Primary Chalkboard: classroom management
Showing posts with label classroom management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label classroom management. Show all posts

The Power of Do It Again

Hi friends! It's Haley from My Silly Firsties. I'm sitting at the Detroit airport after a fabulous weekend with my sweet sister. I flew up to surprise her for the Aaron Watson concert and some sister time! We had a BLAST! I am definitely excited to be home to my sweet husband, puppy, and my 19 little monsters that I missed today! 

Here's a picture of my sister and I! Please excuse the eyebrows...whoa, hahaha...

Anyway, I thought I would do a short little post about one of the most powerful tools I have used this year! If you try it, and give it time to work, I promise it will make a huge difference in the way your classroom runs! 

So a little background...our summer reading from my district was the book Teach Like a Champion. 

If we're being real here, I will tell you this book is NOT my style. I am not the kind of teacher that shoots out be honest, when I first started reading it, I felt like a drill seargent! BUT...implementing it wasn't optional, so I figured I would do my best to use it in my room. There are tons (49 to be exact) strategies to implement, but these are some of my favorites. I do feel like this book is geared towards older kiddos...especially middle school and high school. BUT the ones below...are applicable in absolutely any classroom. 

No Opt Out means a kiddo can't say "I don't know." They can ask for help...they can ask a friend. But ultimately, they should give the correct answer. The way I implement is a kiddo can say "Can I get some help?" and I call on another friend to answer. THEN (and this is super important) I go back to the original student and ask them to restate the correct answer. 

100% made me go "yeah right...come on..." when I read it. The expectation is that 100% of your students comply to your directive. To be honest, this year, I have a sweet little friend on a BIP and sometimes he just does not comply, hhahah. But he is a special circumstance, and my kiddos KNOW they all must "do it right or do it again." 

What To Do is giving very specific and understandable instructions. 
"Class, take out a pencil and your math notebook. Then put your head down and sit at a level 0." It tells them EXACTLY what to do and HOW to do it. 

Format Matters is SOO important. My sweet friend Christina Decarbo is the QUEEN of oral language, so I am so not the go to for this! But, I have tried really hard to have my students answer my questions in complete sentences. The right answer is great...but the right answer is a complete sentence is better! on to "Do it Again." Like I said, the expectation is 100% compliance. SOO...if we are walking down the hall, and 2 sweet friends start jumping over the white squares becaause they are lava...they do it again. Sometimes the whole class does it, but usually the few students who need the extra practice do it again. 

At the beginning of the year, I believe you should explicitly teach and practice routines over and so many times you want to punch something. But that is the way to ensure our little guys know exactly what is expected of them. If they don't do it right, I don't take away a point or anything like that...the consequence is "do it again and do it better." If they don't do it better, they do it again. Here are some times I implement it a LOT because it's times that I need their focus and attention so we can transition smoothly. 

I believe Do It Again works for several reasons. I truly believe that consequencces should be as natural as possible. If you break something, you have to fix it. If you hurt someone, you write an apology note. For things like walking down the hallway silently, it's hard to come up with something "natural," but I think "do it again" is pretty close! 

I present it like "oh...I think we forgot how to walk. Can we do it again so our bodies get even better at it?" It's all about muscle memory and practicing the RIGHT way over and over. 

I wanted to share one thing that has worked REALLY well this year. Each time we transition, we have a very specific way of doing it. 

I call out each step, and we ALL do it together. If we don't, we do it again. :) 

I hate talking about really hate it. I try very, very hard to teach my kiddos WHY I ask them to do things and show them the correct way so I don't have to do it very often. But when I do, I always try to give consequences that aren't humiliating or ruin their entire day. I truly believe that "do it again" is the most powerful and EASIEST consequence I have ever used in my class! :) 

I'm curious if any of you have read Teach Like a Champion!? Comment with your favorite strategy if you have!  

Social Skills and Classroom Expectations

Hi all!  It's Emma from Clever Classroom

Are you looking for quality books and resources to help model desired behaviors as you start a new school year? 

Social Skills book list and Classroom Expectations resources

I have previewed and selected 30 books to help your students learn a range of social skills. 

Each book contains a message that you can turn into explicit instruction within your classroom on a daily basis. 

To help you teach explicit social skills and expectations, I move on to using our posters.  I laminate and display one copy and bind another. 

