Tag Archives: Classroom management

First Quarter

The first quarter of the school year is completed, in the bag, done.  We had a staff meeting last week and were told that we only had a few weeks until our Thanksgiving holiday. It was nice to hear; however, we will have work to accomplish before some time with family.  I find that some of my clients’ true colors and personalities have surfaced. I redirect those who need redirection, and I praise those who need praise.  Last week, I put a sticker on the workbooks of students who were reading quietly after finishing their assignment as asked.  It was lovely.  I did not have to say anything to any of my students who prefer to “rock the boat” in class. They conformed to my simple request; we all left class that day in good spirits.

We have an anti-bullying initiative in place called Olweus (it’s Norwegian and the “w” has a “v” sound).  Our students are divided into randomly-selected groups, and we hold class meetings once a month to discuss bullying situations and how to respond when they occur.  I remember that feeling of being picked on all too well.  It made me angry that other people could talk to me rudely and treat me poorly.  As a result, I react strongly when a student puts another student down in my presence. I guess I am defending myself to my tormentors after all of these years.  When you criticize someone or laugh at his answer (given sincerely but wrong and NOT for a laugh), expect the “evil eye” and do not dare make a disparaging remark under your breath. I hear those cutting, mocking words, and the claws of Mama Tiger become unsheathed. It is a righteous anger and not easily abated once unleashed. You have been warned.

More anon.

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ABCs of Mrs. J’s Classroom (S-T) Sorry, no Zs.

Strikes Policy

(This is the name given to infractions committed by students)

  • You will accrue strikes for the grading period.
  • First strike- warning from teacher, sign the log
  • Second strike- parent contact from teacher, sign the log
  • Third and subsequent strike – C-hall assignment, parent contact, and office discipline

Substitute Policy

  • If I am ever absent, I expect you to treat the substitute as a guest in our home.
  • You will use your name placards to help the substitute learn your names.
  • If your name is given for anything other than absence, excused tardy, illness, or early dismissal note from front office, then you will receive an automatic C-hall.

Supplies Policy

  • Mrs. Johnson does not supply students with writing instruments, paper, or books.  When you run out of notebook paper, please buy a new package.  This also applies to pens and pencils.
  • Students are to check the “Supplies Needed” posted each day and bring daily supplies.
  • Students are to bring incidental supplies to class. (Ruled note cards, highlighters, map pencils, and/or markers as requested by teacher)

Tardy Policy

  • To be counted on time, you must have your backside connected to your assigned seat.
  • You are not sharpening a pencil, getting a drink at the fountain, or in the bathroom.
  • You must have your supplies with you in class.
  • You are completing the initial assignment.
  • You have a note excusing your tardiness from the front office, school nurse, counselor, librarian, or teacher.

Tutoring Policy

  • Mrs. Johnson is available each morning at 7:55 A.M. unless she is attending a meeting.  She is available after school daily until 4:05 P.M. unless she is attending a meeting.
  • Please let Mrs. Johnson know in advance during school hours between classes if you will be attending.
  • Make prior arrangements with your parents regarding your ride home from school.
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ABCs of Mrs. J’s Classroom (M-R)

Mandatory Tutoring Policy

  • If you receive a notice about mandatory tutoring for my class, you must attend each session until the end of the grading period or teacher dismissal.
  • Be here at 7:55 A.M. on your assigned morning, or it will become a C-hall.


Novels Policy

  • Pre -AP students are expected to have a copy of the novels we read during the school year.
  • It is recommended that on-level students have a personal copy for annotation.


Papers Policy

  •  Papers must follow heading guidelines given by Mrs. Johnson.
  • Writing must be original.
  • Essays will be either typed or handwritten for final copies.
  • Final copies are printed before due date.  Use the computer integration lab or the library computer lab to print.  There are no eleventh-hour jump drive rescues.


Personal Emergency Policy

  • I handle each emergency on a case-by-case basis.
  • Raise your hand to get my attention.
  • Please tell me the nature of your emergency.  I cannot evaluate a problem if you do not let me know what is happening.

