the lesson by looking at videos. The videos, although educational, didn’t really help them understand their reading. For another lesson though, I can see this being a plus point.

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The 45 Minute Conundrum

When I first started teaching, I remember thinking, “What am I supposed to do for forty-five minutes?” My toolbox contained only a few tools and the class period seemed so long. Now I find myself in a different situation. I have an overflowing toolbox of strategies and ONLY forty-five minutes to teach.

Practically, I don’t even have forty-five minutes. Take away time for attendance and announcements as well as for summing up and straightening (rarely do my chairs stay in rows), really I only have thirty-five to forty minutes. Into that mix I want to do some type of daily language activity, some type of journaling as well as a lesson or focus each day. Some days will be devoted to reading and other to writing. I also want to incorporate an independent study day where students have a chance to get caught up on what they need to, work on projects or just read or write. This year I plan on doing formal writing conferences rather than just walk around the room during writing time chatting about their work.

I have found that having some type of schedule in the class is effective with both class management and time management. Last year, we wrote on Mondays and read on Fridays. We started each class period with daily language and a reading response. The social studies teacher did journaling with them, but I will be working with a new teacher this year, so will incorporate that in to the start of class instead of reading response.

I think what may work this year instead is to break up the time into two week blocks. We will still have one reading day a week, but every other Monday will be a work day. Students could choose to read or write or they could work on a project or independent research. This day could be when I hold formal writing conferences, still having informal ones while students are on a writing task.

The class could start with a daily language or sentence modeling activity that students would complete quickly followed by a journaling or reading response activity. These might not be incorporated into the day’s lesson, but would be themed or organized to lead into the next writing activity.

Overall, I plan to have a question a month (at minimum) to guide activities. This is something I admittedly need to read a little more about, but I think I know enough to start. I’ll find fiction and non-fiction pieces at varying levels related to that theme and have at least one writing activity related to it. One piece of reading each month will be subject to a Socratic Seminar. Students will add at least one piece of writing to their portfolio each month, but will fill it with some type of rough draft each week.

Breaking everything down like this helps me to see how everything fits together. I know that some teachers are much more flexible and open. But I am not an organized person by nature. If I am to fit it all into the tiny little block of time, I need a plan of action. Right now, this is my plan.

Do you think it will work?

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