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Ideas and Features For New Teachers 
and Veterans with Class

Volume 2, Issue 19

October 2006


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Classroom Wrap Up Ideas

by Frank Holes, Jr..
Middle School Teacher

Opening your lesson is always important to focus your students for class.  And a good wrap up activity is great for summarizing and closing your lesson.  

Early on in my teaching career, I focused on teaching 'coast to coast', right up until the end of the hour.  Often my lessons ran until the bitter end, with students scrambling to pack up and rushing to their next class.  Later on (as I got better) I began using wrap ups to close the lesson, summarize what the students learned, and provide a launching pad to the next day's lesson. 

In English class, for example, the students will often complete short writing assignments as 'tickets out the door'.  I've included a few short prompts at the end of this article that you can use (or feel free to adapt) in your own class.  Some prompts take the form of short paragraphs, some are in the form of a quiz designed by the kids, and we even have some that are in a creative writing style. 

Wrap-ups can take many forms.  There are some teachers who simply ask questions of the class before students are released.  If a student answers correctly, that student is allowed to pack up and perhaps even leave (depending on your school's policies).  After a few questions, allow the remainder of the students to go on the next correct answer.  You can take volunteers for the answers or use a random choice technique (click here to see the article from our January #1 2006 issue). 

Other teachers choose to have students write before they leave.  Short writing prompts are great.  These should only last a few minutes, and be easy for you to grade/correct/take credit if you choose to.  An easy way to check the writing is by length - a certain number of required words or lines.  Some writings take the form of answers to questions, so you can check the number of correct responses.  Another powerful way is to have students create their own questions in the form of short quizzes.  Students can make up true/false, multiple choice, fill-in-the-blanks, short answer, or other types of quizzes.  Always have students include the answers. 

There are even games you can play with your students as wrap ups.  Some store-bought games can easily be adapted and fit to your classroom.  Simply change the game data by inserting your own questions and class curricular information.  You might even create and develop your own games to play in class.  As always, remember to factor time into your activity.  You'll be able to get to only a few students in the time you have, so create a plan to randomly choose students or keep track of who has already participated.  That way every student has an equal opportunity to participate. 

Wrap-ups can be easy to design and implement in your class. And your students can have fun too using their creativity.  The teacher must make a commitment to doing these every day.  Then the procedure is in place for students and teacher alike.  Wrap-ups are great for reviewing class material not only that day but over past classes.  And they make an excellent transition to the next class.


Be sure to check out our website for more great information, tips, and techniques for new teachers, student-teachers, and interns in teacher prep programs. Also be sure to check out our Who-I-Want-To-Be teacher plan for preparing yourself to enter the educational profession.  Simply click the following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm

Want to check out the other articles in our Student-Teaching series?  Check out our special Student-Teaching page through the following link:  http://www.starteaching.com/studentteachers.htm


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Does Your Kid Have a Great Teacher? Here's how you know.

By Christina J. Riggan

After meeting with your child's teacher spend some some time thinking about these
ideas listed below to help you decide if you have a great teacher for your child.
And even though most people make up their minds about whether they like others or
not in a few seconds, give your child's teacher a fair shot and meet with her
several times to learn enough about her to make a decision.  These may help serve as a
guideline for you.

1. Does she care about your child in every way? A great teacher is a trained
observer of children and looks out for signs of poor learning, social adjustment
problems, poor vision, poor hearing, learning problems, and whether he/she is happy
or not. These are documented and based on many observations and are not a subjective
and momentary judgment.

2. Does she listen to your concerns and your child's concerns? Does she ask
clarifying questions about your child's dreams, goals, desires? Does she make plans
and set goals with this information?

3. Does she exhibit good values, is she moral and honest, and considered respectable?
He/she may have different values than yours but they would not be considered a
harmful influence or morally bankrupt. 

4. Does she respect your family and demonstrate that by being courteous and
considerate? Examples of this would be: Answering your questions with courtesy,
respecting your family situation- whatever that may be, returning phone calls or
emails promptly, setting up conferences when requested or needed.

5. Great teachers respect the importance of good grades and test scores but also
value the learning and growth that may have occurred that grades sometimes cannot
measure.  She is able to demonstrate this growth through understandable and acceptable
measures. Examples might be learning journals, performance tasks, benchmark tasks,
essays, experiments, reports etc.

6. She communicates clearly, fairly and as frequently as is humanly possible and as
much as that family may wish.  Examples of this may be: Newsletters, letters, phone
calls, announcements of events. Others might include letting you know your child is
failing in time for him/her to recover his/her grade before the end of the reporting
Or if your child has been sick for a week, he/she is not required to complete every
worksheet he/she has missed but only the most important ones for learning.

7. She is equitable or fair with all students. Examples might include giving everyone
a chance to redo a problem on the math exam because everyone failed that problem.
She doesn't punish the whole class for the infractions of a few.

