Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Busy Busy Busy

Well the kiddos will arrive tomorrow... my room is ready to go!

I've changed their desk set ups and the supplies on their desk about 100 times, but I am confident it will stay the same at least until Thursday, ha!

The kiddos have "About Me" worksheets waiting on their desks to work on when they arrive...

And, even better, they have little bags of candy with a "Second Grade is Sweet" tag stapled to it waiting in their mailbox with a welcome letter. Get your free copy of my candy bag signs by clicking the picture below!

I am hopeful that tomorrow will go well, I learned last year that just because you planned to do a fun activity or teach this kiddos this or that procedure doesn't mean it will happen when or how you planned. The first days are just nutty and nothing goes as planned, especially not in the amount of time you anticipate... Good thing I over planned big time!!!

Wish me luck, I'll let you know how it goes, but probably not until Thursday because I have my first night of grad school for 4 hours tomorrow after school... what a day it will be!

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

WBT First Day

It's been a while since I posted about whole brain teaching...

I am getting VERY excited for school to start, mostly because WBT made me LOVE LOVE LOVE teaching even more when I started it in my classroom.

Today I'm going to talk a little bit about how I will introduce it on the first day of school. You can find many other bloggers who have posted about the first day, and even Chris Biffle the founder of WBT has webcasts that discuss the first day (just search on youtube).

When my kiddos come in on the first day, I have them take everything to their seats and do a self explanatory about me page until everyone arrives. We then will discuss closet procedures, etc. After that is when the WBT fun begins...

I hold morning meeting and the first thing we talk about is how I get their attention... I'll say something like, "there are many times during the day where I need to get your attention, I do that using something called "Class, yes!" when I say class, you say yes... let's try it... class" they hopefully respond "yes" then I'll say "however I say class you say class, classity class" and hopefully they say "yessity yes" (this is pretty much exactly how Chris Biffle suggests introducing class yes.

After practicing class yes (I won't introduce hands and eyes until day 2) we talk about our classroom rules. I encourage the kiddos to share out what are some rules they think we should have. I then will introduce each rule...

... and have the kiddos copy the gestures and say the rule aloud. I then will go over the rules one by one, have the kiddos copy me then I tell them all about teach, okay. Most kids have done "turn and talk" or "turn and teach" so I usually will compare it to that. I model teach, okay with a student. I'll say, "if I say, I want you to turn to your partner and tell them rule #1. Then I say teach, you guys will say okay and turn and teach your partner about rule #1" I then do this with a student. We will model incorrect (i.e. turning before I say teach) and correct ways to do teach, ok. I will then quickly tell each kiddo who their partner is for the time being and we will practice teach, okay for each rule. I'll also be practicing class, yes because I will need to get their attention between each rule.

This might seem like A LOT at once, but these kiddos are sponges, and we will practice, practice, practice all of these procedures ALL THE TIME... so it's OKAY if they don't have it down after one class meeting.

I will probably have a long morning meeting the first day. Depending on how shy (or hopefully not so shy) my class is, we might have a rules sort where the kiddos suggested rules from before I introduced WBT rules get sorted into the 5 rule categories. I.e. No talking in the hall would go under Rule #2 raise your hand for permission to speak.

I also plan on talking to my kiddos about how they think different things should run in the room in regards to our rules. For example, if we need to follow directions quickly, does that mean we run back to our seats, does that mean we walk quickly back to our seats, does that mean we get right to work, etc.

Depending on how the day is going I MIGHT introduce to scoreboard... but it really depends on how the day is flowing and how much the kids are soaking up the WBT. My kiddos LOVED it last year and I really hope it is the same this year :)

Overview: Day 1: I will teach rules, class, yes & teach, okay. If everything goes really well, I will introduce the scoreboard.

Alrighty, off to training...

It's the last day of my TPT sale, grab a product (or 2) for 20% off!

Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth - TeachersPayTeachers.com

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Official Classroom Reveal!

Alrighty... here is my classroom... all ready to go (I really need to start planning now!!!)

Here are a few before/afters

Before/After front of room

Before/After Closet

Before/After meeting area/computers (now writing center & computers)

Before/After back of room

Before/After closet entrance. Click for my job chart on TPT! 

Okay now here's a few room shots...

Front of room from doorway

My desk area from my reading table

Front/corner of room from reading table

Front of room from reading table
Reading table

A few close ups...

Clip chart & "center center." Get my clip chart & center signs at my TPT store!

Learning circle/meeting area... waiting on my plum colored rug!!!

Closer up view of my meeting/learning area. Sound level chart & calendar pack available at my TPT store!

