I am officially back to work. I finally spent some time in my classroom last night while my son had soccer and football practice. My room is a mess, but I feel I was productive.
Today I will meet many new faces. I will also hold my first department meeting as the leader. I am a bit nervous.
Since I was able to get in my room, I was able to start some bulletin boards. Let me take this time and discuss the Brain Dump I talked about early this week.
This is a Brain Dump
I was introduced to this last year by the other 6th grade teacher at my school.
This is the bulletin board in my classroom.
Last year it started out blank and as we learned a concept, I added to it. This year, I put the finished product up first. I haven't decided if I am going to cover them and uncover as we go or leave it like it is. If you have an opinion about that please leave me a comment. I am open to anything.
The name:The idea is we fill our students brain with so much knowledge and this is the stuff we want them to "dump" out before test and the stuff that won't be on their resource charts given to them by the state. Maybe I could add a "brain" picture up there by the name.
How I use it:
These are strategies that some teachers came up with a few years ago, both which are no longer here. They felt students needed to remember certain steps for testing purposes and this is how they organized it. Last year it became my bible. I referenced it daily in class, multiple times. Students copied it 3 times a week for memorization. Students took a quiz every two weeks on it near testing time. Before common assessments students were required to create this on their test. (we added a blank sheet for them) They were only responsible for as much as was introduced early on. They didn't do all 14 until later in the year. The idea was for them to know this backwards and forwards and before their state test, write it out and use it while testing.
The benefits:Do I think our students benefited from it? Heck yes! We incorporated this into a daily routines, whether students wrote it on test day or not, I don't know. But, they were learning the strategies. They were recalling info that we didn't use daily. They may have hated the drill and kill, but I do know they knew where to find answers when I asked questions. My goal was for them to "visualize" this brain dump when they couldn't actually see the brain dump. Even our Sped kids could do this. They may have had a fill in the blank version, but they knew the importance of the brain dump.
I do plan to make it more "fun" this year. Hopefully incorporate some games and possibly interactive white board things to keep it less dull. Also, I have a new team and we may see that we want to change up what is on it. That's will all be discussed in one of our first team planning meetings.
And if you have any ideas or suggestions, please leave me a comment. I am open to anything.