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Good Teaching Includes Good Strategies and Sometimes Good Theater by Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

Two students watch a science teacher dissecting an animal in a tray on a table in a classroom

A science teacher shows a dissection to students.
Image by April Bryant from Pixabay 

Middle schoolers can be a handful and a very tough audience much of the time. They enter sixth grade just a few weeks out of elementary school. They are still young, sweet, naïve, and loving. But somewhere around the Christmas holidays, a change in them occurs. The boys begin to smell and their voices start to crack, the girls start their periods and the hormonal mood swings begin; in other words, puberty kicks into high gear. A school year that began as calm and routine, becomes a challenge when everyone returns to school in January. Fights break out among the boys, tears flow from the girls.

It’s almost as if the “terrible twos” have returned. “No, nope, not gonna do it,” becomes a daily answer to assignments. Teaching strategies must immediately shift, or the rest of the school year could become an uncontrollable nightmare. During a teacher’s practicum year, good mentor-teaching includes how to be flexible and to change to meet the demands of students morphing from children into fledgling young adults.

There are several strategies a teacher can use to accommodate this shift.

Know the shift will happen. This means a teacher can come back to the classroom in January ready to meet her students’ new physical and emotional needs. This might mean taking a stinky, unkempt boy aside for a short, private conversation about hygiene and the importance of showering every day, using antiperspirant, and letting him know his body changes are normal and natural. It might mean consoling a weepy girl in private, with a smile and encouraging words, and maybe a hug.

Call for back-up. In January, the teacher can and should begin to call on the school counselor, vice principal, and campus law enforcement officer when necessary. A classroom teacher needs outside help in middle school; she can’t meet the changing needs of her students by herself and continue to do her primary job of teaching the subject matter. I remember one year, in the spring, I broke up a sudden fight in my classroom between two boys. I stood between the boys, my left hand on the larger boy’s chest and my right hand on the phone as I called for “back-up” from the campus police officer.

Call a parent from the classroom. Calling a parent on a particular student who’s acting inappropriately, and doing so in front of the entire class, often throws the fear of God into all the students. Asking the offender to come to the phone so the parent can chew him/her out pours cold water on the student’s bad attitude and magically brings all the kids under control.

Invite a parent to visit the class and sit at the back of the room. This can help keep those kids in the back of the room calm and behaved, but this can sometimes backfire. During a show-and-tell time of student projects, I glanced at the parent only to catch her applying makeup to a few girls. A short line had formed. I let it go, but I never asked her back even though she asked to come back. Another time, when I enlisted the help of parents on a field trip to the big city, a mother-chaperone took her group to get tattoos. Real tattoos. It’s hard to keep up with 25-30 students, ten parents, a school office employee, and a school bus driver in the big city. But these were learning experiences.

Finally, tell stories, read aloud to your students, and unleash your sense of humor. This can, and most often will, diffuse sudden and unexpected, undesirable situations.

Here are some strategies I used as a teacher:

  • I always came to class prepared with some odd or interesting story to share from my own life. Kids really love hearing stories from a teacher’s own life. When I felt the students were getting restless during a lesson or quiet work time, I would sit in a chair in front of the class and quietly tell them, “I have a story to tell you.” That got their attention. They loved hearing my true stories. One story I shared, which they passed on to their families with great glee, occurred when I was a volunteer in the neo-natal critical unit at the Children’s Hospital. I was told to change the diapers on a newborn. When I saw the newborn, he was wearing a diaper, but I didn’t see any legs. I took a deep breath and braced myself to see a baby boy with no legs when I undid his diaper. To my surprise and delight, when I released his diaper…Bing! Bing!… out popped his two scrawny little, frog-like legs that had been carefully folded into the diaper to help comfort him. It wasn’t a long story, but it served its purpose. My students got stone silent and were riveted to every word as I told that true story with dramatic pauses. That short break got them quiet, refocused, and back to work.
  • As a way to encourage my students before having them work quietly on a writing project, I often read a few paragraphs or a chapter of my own writing aloud to them. Fact or fiction, they enjoyed it, and it helped them get started. Never underestimate the power of reading aloud. Everyone likes to be read to sometimes. It’s the reason there’s still evening news on television where a reporter reads news off a teleprompter to an audience. The same news is available online or in a newspaper, but being read to is still comforting for many of us.

