August 12, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

What went wrong in class last year? Plenty, judging by the responses to that Talkback question on our Web site. Here’s a sampling:

I am a 4th grade teacher completely frustrated by students’ lack of common manners and courtesy. This has been a simply awful year, with disrespect and bullying rampant. My only solution has been to keep them constantly engaged in some kind of structured activity. I swore I would never become “queen of the handouts,” but it has literally saved my sanity and kept the class relatively peaceful.

I’m just finishing my second year. The biggest mistake I made was not being organized to start. Today I’m finally sorting through stuff I should’ve done much earlier. I also had my hard drive crash and didn’t have my assignments or grading info anywhere other than on the computer. I will be keeping a book on all of my assignments for next year.

My 7th grade language/lit block fell apart in the last five weeks of school. Over the school year we had studied research, essay writing, and nonfiction literature. The final project was to complete all the steps learned in research, including observing copyright laws and avoiding plagiarism. From week five of the final nine weeks, the students were to complete research, outlines, rough drafts, and either a PowerPoint project or a written paper. The projects I received were almost all plagiarized—the complete opposite of what they had been taught.

As a social studies teacher, I have a hard time gaining the attention of my students. So this year, I included art as often as possible. We created Native American medallions, African quilts, and even honored a civil rights activist with an art piece. The students loved it and asked me frequently what our next art project would be. Allowing the students to do art took the burden off of me—they did the research and demonstrated their knowledge in a creative way.

Related Tags:

To read more or respond, visit our readers discussion on this topic.


School & District Management Webinar Fostering Student Well-Being with Programs That Work
Protecting student well-being has never been more important. Join this webinar to learn how to ensure your programs yield the best outcomes.
Reading & Literacy Webinar 'Science of Reading': What Are the Components?
Learn how to adopt a “science of reading” approach to early literacy to effectively build students’ vocabulary and content knowledge.
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Effective Communication for School Leaders: A Forum
Join us for an afternoon of discussions on how school and district leaders can motivate staff, make the most of social media, and more.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Motivation Matters: Educators Share Strategies to Engage Students
Some veterans share their best tips and tricks on getting and keeping kids' attention.
5 min read
A black female teacher cheerfully answers questions and provides assistance to her curious and diverse group of adolescent students as they work on an assignment in class.
Teaching How to Shake the ‘October Blues’ and Rediscover the Joy in Teaching
It's a tough time of the year for educators. These tips from teachers in the field can help you get through it.
6 min read
Woman finding her way to a happy smile icon in the middle of labyrinth like maze with school subject icons ghosted over a cloudy sky textured background.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Teaching Opinion Students Need to Learn Good Habits, Even When They Don't Seem Logical
Clarity around behavior, homework, and classroom conduct can help students cultivate the kinds of habits that will stand them in good stead.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Teaching Opinion New Book Offers Tried-and-True Advice on Classroom Practice
American education has a thing for shiny “innovations," but sometimes sensible, effective advice of experienced teachers is what is best.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty