Monday, August 14, 2017

Sorting


I've been meaning to write this post for ages but never had the time. Well here it is...


  I am a big fan of integrated lessons especially when it comes to Math and ELA. Here is a sneak peak at a sorting lesson that I did a few weeks ago.  I started out by reading Grandma's Button Box. You can find it here on Amazon www.amazon.com. The book is about a group of cousins who accidentally spill Grandma's button box. The children have to work together to figure out which attribute the buttons were originally sorted by.  While we read the book the students and I made an anchor chart displaying the different attributes the cousins tried. Should have taken  pictured of that. My bad.

 I also picked up these awesome shape buttons to bring the story to life. You can find them Here and Here.   

After the story it was time for center based exploration. The students used the Task Cards from my sorting packet . I provided the pairs with a set of task cards and presorted buttons. The students were asked to sort by multiple attributes like shape, color, size, and number of button holes.
 

The activity was easily able to differentiate. I created different rings of task cards depending on the ability of the students. Some groups were only sorting by 1 or 2 attributes while my advanced group was attempting to sort by three attributes. 

I set up the activity by printing and laminating the sorting task cards. I then decided the level of rigor for each group and created a ring of task cards for them. Each group was given a tray, task cards, and a baggie of buttons. The groups worked together compete the task cards. The picture clues really helped my struggling readers to understand the task.
Sorting is such an important foundational skill for primary students.  Children are amazed to see how many things they sort on a daily bases...
  • Books in the library by topic
  • Books in the library by reading level
  • Art supplies
  • Pieces to games during indoor recess
  • Clothing
  • Food in the refrigerator
  • Dishes
  • Items on a menu
  • Money
  • Silverware
Once the students saw that sorting is a real life skill, they were  trying to think of how many things they sort, and how many ways they can be sorted. Overall the lesson was a sucess. 

If you are interested in picking up a copy of the sorting center you can hop on over to my TPT store. Click Me

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Teachers Get Fit

Who else says this all the time? I know it sounds like an excuse but a healthy lifestyle can be really hard for a teacher to keep up with.  Teachers are notoriously selfless and put the needs of others first often neglecting themselves.  Here's how it goes.

My Routine


*I get up before the sun,  try on like 5 outfits before deciding on what to wear, smear some makeup up, brush my teeth and run out the door without having breakfast.

*Teach those little darlings all morning and then wolf down my lunch in 20 minutes so I can maybe use the bathroom before picking them up.

*After school I either have club or tutoring until 5. Then I race home get in the door at 6 and start making dinner. Of course my husband won't eat the "healthy" meal I'm having so I have to make him something devilishly good (naturally I have to try some too just to make sure it isn't poison).

*By the time I clean up I am to exhausted and bloated to put workout clothes on and head to the gym. So Netflix it is.

*Then I take a shower, snuggle in to bed and get ready to start the cycle over tomorrow. But somehow this time I will make time to workout and ear right.

THIS HAS TO STOP!!!

I have gained at least 20 pounds each year since I started teaching.  My cholesterol has gone up and I have pain in my knees and lower back from carrying this extra weight. I always have the best intentions but never seem to follow through or at least not for long enough to make a dent. This year I swear it is going to be different.

Last week you may have seen my post about the yogurt containers. This is one tiny little step on my journey to being a better me. Now I can have breakfast ready, no excuses for missing breakfast.

I also decided to scale down my tutoring and after school activities to three nights a week.  That gives me 5 days I can make time to work out. I thought maybe some positive reinforcement might help. I created this exercise tracker to help keep me on target. My personal starting goal is to workout 3 times a week. Each day I workout I am going to cross out a day. If I meet my goal of three days a week for the whole month I am going to reward myself with a mani pedi.


