Pages

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Behavior Management

How I manage behavior in my classroom is ever-changing. I like to have a balance of behavior systems that are consistent that the students know well, and new things that keep them interested.

I aim to have three levels of behavior management in place in my classroom.
1. Whole Class
2. Team/Table
3. Individual

Whole Class

I love whole class behavior management systems because it gives students the chance to all be on the same team and work towards one common goal. They don't get to do this enough!


One of the systems I use for whole class behavior management are brownie points (pictured above). Students earn brownie points for various reasons-mostly receiving compliments from other teachers or visitors. I found that product here.

When the brownie pan is full, I let students vote on what reward they would like-usually a popcorn party!

Team/Table

Table behavior management works to foster positive relationships among each group. Again, they work toward a common goal, but it also provides some friendly competition between tables.


For team and table management, I use the piggy banks in the picture above. Each one is colored to match the tables. Each piggy bank has a magnetic strip across it. That allows me to stick these magnetic coins to them. The first team that earns 10 cents, gets to have LUNCH BUNCH-lunch with the teacher, our favorite. :) 

I love this because it incorporates one of our most difficult objectives into our daily routine and makes it meaningful to the students. They practice identifying coins and their values, understanding how to exchange a group of coins for one coin with the same value, and how to count a set of coins. When they have mastered up to 10 cents, I may even challenge them with 15 cents.

Individual

My individual behavior system is a simple color chart. 


I have many other behavior management tidbits that I'll be sharing in the future. For now though, let me share my adorable School Box find from this weekend.


The only thing better than a hand pointer, is a paw pointer!


I'll leave you with that for today. :)


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Material Management

So at the beginning of this school year, my goal was to set up my classroom so that my kinders could independently access everything. I knew this would make the classroom THEIRS, while also making my life easier! The crayon containers in my last post were a huge asset to that. Here are some other ways I organized classroom materials with student independence in mind:

Magazine Holders



I got these magazine holders last summer at IKEA. They came 5 in a pack for $2. That's a great teacher deal! You can find those here.

I thought they were the perfect way to either organize handwriting books and things students use during the day, or as mailboxes. Either way, the white just wasn't cutting it. Well last summer I also discovered the glory of spray paint. The world can be what ever color we want it to be with a little spray paint! So I spray painted them!


The spray paint went on incredibly well. I painted some purple and some turquoise. Here's what they looked like in my classroom.


I lined them up in from of my word wall, easily within the reach of students. Once the school year started I also put each of the student's pictures on the outside of one with their name.

Table Caddies


Here are my table caddies from this year.


The cups inside were spray painted to match the table colors. I also put pink, purple, blue and green stickers on the pencils and dry erase markers so that we could more easily keep track of them. Next year I won't put them on the pencils, but I will continue to put them on the dry erase markers. I think they saved us at least a few markers. I keep the dry erase markers and white boards at their tables for the purpose of formative assessment. That way at any moment each student can pull out a white board and a marker for a quick check of understanding.


Pencil Organization



You'll see on either side of the crayon containers I have a broken pencil bucket, and a contain for sharp pencils. I only sharpen pencils once a week and I fill the sharp pencils container. If their pencil breaks, they know to put it in the bucket and where to get a new one, without having to ask for one. This seems small, but it made our transitions very smooth. Otherwise, I have 10 little hands going up that need pencils sharpened, or a long line of students at the sharpener when they could be writing. Simple idea, great time saver.

Early Finisher Tubs



When I made these I just made a simple label and attached it with modge podge to a plastic tub-in the same color as their table of course! Students know that when they finish their work they can come get their tub and work at their table.

In the tubs I place meaningful activities for both literacy and math. As the year progresses, I can differentiate them with activities that different students need to practice. This also allows them CHOICE, which is important to me.

These were definitely a GLOW from my classroom this year. I don't know how I survived before them. I will do another post on early finisher tubs later.


Velcro!




We use these pointers for many things in our classroom, and the kids LOVE them. Last year though, they were turning up broken and I swear we spent more time looking for them than using them. This year my solution was to put a strip of velcro on them and stick them right where we needed them. I put these two at the big book center, one at my easel and one at the calendar. We didn't lose or break a single pointer all year! This little piece of velcro gave the pointers a home and it certainly made all of our lives easier. 

That's all for today! Enjoy!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Crazy for Crayons

So as I began cleaning out my classroom today, I came across one thing from my classroom this year that was definitely a GLOW. I will do this for years to come, I swear! It's all about crayon storage, people. Crayon storage at tables is easy, but what do you do all those times you're working on the rug? I wanted something that was quick, simple to clean up, organized and stored easily. That's when I stumbled across this post from Teach it With Class:

http://www.teachitwithclass.blogspot.com/2012/07/crayon-storage-organization.html?m=1

This post was exactly the idea I needed! I searched for weeks and could not find any storage containers that were exactly the right size. I wanted something that perfectly fit a 24 count box of crayons and still fit into a storage bin.

I checked Target-nope.
I checked WalMart-nope.
I checked the Dollar Tree-nope.
I check numerous grocery stores-nope.
FINALLY, when I had all but given up hope...I found them at Farm Fresh (a local grocery store here in VA). The cute circle designs were an added bonus.



So I put some labels on them. Now the students know that this is their box of crayons, so it's their responsibility to take care of them.


Then I put them in storage bins that coordinate to their table colors so students can go grab them one-by-one or grab the whole bin for their table.


These will be some of the last things I put away for the year because they are just so handy!



Thursday, June 4, 2015

Tap tap...is this thing on?

Well I've done it! I've started a blog dedicated to teaching. I've been teasing myself with the idea for a while now. Then I made the blog and got completely overwhelmed with figuring out where to begin. Naturally I pulled out the old teacher excuse and blamed it on the busy school year, and vowed to start it over the summer when I had more time. Students have their excuses, and I know we've heard them all. Whether or not we realize it, teachers make excuses too. Though I'd like to think they're slightly more believable than some of those that we get. I'm guilty as charged. The school year is always "too busy" to start a new hobby. I'll start everything in the summer when I have more time. BTW my summer doesn't start for two more weeks so I'm ahead of the game, wahoo! The truth is, and I believe in this immensely, you will make time for anything you truly want to make time for. I have found that to be true in various aspects of my life. I'm sure there will be times when I am too overwhelmed to blog, but I'm looking forward to making time to share my ideas and opening up my kindergarten world to all!

To me this feels like a really awkward time of year to be starting a blog. After all, as teachers our lives are completely based around an August-June calendar. I'm trying not to let myself get caught up in that with this blog. I've decided that it's actually a great time to start. The end of the school year provides an opportunity for reflection on what things rocked in my classroom and what things I'm looking to change next year. So I'll spend some time doing that here!