I was never afraid to show my emotions:

  • I teared up at the sad parts.
  • I gushed over really good simile.
  • I let out a genuine laugh if what I read was truly that funny.
  • When a student said something honestly funny, I laughed out loud.  Kids like to know you appreciate their good, clean sense of humor, too.

Diversions are ideal ways to get students back on track emotionally, physically, or academically. It is so much easier to get a classroom under control with something unexpected and fun than to always use scolding and punishment as tactics. Here are some ways to break the monotony and boredom, and regain students’ cooperation:

  • Show a short science video in English class, e.g., the birth of a baby elephant, or a short history video in science class. It could tie in with the lesson, but being unpredictable means it doesn’t have to.
  • Teach your students how to weave construction paper placemats.
  • Surprise one of your serious students by calling on him or her to lead a lesson.
  • Occasionally, leave students with “to be continued.” Even if you forget about it the next day, they will remember and remind you to finish the story.
  • Ask a few students to come up to the front of the class to demonstrate a lesson, e.g., to illustrate the concept of zero being a placeholder.
  • Come to school one day with pink tips in your hair.
  • Break out in an old tune. I used to sing Janis Joplin’s “Oh, Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz….,” or all the verses to “Henry the Eighth.”
  • Play a fun game that gets kids up and moving to work out the wiggles.
  • Let teacher-led conversations take an off-ramp every now and then. It often leads to provocative discussions such as civil rights.

ALWAYS be your students’ leader. They want and need to know that you’re in charge and have everything under control.

Marilyn Buehrer was a public-school English teacher in Washington, California, and Arizona, a national motivational speaker and educator to home-schoolers for nearly a decade, as well as a workshop speaker at home school conventions nationwide and at public middle school consortia in Arizona.  She is the developer of Lyric Power Publishing’s comprehensive Workbooks and Activity Sheets.

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A Teaching Example of Working Out from the Goal: From “My Book About Rocks” by Marilyn Buehrer

A light blue and white book cover with an image of multi-colored river rocks
The Rock Cycle cut and paste project in this lesson comes from this workbook. It also includes work pages on rock collecting.

The Teacher’s Objective
“You Teach so They Can Learn”

Let’s say the goal of your next science lesson is to guide your students to where they can show you, through a demonstration, that they understand what you’ve just taught them. They’ll do this by estimating, comparing, and successfully completing the three cut-and-paste rock cycle project sheets.

A black and white graphic, a drawing of The Rock Cycle, with illustrations of the five types of rock

Teaching Objective One: Attention Grabber: Attract your students’ attention by leading off with a short (2-3 minute) anecdote, perhaps a personal story from your youth about a time when you went rock hunting or maybe a recent story in the news about rocks. This anecdote is meant to focus your students’ attention on you and what you’re going to say next.

Teaching Objective Two: State your Goal: Explain that the students are going to learn about the rock cycle.

Teaching Objective Three: Inform: Review pages 2-5 the sheet titled Three Kinds of Rocks from “My Book About Rocks.”

A black and white graphic of The Rock Cycle, with five squares and arrows showing the direction of The Rock Cycle. There are five types of rocks and the students must cut and paste the correct answers onto this worksheet.

Teaching Objective Four: Demonstrate: Show your students real examples of igneous rocks (pumice), sedimentary rocks (coal, sandstone), metamorphic rocks (slate), and sediments (sand). Pass around several examples of each rock so students can look at them closely and feel the difference of each rock. Finally, show the class finished project sheets of what is expected of them. Explain the steps involved: including cutting and pasting.