Follow my blog to hear more about my journey and for more tips and tricks along the way.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Meal Prep Monday (Yogurt Parfit)

Quick Easy Teacher Breakfast:
I love breakfast foods! French toast, scrambled eggs, fresh berries and of course a mimosa!!
Once school starts those luxury breakfast go out the window and I'm back to plain orange juice (whats the point in that).  I usually just grab a protein shake or green smoothie and run out the door.  Being a teacher... all that extra liquid can be an issue when you can't use the bathroom whenever you please. So some day's I don't even eat breakfast and then the HANGRIES set in. You can't be hangry and a kindergarten teacher those to don't mix well.

My Solution... 
I found these super cute yogurt cups at Walmart. They are made from BPA free plastic, they are dishwasher safe and they cost less than 2 dollars.  My Walmart carries them all year in grey but only has these cute colored ones during the back to school season. These are great because you can fit a cup of yogurt in the jar and any toppings in the lid.  When you are ready to eat you just open the lid, pour in the toppings and you are ready to go. No more soggy granola!!!

I do my weekly meal prepping on Sundays. I fill up a whole weeks worth  so I can just grab a jar and a spoon and head out the door. I am able to get a healthy, balanced breakfast or a tasty snack in a flash.
This year I will be posting more tips and tricks to keep you healthy, fit and fabulous.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Follow Friday

With September right around the corner I am looking for new ideas for my classroom.  It can be hard to teachers to meetup over the summer to discuss new ideas so... I have taken to the internet. Below you will find some awesome educators. Check out their blogs for more great  classroom ideas.



Sunday, July 23, 2017

Behavior Management Pros and Cons


With September just around the corner I want to share my experiences with different behavior management systems. I will explain shortly how I've used each system and some of Pros and Cons I found. Each class in different and sometimes a system that worked with one group of children does not meet  the needs of a different group. You have to pick and chose what works for you and what works for your class. I currently use a combination of Whole Brain Teaching and Class Dojo. I also use individual behavior plans as needed.  Enough set up... lets jump in to it

Behavior Management systems 
  • Clip Chart
  • Class Dojo
  • Whole Brain 

CLIP CHART     My First few years  of teaching I used a simple clip chart system. The children would start the day on ready to learn and depending on their choices throughout the day their clip would move up and down. I also gave small prizes or stickers out for students with excellent behavior at the end of the day.

PROS:  This method is great for students to visually see how their behavior throughout the day. It gives them feedback as to their choices and there is an immediate consequence for their actions (clip moving up or down). This system also helps to motivate students to make better choice in order earn a reward, prize or sicker.

CONS:  Personally, I found it difficult to be consistent using the clip chart especially when we weren't in the classroom. I would tell someone to move their clip down for fooling around in the hallway and then forget to actually have them move it once we got back to class.  I was also not recognizing positive behavior as much as I should have. That might have just been me that year (head shake)

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CLASS DOJO One of my class parents was also a teacher and she recommended I look into Class Dojo. It is an app that allows you to track student behavior in real time. Each child can be assigned an avatar and you can award or remove points based on student actions and behavior. 
                                                                            Image result for classdojo

PROS: The Avatar choices are super cute. My kids had fun picking out their character.  The students can CASH in their points for a reward coupon or they can combine points for a class reward like a pajama day (My personal favorite ). Through the app you can assign or remove points on the go. If you have your phone or ipad with you, you can even monitor behavior in the hall or during assemblies. No more forgetting to move clips when you are back to class.  The parents can also log in and review their own child's behavior points for the day.  There is also a social media aspect where you can post pictures or quickly communicate with parents. They just need to create a secured account.

CONS: I haven't found too many draw backs yet. You do have to have access to the internet either through a lap top, tablet or phone. You have to play with you settings to set up your class and select which behaviors or actions you are tracking. There is a slight earning curve with this, but there are excellent you-tube tutorials out there to help get you started.  There is also a question of having other children see the point values of their peers. This may or may not be an issue depending on the makeup of your class community and how you set up DOJO. 
I do not use the social media aspect of the app. I love communicating with parents but I prefer to do it through the school's secure email. I also did not feel comfortable positing pictures of my students or their individual work through the app. I know there are plenty of privacy settings and everything is secure, I know many teachers who use it but it just didn't work for me.

