Thursday, January 2, 2014

My New Love....Anchor Charts!!!!!

I have discovered the wonderful world of anchor charts! I am probably last on the boat for this...but WOW...just...WOW! I only have a few made...but wanted to show them off :) please comment and let me know how you use the in your classroom! I'm so excited!!!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tough Year...

Hello All (or the two of you who have hung in here with me)! LOL
I have been out of the loop for some time now...I didn't realize how long it had been until I finally logged back in to check on things! WOW! Time sure flies! I absolutely love blogging and vow to make it a priority (again). I hope everyone is having a good school year! Mine say the least...challenging! I have a very unique group of students this year. They are a very sweet group, but I have never had an entire group of students that were so comfortable with apathy and dishonesty. I know that sounds awful...but it is the truth. I am struggling with this fact. I would appreciate advice and/or tips on dealing with this. I am trying to stay positive and really do believe we (teachers) have the best job in the world. I would love to hear your stories and how you have dealt with similar situations.

Thanks for hanging in here with me!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Classroom Management Strategies 5-10

Hello All!
Another installment in my Classroom Management: 24 Strategies Every Teacher Needs to Know by David R. Adamson. Enjoy!

Strategy 5: Time Limits: Adamson says that time is our most important resource and I have to agree! My principle calls our school year "the mythical 180 days".  Between testing dates, interruptions, meetings, assemblies, field trips, and more testing it is difficult to fit teaching in there! Adamson suggests posting the day's schedule, announcing a clear time limit for each activity, using a timer so that you stay on task, and incorporating "wait time" are a few methods of setting good time limits. As many requirements as we are under pressure to complete...we do not have a moment to spare!

Strategy 6: Seating Arrangements: Adamson says always assign seating! Your seating arrangement should facilitate your movement around the classroom. It should allow for good proximity control as well. We need to be a presence to those students who feel like they are able to "fly under the radar"and remain unseen. He says there is not one perfect arrangement. You must use your judgement and room restrictions (size, capacity, etc.) to determine your set-up. No student should have his or her back to the front of the room and the teacher's area/desk should be tucked away in an accessible yet out of the way area.

Strategy 7: Manage Your Transitions: Always be prepared! Have your lessons ready to go before you begin. Use your attention signal to signal an upcoming change. Give thorough instructions/explanations of the expected task with time limits and an opportunity to ask questions before you begin the activity. That way you do not cut into the activity time by repeating information or having slow-starters. Give a 5 second warning before beginning the next activity. Adamson also says to take some time to settle after recess or a special activity before attempting to begin another activity. He suggests you do this in a location other than your classroom such as outside before you come back inside or lined up in the hall. This sets the classroom up as a place for quiet learning and not chaos. (I like that idea).

Strategy 8: Teach classroom rules and procedures: We all know this to be true! We must have clear expectations for how we expect our students to behave and how we expect certain tasks to get accomplished. He says we should stick to 5 or fewer classroom rules stated in positive terms (such as "keep our classroom clean" as opposed to "Don't throw trash on the floor".  Also, we should explicitly teach them (explain, model, prompt, and review).  Rumor has it that it takes at least a dozen (and maybe more) times of doing something before it becomes a habit. I tend to believe more. These directions need to be revisited after breaks in instruction (Christmas holidays, etc.) as well.

Strategy 9: Show That You Care: This section begins Adamson's portion on building positive relationships in your classroom. He feels that if you build a community of trust and is much less likely that a student will be disruptive or disrespectful. It makes sense to me! I have seen it at work in my classroom as well. I had a student last year that is THE STUDENT everyone warns you about wayyyy before you get him. I decided to perform an experiment. I found something immediately that the student did really well (he was extremely neat) and began commenting on that during the first week. I did not have one problem out of that student! Now...recess, bus duty, special areas...was a different story. He was his "normal" self in those areas...with the same reputation and expectations he came with. Go figure!

Strategy 10: Build Trust: I think this is extremely important! Sometimes we are the only "rock" that these students can count on. Sometimes there is no consistency to be found in their lives....from where they live, what they eat, what they are or are not allowed to do! We have to "say what we mean...and mean what we say". We have to follow through on the good and the bad. They need to know we are doing what we are doing for their sake. Like my dad always says...actions have consequences! Making exceptions just teaches that rules are made to be broken. (Dad's words) Part of this trust is being professional as well. We must not repeat confidential information or break the trust of a colleague because the info is incredibly juicy! We teach by example.

