I’m Done. Now what?

Ever find yourself in a classroom full of students who have a wide range of abilities? I can remember how hard it was to keep all students engaged throughout the block. Some students zoom so fast through the lesson and find themselves with nothing to do but FINDING things to do. And we all know that these things usually aren’t the most conducive to a safe, structured learning environment. The link below will give you one idea of what to do to keep all of your students engaged: Anchor Activities

How do you keep all of your students engaged throughout the block? Please comment below.

Classroom Management: The Simple Secret to Success

To create the perfect classroom management plan takes practice. I taught for ten years and even now as I read about a particular strategy, I think about how I should have implemented it in my classroom to make it run more smoothly. I would like to share Mr. Harry Wong’s brief guide to classroom management. This is for everyone…because even veteran teachers need refreshers!

Classroom Management by H. Wong

Other note-worthy links:

Five Quick Classroom Management Tips for Novice Teachers

The Key to Classroom Management

Effective Classroom Management for New Teachers


Congratulations to a Former Eagle…Current Bulldog!!

Goochland High School senior, Monique Morman, has studied under Mrs. Melissa Black in the Student Athletic Training program for the past four years. On Wednesday, March 16th, she attended the Health Occupations Student Association (HOSA) competition in Williamsburg and earned 4th place in the Sports Medicine category. You GO, Monique!

Former Eagle and current Goochland Bulldog, Monique Mormon, plans to attend JMU in the fall for Athletic Training. (photo credited to Bea Cantor)

GMS Curriculum Fair

On Wednesday, March 20, 2013, we held our very first curriculum fair for rising 6th grade students and their families. The objective was to give those students/parents the opportunity to learn about GMS, tour our school, meet our teachers, and ask questions about courses. As I wandered through the halls after Ms. Rainbolt’s informational meeting, I encountered an abundant amount of excitement as students navigated the hallways from classroom to classroom to meet their teachers!

A HUGE thank you goes out to Ms. Rainbolt for heading up the curriculum fair and to the many GMS teachers who manned their classrooms! Much gratitude goes out to Mrs. Carter for promoting the GMS PTA!

(Disclaimer: I had such fun roaming the halls and visiting my rising eagles that I forgot to take pictures! I was lucky enough to capture the few remaining folks below as the fair came to a close! :-) )

Mr. Summitt at the GMS Athletics table selling spirit wear! Mrs. Carter and Mrs. Elliott promoting the GMS PTA! Mrs. Norris and Mrs. Melton manning the snack table. Two young ladies that agreed to smile for the camera! Future Eagle family members that were good sports and posed for a picture!

And the GMS 2013 Teacher of the Year is (drum roll, please!)…….


Mrs. Burdette congratulates Mr. Jones!

Mr. Jones is not only adored by his students, but it seems that his colleagues feel the same way.

Mr. Jones was chosen as GMS Teacher of the Year by his colleagues because he “is a steady, kind, and knowledgeable teacher who always has time for kids and coworkers,” “puts in extra time after school to do tutoring,” “blogs regularly, allowing (another teacher) to access the material he is reviewing and to collaborate more efficiently,” “is an all-around nice man who is concerned about each and every one of his students despite their differences.” Mr. Jones also “gives to our students by coaching track.”



Marking Period Tests

Due to the snow, marking period tests have been changed as follows: 

Wednesday, March 13th (Math and English) Day 2

Thursday, March 14th (Math and English) Day 1

Friday, March 15th (Make Up Day: All classes will meet. No tests given.)

Monday, March 18th (Science and Social Studies) Day 2

Tuesday, March 19th (Science and Social Studies)  Day 1

For our rising 9th graders… (Our Eagles will be Bulldogs soon!)

In preparation for the transition to high school, GHS is hosting a rising 9th grade parent information night on Tuesday, March 5th at 6:30pm in the GMS/GHS auditorium.  Information on class registration, graduation requirements and credits, extra-curricular opportunities, and high school policies will be covered.  Please join Mrs. Hartley, 9th grade counselor, and Mr. Newman, GHS principal for this important meeting.

One WAY COOL Bulldog!

Former GMS Eagle, Nathan Adams, signed his National Letter of Intent to attend Eastern Michigan University on a full scholarship to play football! GO, NATHAN!!!

“He has done well both in class and on the field. Nathan is a great example of the hard working students here in Goochland,” said Patrick Gordon, GMS Math teacher and GHS football coach.

Calling ALL Eagles…!!!

GMS is holding a Rising 6th Grade Meeting and 6th-8th Grade Curriculum Fair!

When: Thursday, March 7, 2013

Time: 6:30pm in the auditorium for the Rising 6th Grade Meeting

7:00pm throughout the entire GMS building for the Curriculum Fair

Why? to obtain information about GMS 6th grade expectations, tour the building, and to talk to teachers about our curriculum from core classes to our brand new Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes

Mark your calendars and see you then!

Peer Presentations: How Can We Make Them More Meaningful?