8. She values the immense possibilities from learning through taking risks, errors, and
mistakes and sees learning as a journey. She encourages a low-risk environment in
the classroom. Kids are encouraged to take risks and are not chastised for mistakes.

9. She is knowledgeable about and values cultural, racial, and religious
differences, and teaches diversity in the classroom. This means it is an integrated
part of her curriculum all year, not just for a holiday.

10. She is academically competent and thoroughly trained in all areas. She may have a
certification of training for a special form of learning and that's okay. But she
should be certified in the main area of her teaching. If she is teaching all the
math for fifth grade, let's make sure she has a degree in math or the requisite
educational hours (this could be 18 hours at the collegiate level).

I hope you have found this information helpful. Remember to give your child's
teacher a chance and interact enough before making any judgments- just like you
would like her to do for you!

Christina Riggan, a twenty-five year veteran of public schools, and a former teacher in a primary (K-5) school in Austin, Texas, has worked with a variety of grade levels from Kindergarten to adults. Her certifications include Kindergarten, Reading, ESOL, Language Arts, and she holds a Principal's Certificate and a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She is currently a writer, and her chosen area of focus is writing books (fiction and nonfiction) and articles that might help parents, teachers, and students. She is married to David, her husband of thirty-eight years, has two happily married sons, and four wonderful grandchildren.  StarTeaching Featured Writer

You can contact Christina at criggan3@sbcglobal.net  or at her book's website www.howtobeagreatteacher.com

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Website of the Month:

Teaching Heart
A Place for K-3 Teachers 
With Sharing Hearts 

Our October WEBSITE OF THE MONTH award is presented to, Teaching Heart, a resource website for K-3 teachers.    

Teaching Heart is a great website for teachers in the early elementary grades.  There are great ideas, tips, techniques, lesson plans, unit plans, and a great selection of downloadable printable materials you can use, adapt, or change to fit your own classroom.  

The download center features free printable worksheets, activities, and materials you can use in your classroom.  These are cross-referenced through the site for easy access.    

I particularly liked the "MOOSE" notebooks (Management of Organizational Skills Everyday) teachers and students use to communicate with parents at home.  What a neat idea, and a neat name!

This is a user-friendly website with quick links to the various parts of the site.  It is a great resource for elementary teachers.  

Check this site out, you'll be glad you did.  Simply click the link below:








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"Colors of the Rainbow"
Author Unknown

Themes on Life

Our sense of worth is often intensified by our friends

Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel.
All claimed that they were the best.  The most important, the most useful, the most beautiful and the favorite.

Green said:  "Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope.
I was chosen for grass, trees and leaves. Without me, all animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority."

Blue interrupted:  "You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea.  It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing."

Yellow chuckled:  "You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, and the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun."

Orange started next to blow her trumpet:  "I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and papayas. I don't hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset My beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you."

Red could stand it no longer he shouted out:  "I am the ruler of all of you. I am blood - life's blood!  I am the color of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire into the blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon. I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy."

Purple rose up to his full height:  He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: "I am the color of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me! They listen and obey."

Finally Indigo spoke, much more quietly than all the others.  But with just as much determination:  "Think of me. I am the color of silence.  You hardly notice me, but without me you all become superficial.  I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace."

And so all the colors went on boasting each others. Each convinced of his or her own superiority. Their quarreling became louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening, thunder rolled and boomed.  Rain started to pour down relentlessly.  The colors crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort.

In the midst of the clamor, the Rain began to speak:
"You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate the rest. Don't you know that you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different?  Join hands with one another and come to me."

Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands.
The Rain continued:
"From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky.  In a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace.  The Rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow."

And so, whenever a good rain-washes the world and a Rainbow appears in the sky, is to let us remember to appreciate one another. 

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In This Week's Issue 

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Classroom Wrap Up Ideas

Does Your Kid Have a Great Teacher? Here's how you know.

Website of the Month

Themes on Life:  
"Colors of The Rainbow"

10 Days of Writing Prompts

Back to School Book Sale for Teachers

Book of the Month Club


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10 Days Of


Create a list of 10 reasons why Autumn is the best season of the year.


Describe THREE outdoor activities you can do in the fall.   


In a short story or poem, describe the change of seasons in your town from summer to fall.


How do you prepare yourself for the change of seasons? 


Create a short 10 question True/False quiz to cover this week's class information. 


Why do Americans celebrate Columbus Day?


How did Columbus positively or negatively affect the history of North America?


Why were explorers important to history?


What imagination was necessary for explorers to leave their home ports and sail across the ocean?


Brainstorm a list of 15 important things you learned in class this week.


10 days of writing prompts


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Applied Magic

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Coming Soon:

Designing and Running a Medieval Fair

Technology & Teaching: Setting up for Handhelds

Discipline Procedures in School

Using Magic in the Classroom


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