Social Skills book list and Classroom Expectations resources

Social Skills book list and Classroom Expectations resources

Social Skills book list and Classroom Expectations resources

I use these posters to focus on what I expect of students. We break each skill down using our social skills flippy books.  Students notice when others are doing the right thing and congratulate each other. The posters are ideal for introducing and revisiting expected behaviours. 

Having the books organized in one area, will make it easier for you to grab for them, when needed. 

Click through to see each book listed in this collection. 

Social Skills book list and Classroom Expectations resources

MVP - Most Valuable Partnership

Hi, friends! It's Blair from One Lesson at a Time, here with an easy little strategy I use to make the most of student partnerships!

I think building a strong classroom community is just about the most important thing you can invest your time in during the school year. Obviously, the ability to work well with others is not only a critical skill in the classroom, but in life. I use TONS of grouping and partnership strategies to help my students maximize their learning potential. 

I think partner work is particularly powerful because each student has an equal opportunity to contribute to the team. Everybody brings certain skills and strengths to the table, and I love seeing students working together in ways that complement one another. 

Here's my TOTALLY blog-worthy partner work display. I KNOW. Contain yourselves. It's PRETTY FANCY. 


I write each student's name on a piece of colored card stock and slap it on a business card magnet. (Side note: If you have not yet discovered the beauty of business card magnets, allow me to introduce you to your new best friend. They are the jam.)

I love using the business card magnets because it allows me to easily change up partnerships often. Knowing how often to change 'em up is probably a whole different blog post in and of itself, but I like to give students opportunities to work with different partners as much as possible. Again, life skills and all that. 

At the top of that BEAUTIFUL picture (again, I apologize for how stunningly amazing my half-erased, crooked lettering is - I know it must be pretty intimidating to try to recreate such a fab-o setup), you can see I have a little spot for "Today's MVP". 

In this case, MVP stands for "Most Valuable Partnership". Each day, I am on the lookout for two students who really demonstrate WHY collaborative work can be so powerful. I am looking for more than just the students who are quietly working, behaving, etc. I am looking for partners who contribute equally, listen intently, and push each other to achieve at a higher level than each individual could reach on his or her own. 

Being the MVP means....

• Speaking respectfully
• Listening critically
• Sharing work equally
• Staying on task
• Being responsible to one another
• Valuing each other's perspective

I LOVE this system for a bunch of different reasons. For one thing, it is so, so easy on my end. It's a great way to recognize and reward students in a meaningful way. It encourages teamwork and allows students to share their success with one another. And it's an easy way to recognize each student in due time. I've found that it is very motivating for ALL my students...even the ones who may not always *love* working with a partner. I've seen students who normally butt heads really making an effort to work well together because they are more tuned in to what the expectations are. 

Some years, all I did was move the MVP magnets into the "special" spot on the board. For some groups, that was all the recognition they needed. For other classes, I printed out some simple MVP awards to distribute each day. 

If you want to download the awards to use with your own students, you can grab them for free by clicking {HERE}. I've included several different versions in both color and black and white because making choices is not my strong suit. :D 

For more ideas, here's where you can find me:

Thanks so much for stopping by today! 

Blair Turner

Getting a Handle on Dismissal

Hi friends! It's Haley from My Silly Firsties. I am knee deep in preparation for the little ones coming back, but I wanted to stop by and give some tips on dismissal!! 

This is SO important, and I encourage you to figure out EXACTLY how you want them to get ready to go home. If you know what you want, it will be much easier to explain it to them! :) Then practice over and over! When they can do it perfectly, practice until they can get faster! :) 

There are so many great ways to show where/how your kiddos go home. This is especially important during the first few weeks of school! I love having this up all year long in case a substitute comes in or someone else needs to dismiss my kids!

Fun in First Clip Chart
Easy Magnetic Dismissal Chart
A Modern Teacher Transportation Tags

I try to make sure we always end of our day on a high note! We usually do a fun video from Go Noodle or The Learning Station! I also LOVE this good-bye poem! I have done it for several years and the kiddos LOVE it!!

Go Noodle
The Learning Station
Goodbye Poem

Exit tickets are a fabulous way to make the most out of dismissal time. Your kiddos will choose 1 thing that they learned, were surprised by, etc. These are 3 adorable ways to display exit tickets!

Teacher Treasury What Stuck With You 
Teach a Roo- Ticket Out the Door
Texas Teaching Fanatic Exit Tweets

I created an Editable product to show how my kiddos go home and also backpack tags to keep them safe! :) Click the picture to check it out!

