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Family Service Night
Debra shares an idea that combines service work with the traditional school open house. Families get involved with their children’s school, and everyone learns the value of community and responsibility.
Flipping the Classroom
How a math teacher working on an army base uses the flipped classroom strategy to better serve students and parents by individualizing instruction for all learners, including ability levels, needs, and learning styles.
Flipped Lessons
Ms. Spock uses flipped lessons to encourage her students to teach themselves before they even come to school.
Facilitating Respectful Discussions
Eileen share a simple idea that will help you better manage large group discussions, especially ones that cover controversial issues, and help your students demonstrate respect and active listening.
5-Minute Diagrams
This review game is quick, non-threatening and fun. Best of all is that it doesn’t require any preparation or grading! Read about this technique that works for almost any grade or subject matter.
Fast Facts
Melanie’s students make two-sided math fact cards, as we’ve all traditionally made flashcards. But she keeps these drills exciting by randomly shouting out, “Fast Facts!” during the day. Read more about these updated flashcard drills.
Forgive Yourself
Ms. Kast takes photos of her students throughout the year and uses the pictures to measure their progress throughout the year. Discover how each student mounts the pictures and writes descriptions, memories and reactions about each photo in the yearbook.
Ocean-Themed Classroom Decorations
Ms. Postman enjoys transforming her room to reflect the current unit of study. In this case, she uses bulletin board paper, fishing line, blue paper, and plastic wrap to create an ocean theme featuring whales, squid, plankton, and more.
Football Across the Curriculum
Ms. Moser has an imaginative, interdisciplinary curriculum unit using football at the core. Students learn language arts, math, science and social studies skills throughout the season.
Football Behavior Program
Ms. Postman’s primary school competes in a yearly Behavior Bowl. Read about how classes collect football points for good behavior and drive the field for touchdowns, treats and a school-wide celebration.
Focus First, Then Questions
Do you ever wish students would actually read your instructions before asking questions about them? Ms. McCarthy certainly did, so she developed a very effective method for teaching the simple, fundamentally important skill of following directions.
Filing Mail and Paperwork
Here’s how I stay on top of all my paperwork. I take care of mail in the office when I retrieve it from my mailbox...
Family Communication
I feel it is best to send communication to 'families' rather than 'parents.' Children often are not part of a two-parent home, and even if they are, other family members often play an important role in their lives...
Flashcard Review
My students created flashcards for science vocabulary and content and put 2-3 definitions or statements on each flashcard. I do a myriad of different activities...
Free Virtual Literature Circles
My students have been using a variety of free technology tools for work on their virtual literature circles.
Flex Grouping
I teach at a school with a very wide range of reading levels. At the beginning of the year, we had no idea how to fully meet the needs of all those learners.
Fabric Backgrounds
I buy inexpensive lightweight cotton fabric for my bulletin boards. I choose a bright solid color because the fabric does not fade nor show staple holes. If I want to use a different background for a ...
Fabric Borders
If you are creating inexpensive borders, don't forget your neighborhood fabric store. You can get a lot of borders from even one yard of 99-cent fabric. It is as easily laminated as paper, just be sur...
Fabric Bulletin Boards
There's an easy and fun way to make bulletin boards that won't fade during the year. Just use fabric! I have found very interesting and theme-related fabrics that work great as the background for the ...
Faces and Names
I take pictures of the students on the first day of school and create a class book with all their pictures and a bit of information about them. Then when the book rotates home with different students,...
Faculty Leaders
At our middle school we have a Leadership Team, which is composed of department chairs and works closely with our administrators on curriculum issues such as struggling readers. This year, the Leaders...
Faded White Boards
Maintaining a whiteboard can be troublesome. It’s easy to erase or smudge markings, which means you need to rewrite the entire board for every class period. Ms. Kirk has a colorful solution to this common problem.
Family Book Club
"Our entire K-6 school reads the same book, and parents are invited to read it too. At the end of the month, we have an evening discussion of the book in the auditorium.
Fair Play
Our class loves to read plays from magazines and from our text book out loud in class. We give them 10 points extra credit if they read a part. Selection of parts has been a source of conflict and has...
Families and Long Division
When I teach long division I have the children write DMSCB on the top of their papers. I tell them it stands for Daddy, Mommy, Sister, Cousin, and Brother. In reality they learn it stands for divide, ...
Family Literacy Center
I am a Title One teacher who recently received a grant to start a Family Literacy Center. Our center is open two evenings each week to accommodate our parents who work. Parents visit with their childr...
Family Maps
Ms. Shogren puts her students on the map! Read about how she breaks the ice at the start of school by marking where her students traveled during the summer or where their family members live on a large map.
Family Reading Night
When I was a student teacher, we had a 'Passport to Literacy' night, in which everyone who came received a passport at the door. The kids and their families had to go to different classrooms, where te...
Famous Scientists
I put my students into small groups to select a scientist that contributed to the atomic theory. They must creatively represent the work of these scientists and their contribution. They use music, com...
Fast & Easy Tracking
If you’ve ever had a student who didn’t do their homework only to later accuse you of losing it, then you’ll appreciate Ms. John’s procedure for tracking student work.