Let me know what you think....and what you do in your classrooms!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Another WONDERFUL Linky!

Another wonderful linky has come my way! It is sponsored by Castles and Cupcakes. Go check her out and join in this informative linky with us! It is all about our morning work and morning routines!

My daily routine begins when the students are dismissed from the library or cafeteria at 7:50 am. I try really hard to be at the door to greet them and welcome them to our room. I have a "bellringer"on their desks as they arrive. I try to make it something challenging but something they can do independently so that I may take attendance, attend to notes, get lunch count ready to deliver, and guide students who need extra attention. They are required to put their backpacks away, deliver homework to the appropriate turn-in location, sharpen pencils, and use the restroom. Once they complete those things...they know to begin working on the desk work. We take care of housekeeping and then (by about 8:30) we go over the bellringer together. We usually work on English afterward til about 9:15 am (which is time for our special classes). Lots of coffee...and I do mean lots...gets me through this first hour. My students are usually really well-behaved for this first hour because they quickly learn that I am not a morning person! LOL I can't wait to hear from everyone else!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Book Talk Linky :)


I'm linking up with Reading Toward the Stars for her Book Talk Thursday! I can't wait to hear about all the wonderful books people are reading! I've started reviewing a book already so this is perfect for me! Go check everyone's summer reads out!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Classroom Management: Strategies 1-4 I started reading this awesome book and I've decided to post by strategies. The first section is preventative management practices. So many problems can be avoided if we think ahead. I totally believe in this! I am not the best at dealing harshly with situations when they arise...I would much prefer to prevent the situation from occurring and thus I do not have to deal with an uncomfortable situation! :)

Strategy 1: Social Cues:  Social cues consist of stating your desired behavior through praise of someone who is doing that behavior. The premise is that other students desire our praise and will fall into line in order to get that praise. For example: a couple of students are chatting so you comment on how prepared to learn another student is (which gets the off-task student's attention). I try to do this as much as I can :)

Strategy 2: Attention Signals:  Adamson says that teachers should begin by moving to a central location in the room where they can be seen by all students. Choose a signal (such as a bell, gong, phrase, clap, etc.) that you can live with and that is portable. I chose the phrase "Spongebob"and had the kids follow with "Squarepants" one year and regretted it terribly! Next time...I will choose something I can deal with several times a day...every day! LOL  Adamson says it is very important to take the time to make eye contact with EVERY student before moving on. Do not settle for less! They will not take you seriously or believe what you say is important enough to stop what they are doing. At this point, it is appropriate to use a social cue to let students know what is accepted behavior.  Then, begin the lesson immediately! Nothing will hold their attention forever! :)

Strategy 3: Self-Starters:  I call these "bell-ringers"and totally believe in them! I always have something on their desks when they come in in the morning. They must be well-aware of your expected routine for entering the classroom and then know they are to get immediately started on their seat work.  Adamson suggests that these activities only take about 5-10 minutes to complete and they need to be on or a bit below level (or review) so that they can work independently of you to complete them. I prefer for them to take a bit longer because I have a terrible time getting anything done in 5-10 minutes...especially in the mornings!  Adamson says make sure you take this assignment up...but he suggests rarely grading it. They do need to be accountable for it however.

Strategy 4: Proximity Control:  This is simply making yourself available/visible during all times. As we all know...students will usually stop doing whatever it is they do not need to be doing if they think the teacher is nearby. It is very important (as a preventative) to make it known that you could be anytime! There should not be "blind spots" or "safe areas" for students to misbehave.

Well...these are the first 4 strategies! Let me know what you think and if you want to know more!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Classroom Management :)

Well...just about a week out of school and I'm feeling a bit antsy! Sad...but true! My desire to catch up on belated housework is waning fast! So...I have decided to catch up on some much overdue professional reading. I pulled a few books off my shelf and decided to hone my teaching skills :) I am going to start with Classroom Management: 24 Strategies Every Teacher Needs to Know by David R. Adamson.  I figure we can all use some refreshing classroom management pointers. This year I will be going from a self-contained 5th grade classroom to departmentalization where I will have to organize for 60+ students (as opposed to my 20-25). I need to re-think things. I will post by chapter or by revolutionary idea....whatever comes first!