Teaching Objective Five: Assisted Child: Help the students successfully show you that they understand the concepts by cutting sheet one and pasting correctly onto sheet two themselves. Walk around the room to check for understanding.

A black and white graphic of The Rock Cycle, with five squares and arrows showing the direction of The Rock Cycle. There are five types of rocks and the students must cut and paste the correct answers onto this worksheet with blank squares.

Teaching Objective Six: Independent Child: Next, hand out a second copy of page one to each child and a copy of sheet three. Lead your students into a situation where they successfully show you that they understand the concept of the Rock Cycle by cutting and pasting onto sheet three. That’s your goal – to teach so your children can demonstrate to you that they understand the concept.

Teaching Objective Seven: Wrap-Up: Review with the class what they’ve done. Ask them to recap what they just learned to make sure they understood the concept.

The Students’ Objective
“They Learn so They Can Do”

The students’ objective – called the learning objective – is the hoped-for result of any lesson’s learning activities.

Learning Activity One: KNOWLEDGE: They know the lesson’s goal.

Learning Activity Two: COMPREHENSION: They understand how to correctly fill in the blanks.

Learning Objective Three: APPLICATION: They correctly filled in the blanks.

Connect with the Real World
Linking Learning to Life

There are several project sheets in this workbook “My Book About Rocks” designed specifically to take your students outdoors to conduct field work on rocks. Helping your children apply what they have learned to real life is called Conducting an Authentic Assessment. You are helping them make connections between classroom experience and real life, as well as keeping them in the higher learning levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

Marilyn Buehrer was a public-school English teacher in Washington, California, and Arizona, a national motivational speaker and educator to home-schoolers for nearly a decade, as well as a workshop speaker at home school conventions nationwide and at public middle school consortia in Arizona.  She is the developer of Lyric Power Publishing’s comprehensive Workbooks and Activity Sheets.

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MAP READING SERIES PART THREE: Teaching a General Overview of a World Map by Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

Close up of side of head and hands of child drawing on a piece of paper on top of a school desk

A child drawing by Heinrich Hess from Pixabay 

When teaching kindergartners an overview of a world map, it’s important to give students enough time to look at the maps. Do not overwhelm them with challenges that are too numerous or complex. Tell students the following information, but do not expect them to memorize it or even remember it the first time they hear it. This is just a beginning overview. A kindergartner’s world is their own neighborhood.

Hand each kindergartner a world map. Explain: The world map displays a view of all the continents on Earth from space.

A world map shows:

  • Continents:
  • Countries
    • The continent of Africa has 54 countries.
    • The continent of Europe has 51 countries.
    • The continent of Asia has 50 countries.
    • The continent of North America has 23 countries.
    • The continent of Australia has 14 countries.
    • The continent of South America has 12 countries.
    • The continent of Antarctica has no country and no permanent inhabitants.
  • States
    • The United States has 50 individual states; 48 contiguous and 2 noncontiguous. Contiguous means that 48 states touch each other. The noncontiguous states that do not share borders are Alaska and Hawaii.
  • Cities
  • Towns
  • Oceans: Pacific, Atlantic, Artic, Indian, Southern Ocean

Ask kindergartners which continent they live on and point to North America.

Ask students why part of the map is blue? (It represents bodies of water.)

Collect the world maps.

Hand out maps of the United States.

The United States is a country on the North American continent.

There are 48 contiguous states and two noncontiguous states: Alaska and Hawaii.

The United States is included in the map of the world.

Help students locate their state on the map of the U.S.

Hand out maps of their state.

All states are included on the map of the United States.

Help students locate their city on the map.

Collect the maps of their state.

Hand each student a map of their city and explain:

All city maps are within the world map.

The city map zooms in on a particular area.

City maps are used to navigate from one place to another.

Your neighborhood is within the city map.

Collect the city maps.

Hand out blank sheets of drawing paper, pencils, and crayons. Start with a very basic map.

Ask students to draw a map of the classroom.