Writing Center bulletin board (sorry it's a little blurry). I got this beauty of a writing set from a cupcake for the teacher!

Writing center

Door :)

Hanging from kiddos' mailboxes


Tickets (behavior management) I have signs on the drawers, but forgot to take a picture today... for more on the ticket system in my classroom, click on the picture to go to my behavior management post.

Sink area jazzed up with a make-shift bulletin board

Back bulletin board

I hope you enjoyed the tour! I'll admit excited to start next week even though I'm also having "end of summer blues" as the fiancee calls it! I hope everyone still on summer vacation is enjoying their last few days :)

Just a reminder, although the TPT sitewide sale is done in a few hours, my products will remain on sale until Wednesday (August 21st!)

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Linking up with Manic Monday...

I'm likning up with Manic Monday at Classroom Freebies
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
I love having posters for students to refer to when reading or answering questions so they remember the strategies they have learned.
This freebie gives you 2 posters...
1 poster with reading strategies for your kiddos to refer to.
1 poster with answering strategies to help your kiddos prove their answer.
Get your freebie here...

Enjoy your freebie... use them to post in your classroom or even for kiddos to refer to during reading groups!

This afternoon, I'll be posting the official classroom reveal (after my first day of orientation for my new school today)

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

TPT Sale!

My products will be on sale on TPT not only during their back to school sale today and tomorrow, but for 2 extra days! That means 20% off for 4 days!

I added a few back to school products...

Sunglasses Craftivity

Goodbye Summer, Hello School

All About Me Activity

All 3 Bundled Together!!! (Save $)

Sorry nothing else for today, although tomorrow will be the official classroom reveal!!!

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Tips & Tricks

Linking Up for the Last Day of Teacher Week 2013 with Blog Hoppin' I had a lot of fun linking up every day! It was nice to reflect on some of my teaching, share some of my ideas and read up on other teacher's ideas :)

Today's theme is teacher tips...

Tip #1: Keep 'em moving! I had SUCH a difficult time with most some of my students last year as far as focusing, staying still, not distracting their neighbors, etc. Then I discovered the wonders of WHOLE BRAIN TEACHING! The name tells a lot... the kiddos will use their WHOLE brain... most importantly the part of the brain that tells them if they aren't moving around a lot, they WILL distract you and everyone else!
I also have a "brain break" before or after each transition. Last year I just wrote things like "20 jumping jacks" "play rock, paper, scissors for 30 seconds" "play Simon says" etc. This year, I found this FABULOUS freebie... I can't remember where, so if it is yours please let me know. The "brain break" is on the front with directions on the back. Some are even educational, wooh!

Tip #2: If you're not a morning person you will think I'm off my rocker (and so you should just skip this tip haha!) When I first started teaching last year, I (and nearly everyone else) would get to school 30-45 minutes or so before my classroom was filled with kiddos. There would be some mornings where I REALLY needed to get something copied because I forgot or where I just wanted to get some things ready for the following day. But since nearly everyone was getting there at the same time, there was always a line at the copier and I wasted more time waiting than getting work done... AND would end up at school way later than I care to admit on way too many days. SO, being a morning person, I started getting to school early (I mean 6:30 early... I know you night owls are cringing) that way I could get everything done and even prep for the following week without feeling guilty because there was a line behind me. By the time everyone else showed up, I was in my room doing work in there that didn't need the copier. BIG BONUS... I could leave school pretty much right after the kids, without feeling guilty and preventing not my best prepping work because I was so exhausted... I really am so tired once the kiddos leave, they wear me out!!!

Tip #3: This tip is useful even if you are not a morning person... I read a blog post (I forget where, it was probably close to a year ago) about working only 40 hours a week as a teacher and still teaching your butt off. Well, I haven't quite mastered 40 hours a week and don't think I ever will, however, here are a few tips to manage your time much better...
1. If you know you're going to get stuck chatting with a coworker and you NEED to get work done, don't go to that coworker's room before/after school on those days. They will understand as I'm assuming they have work to do too!
2. ALWAYS clean up your area of the room. Don't leave piles of extra worksheets laying on your desk/table to clean at the end of the day, file/recycle/whatever them as soon as your paper passer hands you the extras. If you grab your mail during the day, go through it THEN, don't wait until the end of the day when you have other things to do.
3. Use Encourage the kiddos to help keep the room neat and tidy. Use a responsibility talk or tell them it's important the room always stay clean so they can learn their best, etc. Get the kiddos to buy into this, so that they pick pencils up off the ground when they drop them, or they neaten up the pile of papers, or pick the piece of paper off the ground they noticed without being asked. If you don't recruit their help you will do SO much extra clean up at the end of the day and it will be messes you didn't create!
4. I don't always follow this rule, but I do follow it on most days... use your lunch as a prep period! At least 4 days a week I will use my lunch to check emails, respond to parents, make homework packets, etc. rather than eating lunch in the teacher's room. I get it that some days you just need adult interaction, but most days if it's a choice between staying after school for an extra half hour or eating lunch at my desk, I'll pick the alone time!
5. Recruit your kids to help you in AS MANY tasks as you can, so that you don't have to do them. I'm not just talking helping to clean the room, I mean setting up your morning meeting area at the end of the day, erasing the board, organizing lunch sticks, watering plants, filling mail boxes, etc. You can make these weekly jobs (that's what I do for most of these tasks) or just ask students to do tasks at the end of the day. They LOVE to help and it saves you valuable minutes :) 