Meet the Teacher-What You Should Know

Hi, friends! It's Laura from Peace, Love, and First Grade!

We've been back in school for two weeks, and I must tell you, I'm spent!

The beginning of the school year brings with it SO MUCH TO DO! 

I thought I'd try to help save you some time and stress by offering up what I've learned from 25 years of Meet the Teacher!

Let's get started!

1) Get your room in some kind of order so you aren't stressed about its appearance.

2) Prepare and print parent forms and info, whatever you plan to give to parents.

3) If you give your students B2S bags, prepare those, too.

4) Prepare and set up easy to use stations for parents to work through. There's no need to give directions 20+ times.

5) Give yourself a break and get a mani/pedi or do something else that makes you feel great!

6) Choose an outfit that makes you feel good, too!

7) Greet parents and students at the door. Offer a handshake to parents AND if your students are shorter than you, bend or squat to greet them. Tell the students how excited you are to spend the year with them. Tell parents you are looking forward to working with their children and with them.

8) Direct parents to the parent stations and suggest students explore their room. 

9) Now, this is super important! 
Make sure you find out the following (especially for the first day):

 *Tranportation: am and pm
Get specific bus numbers or day care names.  You need to know this info before parents leave your room. Most schools have a street list of buses.

One of my students rides the bus home every day except Friday. 
On Friday, his grandparents fetch him. This is something I need to know.

*Meals: How will the child eat? Will he bring a box or purchase a tray from the cafeteria? It is imperative to find out this info before Day 1.

Some students may bring their lunches most days, but get a tray on pizza day or soup and sandwich day. I suggest a check in system in your classroom for children to use each day indicating their lunch preferences. 

*Allergies: Does the child have an allergy? If so, is there a plan in place? EpiPen, etc.
Now, I have a student whose younger brother has a peanut allergy, so Mom doesn't allow my student to eat peanuts. This is not life threatening to my student. It is not HIS allergy. If someone has a peanut near him, I won't panic. However, a few years ago, one of my students had a red ant allergy with an EpiPen in the office. THAT was an allergy to watch. 

*Medical Issues: Asthma, Epilepsy, Diabetes, etc. What's the plan and what are your responsibilities? Does the child take medication at school?

I've had students with all of these diseases. You have to know the plan here. 
Does the diabetic have an insulin pump? Can she check herself? What are you required to do? 
A few years ago, I had a diabetic in my class. She was able to check herself and wore an insulin pump. I texted Mom after she checked, and Mom let me know what numbers to punch into the pump (how much insulin to deliver). She also had an emergency kit on hand if her count was off. 

**If you have a student with a life threatening disease, it is imperative you meet with the parents or a medical professional to learn as much as you can about the disease, including your responsibilities.**

*Behavior Disorders: ADHD, ODD, OCD, etc. What's the plan? Does the child take medication? If so, at home or at school?

Oh, behavior! Some students will come to you with a behavior plan in place. Others will require a behavior plan. Beginning a behavior plan is tedious on educators, but in some cases, absolutely necessary. Learn the laws in your state. DO NOT tell a parent you think his child has ADHD. Find out how your school district handles these issues and move forward from there.

I keep a fidget bag for ADHD students who need something in their hands during whole group lessons-Wikki Stix, connecting cubes, pipe cleaners (I still call them that), etc. Fidget bags really work to help students focus and remain calm.

Are there any adults who ARE NOT allowed access to your student? This one can be tricky, but today there are many divorced families with court orders, and we must know and honor those orders. Find out if you have a case like this. Usually, parents will let you know, but not always. Check those cumulative folders.

*Siblings at School: Does your student have siblings at your school? 
Sometimes you may need to send home info/homework/etc with siblings, or if your student checks out early one day, you may want to let the siblings know. Especially younger siblings who may panic if they don't see their older brothers/sisters.

*Religious Preferences:
Now, I'm going to say this, and it may not be PC, but... it's truly up to the parents to let you know if they have religious objections. Most parents will make you aware. I've taught many students whose families were Jehovah's Witnesses. They were all very up front with me, and I appreciate that so much! I don't want to offend any family, but I also need to be aware of religious preferences so I don't offend. 

*Parent Objections:
Do you plan any activities in your classroom of which parents may object? Here are a few examples.

One of my students is not allowed to have temporary tattoos. So, when cheerleaders start selling promo items, this child doesn't need to purchase paw print tattoos. I need to know this. Get my point? 