Ask students to add the playground.

Ask them to draw a route from the classroom to the playground.

What other places can go on your map?

Your house

Backyard

Park

Grocery store

Grandparents’ house

Best friends’ house

Collect the maps of the United States.

Encourage parents to:

Help their children draw rooms in their home.

Take a walk around the block with their children, looking for landmarks to include in a neighborhood map. Use simple shapes to draw and label objects such as furniture, playground equipment, and stop signs.

Talk about directions with their children: “Which way do we turn at this stop sign? Right or left?”

Put a map of their town on a wall in their home where children can easily access it and refer to it.

Draw a treasure map to a special object somewhere in the house or a particular room. Encourage children by using spatial language such as “It’s under a pillow” or “It’s inside a cabinet.”

Ask their children to draw an interesting new route from their house to a store or relative’s house across town. Then take that drive and ask the children if it was the best route, or a better route than the one they usually take and why. Did they get to see things they never usually get to see? Was it faster?

In this way, the overview we started with at the beginning of this lesson grows into teaching about place and direction in the child’s own home and neighborhood, giving them invaluable knowledge for day-to-day life.

A wonderful aid to map reading skills and the ability to find your place is Lyric Power Publishing’s comprehensive supplemental workbook My Book on Directions and Prepositions of Place.

Marilyn Buehrer was a public-school English teacher in Washington, California, and Arizona, a national motivational speaker and educator to home-schoolers for nearly a decade, as well as a workshop speaker at home school conventions nationwide and at public middle school consortia in Arizona.  She is the developer of Lyric Power Publishing’s comprehensive Workbooks and Activity Sheets.

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MAP READING SERIES PART TWO: Preparing to Teach a General Overview of a World Map by Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

White crinkled paper with the world's continents drawn in turquoise blue ink
Map of the World by Yuri_B on Pixabay

To teach a general overview of a world map, the materials needed by the students are:

  • Globe (compare/contrast to a world map)
  • Maps (world, North American continent, United States, state, and city)
  • Blank sheets of drawing paper
  • Pencils and crayons

The classroom Bulletin Board should have these maps:

  • the world
  • the North American continent
  • the United States
  • their state
  • their city
  • a compass rose labeled with the cardinal directions.

Add the following vocabulary words and definitions to the bulletin board:

  • Map: a drawing that tells you about a place.
  • Legend or Key: explains what the symbols of the map stand for.
  • Symbol: small drawings on a map that indicate what is in that place.
  • Landmark: something that is easy to find like a mountain or building.
  • Route: a path or road that you will travel.
  • Compass Rose: a symbol that always shows north and most often also includes south, east, and west.
  • Globe: the Earth represented on a sphere.
  • Cardinal directions: north, south, east, and west.
  • Contiguous: sharing boundaries. The 48 states are contiguous.

Part Three will give the teaching instructions.

Marilyn Buehrer was a public-school English teacher in Washington, California, and Arizona, a national motivational speaker and educator to home-schoolers for nearly a decade, as well as a workshop speaker at home school conventions nationwide and at public middle school consortia in Arizona.  She is the developer of Lyric Power Publishing’s comprehensive Workbooks and Activity Sheets.

A wonderful aid to map reading skills and the ability to find your place is Lyric Power Publishing’s comprehensive supplemental workbook My Book on Directions and Prepositions of Place.

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MAP READING SERIES PART ONE: Reading Maps Helps Children in Academics by Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

By the end of kindergarten, children should have a solid understanding of neighborhood or city maps as well as world maps and continents. Kindergartners can learn map legends and directions through hands-on activities and games.

map of Europe with countries outlined in different colors

Understanding, according to Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy:Ability to demonstrate understanding of facts and ideas by organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions, and stating the main idea.