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 WHOLE BRAIN TEACHING is an interactive method of instruction. It incorporates repetitive gestures, movements, and words to help make learning multistory. Whole Brain Teaching also incorporates simple to follow class rules.  Students work together as a whole or in small groups to earn behavior points. When you catch the students doing something good  you verbally praise that student and the whole class celebrates with a 10 second "party" cheer. A point is given on the smiley face side. If you catch the students doing something negative the whole class  "groans" and a point is given to the frown side. You do not call out the individual student for the negative behavior, you just verbally describe what you saw or what rule has been broken.  No SHAMING here. If there are more positive points than negative points the class or group earns a reward. This could is usually something small like 3 extra minutes of recess, music or a video during snack time,  sticker or stamp... If the students earn more negative points a consequence is given. This is usually something equally small like 3 minutes off of recess or 3 minutes of silent snack. 
In Kinder the students benefit from short periods between rewards. I track points in the morning for a reward before lunch and in the afternoon for a reward at the end of the day. I keep a dry erase scorecard on my name badge so I can tally points earned vs points lost on the go. At the end of the day the score card is erased and the students start over the next day. 

PROS: The multi sensory approach is great for the little ones who need to move.  The rules are really simple.
        1. Follow Directions Quickly
        2. Raise a Quiet Hand
        3. Make Smart Choices
        4. Use an Inside Voice
        5. Make Your Teacher Happy
The students have to work together to earn the reward. You don't have to spend money buying trinkets for a prize box.  You can monitor behavior on the go without the use of technology. This system focuses more on positive behavior. Students are motivated to follow the rules and earn points because of the positive reinforcement of the 10 second "party".

CONS: With this system students are not individually rewarded beyond verbal praise; like wise there in no individual consequences for behavior unless there is a server infraction. If  you have a student with behavior or emotional issues you may need to use an individual behavior plan for that student. Sometimes habitual rule breakers will relay on the positive behavior of their peers to earn them points. The behavior of these students may also drag down the points of the rest of the class and it may not be fair to give a consequence to everyone because of the actions of a few.
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There you have it. Don't be afraid to change up your behavior system if it is not working. Just try and be consistent with whatever plan you choose. Each year is as unique as the students you share your room with. No two classroom communities are the same so take what you like from each behavior system and make it your own.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Learning Through Play

 


Hey there,
Life has been kinda crazy these past few months. We moved in to a new apartment and recently got married so I haven't had much time for blogging. Now I am back at it.


I picked up this awesome book for summer reading and it got me thinking about how I could incorporate more play into our Kinder routines.
  Image result for the importance of play book

 I saw how much my kiddos loved using Hot Wheels and toy cars during indoor recess. What if I could find a way to use them during our learning time. Then it hit me.... LETTER ROADS!!! I went home, hopped on the computer and whipped up these.
Now my kiddos can follow the roads to build muscle memory and practice forming letters. They think they are playing having fun racing their friends through the letters while they are actually learning. SNEAKY.


I am always looking for new ideas. How do you infuse play in your classroom?

***Don't forget to hop on over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store to grab this awesome Freebie


Friday, May 29, 2015

My May Bulletin Boards




Hey everyone. Today I am linking up with Amy over at Teaching is Sweet to showcase this month's bulletin boards.

This past month we've been busy exploring digraphs. I had the students make these cute flowers as a culminating craftivity.  Each student selected a digraph to focus on. Then they cut out the petals and assembled flower. You can grab your own copy  HERE!!!

We recently went to see a Curious George play at a local theater. The students loved seeing their favorite monkey in person. After the trip we made these cute monkey's to display our reviews.
Don't forget to stop on over at Teaching is Sweet to see what others have been up to this month.