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Top 10 items every teacher should have

These are items that I got along just fine without, but then once I had them, I wondered how I ever managed. Plus, it has made my life of teaching more fun and enjoyable! 

#1: A nice bag to carry your work in. We all take work home and for some reason, when you are carrying it home in some old ugly bag or a repurposed grocery bag, it feels… sad. I think that when you like the bag you are carrying your work home in, you are more likely to feel ok about the work inside of it. There are some really cool bags out there. Here are a few I like: messenger bags, tote bags and computer bags. I particularly like this store on Etsy. She does personalized orders (combining any fabrics she has and monograms as well!). Here is the bag I ordered from her:


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Use this tip to help save time while grading tests! www.theardentteacher.com
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Speed up the grading process for tests! 

I don’t give too many tests in my class. They are generally at the end of each main unit: Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy etc. Since they are few and far between, I want to make sure that they are strong summitive assessments that cover a wide range of material while also going in-depth with the content. In order to do this, my tests are generally long and fairly difficult. I typically include multiple choice questions, matching, fill-in-the-blank, some type of graphing and two essay questions. The students would write on the actual test that I would hand out to them. As I am sure you have already realized– they take forever to grade. I usually spend between 6-10 hours grading them. After more than five years, I finally decided to try and come up with a solution to this. This is my solution…

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Avoid teacher burnout by making the workplace more fun! My colleagues have been putting these ducks in my room all school year after my room flooded twice to turn the situation into something more fun. www.theardentteacher.com
Photo Apr 01, 5 24 40 PM
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Dealing With Student Absences

I have already talked about how to lessen the amount of prep work you have to do when absent (check out that post here), but what about when your students are gone? I used to think it was much more work dealing with students being absent than when I took a day off (whether it be a sick day or professional development); that was before I came up with these ways to avoid the frustration. Here are some tips and tricks for making your classroom more self sufficient for absent students as well as making your life easier.

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A great idea for keeping kids from walking out of your classroom with your pencils! Photo Credit: The Ardent Teacher
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Stop Taking my Pencils!

I don’t know about you, but no matter what I have tried in the past, my pencils always seem to disappear! I have a special holder on my desk for ‘student pencils.’ I have previously asked them to leave a shoe in exchange for a pencil. I thought that if my students would hobble around my classroom with only one shoe, they would surely remember to give me my pencil back. But, sure enough, my pencils would slowly disappear! So, I recently came up with a new idea for keeping my pencils from getting “kidnapped” (napped by kids) and thought I would share it with you!

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Building Community in The Classroom
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Tips on Building Community in the Classroom

Much like with parenting, teachers are often the caring and supportive adult in students’ lives. However, we are also the judge, jury and executioner! It can be a tough role to juggle. In order to help strike that balanced chord of showing that you are there to support your students, building community should be your first step. Here are some approaches that I use in my classroom to help build community.
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Great and helpful tips on how to integrate technology into the classroom!
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Tips For Incorporating Technology Into Your Classroom

I don’t know about you, but I have strong mixed feelings about using technology. On the one hand, technology is something that my students have a deep connection to–it’s how they understand life. On the other hand, I sometimes feel that for all the good it brings, I secretly fear that it is going to ruin our society. Technology is such an integral part of our world today, it’s hard to imagine what life would be like if it were to disappear suddenly. Districts across the nation are touting their integration of “21st century learning” (whatever that means), and teachers are being pushed into bringing as much technology into their classroom as possible. Sure, technology can be great; however, when you are relying on it and it suddenly stops working, it can be crippling and very frustrating in a classroom setting (especially when 68 eyes are on you… waiting for you to ‘fix’ the unforeseen problem). Is it unbelievably frustrating when the technology you are using suddenly stops working? Yes. Does it have to be? No. Here are some ways that I have learned to help make the integration of technology into my classroom easier, fun and a bit more seamless.

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