Tips For Teachers

Signing up for the Earth Science Listserv

The absolute best resource that I can steer you to is the NYS Earth Science listserv. This is an e-mailing list made of hundreds of NYS Earth Science teachers. We are a collegial, resourceful and most importantly generous group. If you simply sit on the side and review the information that passes, it's a great resource. If you have any specific questions, they are often answered by a dozen or so experts in the field.
If you do sign up for the list, I STRONGLY recommend setting up a separate e-mail address just for the listserv as it is a prolific group. Typically it gets 20 e-mails a day but you can get over 100 e-mails when things get intense.
If you wish to join (free and you don't start getting spam from it) here's the address:
Give the e-mail address you want to give and then check off "Esprit" just under the address box.

How to call on students and make groups without picking favorites:

Once I get a finalized class roster, I type up the students' names and put them on the back of playing cards.
The students in the first class I teach for the day are on top,
the the second class students and then the third etc.
Fred T
Mary J
Horatio M
Juan A

If I don't have enough students to fil say the second class' cards I put a place holder in the second slot:
Fred T
Horatio M
Juan A

I use the cards to call on students randomly and to make activity groups. In a pinch I'll grab the cards for Fire Drill Attendance.

Weekly Grade Sheets

See Example
Once a week I send home a grade sheet on Friday.
My students track their grades by recording every graded assignment on a grade sheet.
Every Friday it goes home to be reviewed and signed.
Every Monday it is due back.
I help students who "forget" to record grades by posting grades in class every two weeks or so.
I help parents at home by posting grades online so they can comapre. (See Example)

Parental Contact Forms

See Example
At the beginning of the year I send home a "Parental Contact Form"
It has the student's parents names, relationship with student (if it's an Aunt etc),
times I can reach them, Phone numbers I can reach them at, and email address.
At the bottom, I have a small fill-in section in which I jot down the date and reason for every contact.


Once I have the Parental Contact Forms, I make an address book with just the parents' emails.
Every time I update the posted grades, I send a notice out to to parents via email check the grades.
To avoid sending all parents addresses to all the others I use the "BCC" option of the email address.
I also use the list to correspond to individual parents.

Homework Before Homeroom

I insist that all homework be submitted before Homeroom at the beginning of the day.
I do this for two reasons:
  • It gives me a chance to check & grade the HW and have it back in students' hands the same day.
    Quicker turn-around means I can address any confusion or deficiencies the same day.
  • It prevents the copying that homerooms are notorious for.

Be Visible- Especially for new teachers

Showing up at games after school (even for a few minutes), PTA meetings and other activities are key to getting you recognized.
This will go a long way in making you visible in a positive way.
Going to games makes for a good relationship between you and the
athlete-student and also their attending parents.
It is free and easy P.R.

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