Job chart available on my TPT page

I hope you enjoyed some of these tips!

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Taming the Wild

Day 4 of linking up with Blog Hoppin' Teacher Week '13

Today's theme is Taming the Wild: Classroom Management

I have a few things I use for classroom management in my room. I have an individual class behavior management system as well as a whole class behavior management system.

Individual Management System: Clip Chart, Tickets & Coupons
Sounds complicated, but I swear it isn't. I used a clip chart last year, and when my kiddos got to outstanding, I had a coupon book where they could choose from fun prizes such as: sit at the teacher's desk for a day, show and tell, bring a stuffed animal to school, no shoes for the day, lunch with the teacher, switch seats with a friend, super supplies, etc.

However, I decided I needed to do something to celebrate my kiddos who are always "ready to learn" or move their clips up but never get all the way to outstanding.

Click to get your own copy of my sweets themed clip chart!

I found my solution when I bought the fabulous new coupons from Laura Martin who described a fabulous ticket system that goes along with her clip chart. Laura is super generous and kiddos who only got one ticket during the week, which would mean they stayed on green for one day, can get a prize from her prize bins.

My plan is a little different, as I feel in order to pick any prizes, my kiddos should have to have good behavior all week, so, my ticket #'s will be as follows...
GREEN (Ready to Learn): 1 Ticket
BLUE (Good Job!): 3 Ticket
PURPLE (Great Job!): 5 Tickets
PINK (Outstanding!): 10 Tickets
My kiddos will then have 6 drawers and the coupon book to choose from. At the end of the week, they will need tickets as follows:
Drawer 1: 3 Tickets: pencil toppers, small stickers, bookmarks
Drawer 2: 5 Tickets: erasers, stickers, sharpeners
Drawer 3: 8 Tickets: small notebooks, pencils
Drawer 4: 10 Tickets: fancy pencils (with shaped toppers), sticker sheets
Drawer 5: 12 Tickets: small toys from the $ store, stamps
Drawer 6: 14 Tickets: bouncy balls, play dough, bubbles, other small toys
Coupon Book: 16 Tickets

My drawer doesn't have ticket numbers on it yet, but here is a pic of the prize drawers...

Classroom Behavior Management: Whole Brain Teaching Scoreboard
There are lots of ways to use the WBT scoreboard including various levels. You can read about all of that on wholebrainteaching.com
I'm going to share how I use the scoreboard... (My kids didn't push me last year to use the "levels" but if you have some tough kids, and are interested in the scoreboard check out the scoreboard levels on the website.

The scoreboard is simple, a smile and a sad face t-chart. You can draw it on the board, have a simple laminated paper like this, whatever works best.

Here's how it works... if the kids do a good job at something, i.e. in a WBT room, at the beginning of the year, you'd give loads of smiles tallies for when students respond to class, yes quickly or do a great job at teach, okay or even as simple as stating the rules correctly with the same gesture. You give the kiddos a sad face tally when the kiddos don't do so well... maybe they weren't being active during teach, okay or they were not following directions quickly.
If they get a smile, when you give them the signal they get to have a 1 second celebration by pumping their fist and saying "oh yeah" if they get a sad face they get 1 second to do a "mighty groan" which is when you give them the signal they give a short "ugh" and drop their shoulders. You could of course change these, but that is what I use.

The trick is not to let the scores get more than +3 on either side, you want to keep it interesting, you don't want the kids to think they're absolutely going to win more smiles or that there is no hope to turn a bad scoreboard around.

Now the class reward is kind of up to you as far as: what happens when the smile faces win?
You can do something as easy as: 1 minute of free talk, around the world, etc. at the end of the day if smiles win.
You could have your kiddos earn something: smiles win for ___ amount of days we earn a celebration.
Being that I switched from basically "earning marbles" to this last year, we had to earn 10 smile face days to get a class celebration. After we earned that celebration, we increased the number of days to 15 and so on and so forth.

