Article - Teacher School Year Check List:

There are a number of ways teachers can make transitional years easier.

  • Assign students mentors.
  • Get parents involved.
  • Create a routine in the classroom.
  • Post someone in hallways to answer questions.
  • Obtain information about the students from previous teachers.
  • Become familiar with IEPs prior to the beginning of the year.
  • Encourage students to ask questions.

This article discusses helping students transition to middle school by using older students as mentors.

A look at helping students transition to high school.

The New South Wales Department of Education outlines strategies for helping students smoothly transition to high school.

Ideas for how parents can make the transition to middle school easier and better assure the student receives a diploma .

Direct Students’ Attention

Some students need more help than others staying focused. The following ideas can be used separately or together to help a student focus his or her attention on the task at hand.

  • Minimize talking in the classroom.
  • Create a predictable routine.
  • Maintain an even voice, yelling will distract most students.
  • Create a seating chart that separates children who have the most difficulty paying attention.
  • Minimize "free time."
  • Keep a to-do list on the board.
  • Use a key phrase to use when students are not paying attention such as “time to jump."

This article has a number of ideas on how to stay focused.

While this article focuses on helping cope with ADD/ADHD students, many tactics can be used for any student.

School Family has several ideas for how parents can help children focus on homework.

Teacher Handbook has a number of excellent organization tips that will help keep students focused.

Challenge Students

Challenging students requires a lot of planning by the teacher.

  • Ask critical thinking questions in class.
  • Incorporate critical thinking questions in every test.

The Critical Thinking Community has a detailed discussion on critical thinking questions.

Free Inquiry has an introduction to critical thinking.

Provide Support

Teachers can provide support for their students both in and out of the classroom.

  • Maintain a classroom website.
  • Maintain a class blog.
  • Give students a quarterly syllabus and send one home to parents.
  • Write a monthly newsletter to keep parents up to date.
  • Create and maintain a daily routine.

Teacher Web allows teachers to create a classroom website for a low yearly fee.

School Notes is a cross between a website and a blog. It allows teachers to quickly update class information and assignments.

Blogger allows teachers to create free blogs.

School and Teacher provide teachers with a free classroom website for the first year. Subsequent years require a nominal fee.

Encourage Active Learning

Active learning promotes engaging students in the learning process as opposed to simply having them listen to lectures or read books. There are a number of activities a teacher can use to encourage active learning.

  • Create a quiz show style game to review for lessons.
  • Have students debate from a character’s perspective.
  • Assign group based projects.
  • Have students prepare lessons and teach the rest of the class a new concept.
  • Have students submit questions for the chapter test.

Wikipedia provides a good overview of active learning.

A look at implementing active learning.

The Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology has a description of active learning and suggests activities to incorporate.

A paper from UC Davis discusses active learning and has more suggestions for implementation.  This page links to diplomas.

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