I've taught students whose parents didn't want them to go sock-footed. 
Just be proactive. Let parents know your intentions before beginning an activity that may cause objections.

Whew! That's a lot of info, and I'm sure I left off something!
But... if you're still around, here's a freebie for you to use at MTT.

If you need resources to help you with Meet the Teacher, 
I offer 33 different themed Meet the Teacher packs in my TpT store. 
Click the pic to take you there.

Executive Brain Function in the Primary Classroom

Friends~Executive Brain Function!  I know, I totally thought what in the world is that when I heard it the first time too!  But, as teachers we are masters of this and don't know it.  

Let's back up a bit. Many of you don't know that last school year,  I made a MAJOR change in my career and moved to a brand-new Brain Based charter school Bradford Preparatory School! (No building in place=pulling a wagon to school each day until our mobile units were placed on site after a month of school!)  Also, moved to first grade after 8 years in 2nd grade.  So a new school and new grade and a totally new out look on education! 

It was a CRAZY school year but it turned out to be the very best thing I have ever done!!!

Back to EF!  Once the school year ended,  I was asked to compile some information about Executive Function and what a Brain Based classroom looks like. I have spent my summer reading and meeting with one of the founder's of the school.  What did I discover?  I have been tapping into EF in my classroom for years and never knew it.  I just knew that certain things worked. 

Below is a great introduction video of what Executive Function is and how it relates to our primary classrooms.  
I love how this video talks about EF being like an air traffic controller in the brain.  When I watched this,  I totally began to have a different outlook on how students function in the classroom and how I should react to their behaviors.  

It is easy to see students that are struggling with behavior as making that "CHOICE" but truly much of it is about their delay in brain development. 

That is true for students struggling with learning concepts or staying organized.  Things that would drive me crazy like messy desks or forgetfulness,  I am finding are just delays in their EF development.  

So, exactly what is Executive Function? 
In a nutshell, EF is 
~Being able to focus, hold, and work with information in mind, filter distractions, and switch gears 
Not an easy task for many learners!

 How does it relate to our classrooms? 
 I am going to bullet the functions for you and also show how you are already helping to support EF in your classroom! 
~Goal Setting
~Planning & Strategizing
~Sequencing and Ordering
~Task Initiation
~Working Memory
~Time Management
~Task Persistence
~Emotional Regulation
Goal Setting: Hello??? Our Data Binders and Behavior Plans
Planning and Strategizing: Student Conferences Classroom Jobs and Morning Meeting
Sequencing and Ordering: Music/Chants, Visual Cards and Posters, Classroom Schedules, and Color Coded Groups
Task Initiation: Must Do Activities and Daily 5 Choice
Working Memory: Chants/Songs, Visuals, and Review
Time Management: Visuals, Timers, Posted Times, and a Predictable Schedule
Task Persistence: Routines and Class Pledges
Emotional Regulation: Behavior Expectations, Whole Brain Rules, Cool Down Areas, Character Ed, Brain Breaks and Fidgets

Below are some of the resources that I have been reading and watching to help you on your journey.  
I am totally not an expert but I am loving the new light EF is shining on me as a teacher. 


I sure hope this post gets you thinking about your students and how you are already doing AWESOME things in your classroom to support their Brain Development.  I also hope this post sparks your interest a bit and drives you to research ways that you can make your EF in your classroom even better.  (That is where I am at right now!) 

Classroom Management Ideas

Hi everyone,

I'm sharing a few classroom management tips today!

My favorite apps for classroom management are Too Noisy, Classroom Timer, and Classroom Team Selector. 
You can read all about them, along with a few others HERE.

I use a mystery walker and pick me sticks in my class and these work wonders!
You can read all about them HERE

mystery walker

My "Awesome Buttons" were a big hit in my class last year and I plan to use them again this year. You can read all about them HERE. Don't forget to grab them for FREE :)

My brain break cards have made a HUGE difference in my classroom. They are quick and very effective for helping kids get their wiggles out.

brain breaks
You can grab my brain break cards in my TPT store,
or you can get some in my Back To School pack.

You can also read all about brain breaks in this BLOG POST.

brain breaks

Finally, I will be using these transition cards and attention grabber cards with my new group of firsties. I have them all printed and laminated and I can't wait to take them with me to school in a couple of weeks!

transition cards

attention grabbers

brain breaks

I hope some of these ideas will help you with your classroom management.
Have a great school year,