  • Map reading is a foundational skill like reading and basic math.
  • Map reading helps students improve problem-solving and reasoning skills.
  • Maps support spatial thinking by helping children visualize where objects, places, cities, and countries are in relation to one another. Spatial skills are what allow us to picture the locations of objects, their shapes, their relations to each other, and the paths they take as they move.
  • Map reading helps children learn to calculate distances between two places.
  • It helps them formulate the easiest and fastest routes between two or more places.
  • Map reading builds students’ self-sufficiency and confidence in their ability to formulate solutions.
  • Map study helps students learn about a country’s landforms, bodies of water, natural resources, and climate.
  • Map study helps students learn about symbols and tools of maps, such as the compass rose, key, and titles that help distinguish one map from another.
  • Map study of old and new maps helps students see changes in maps due to wars, politics, and internal conflict. Students can learn about U.S. History by studying maps from the colonial period to the post-Civil War era. Students can also see how Europe has changed several times during the last century as areas gained independence or became part of another country.
  • Map skills can help students improve their math skills by graphing average temperature and rainfall amounts from physical maps.
  • Map skills can help students organize and classify data which is a useful skill for any academic subject.

Map reading is a vital skill for every student, and learning to read them can begin early on.

Marilyn Buehrer was a public-school English teacher in Washington, California, and Arizona, a national motivational speaker and educator to home schoolers for nearly a decade, as well as a workshop speaker at home school conventions nationwide and at public middle school consortia in Arizona.  She is the developer of Lyric Power Publishing’s comprehensive Workbooks and Activity Sheets.

A wonderful aid to map reading skills and the ability to find your place is Lyric Power Publishing’s workbook My Book on Directions and Prepositions of Place.

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What it Means to Connect the Concepts by Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

Looking down on rocky mountains, gray pillars of stone, green pine trees
Stunning rock pillars in Switzerland Image by BlackPowder75 on Pixabay

Imparting information and seeing your child grasp it is one thing, but that knowledge will only take root when the information the child has learned is applied. Application is key. You can teach your child all day long about the mechanics of riding a bicycle, but until your child gets on the bike and rides it by himself, he will not completely understand what it means to ride a bike.

So how can you take classroom learning and successfully apply it to real life situations? By watching for everyday opportunities to link learning to life.

Turn everyday life experiences into practical teaching opportunities that your children will enjoy.

After teaching about rocks, take your children outdoors to look for rocks. You can do this as you work through the curriculum, but remember that everywhere you take your children, there’s an opportunity to review what you all learned about rocks in the classroom. The lake, a stream, the street, a playground: these are all places where rocks are found.

Take the time to collect a few rocks from each place, label them, and back in “the lab” (home or classroom), compare and contrast the rocks. How are the features of the rocks taken from the lake or a stream different from those collected from the street or road and playground? And don’t merely guess;  refer to previously taught materials when making assertions.

Marilyn Buehrer was a public-school English teacher in Washington, California, and Arizona, a national motivational speaker and educator to home schoolers for nearly a decade, as well as a workshop speaker at home school conventions nationwide and at public middle school consortia in Arizona.  She is the developer of Lyric Power Publishing’s comprehensive Workbooks and Activity Sheets.

A light blue and white book cover with an image of multi-colored river rocks
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The Top 6 Teaching Skills by Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

A bright blue metallic background. Man in suit holds a plate. The word "Skills" appears and four symbols: tools, person, head with cogs, light bulb.

The following skills are necessary to be a great teacher:

Communication

  • Verbal and written, friendly body language, and the ability to really listen.

Critical Thinking

  • Ability to solve a variety of problems often under a tight deadline.
  • Ability to answer difficult questions on the spot, solve conflicts between students, revise lesson plans, and deal with issues among colleagues.
  • Knowing the appropriate resources to use to solve questions and conflicts quickly and effectively.

Organization

  • Juggling several tasks in a day, from teaching and attending meetings, to lesson planning and grading.
  • Keeping it all organized and in writing.

Passion

  • Being enthusiastic about whatever subject s/he is teaching. Students see that passion and become enthusiastic participants.