Retake Policy

  • If you score below eighty-five percent on a major test, you are eligible for a retake.
  • Attend correction tutorial for retake test.  Have your original test signed by your parent.
  • Attend retake tutorial with Mrs. Johnson or another ILA teacher if Mrs. Johnson is unavailable due to duty assignment, illness, or a prior appointment.
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ABCs of Mrs. J’s Classroom (E-H)


  • I handle each emergency on a case-by-case basis.
  • Raise your hand to get my attention.
  • Please tell me the nature of your emergency.  I cannot evaluate a problem if you do not let me know what is happening.

Grade Policy

  • Mrs. Johnson posts your grades to Home Access Center (HAC) at least once per week.
  • Mrs. Johnson grades and returns papers in a timely manner.
  • During class is not the appropriate time to discuss a grade.
  • Please speak to me after class ends or after school.
  • Major grades are fifty percent, minor grades are thirty percent, and daily grades are twenty percent in the grading system.

Homework Policy

  •  You will have homework at least twice a week for my class.
  • Your homework is due the next class day in most cases.
  • Failure to turn in your homework and/or have it in class will result in a late grade.
  • Check the homework folder when you are absent so that you can keep up with your studies.
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ABCs Continued (The letter D)

Daily Supplies Policy

(Students are to bring the following items each day to class)

  • Mrs. Johnson does not supply writing pens, pencils, paper, or extra books.
  • Students are to check the “Supplies Needed” sign outside my classroom door.
  • Agenda/planner
  • ILA three-ring binder with notebook dividers in place [Warm-up/Class Notes/Novels/Springboard/Graded Work]
  • Black or blue pen
  • Notebook paper in the binder
  • Writing journal (can be single subject spiral or composition book) – brought and left in classroom at beginning of the year
  • Novel of study
  • Library book for independent reading
  • Springboard Workbook
  • Students are to bring incidental supplies to class. (Ruled note cards, pencils, highlighters, map pencils, and/or markers as requested by teacher)

Discipline Log Policy

You will sign the discipline log for the following infractions that include but are not limited to:

  • Cheating of any sort (automatic referral to office)
  • Destruction of property belonging to the school, another student, or Mrs. Johnson
  • Dishonesty
  • Dress code violations (automatic referral to office)
  • Failure to bring supplies to class as required by teacher (once OOPS passes have been exhausted)
  • Gum chewing
  • Inappropriate behavior towards self and/or others
  • Inappropriate language whether spoken or written
  • Insubordination
  • No more “OOPS” pass signature space (automatic log signature)
  • Physical aggression and threats (automatic referral to office)
  • Refusal to sign the log
  • Stealing of any shade, form or fashion
  • Substitute problems (See Substitute policy)
  • Tardy to class  (See Tardy policy)

Discipline Policy

  • You are to be on your best behavior at all times.
  • If you chose to disobey the procedures, then you will receive consequences for your chosen behavior.
  • You will sign the discipline log for infractions committed during a six weeks grading period.  A fresh start will commence at the beginning of the new grading period.
  • We will follow the steps for Clark Middle School discipline in our classroom.

ABCs of My Class

I have created a document that details the procedures of my classroom so that my students and parents know my expectations.  I am sharing letters A-C today.

Absence Policy

You are responsible for checking on missing work! Collect homework from absentee folder before class during morning tutorials.  Talk with Mrs. Johnson about an explanation at that time or before you leave school for the day during afternoon tutorials.

Check the Home Access Center (HAC) for the overview of the week’s plan.

Check homework assignments written on western wall and copy into your planner.

If you are absent for a quiz, project, or test date, your work is due the next school day.  If you miss the review, but are absent for the test or quiz, you still take the test or quiz.

Per handbook policy, you have two school days to get absent work turned in or it will become a zero.

Bathroom Policy

Visit the restroom and/or refill your water bottles before the tardy bell rings at the beginning of class.

In most cases, you will use the passing period to visit the restroom.

No passes for the restroom during the first or last five minutes of class.

Bell Policy

The bell helps Mrs. Johnson to tell the time.

It does not dismiss the students!

