Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sailing Into Summer Blog Hop!

I'm excited to participate in a summer-themed blog hop hosted by The Language Arts Classroom and Julie Faulkner! Summer is fast approaching and if you're nuts like me, you're already looking for new ideas for next year. Check out my quick tips below and don't forget to visit all the other blogs at the end of this post!

1 final exam tip/idea
I teach second grade so we don't administer the big state tests to our kids but they do participate in diagnostic testing. I find it helps my kids out if I prepare the parents by sending home a little parent info pack. The gist of it is to notify them of testing, tell them ways they can prep their child, and to give parents the opportunity to write an encouraging note to their child which you can give them before their test. Click {HERE} to get my Testing Info for Parents FREEBIE.  

1 (classroom) thing you want to do again next yearI recently blogged about Class Compliments. This is a behavior system I use in my room and plan on using every year! It's simple to implement and easy to maintain. Best of all, the kids love it! Click the picture for a FREEBIE!

1 (classroom) thing you want to change next year
I plan to reboot how I introduce and manage my library. It needs a makeover!  I always say to non-teachers that they'd be surprised how quickly sixteen eight-year-olds can take over! Your classroom library is no exception to this rule. Without a fool proof plan you're at risk of chaos, book boredom, or probably BOTH. I'm obsessed with this post about introducing your library (by The Thinker Builder). He has it dowwwwn.
1 gift idea for students 
For my kids last year, I bought cute, mini journals at Michaels. I also gifted them each a mechanical pencil with a flag attached. The flag spelled their name vertically and each letter was a different adjective to describe them. I I was inspired by the below photo that I found on Pinterest (of course). The kids loved this gift because it was personal! I hope it kept them writing over the summer too. This year, to better ensure they don't get writers block, I'll include writing prompts to keep them inspired.
They were similar to these! (by Adventures of a Student Teacher)

Hold on! Summer is coming!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Class Compliments & FREEBIE

The school year is winding down but for me it doesn't feel that way because I will have to return from maternity leave for the last few weeks of school (If you read this blog you've heard me whine about this 100 times already!). It almost feels like I'm starting the school year over! Yiiiiikes☺ I've been thinking a bit about behavior management when it comes to the last days of the school year so, I wanted to share a behavior system I use with my students that tracks their behavior everywhere in the school including your classroom! A veteran teacher told me about it my first year teaching and I've altered it a bit to what works for me.

The system is Class Compliments and the way it works is simple. I tell my kids that anytime an adult at school compliments our class in the hallway, the lunchroom, the playground, etc. we get a tally. If an administrator gives us a compliment, we get two tallies! They loooove this. When we get 25 tallies we get a party! They get to vote if they want pizza, ice cream, doughnuts, and so on. You can reward them however you see fit. You can use tallies, puzzle pieces, marbles, or this freebie I created to keep track of your compliments. Click on either image to get the freebie!

I plan on printing it in color, laminating it, and using Velcro stickers to tack on the flags as kids earn compliments. I might even make it poster size!  

I also plan on adjusting this system for the last 15 days of school. For example, if the kids get 5 compliments by the second to last day of school, I'll bring cupcakes for breakfast the last day! 

The cool thing about this tool is that it can be adjusted to meet your class's needs. If you have an exceptionally well-behaved class that always walks in a perfect line, behaves well at specials, and rarely makes mistakes in the hallway (everyone is jealous) then maybe you tell your kids they have to get the whole 25 compliments. If you have a more challenging class, perhaps you make the goal smaller at first and build up. My first year using this, I had a very well-behaved group.  It took about 4 months to get all 25 compliments just to give you an idea for when you're deciding how many compliments to expect from your class.

I made sure to clue in administration that my class was working on receiving compliments. This way they're more likely to give them to the kids if they're deserving of them. The kids go nuts when they see two tallies added to their compliment chart at once!

The other cool thing about this system is that it can be used to your advantage in your own room and not just the rest of the school grounds. My kids this year had a really hard time being respectful when an adult would come in our room to speak with me. I told them if they shaped up they could receive a compliment from that adult right there in our own room.

I hope this freebie helps you all survive the last few days of school and the school years to come!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Liebster Award - Discover New Blogs!

Thank you to Amy at My Bright Bunch for nominating me for the Liebster Award!  I'll admit I wasn't too sure what the Liebster Award was but thanks to a little blog hopping I understand, and I am very grateful for the nod!  Be sure to check out the bloggers I nominated at the end of this post.
1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
I started blogging in January of this year. I've always enjoyed writing and I love teaching so a teacher blog is the perfect solution! This is a much needed outlet for me.

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?
I'm new to the blogging world and fairly new to the teaching world so I'm just grateful to be able to share my experiences and have others lend an ear or an idea.

 3. Is there something you learned late in your blogging journey you wished you knew before?
I'm learning new things every day but a big one was make sure you find the original source of all photos you post that aren't yours so you can give credit where it's due.

 4. What is your favorite pastime other than blogging?
I have two kids so I'm usually feeding or putting to bed a tiny human! I love being a mom and spending time with my fam. I also really like to bake, read (especially series books), I love design, and anything Halloween. 

5. How many hours a week do you dedicate to your blog/TPT?
It fluctuates but around 10-30. I sneak in time during naps or stay up super late. 

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy most?
I love teaching blogs and I get caught up on various home design blogs, but I have to admit I read daily and have for YEARS! 

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from? 
 My love for teaching and learning.

8. Which post that you've written are you most proud of?
I felt really good writing 20 Tidbits From a Career Change Teacher. It was cool to reflect on my journey to the classroom.

9. Is there a post you have been planning to do but have been postponing it for a while now?
I'm on maternity leave so I have big expectations for my blog once I return to the classroom!

 10. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?
The community aspect is very alluring. You can meet a lot of like-minded people through blogging. I love collaborating and talking to other teachers in real life and on the internet!

11. Which idea from a blog would you like to try yourself?
I am obsessed with Mentor Sentences. I read about them on Ideas by Jivey and  decided to do some research. I feel like they are going to make a huge impact on my students' writing!  I can't wait to use the idea in my classroom.

I nominate these awesome bloggers for the Liebster Award:

Markers and Mascara
First Grade Made

The Rules to Receiving this Award are:

-Link back to the blog that nominated you
-Answer the 11 questions posted by the nominator
-Nominate 5-11 people (blogs with followers less than 200) and link to them in your post
-Contact the nominees and let them know they have been nominated