As I wander in and out of classrooms, I am always thrilled to stumble upon student presentations. I enjoy this time and I think the students do, too, as they often want to present AGAIN if I enter AFTER they’ve already presented. (I just LOVE that!!)

One thing I’ve noticed, however, is that the “audience” is sitting idle in some classrooms I’ve visited during student presentations. Sometimes the audience members need to be quieted and other times they are just plain doing nothing.

And I wonder… Why is it that they are permitted to do nothing? Isn’t a student presentation a learning experience for all?

I taught high school for ten years and during that time, hundreds of students presented to me. In the early years, my idle students did nothing except lose points for not listening, be reprimanded for being inattentive, and/or continue to be shushed. This does nothing to aid in learning or even foster accountability!

As I progressed from a green newbie to a ripened veteran, I revised my teaching practice and student expectations. The major theme I kept in mind was ENGAGEMENT! I mean…for goodness sakes, I expected my students to be attentive and engaged when I was speaking, so why shouldn’t they be attentive and engaged when their peers were?

Engagement is KEY to learning. What have YOU learned while DISengaged?

Below are online resources geared to student presentations. Try giving the rubrics to your students so that they may grade their peers during presentations.

  1. Planning Student Presentations
  2. Rubrics for Grading Student Presentations
  3. Presentation Rubric

Along with the rubrics (or standing alone), you might want to have your students perform the following during peer presentations. The tasks below are easy and take minimal effort on your part!:

  1. Fill out the Presentation Target.
  2. Write a brief summary of the presentation.
  3. Draw a picture that symbolizes the presentation.
  4. Create 5 quiz questions about the presentation.
  5. Explain how the presentation relates to the classroom objective.

Got Closure?

Not only should you begin your lesson by sharing an objective with your students, you should end your lesson revisiting that objective with your students. In essence, wrapping up a lesson is a MUST!

Imagine it’s finally Friday night. You’ve been waiting ALL week to see the new movie. After all, it’s got your favorite actor in it. You stand in line for fifteen minutes, but you don’t care. It’s Friday night! And now it’s your turn. You give your card to the young man behind the plexiglass window to purchase your ticket. After ten minutes in that busy concessions line, with buttery popcorn and fizzy soda in hand, you find your seat. You simply can’t believe you just scored the best seat in the house. How could this night be more perfect? You patiently wait through trailer after trailer and at long last, the credits of your beloved movie begin. Ahhhhh….Life is good. Mesmerized, you sit on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next. You don’t even realize that an hour and a half have passed. You’ve been way too involved. All of a sudden, the screen goes blank. You look around and everyone looks just as bewildered as you.  A few minutes go by and a few people leave. The usher enters and explains that the movie will no longer be shown and now you must leave. “In fact,” he says, “the movie will no longer be shown anywhere.” He gives no further explanation, turns around, and exits the theater.

…Ummm, WHAT?! Why? What happened? How? Many unanswered questions remain. Bummed beyond belief and completely confused, you leave for home.

Well, all right. Perhaps this may not be exactly how your students feel at the end of your lesson, but I’m sure you get the point (…and thank you for allowing me to exercise my creativity!).

Closure is important. Students get to reinforce the objective as well as ask questions and YOU gain valuable information: whether reteaching or extra practice is necessary. Closure does not have to take long, but it needs to be done.

Please visit the following websites for closure ideas:

Ticket out the door idea 

Daily assessment with tiered exit cards (5 minute video…MATH!)

40 ways to leave a lesson

Closure for any classroom




I didn’t know what to say…

Communication is a necessary part of our lives as educators in many different ways, but let me focus on communication as it relates to our parents. We must build partnerships with parents so their children stay successful. Because parents are not at school every day, we must convey messages to them regarding their children as far as academia, behavior, and socialization. Sometimes we are effective Sometimes we are not.

My own experience with parental communication is a little different as an administrator than it was as a teacher, but the premise is the same.

  1. Listen, listen, listen! (WITHOUT interrupting…)

  2. Assure the parent that you want the best for his/her child.

  3. Keep the focus on the child.

  4. Thank the parent for bringing the concerns to you. Tell him/her that we need to work together toward the same goal: student success!

  5. Let parent know that you will always be available if he/she has another concern.

Here are a few more perspectives:

In the Trenches: Everyday Solutions at Work – Effective Communication with Parents




Are they truly engaged or simply drifting through the realm of boredom?

Students achieve when they’re engaged. This is a no-brainer. How many times have you been reading a book, sitting in a movie, or listening to a lecture when you feel your mind adrift? Is your mind adrift now? :-)

My mind drifts too often. If something does not grab my attention quickly, I simply do not store it. Instead, I click my pen, tap my fingers, bounce my legs, think about what I am going to make for dinner, doodle, daydream…anything to entertain myself. How many of your students aren’t storing what you’re offering?

Student engagement is about capturing your students, giving them relevancy, getting them excited about what they are to learn. I applaud those of you who already know that engagement is important for students to succeed and thank you for taking the time to create lessons that capture them!

Please read the article below, self reflect, and describe what you do to engage your students.

How to Keep Kids Engaged in Class