New Classroom Management System!

Wow, I probably shouldn't be taking the time to blog right now...considering I am covered up with school starting, graduate classes starting, a baby, and football season starting for the hubby! But...we all must do what we enjoy sometimes...or we will go crazy. :)

I must start by saying once again how excited I am about the up-coming school year! See, our team had a lot of "turn-over" this year...we have 4 people staying and 4 new people--plus we are down one teacher from last year (we went from nine to eight 3rd grade teachers.) Anyway--I'm not at all complaining; it is going to be great! However, with a lot of new people, come a lot of changes. One of our "new" team members (new to the team--not to the school) had a wonderful classroom management system in his class! I had seen it before on Pinterest and loved it, but wow...once he explained it to our team--I was excited and hoping the rest of the team would want to jump on board! I sat quietly though...searching their faces and looking for signs of excitment as well. I was thrilled to notice that they all loved the idea!! Buuuut, considering it was Friday at 3:30 PM (the Friday before school starts), they were not too keen on creating this new system over the weekend to have ready on Monday morning. I however had a simple way to do this--and so, the words flew out of my mouth: "I will make all of us one." So...I did!
I had a hard time fitting them all in the picture as you can see--but there they are! I know you are probably thinking--why in the world would you do all that, when above you were complaining about being so busy. Let me explain: Teachers are busy people--and by nature, hard workers. I did not want the teachers stressing the weekend before school starts; I wanted them to be able to enjoy their time off and come in refreshed on Monday. Plus--I seriously love my team, they have worked so hard all week--they needed a break. :)
Making so many was actually simple. I did not cut any of the colored paper, I just layered it behind the others and glued it. (20 minutes) Then I typed the "labels" and printed them. (10 minutes) Then I cut them, glued them on, and laminated them. (30 minutes.) Now I did spread this out between my son's meals, naps, etc...but all in all, it took about an hour! Assembly lines work great for mass production! :)
Now let me explain the system:
We use clothes pins with the students names on them to move up and down the banner.
Ready to Learn: Everyone starts on this each day!
Obviously if you move down the poster, you have made some bad choices and need to change your behavior. We have Fun Friday each week (extra recess time). If the students get one yellow--they lose this priveledge. However, it is only if they are there at the end of the day. They may get on yellow and move back up.
I love this system though because a student can move back up with a positive change in behavior AND they can get above green! If they move to purple; they basically get a pat on the back; kudos to them! BUT--if they move to pink (in my class) they are going to receive a package of pink glowsticks (or bracelets). May seem silly and you may think boys won't want that, but last year the boys loved the pink (really red-ish) glowsticks! So I think this will work great!
Now for the awesome part: If they get to white; they get to decorate one side of their clip with paint, glitter, markers, etc. If they get white TWICE, they decorate the other side and get to keep their decorated clip on white for the class to see the rest of the year (and they get to start a new one.) I think the kids will love this!! The wonderful addition to our team that brought this idea came up with all of this--I love it! I am really excited to implement this Monday! I think giving the students chances to redeem themselves and also move above green is amazing! I hope you can use this idea in your room! Have a wonderful first day fellow teachers! :)

A View of My Classroom!

Wow, it has been a busy week but a GREAT week! I am so excited about this upcoming year! I just really feel like our campus is on fire this year! We made tremendous growth with our kids and as educators last year...even though it was tough! I am just excited to see what this year has in store!

With that being said...I have finally finished my classroom (well except for a few "cleaning/organizational" things.) I took some pics today...please excuse the fact that they are iphone pictures! At least you will get a glimpse into my world!

Every year, I have a very diverse class (as do all teachers)...I love these little people for my wall! They are all so diverse, perfect for my class!

My kids will use this board to ask questions as needed (any question they want...such as, where is China? How tall is my teacher? Where do pickles come from? How do you divide? ETC.) I will pick a few at the end of the day to answer! So fun!

My Station Organization!

Bleh, sorry for the glare...I tried! Anyway, this is our acronym for what STAAR means in our room! If the students do all of these things on there gets posted on the STAAR board (pictured below!) This work does not have to be a is for effort, not accuracy! But...we hope for accuracy too!


Comprehension Posters!!

 I do not have a job for each child...I find this works better and I just utilize the heck out of them! :) I will obviously have popsicle sticks in them with the kids names on them. (I will draw the sticks out each week, to be fair.)

Reading Corner Wall!

Reading Corner!

Other Wall in the Reading Corner! These are my posters for explaining important words for Great Readers!

Bad picture, but this is my organizer I made and pictures of my hubby and son!! :)

Desks pretty much ready for Meet the Teacher! I love my iPod name tags!

Boggle Board (again)! Are you tired of seeing it yet?

Early Bird Section: This is right above where they turn in their papers! I will change out the sign under Early Birds every day or every other day! The students will know exactly what to do if they finish early!!

Boys and Girls Bathroom Pass: The students will put this on their desk when they leave and then use it and put it back when they come back! :) LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Pencil Area! The little "wishing well" will have pennies in it and the students will use those for erasers!

Voice Levels! I will have a clothes pin on the poster and move it up and down as needed. Clothes pins are hard to find this year, you better stock up! :) Voice Levels helped last year, looking forward to having it again!