Patience

  • Demonstrating patience when dealing with difficult classroom situations, explaining concepts multiple times, and dealing with parents, colleagues, and administrators.
  • Handling situations with a calm, professional demeanor with careful attention to the challenge of the moment.
  • Emotional control and maturity can be learned and must be practiced.

Technical Skills

  • Teachers must understand the material they teach. Even teachers of very young children need significant expertise. It is not enough for a first-grade math teachers to know how to perform basic arithmetic; s/he must have a solid understanding of numbers and numeric relationships in order to be able to explain the material in a thorough and responsive way.

Marilyn Buehrer was a public-school English teacher in Washington, California, and Arizona, a national motivational speaker and educator to home schoolers for nearly a decade, as well as a workshop speaker at home school conventions nationwide and at public middle school consortia in Arizona.  She is the developer of Lyric Power Publishing’s comprehensive Workbooks and Activity Sheets.

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The Heart of a Teacher is… by Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

The heart of a great teacher is:

colorful paper hearts, red, yellow, pink, hanging from a clothesline by clothes pins, with a green bush and floral background
The heart of a great teacher has room for all her or his students.

Compassionate

Compassion is the utmost feeling of understanding and showing others that you are concerned about them. A compassionate teacher models this characteristic through his/her actions, and as a result, students will be more open to understanding the world around them.

Empathetic

Being able to put yourself in someone’s shoes and see things from their perspective can have a powerful impact on students’ decisions and actions.

Positive

Staying positive when it’s tough can have a tremendously positive impact on students and everyone around us. Looking on the bright side and staying positive about classroom assignments such as science experiments and processes encourages students.

Networking

A great teacher bridges gaps and builds relationships and a community.

Inspirational

An inspirational teacher uncovers hidden treasures, possibilities, and magic right before her students’ eyes.

Marilyn Buehrer was a public-school English teacher in Washington, California, and Arizona, a national motivational speaker and educator to home schoolers for nearly a decade, as well as a workshop speaker at home school conventions nationwide and at public middle school consortia in Arizona.  She is the developer of Lyric Power Publishing’s comprehensive Workbooks and Activity Sheets.

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Seven Ways to Motivate Your Students to do the Assignment by Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

A photo of statues of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with the words 7 ways to motivate your students

Seven ways to motivate your students to do their assignments:

  • Give them a reason why they should.
    • A poll of the students in my 6th grade Language Arts class:
      • “I want to get good grades”
      • “I know I will need this education later in life”
      • “My mom and dad expect me to do well.”
      • “I want to go on to seventh grade.”
      • “I want to be in student council and be a tutor.”
      • “I want to get a good job when I grow up.”
      • “I want to do well so I can be a better person.”
  • Give a lot of individual genuine praise.
    • Ways to say “Good Job”
      • “You’ve got your brain in gear today!”
      • “That was first class work.”
      • “Congratulations, you got it right!”
      • “You’ve got the hang of it.
      • “That’s an interesting way of looking at it.”
      • “That’s “A” work.
      • “Keep working on it; you’re improving.”
      • “You are learning fast.”
      • “Keep up the good work!”
      • “It looks like it is going to be a super paper.”
  • Choose subjects that interest them and are “cool” to work on.
  • Provide extra time and extra chances for them to complete their work.
  • Take a lot of time to explain concepts and directions well.
  • Make subjects easy to understand.
    • Speak in language of their grade level, not in teacher-ese.
  • Make things seem easier than they really are.
    • Math doesn’t have to have “problems.” It can have “situations.” And harder problems can become “fancier situations.”

Marilyn Buehrer is a teacher, and creator of the comprehensive educational supplemental workbooks published by Lyric Power Publishing.

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A Lesson on Cardinal Directions, and How to Grade Your Home-Schooled Child’s Work by Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

How to Grade Using  
My Book on Directions and
Prepositions of Place

a green and white book cover with an image of a Compass Rose
34 Pages of Activity Sheets

by Marilyn Buehrer (Workbook  available for purchase here.)