Do not pack up early without permission.

Please stay in your seat until Mrs. Johnson dismisses you.

Students will exit by walking out of the classroom in an orderly fashion.

Completion Policy

If you finish your assignment in class before it is due, you may read quietly from your library book or ask permission to use one of Mrs. Johnson’s personal books.

You may study for upcoming tests or quizzes if you have your study notes with you.  You may not leave class to get your study materials.

You may write in your journal.  You may not draw.

You may not talk to or interfere with anyone else during this time.

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First Two Weeks

We have been in school for nine days.  I know the names and faces of each one of my students. I have made a few observations about some of my new young charges in the short time we’ve been together.  Some of my students need a crash course in good manners, classroom protocol, and self-control.  I will give them the opportunity to practice good manners each time I interact with them.  I insist that they say, “Yes, ma’am.” I insist that the room is silent during a quiz or journal writing time.  I insist that they do not touch the items on my desk or computer workstation.  I insist that they ask permission before choosing a book from my library. I insist that they enter my room quietly and ready to work.

My colleagues and I eat lunch together nearly each day; I love the time of fellowship with them. I am the senior member of my team and have the opportunity to learn from them as they employ different strategies for some of our shared clientele.  I happen to have taught for more years than my teammates combined.  Next year, they may outrank me, collectively, but I’ll keep track of the math.  I find it amusing when I think about it.

I came home during the first week and collapsed the first two days because of the sheer amount of energy and adrenaline needed to go through the first day.  We ease them into the schedule then start adding responsibilities such as signature pages of syllabi returned.  This week, we will have school pictures taken.  I have put that information on my classroom blog I maintain.  We’ll see how well they pay attention to the newsletter sent home to the parents in addition to my notifications.  We will be hosting our “Meet the Teacher” night on Thursday.  We were asked to incorporate one new element for the event, so we met together as a team and decided how things would be set up.  We will have to fine-tune our plans in time for our event.  It will take all of us to make it work well.  That’s all for now.

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Classroom Preparation

I have found some great ideas using Pinterest to update the decor in my classroom.* It’s been helpful to freshen up my bulletin board outside of my door. My desk is clean save the Springboard posters I have to monitor our progress through a unit of study. I will be putting some finishing touches on my writing utensils organizer and start filling lockers in preparation for our sixth grade orientation. The process of nesting reminds me of my pregnancy with my son; I began tidying like mad during the last weeks before delivery. A new year means a new group of young people to teach, mold, and love. I am ready now.

*I will add pictures once the final touches are added.


Changing Things A Bit

I’ve finally been allowed to join Pinterest* and found myriad ideas for teaching, organizing, and living.  The amount of information and suggestions can boggle the mind, but I limit my time for my own sanity.  I found a great idea that a colleague used about letting the kids know their role upon entering the classroom.  I will be decorating the outside of my door with some of the following phrases.

In this classroom, we are:

  • readers
  • grammarians
  • writers
  • thinkers
  • creative
  • team members
  • editors
  • resivers
  • spellers
  • dreamers
  • storytellers
  • poets
  • family [this word will be the last because it is the most important one to me]

I will post a picture once it is done.  I even created a dead word wall complete with the necessary tombstone clip art and used Microsoft Word’s chiller font to drive home the point.  They will receive the accompanying handouts either tomorrow or early next week.  I want to prepare them for seventh grade as much as possible.

*For over a year, my mother forbade me from joining Pinterest due to my slightly obsessive nature.  I’ve been a good girl, so she is happy.


Testing, Testing

We finished up our STAAR tests last week, and I spent the bulk of two school days with students in my testing group.  I only knew a few of them before that happened.  As soon as they were done on the last day, I turned in my materials and began ripping off the colored butcher paper that covered any instructional signage.  I must have had an evil gleam in my eye because the kids were delighted by my vigor.  In fact, I felt so energized that I read from one of John Erickson’s Hank the Cowdog series with character voices for Hank, Drover, Pete the Barncat, etc.  They were laughing in all the right places, and I was laughing, too.  I found out later that they now think I’m “cool.”  That’s nice.

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