Sunday, October 16, 2016

Catch More Flies With Honey

Classroom management is hard work. Most of my colleagues would say that classroom management is one of my strengths, but I still feel like I have a lot to learn.

One thing I've learned is that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That idiom probably isn't true scientifically! But in the classroom kindness, positive feedback, and appreciation go a long way.

Being positive builds bonds with students.  They want to know that their efforts are noticed and appreciated. 

Here are a few ideas and resources that I've found effective. I don't use all of them every year. Keeping it simple works best for me. I just like to have a large bank of strategies and resources to pull from, so I keep collecting!

Thank You Cards
Last year I had mystery hummers. And they were humming with the intention of being disruptive. I honestly COULD NOT figure out who they were, and it drove me nuts! Despite my desire to be positive, I do think appropriate consequences can be effective. The problem is you can't use consequences when you can't identify the student who is misbehaving! I finally had an AHA moment, and decided to make thank you cards for the students who were being role models. I also made cards for other things that frustrated me. Do you have students who NEVER remember to sign up for lunch? I always do! I started giving thank you cards to the students who remembered. One of the students kept the thank you card in his pencil box all year. He sometimes would take it out and set it up on his desk so he could look at it while he worked!

Students who received the cards really appreciated them. Students who weren't doing the right thing sat up, took notice, and tried harder. (At least many of them did.)

Button Jar 
Many of you use something like this. Perhaps you've seen these variations:
-marble jar
-gold coin jar
-pom poms (sometimes called warm fuzzies)

It's so simple, but SO effective. Putting buttons in the jar and giving quick positive feedback about why you're doing it is so valuable. I find that the more I find a reason to put buttons in the jar, the more students want to earn buttons.  I do occasionally take a few buttons out for inappropriate behavior, but I try to put some in for positive behavior as soon afterward as I can. 

Shout Outs
A couple of years ago, I read a thought-provoking and very entertaining blog post by Katie from Teacher to the Core. Click here to go directly to her post.  The post described how she uses "Shout outs!" in the classroom.  

I decided to buy her product, and I'm so glad I did.  You just fill out some shout outs each day. I like to pass them out while we wait for dismissal.  The students who have earned shout outs stand.  Then, we applaud and do two or three of our favorite cheers!  There are SO many different awards in the pack.  I've copied them on colorful paper and organized them in small plastic pockets.  I have a special drawer for my shout outs so they are easy to grab.  Katie has included a recording sheet in the pack so you can keep track of the shout outs you give each day.  Click here to get the Shout Outs! in her store.

If you've found this post helpful, you might want to read these other posts:

Do missing pencils make you crazy?
Read about the system I use. Kids respond well! There's a link to a freebie, too!

Read all about my SUPER IMRPOVER wall and how it works.

Sneezing Practice
Practicing rules in a fun way...

Praise, Improvement, and a Reflection FREEBIE 

I'd love to read about your best classroom management tips in the comments. Please share!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Five for Friday on Saturday

Yesterday was Friday, and I did NOT do my Five for Friday post! I took my kids out to dinner and watched TV after they went to bed! Now that I'm well rested, I'm ready to link up with Kacey at Doodlebugs Teaching! Happy weekend, everyone!

I've wrapped up my rounding and place value unit. One of the activities I had students do was create a number line on a sentence strip. They were given a 3-digit number and had to create a number line that would help them round the number to the nearest ten. Then, they needed to write (step by step) how they used the number line to round. They were totally engaged and excited about it. Most kids love a challenge.
In writing, we spent some time learning about compound sentences. I gave partners simple sentences that they needed to combine using a conjunction. The cool glue bottles are a freebie from Kelly Witt. You can grab them in her TPT store.


We've also started a persuasive letter. The students write from the point of view of a pumpkin. They must try to persuade someone to either PICK them or NOT pick them. To brainstorm, groups of three students worked together to list things to avoid when looking for a pumpkin and things to look for

We've started our mystery book clubs. The idea came from Amy Lemons, and I use her Mystery Mini Unit with my groups. I'm fortunate to have a skilled para in my room. Also, I teach inclusion reading so I have the special education teacher in my room too! She's a blast to teach with, and we get to do lots of differentiated small group lessons. Do you get the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues?
Cold weather=More cats on my lap!
If you read my blog regularly, you know that I like my cats. Our family now owns three! Sparrow (the tabby) has been with us since August. It took her awhile to warm up to the other cats. Herbie (gray) and Sunshine (yellow) often cuddle. The photo above with all three cats in my lap happened last week. It hasn't happened since!

As I type this, Sparrow is trying to perch in my lap without falling off. She likes attention!

On Monday, my husband and I took the kids to the apple orchard. The foliage is starting to get really nice here in Connecticut, so we drove around and enjoyed that too. At the orchard there are five different horses, and they're all curious and friendly. One of them is extremely mellow and pretty old. He just meanders among the rows of apple trees, and people stop to pet him. 

Thanks for visiting! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Weather Main Idea FREEBIE

This will be a quick post to announce a freebie I just added to my store!  It's printable and has easy directions, and it's engaging. Plus, it's full of interesting weather facts. Click here to find it in my store! Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Five for Friday

Happy weekend! It's time to link up with Kacey from Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday. 

I had a blast teaching the Properties of Addition to my 3rd graders. I related the commutative property to the word commute (travel). We practiced commuting around the classroom as a warm-up to our lesson.

Today, it's raining and bleh outside. Last weekend was GORGEOUS. The kids and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and went out for ice cream. Now that it's October, there probably won't be any more ice cream runs for a long while. 

I feel like I didn't get to teach much this week, because we had our first round of NWEA Map testing. The kids did pretty well and felt confident. Using the laptops is always a big motivator, even if they are being used for testing. The kids were really thrilled when I gave them their Raz Kids passwords. Some of them even asked to go on Raz Kids during indoor recess.

These are the latches used in on one of the bathrooms in our school. Funny, right? I wonder if any of the kids have ever appreciated the name of the product
Students read Nate the Great San Francisco Detective with partners. They had a packet of discussion questions. They needed to stop after each chapter to discuss the questions. In the story, Nate's cousin wears a feather boa. I happen to have two of them! When partners were doing a particularly good job reading and discussing, they got to wear the boas for awhile!

Thanks for visiting! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!