“Don’t Give out Grades.
Children Should

Earn Them.”

Marilyn Buehrer

“I have a C student and an A student,” a home-teacher mom once said to me. While it’s important to know where your children stand academically, grades should not be viewed as an expression of your children’s worth. Grades are something your children earn.

It is more accurate to say, “I have one child who is earning a C average and another child who is maintaining an A average.”

So, how should you grade your student’s work? Create a simple point system for each assignment. Carefully explain it verbally and in writing before your students begin to work. This ensures you have their full attention and they’re not thinking about what they’re going to do with the assignment. Through a point system, your students will know exactly what’s expected of them. They’ll have a goal to work toward, and their efforts will determine the grade they receive. They will have earned it.

Geography Lesson
Grades 2-5

Map work (Geography) using pages 3, 4, and 5 from My Book on Directions and Prepositions of Place.

The GOAL of this Lesson

Students will demonstrate comprehension of Cardinal Directions using a map with a Compass Rose on it.

The OBJECTIVES for this Assignment

  1. Student will be able to follow oral and written directions.
  2. Student will be able to locate the answers on the map and write them in the correct spaces on the worksheets.
  3. Student will be able to work independently.

A Simple Point System Including Character Development:

  1. Answer the questions correctly on worksheets four and five using the compass rose on the map of the Caribbean Islands. (5 points per page for a total of 10 points)
  2. Completely color the map. (5 points)
  3. Finish both tasks (one and two) within ten minutes. (5 points)
  4. Work quietly. (5 points)
  5. Stay on task for the entire ten minutes. (5 points)

Grading Chart

30-25 points = A

24-20 points = B

19-15 points = C

14-10 points = D

Less than 10 points = F

If a student successfully does steps 1, 2, and 3, s/he has earned 20 points. If s/he was not successful in step 4, s/he has not earned a possible 5 points. If s/he was able to stay on task the entire ten minutes, s/he has earned another 5 points, for a total of 25.

Refer to the grading chart and you will see that 25 points =A-.

a white sheet of paper with blue lines, showing a blue pen and the grade A+

How to Calculate Grade-Point Average

A = 4 points

B = 3 points

C = 2 points

D = 1 point

F = 0 points

If a student earned three grades in one week, an A, a B, and a C, she earned a total of 9 points: 4 points for the A, 3 points for the B, and 2 points for the C.  Nine points divided by 3 (the number of grades she earned) equals 3 points. Three points = a B.

Calculating the GPA for One Quarter

Using this formula, let’s say that over a quarter, a student earns 16 A’s, 24 B’s, 36 C’s, 12 D’s, and 8 F’s.

Step One: Add the number of grades to determine the total number of grades. 16 + 24 + 36 + 12 + 8 = 96 grades earned in the quarter.

Step Two: Multiply the number of grades by the grade point each grade is worth to determine the total number of points.

One A is worth 4 points; therefore, 16 A’s equal 64 points. (16 x 4)

One B is worth 3 points; therefore, 24 B’s equal 72 points. (24 x 3)

One C is worth 2 points; therefore, 36 C’s equal 72 points. (36 x 2)

One D is worth 1 point; therefore, 12 D’s equal 12 points. (12 x 1)

One F is worth 0 points; therefore, 8 F’s equal 0 points. (8 x 0)

Step Three: Add the number of points.

          64 + 72+ 72 + 12 + 0 = 220 points.

Step Four: Divide the number of grades the child earned into the number of points she earned.

Points for Letter Grades

Ninety-six (96) grades divided into 220 points = 2.3 which is the grade average. Translated into a letter grade, it is a “C” average for the quarter.

4.0 – 3.5 = A to an A-

3.4 – 2.6 = B+ to a B-

2.5 – 1.6 = C+ to a C-

1.5 – 1.0 = D+ to a D-

Below 1.0=F

These four steps make it easy to calculate the Grade Point Average.