Favorite Book Challenge
I taught at a middle school with very low level readers. We had a 20 minute SSR period every day. It was a struggle to take hold with both teachers and students. So, I decided to issue a challenge to ...
Favorite Sites
Her students often get distracted from their assigned Internet research when they stumble upon interesting but off-topic Web sites. Ms. Scheidt has a low-tech solution to this problem that keeps students on-task without stifling their curiosity.
Feature Stories
Mr. Whary’s unit on feature writing includes interviewing activities: a short, warm up activity in which student practice interviewing before moving on to longer, more substantive interviews.
Feedback through E-mail
Response is integral to learning. I create professional-looking response sheets on our desktop publishing software and post them outside our room for students and adults to record their thoughts and c...
Feeding Fish
Ms. Bordash likes to keep a classroom aquarium, but her overzealous students have a tendency to be heavy-handed with the food. Her simple solution keeps the students and the fish in good spirits. Learn more.
Feeling Fit Mileage Club
At our school, the PE teacher has developed a walking/running club for grades 2-5 in the mornings.
Feely Box
As a reward system, I created a Feely Box. After taping the lid down on a paper box, I cut a hole out of the end of the box. Then, I covered the box with fabric and cut fringe to glue to the inside of...
Fiber Art Project
I save all my old glue bottles or use empty hair dye application bottles to fill with an alum/flour mixture for a resist application on fabric. This is a great way to store the paste for a few days in...
Fieldtrip of Dreams
I work at an elementary school in a district with a high drop-out rate. Many see school as an impediment to a full-time job working for minimum wage, while others get to high school where the work is ...
Fiesta with Friends
My young Spanish students meet with a Spanish class at the high school and have a fiesta. We send each other email messages in preparation and anticipation of the big event. This helps the students wi...
File Folders at the Ready
I teach some classes with many absentees. To put the responsibility on the absent student, I keep a file folder for each class by the door. When I hand out a ditto to the class, I ask one student to t...
Filling a New (or Veteran!) Teacher's Stocking
Over the years Ms. Sunderland has collected a list of great suggestions for stocking stuffers, some are her own ideas, others she borrowed, but all the ideas are good.
Finding Misspelled Words
My students had weak spelling skills. Whenever I asked them to hand in the final draft of an essay using spelling words, there would still be mistakes. In the past, I corrected the misspelled words an...
Fingerprint Stationery
This holiday arts and crafts project comes from 5th-grade teacher Denise Muto, whose students use acrylic paints and fingerprints to create a variety of fast, easy, inexpensive gifts and decorations. Find out how she they do it.
Finn's Five and Dime
To promote positive learning, students must complete their work accurately, neatly and on time, with positive and respectful behavior. They also must complete homework and have their daily agenda sign...
First Day Handouts
This teacher always had trouble finding his favorite paperwork at the start of each school year, until he came up with a great idea for organizing his First Day files and minimizing bulky storage.
First Day Organization and Confidence
Even after ten years of teaching, Ms. Gray still gets nervous on the first day. She developed a way to organize typical first-day-of-school paperwork that helps her stay completely calm and lets students know she’s on top of it.
First Name Alphabetical Lines
Kids often whine about cutting in line. To solve this, I have them line up alphabetically by FIRST name. This first person is the line leader all week. The next week, the line leader goes to the end o...
First Week in Kindergarten
The first week of school, I give my students a gingerbread man nametag to wear. The nametag corresponds to the bulletin board outside my classroom door. This enables the students to easily find their ...
Fish Raising Project
Here's a great field study or service learning project for biology students. Check with your local fly fishing clubs or the Federation of Fly Fishers, and see if there is a local equivalent to Califor...
Five Ideas for Family Communication
Ms. Donato maintains positive communication with families throughout the entire school year, using five ideas that cover everything from simple routines & procedures to carefully-planned special events.
Five Ideas for Reaching ELL Students
Here are some ideas for working with English Language Learner students: 1) Get all of the picture dictionaries you can get your hands on, Richard Scarry books are especially good. Does he know any Eng...
Five Tray Filing
In order to keep my desk neat and tidy, I use a filing system that works wonders! I have 5 black, stackable file trays... you can find these at any office supply or discount store. I label the five tr...
Flaking Paint
Here's a way to keep paint from flaking off of milk cartons. An art teacher once told me to...
Flexible Sustained Silent Reading
I find that in class reading time spent listening to an audio book is excellent. I offer my students the option of reading silently or listening to the book. Often, students find reading aloud to each...
Floor Circles
Teaching the parts of circle is more than a hands-on activity in Ms. Luckenbaugh’s class: it’s a “feet-on” experience, literally. Find out her unique, and completely engaging, way of helping students understand pi, area and circumference.
Floor Maps
Our social studies curriculum requires us to reach a unit on Africa so that our children become aware of the needs of people throughout the world. To assist with geography skills...
Fluency Phones
Who knew that spare bits of PVC pipe could help students master reading fluency? Ms. Hawes, that’s who! Next time you pass the plumbing section at that local hardware store, keep her tip in mind.
