What Works - My Top 3 Teacher Secrets + HUGE Giveaway!

It's Teacher Appreciation Week!
I truly appreciate all the teachers who have worked hard to not allow the seemingly endless stream of tests take the joy out of teaching and learning.  Teachers and Students are MUCH, MUCH more than a test or evaluation score.

To celebrate this week, I am sharing my Top 3 Teaching "Secrets"!
Now since I teach middle school, routine means using the same board configuration every day and the same beginning of the class pattern.  I have always found that if students know what to expect, they do much better.  I even try to keep my homework pretty much the same.  

My pattern is this: I greet the students at the door.  I will direct them to get their book out of the cabinet.  Once the bell rings, I play a song.  The students know they have until that song is done to write in their planner and take their bell work paper out of their books.  I walk around and sign planners for right about the first 1/2 of the year, then I sign them less and less so it's just a good habit.

Then after the song, I always start with a student reading the learning target and then connecting it our scale/learning goals.  Next we go over the bell work and then begin the "meat" of the lesson for that class period.

Made by Amy Mezni on Teachers Pay Teachers

I like a themed scale because I can make ties to the students with it.
For example, instead of level 3 just being "on target", I tell them that's our touchdown.  I think I get better "buy-in".

Last but not least, we end with an exit ticket.  Many days I just have them answer a question from the board on recycled paper.  Some days I use the student responders if I have time to get them out while the students are working independently.


I pride myself in being particularly good at breaking things down for my students.  I guess it's the special needs teacher in me, but I try to think of all the steps one would need in order to accomplish any given task.  

For example, this year our new state test required students to write short answers with text evidence and an explanation.  I used the ACE materials from I'm Lovin' Lit's Interactive notebook as our starting point and then began asking myself questions.

First comes the answer.  How do we begin the answer?  The strategy is to restate the question as the answer so we used some great task cards from Rachel Lynette to practice this.


Next comes the evidence.  Could we underline information in the text that supports our answer?  Do we know what 'supports our answer' means?

Then last comes the explanation.  What does the evidence prove?  We need to "comment" on that.

Then we can tie it all together with a very catchy song and video!


I have tweaked and re-tweaked my behavior management system for middle school and I have found that tickets work best nearly every time.

I give a ticket to students who follow our beginning of the class pattern and have their planner filled out and bell work ready before the song ends.  I give 2 tickets for every 100 on a test or assignment and 1 ticket for every 90.  I give tickets for answering questions when I call on a student as I pick their name out of my cup.  I give out tickets for someone caught being kind.  I give out tickets for...well you get the idea.  Then the students write their name on the back of their tickets and place them in the correct bucket.

This also connects nicely to "filling buckets" ala the book "How Full is Your Bucket?"

On Fridays, I draw tickets for prizes.  Students can choose the "sure thing" - a piece of candy from my jar...


what's in box #1, box#2, or box #3.

I used to draw a random number of tickets every Friday.  Now I keep a Scoreboard on the whiteboard.  The class gets points when they are behaving according to our class agreements and I get points when they are not - a take on the Whole Brain Teaching method.  The difference between the two is the number of tickets I draw.

But wait, there's more to the celebration than great ideas, there's also a great giveaway!

There are TWO fabulous prize packs you can enter to win!  Each one includes a $100 TpT Gift Card and a $50 Amazon Gift Card just to get you started!  Look below to see the full extent of the fabulousness of these giveaways!

 the more entries you have on the rafflecopter the more chances you have to win!

Just take a look at everything you could winOne lucky reader will win this entire prize package!!!

Prize Bundle #1 Includes
PLUS...$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon

We aren't finished yet...take a look at everything a second lucky winner will win!!!

Prize Bundle #2 Includes
PLUS...$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon

Be sure to enter both rafflecopters for a better chance at winning one of these amazing prize bundles!

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #1 Here

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #2 Here

You won't want to miss out on all the other great secrets being shared by successful teachers!  Be sure to check out all the other great posts below.

Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment

  1. I love you classroom management system! I have done tickets too, but always as a raffle. I love you're "sure thing" vs. raffle idea. I just might steal your secret! Thanks!

    Heidi Raki


Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope to hear from you and will reply via e-mail. :)