This year, I plan on starting with small end of day rewards because I will be having my kiddos learn WBT procedures and have plenty of opportunities for them to earn smiles. As the year goes on, I plan on doing what I did last year but have a class discussion about what exactly we are trying to earn and how many smile days we should take to earn it.

Alrighty, so there is how I "Tame the Wild!"
Tomorrow... Tips & Tricks... I'm thinking maybe some more WBT tomorrow!!!

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Organizing for Instruction

Day 3 of linking up with Blog Hoppin' Teacher Week '13

Today's theme is Now Teach!: Organizing for Instruction

Organized is one of those things I have always claimed to be, however, after my first year of teaching last year, I learned that I was not nearly as organized as I thought I was! SOME of my organization strategies worked last year but others were a disaster!

Here's what worked last year...
Daily by Day Organizer
This organizational system was easy and fabulous! I liked to be one week ahead in lesson planning, copying, etc. I used this fantastic (simple) organizer to put any worksheets, read alouds, etc. for the upcoming days. When I needed to copy items for the following week I would put it in the "to do" section of the organizer and then fill up the compartments for the following week staying about a week ahead of time.

On the day of, I'd take the work, books, etc. out of that day's bin and put math in one bin under my easel and ELA in another bin under my easel. I only have this one picture of my beloved easel that I am so sad I couldn't take to a new district/school. There were 4 slide in/out bins at the bottom of the easel.

Since I couldn't take my easel with me... this year to stay organized, I bought this wonderful set of drawers (only $28 at Big Lots vs. $50 at Michaels) I'm going to use the drawers for the day's work like I used the easel's bins. I'll use all the extra drawers for all the goodies I kept behind my easel that are needed for the learning circle (markers, erasers, pointers, pens, tape, timer, etc. etc.)

Papers & Files
Last year, I tried to use hanging folders in hanging file bins to keep all my paper work organized... it DID NOT WORK for me... so this year I bought a fabulous editable teacher binder set on TPT and have created a binder for: ELA, Guided Reading, Writing, Math, Guided Math, Parent Contact, Student Info, Lesson Plans, Meeting Notes and Sub Plans. I'm hoping this will keep me more organized and less likely to have to look for missing papers! I may even create a binder for field trip info such as permission slips, money, chaperones, etc. This is the best picture I have of the binders... check out TPT seller Haley O'Connor's binder product to have a better look.

Another note on my lesson plan binder... I have a template that I use that condenses the week into 4 pages (I plan on reworking the template for this year, I will post it when it's finished!). I put these sheets in page protectors and then I can leave my lesson plan binder open (on a recipe book stand) so I can refer to it during the day.

Centers Organization
Another plan of mine this year is to use my file cabinet more effectively. Last year I left A LOT of center ideas, etc. that the teacher before me had left and never ended up using them. This year I want to use my file cabinet to organize my literacy and math centers as I go throughout the year so that the following year I have them to refer back to. I plan on keeping at least 1 file folder per unit to further organize my centers.

Although I didn't have the best method for organizing centers once we were done using them, I did have a pretty good organizational system for literacy and math centers when they were in center rotation. I usually have 5 math centers that rotate for the "hands on" part of my guided math block. I have anywhere from 8-10 literacy centers that rotate during guided reading.

For math, I keep the games along with any accompanying manipulatives in tupperware containers. If there are various levels of the game, they are copied on colors to distinguish what level they are at (i.e. blue paper for below level, yellow paper for on level, green paper for above level). The kiddos names are on my center pocket chart to coincide with the appropriate level/color they should work with. Next to each center number on the pocket chart shown below, the names of the kiddos (in the appropriate color) would go next to what center they would work at on that day.

For literacy centers, all work and manipulatives are stored in these fabulous bins I found at the dollar store. The bins are the perfect size for folders. Each bin has colored folders that coincide with the students' levels and I use the same type pocket chart with colored names so the kiddos know which folder work they should use. I am very strict about bins being put back in number order as well as all the folders, tools being put back exactly how they were found. The kiddos did a very good job of this past year!

Here is how my center area looked last year...
Literacy Centers
Math Centers
Here's how it looks this year...

Here is a close up of the centers pocket chart. The kiddos names will go next to the number center they are at for literacy centers. For math "centers" they will go where their group number shows.

Okay, I think I have officially talked your ear off on Organizing for Instruction :)

Check in tomorrow for Taming the Wild: Classroom Management! Learn about my clip chart, rewards system and classroom WBT scoreboard!

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