Fly-away Overheads
At a recent training in Manhattan, Kansas, I observed the presenter Peg Dunlap (staff from Kansas-NEA) using a cover sheet while showing a transparency overhead. The cover sheet had three pennies tape...
Flyswatter Game
Here’s a fun math game to play inside, perfect for antsy students trapped indoors by bad weather. Slap the correct answer and watch your students get buzzed about math!
Focusing on Reading
I give my remedial readers a 2 inch by 8 inch strip of black construction paper to lay under the line of print they are reading. The black strip keeps them focused on the line they are reading and the...
Foliage Across the Nation
My students are studying the time table of the change of foliage. They are emailing other students throughout the United States and asking them to chart the changing of the leaves in their area. When ...
Food and Spelling
At the end of each grading period, I use a spelling list of food words. I put the words on the board on Monday and give an assignment that uses 15 of the 25 words. The assignment is due on Friday when...
Food Drive
I ask people to donate food, time or money to their local food bank during the month of May. My students write letters, give formal presentations and speeches in order to motivate people to donate. Se...
Foreign Langauge Ice-Breakers
I think that the ice-breaker activity is a good one for the beginning of the year, but also any other time as well. Divide a piece of paper into as many squares as you want - probably at least 12 - 16...
Forget-Me-Not File
One or two classroom helpers, a brief form, and a simple filing system are all that Ms. Stone needs for this simple, daily procedure that helps absent students get everything the need for their makeup work.
Forming Groups
At the beginning of the school year, my students write their names on index cards. I use these to draw from when forming groups. I always shuffle the cards for randomness but I let the students know t...
Fostering Friendships
Mr. Lim is proud to decorate his classroom door with the meaning of friendship. He has a unique — and beautiful — classroom setup idea that helps him build positive relationships among students.
Foul Language Policy
When I hear an offensive word, I just politely say, 'language please' to the individual. Normally, the student will immediately apologize. If I have time to continue the conversation I may add, 'remem...
Found Treasures
After watching classroom teachers discard unwanted, but still usable and well-conditioned, classroom furniture, this custodian came up with a recycling fantastic idea that will work in any school. Find out how you can do it too.
Four and a Half Day School Week
I taught second grade in a school with a modified schedule. By adding only 20 minutes a day to Monday through Thursday, we were able to send the students home at noon on Friday. The teachers then had ...
Four Corner Questions
Here’s a fun game to play when students become restless. It gets them out of their seats, involves the whole class, and helps prepare them for continued instruction.
Four Square Comprehension
I use an activity called 'Four Square' to target students' comprehension skills. Students keep a spiral notebook with each page divided into four equal parts. The top left box is labeled 'Questions I ...
Four Stars for School Lunch
National School Lunch Week is October 11th-15th. To celebrate this, my students plan and carry out a menu for the school. We plan and analyze menus using the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Food...
Fourth Grade with Asperger's Syndrome
Recently, a reader asked for some tips for handling a fourth-grade classroom with one child who has Asperger's Syndrome. As you probably are aware, Asperger's is on the Autism spectrum. In all likelih...
Fox in Socks
We are combining our numerous reading activities, gym games and art projects with a Giving Tree project. Our student council is placing miniature paper socks on an artificial tree in our school lobby....
Free Posters!
I just found this website, http://www.ed.gov/pubs/edpubs.html, that has tons of free items. Some don't even require postage! I just ordered a totally free reading and writing Arthur poster for a fello...
Free Quiz
I came up with a lottery in order to reward homework completion in a tangible way. I have all my students' names on slips of paper. Whenever there is a quiz, I check back over the past five days and t...
Free Stickers
Are you inundated with address labels from every organization? I cut off the cute graphics and now have hundreds of stickers! They are a perfect size for rewarding kids!
Free Stuff from the Armed Services
I go to the armed services recruiting offices and ask for book covers and pencils. They are usually glad to oblige. They have other free things for classrooms too. I use the free pencils as rewards fo...
French Web Site
There are very few sites available for students in French programs to use for review and extra help so I designed a web page for my class. It relates to DC Heath's Discovering French series but it has...
Friday Funnies
Mr. Helm uses comic strips to illustrate language use, including puns, double entendre, quality writing, etc. Whether or not his students get the joke helps him structure additional lessons in critical reading.
Friday Tutoring Days
My school is not on a true four day week--however, as a continuation high school, the district only pays for 15 hours a week Average Daily Attendance per student. Students who come Monday through Thur...
Friends Around the World
Ms. Anderson has a fun way to spend April in Paris with her first graders. She creates a Friends around the World unit in which they read a story set in Paris, create a paper doll character and plan what she should pack in her paper suitcase.
Fundraising Readathon
Our 5th grade class is fundraising for an overnight field trip later on in the spring. We are having a Readathon. Students are asking parents, grandparents, and friends to sponsor them for a few cents...
Future Career Aspirations
At the beginning of the school year, I ask each of my students about their future career aspirations and parallel their career area with a classroom helper position. Students who are interested in bec...