Being the slightly OCD, analytical
Bell Ringers: 2-5 middle school problems printed on paper inside a page protector. One per group of students. Students used dry erase markers to work problems. I give 2-4 minutes with my timer and collect. I set all four on the board and we compare answers. Students explain what they did. I record how many each group gets correct and the team with the most at the end of the week wins a survivor game piece. I do bell ringers Tuesday-Thursday.
Mental Math Monday: 10 middle school problems that I read out loud to students one a time. They use their dry erase markers to work on the desk and write their answers on a laminated card. At the end we trade and grade. Each group gives me their table totals and I record them. The team with the highest total wins a survivor game piece. If the class has an all time best, we celebrate with a funny youtube video.
Bell to Bell Teaching: I teach all hour, every day. I do not give free time or free days. Students start with a bell ringer and then move on to whatever I have planned. If we finish early and I have nothing else prepared, we get out dry erase markers and either work on the desks or at the board. I make up problems based on whatever we're currently doing or something I think they need to remember. This year I've been better about having the next activity ready in case I need it but I always have the whiteboard as back up. I have found that my discipline problems dropped dramatically and the class environment became a lot more focused on math.
Two Nice Things: Once a student says an insult or rude comment, they have to say two nice things. It doesn't matter if it's about themselves, their mom, a celebrity, a person not in the room, etc. Now the two things are usually made up or insincere, but it's the consistency of making them do it that gets them. It's hard for them to publicly say nice things (sadly) so it slows down some of the verbal diarrhea.
Binders: I gave all of my students three ring binders, sticky labels to put their name on the spine, colored card stock and sticky tabs to create dividers, an empty page protector to hold things, and a concept list of everything I plan to teach during the year. Tabs are labeled notes, quizzes, and tests. Binders stay in my room at all times except the night before a test. I have a bookshelf with one shelf per period for students to store their binders. Except they normally look like this. How hard is it to stand your binder up?
Miniature Trash Cans: I use these anytime students are cutting. It collects scraps, prevents 80 million people getting up 80 million times, and keeps the floors much cleaner. I leave them there all day if everyone is cutting or if it's just for one hour, I return them to the cart and dump them at the end of the day. Sometimes students will dump them on their own. I got these at the Dollar Tree and they are even our school colors. Love.
Command Center: This hanging file has clothes pin with stickers on them labeling each class period. When a student is absent, I write their name on the paper we did in class and stick it here. The next day, they are responsible for getting it and copying the notes. The hanging file also has a pocket for my dry erase markers which is conveniently right next to my white board.The date is my magnetic numbers that I change at the end of each day. The blue magnetic container below contains the extra numbers. The blue digital clock also acts as timer, random student selector, and thermometer. I use it frequently so that when I say, "I'll give you four more minutes" that I don't waste extra time. The cart below is my supply cart on wheels and each drawer is labeled with a laminated card. Scissors, glue sticks, markers, erasers, paper, protractors, measuring tapes, highlighters, and mini staplers.
Mini Whiteboard: This miniature whiteboard is attached on the outside of my classroom door with sticky strips. I use it to remind students of quizzes and tests, if I take my class to the computer lab etc, and I write bus times for sports on there as well.
Table Tubs: Each table has a tub with fourish calculators, four mini dry erasers, and the mental math Monday cards. At the end of each hour, I record which groups left theirs clean and they earn a survivor game piece. Again, got these from the Dollar Tree.
Unit Tubs: I have a tub for each unit for all three of my preps. I keep all my originals for the unit, any unit manipulatives or activities, and the pacing guide for that unit.
Weekend Stories: EVERY Monday I ask students about their weekends. I find it's a pretty good way to get them talking and start the week off on a positive note.
Homework: I don't. The end.