So there is some of my room!! Obviously not all of it, but enough! I didn't go into detail on all of the items or link them because they are all already on my blog in previous posts! So feel free to peruse my blog and steal ideas!! What's mine is yours!! 


Parent Communication! The Best Approach is the Constant Approach!

Parent Communication is extremely important for the student, teacher and parent. However the popular approach is to only call the parents when a child is misbehaving. Parents do need to be notified when their child is not acting appropriately, but it is always better to have a relationship with the parent BEFORE you have an issue with their child. So...start building relationships early!

Parents are very interested in what their child is learning at school, but they may not always know what to ask. Keep parents informed! I believe in getting the year started on the right foot and sending information home during parent night about how they can help their child! (Since I teach Reading and Writing, that is the focus.)

Here is the link for the Reading Information I send home for parent night!

I also recently found this little gem. Parent Newsletters! I believe it will be great to send home for parents when we are covering the different skills.

(For example, when we cover visualization, I would send home the visualization newsletter.)

I strongly believe in keeping parents informed, they can be your biggest support system if you will use them...(and trust me, they want to be used!--remember, you have their baby 8 hours a day!)

It is also important to give parents the resources they need to help their child. For example, I may tell them to ask their child questions while he or she is reading, but do the parents know what questions to ask? Give them everything they may need to be a successful teacher at home! I always give my parents a flip book of question stems. I have provided it below for you! It is 13 pages of goodness!! But for every one you print, it makes 2 flip books because they are half sheets. I run mine on colored paper and make each sheet a different color. It's great for asking questions at home (for parents) and at school (for you...I use them at the guided reading table.) I highly recommend it! Here is a sample of what one set of the questions stems looks like!

Here is the link for the entire packet!

Also, never under estimate the importance of a phone call...or e-mail...telling the parents something wonderful about their child! I try to send (often) post-its, post cards, notes, and make phone calls to let the parents know the great things their child is learning or the great way they are behaving! I know I would love that as a parent!

Bottom line is, keep your parents informed about the education their child is receiving. I always look at it like this--I am not their child's babysitter, so why would I only contact them when there is a behavior problem? I teach their child every day--and I NEED my parents support. Be kind to them, help them, love their kids, and then...when that inevitable situation arises where there is an issue, they have your back! :)

So get that parent communication notebook ready, get those numbers listed, and get ready to meet about 50 new adults that are very interested in you and what you can do for their child!


What to Do The First Week of School!

What activities do you do the first week of school? I get asked that question OFTEN! So I am going to share a few of my "First Week Goodies" with you! I have to say--I can't take credit for most of them but I am great at stealing ideas from others! :)

First, to get the kids moving, we get to know each other a bit!

I always do this version of Classmate BINGO! I have the kids find another student to sign each square then they color it in. Besides, it is a great conversation starter! Afterwards, I always ask some students to share a few things they learned about their friends!

Next, we do a series of  ICEBREAKERS. These are great for any grade really. The Kinders and 1st graders might need some assistance with the writing ones, or you could just take those out. 

I believe I may have mentioned this in an earlier post, but I love doing this All About Me Bag activity. 

I ran them off on orange card-stock (we are the orange hall) and cut them out. Then I stapled them to a brown bag and placed one on each child's desk for Meet the Teacher Night (or the first day of school.) The kids love showing their items and I love getting to see a piece of them!

Another thing I do on the first week is read my favorite read aloud!

One of my all time favorite books to read during the first day of school is Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco.

If you have not read this book, I encourage you to read it first before reading it to your students. I cry tears of joy every time I read it, I just cannot help is a beautiful story. I am going to share a (free) activity that is great with this book and helping build community in your classroom!

Here is a YouTube video reading of it, if you would like to listen to it before your purchase. I do recommend actually reading it to your students, vs. the YouTube video though. The connection with your students will be so much better!

Check out my Are You Connecting? blog post to understand how to use this activity.

Click the Link Below for the Activity:

We also choose one day during the first week to do this digital spinner activity! The spinner spells WELCOME. The kids take turns coming up and clicking the digital spinner. Then the class answers the corresponding question on their task card. You spin until all questions have been answered. Great writing activity and awesome for getting to know your students. 

Another first week of school think I do is introduce my classroom management method for transitions.I must confess though, I completely "stole" this idea from the Mustache King at The Kindergarten Smorgasboard! When I saw what he was doing, I was sold! First, simply head on over to Amazon (because we all love PRIME right?) and snag a wireless doorbell!

The wireless doorbell receiver simply plugs into the wall in your classroom, and the transmitter
remote is easily worn around your neck, placed in your pocket, or just laid on your desk. It includes 50 chimes and no batteries are required! When you want to get your student's attention or it is time to move on to another station, center, activity, line up, etc...simply ring the doorbell and it chimes.

What I really love is...the chimes are not annoying, they are almost soothing but still grab the student's attention. I will never go back to the vocal attention grabbers. I know those work for many, but for me...I enjoy this method!

I hope all of these things help you out with your first few days! It's getting close! Let me know what you do for your first week! I am always looking for things to add!!

(affiliate links are provided for your convenience) 

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