So now you have a parent letter. I thought that was the most important thing for me to do first. It set my rules, my consequences, tardy policy, etc. Now, I did change it a million times as my principal and I talked about our school, (we have a school-wide tardy policy — immediate lunch detention and school-wide cell phone policy — taken to the office, student pays $15 to get it back). At least I had a starting point now.
Next, I started to create the other little things I wanted.
I made a spreadsheet to print out for the class jobs. As middle schoolers, they don’t need the fancy bulletin board with 15 different jobs. I only have them for 45 minutes and ended up combining a lot of jobs into these 4. (And actually, after having the students fill out a small form on what jobs they were interested in, I got rid of Room Inspector. Only about 15 of my 140 kids checked that they would do that job.)
My jobs are: Teacher Assistant, a student who runs errands to the office or other teachers, takes attendance, fills out “while you were out” forms (see below) and now does the job of room inspector, making sure the room is clean at the end of the period.
The next job is Homework Checker. This person will get all of the homework from their class and make sure everyone has turned it in. If someone did not turn it in, they sign in a notebook. This notebook helps with documentation when students continually do not turn in homework and then ask why they have low grades.
The third job is Paper Passer. I have 6 magazine boxes on my counter, one for each class. Any paper that needs to be passed to the class goes in these boxes and the paper passer will pass these out.
The next thing I made is a form for when students are out of class for a day. It is very basic with the student’s name, the date, and the objective that is written on the board every day. The Teacher Assistant then writes in what we did in class that day and what the homework is for the night. They get all papers for that student and staple them to the form and put them on the “While You Were Out” bulletin board.
I do not actually use these bathroom passes, but may next year. The thought was to give two to each student every six weeks. I only have students for 45 minutes and they do not travel far between classes, so they have time to go between classes. However, our school has school-wide passes that are used.
The next thing I created is this behavior adjustment form. The way I explained it to my students is that when they are breaking one of my classroom rules, I will give them a warning. If they continue that behavior, they will receive this form on their desk. It asks what they were doing wrong, and what they could have been doing instead. It then asks for their signature and their parent’s signature. If they do not get the form signed and returned, they receive a detention.
The next document attached is what I call the “Stand Up” game. This is a list of statements such as, “I like to watch or play basketball” or “I play an instrument”. I wrote the statements on notecards and had students go around and introduce themselves and read their statement. If it the statement is true, the person reading it stays standing up and anyone else it applies to stands up as well. If it does not apply to you, you stay sitting. This game helps you get to know the students (or if in August, to get to know each other).
As far as my gradebook, my district uses an online version. However, I really like to have a hard copy in case technology lets me down! I really love Whaley’s 2 line gradebook. I use the 6-term book as we are on a 6 week schedule. It offers two boxes for each day, one for attendance and one for a grade for the day. Below is a link to buy Whaley’s gradebook as a bound or loose-leaf version.