Back to School Again!

source: pintrest

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

School starts again tomorrow, and for the last few days I have been thinking about what went well last semester and what things I can improve upon.

I’m going to be reteaching key procedures from last semester and introducing some new ones for the next two days.

Procedures to Re-Teach:

1. Strong Start / Entry Procedure – I’ll be having them line up outside the classroom. I will give them a seating chart since they have all new seats and I will remind them that they enter my classroom silently without talking and get started on the bell work right away. Then I will let them in a couple of kids at a time so I can make sure they are following directions. If not (e.g.: if they whisper or giggle etc) I will ask them to come back to the door and try it again.

2. Attention Procedure – “I need your attention in 3, 2, 1. Thank you.” We need to practice this a couple of times because they tend to forget a lot of things over break.

3. Talking in pairs procedure

4. Getting into groups procedure

New Procedures to Introduce:

1. I’m going to try an implement my own version of “Participation Protocol” for my high school kids – but I got the idea here at TeachingChannel:

2. I have changed my seating arrangement from desks being in single rows to being in double rows, since it frees up more space for me to move around the room and makes Pair Shares more fluid.

Single rows! (not my room)
double rows! (


I have to teach them what to do when we need to separate the desks for quizzes and tests. The even rows will move their desks away from their partners to the left, the odd rows will stay put. Even at the high school level this might take a little practice, believe it or not.

3. I need to work on improving student engagement. One great idea, also from Teaching Channel, is to make a silent signal with the kids so that they can indicate when they agree or disagree with the speaker. This 5th grade teacher explains her “Talk Moves” strategy and I’m going to adapt it for the high school level, probably with a lot of my students’ input because it will be more meaningful to them that way:


And here is a PDF of the bell work assignment I created for tomorrow. It’s a survey that hopefully will help my kids reflect on their first semester and think about specific ways they can improve:


Feel free to use it!