Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Positive Behavior Management (Freebie)

Over the years, I've become pretty comfortable with classroom management. I say that, but I also believe that there is always room for improvement. Every group of students is different and something different challenges me every year. This year, it is the listening (or should I say lack of). Nice kids...not a lot of listening so far. It's a work in progress.

I do not use a clip system, a stop light or a pretty behavior chart. Lots of my favorite teachers use them. It's just not for me. I tried it during one of my first years in 1st grade. I felt like it drew attention to the children displaying negative behaviors (which some of them seem to enjoy). Goodbye pretty clothes pin chart.

My rules are simple. My expectations are clear. This year, I decided to add a positive behavior support system. I found the most adorable set of awards from Teacher to the Core on Tpt this summer.

I copied the awards that I wanted to use from the pack on different colored color copy paper.  
I put them in a medium sized index card file box.

When I give a student one of the awards, I take their picture with the award and add it to a book that we keep in the classroom called Check  Us Out. By the end of the year, the pages will be full of pictures of our students with their awards for good behavior/effort/problem solving.   I invite the students to read the book whenever they are finished with their work or have free time.  I also invite the parents to stop by and read the book when they visit the building.

Along the same lines, I also have a book called Our Best Work.  When I notice that a student works super hard on their work (and I'm super picky) and it looks like their very best work, I take their picture with it and put them in Our Best Work book.  My students and parents are invited to read this book as well.

If you'd like to download a copy of the covers I made and make your own books you can click on the image below.

Enjoy your day!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Vroom! Vroom! (Number Line Racecar Freebie)

Oh Friday, how I love you! I'm a believer in the full moon teacher theory. Full moon = strange behavior in the classroom. This week was jam packed with way too many school meetings, way too much assessment (which means that I spent time in the hallway listening to my students undo the routines that we've been working so hard to build) and both my husband and my son had to visit the ER this week. Is it Saturday yet?

We started a new math program this year. Well, I have been in my current district for 14 years and we have started at least 5 math programs in that time. Now, we have a real program that we are really excited about...Everyday Math.

One of the daily routines in our new program for first grade is to count the days of school. I made a racecar to put on my classroom number line, so we could "race" from day to day. I printed it on cardstock, laminated it and cut out the middle to make a "window frame" for the number of days we've had in school so far.

If you'd like your own racecar number line frame, you can click on the image below to download the document. I included a few different color choices.

Vroom!  Vroom!  


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fall Themed Classroom Activities

Fall is by far my favorite time of the year! My own kids are going to decorate the house for fall this afternoon while I work on some school stuff. I'm going to try really hard not to move the decorations to the places where I think they should go. Ha!

I have several fall themed things in my Tpt store and my Teachers Notebook shop. If you're interested in checking them out, you can check them out by clicking on the links to one of my stores on the sidebar or you can click on the images below.

Fall Math Work Stations

Fall Math Journal Prompts 
(I have a winter and spring set as well.)

Fall How to Writing 

Fall Themed Writing Stationary

After I go to my son's soccer game tonight and IF I ever finish this bin full of school work that I brought home...I am going to prepare a few of the posts from my "list" that will be ready to post later this week.  Slowly...I will get back into the swing of things.  These first few weeks of school were busy enough to make me BONKERS.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Shocking Truth

In early August, I received a request from the Dixon Ticonderoga Company to do a product review. I immediately agreed to try out some of their products, because I LOVE Ticonderoga pencils! I'm a huge snob when it comes to my pencils. I only like Ticonderoga pencils. They write the best. They sharpen the best. They last longer than other pencils. They remind me of the good old days when the nuns handed out 2 pencils to each of us - traditional. That's how I like my pencils - only Ticonderoga.

 I was surprised that the Dixon Ticonderoga Company not only sent me their products, but a variety of competitor products to try out as well.

 Here is what I found... Pencils - I will confess that I did not test the competitor pencils because I'm a Ticonderoga snob. I already know which pencils are the best. I even tell customers (strangers) at the store in the school supply aisle that they should put their "other" pencils back because Ticonderoga pencils are the BEST.

 Watercolor Paints - I tried out the Prang (made by Dixon Ticonderoga Co.) watercolers and the Crayola Washable Watercolors. The Prang watercolors produced more vivid colors on paper and the case is more durable. The Crayola watercolors were "washable". Perhaps the Prang watercolors are as well, but the case does not say "washable" and I didn't want to try it.

Colored Pencils - I tried out Prang Large Triangular Colored Pencils and the Cra-Z-Art Colored Pencils. Both come presharpened, but I loved that the Prang colored pencils are large and triangular shaped. I think they remind me of the big crayons we used to use in Kindergarten. The fact that they don't roll away on the desk is just an added bonus. The Prang colored pencils definitely write more smoothly (is that word). The box also includes a sharpener. There is about a $3.00 price difference per box - the Prang pencils are more expensive (not so teacher budget friendly).

On August 13th, I started an experiment with one of the Prang markers and a Crayola marker.  Dixon Ticonderoga sent me a brand new box of both.  I decided to leave the caps off the markers to see how long it took each to dry out.  You know how that happens in your classroom in just a few hours - even though you've modeling, reviewed and warned the kids to PUT THE CAPS BACK ON - annoying.

So, I left the caps off and started my little experiment.   

I was quite surprised that by August 15 (2 days later) both markers were still going strong.  On day 5 of my experiment, I left the country on an 8 day cruise with my family.  I was shocked when I returned on August 25th to find that both markers still worked and worked well!  I'm even more shocked to report to you that I tested both markers one last time this morning and they both still work.  The Prang marker works just like it did on the first day.  The Crayola is starting to fade a little bit.  Folks - it has been exactly one month that those two markers have been uncapped in an uncovered bin on my kitchen counter and THEY STILL WORK!!!!  Simply amazing...and shocking.

I have a list of about 28 things I want to blog about, but I'm finishing my 2nd week of school today and I'm still in survival mode.  My husband bought me a new computer for our anniversary (yep, he's 12 kinds of awesome)...so I'm busy transferring data too.  I'll be back in action soon.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Currently September - Ahhhhh!!

Is it really September already?
Oy...It's time for Currently, thanks to Farley from Oh Boy 4th Grade!

Here is what is happening currently in my life.

I can't tell if my own children are excited for school to start or just excited about organizing all the supplies they are taking tomorrow! 

Sunny, 75 and breezy enough to have the top on my Jeep down and the windows at home open...a gift for my last official day of summer for sure!

I've been cleaning, organizing and throwing things away around the house all day...and now I feel like I should try to squeeze in one more summer nap.  I did take the dogs on a 2.5 mile walk this morning.

Plan for the year... ignore things I can not control, avoid people who drag me down, focus on what I know is right and good.

Between school and soccer, baseball, dance, piano and church activities...I really need to keep exercising.  It's not easy to find time, but it's good for me, right?

In September, my goal is to run/walk 15 miles per week.  I think I can, I think I can.  I also want to take my own kids to the apple orchard.  I LOVE going to the apple orchard with my family every fall.  And...I need to lose 2lbs before October - why 2?  Well, I need to lose more than that, but I'm aiming for 2 so I'm not disappointed on October 1.

Carpe Diem!  I'm off to take a 20 minute nap.  I am seriously going to suffer without my nap time.  Tomorrow is my first day with students.  Fingers crossed for a good day!