Video segment about me, by the school district

Monday, May 26, 2014

Behavior Management System

Stacked trays for behavior management slips

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!  A co-teacher and very good friend of mine told me I should do some blog posts about organization.  Since this wonderful teacher got me into blogging and TPT in the first place, I really had to take her advice.  She always seems to know what's really hot and what's not in the teaching field.

Years ago, when I was taking my Master's degree classes, my study group was talking about behavior management.  I had read about a system with colors to let young children know how they behaved each day.   It was based on a stoplight system with green meaning "go", yellow meaning "caution", and red meaning "stop".   I liked it, but I felt that two of the colors were negative while only one was positive.  I added blue and also added descriptions in English and Spanish to every card.  I also designed a mini-poster with faces so that children could understand a little bit better what color they received for that day.

Behavior management mini-poster

I sent home a letter at the beginning of the school year, explaining the behavior system and how their child will receive a colored slip of paper with a description every day.  I print the behavior slips on colored paper and cut each page into 6 slips.  This really works for me.  It's fast, it's easy, the students understand it, and the parents do too.  I store them in stacked trays (pictured at the top of this post), which you can buy from Lakeshore Learning.  I love those trays because the colors match.  I'm really into matching.

Ok, so over the years I've tried many different ways to display the children's names and what color they're on at any given point during the day.  I've used a rack with the children's names and a blue, green, yellow, or red card.  That didn't work because sometimes children would move their card to a different color.  I also tried a system on the board with faces, but if I stacked the faces on top of each other it was too tall for the kids to reach, and if I had them side-to-side it took up too much of my board space.  Anyway, the method that works best for me is to use a cookie sheet and square tiles with magnets on the back of them.  I bought the square tiles from Michael's arts and crafts store, and I put their names on them using sticker paper.  In pre-k, I used student photos on the tiles.  I applied colored tape on the cookie sheet itself to indicate each behavior color section.  Students can move up and down depending on their behavior, and the cookie sheet is so convenient.  You can take it with you in the hallway, out to recess, and even on a field trip.   You don't have to hold it flat, either, because the magnets stay firmly on the sheet.

Cookie sheet and name tiles for behavior management
If you'd like to take a closer look at my Behavior Management System, I have it on TPT.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

On Mother's Lap

Book Cover of "On Mother's Lap"

Hi all!  I found this treasure, On Mother's Lap by Ann Herbert Scott, among my Mother's Day books and decided to use it this week.  You may ask why it's a treasure.  Well, I think it has a great lesson, that a mother's love is all-encompassing and there is always room on her lap.  This book is especially good for any little one in your classroom who has a new baby sister or brother.  We forget sometimes, as adults, that it can be difficult for youngsters to share.

I also like this book because you can have your kids rock "back and forth, back and forth," as you say the words in the story.  It's kind of funny, because I'm talking about different movements and motions in science right now.  So I added a new graphic organizer page to my Motion and Matter set that includes a rocking chair.  The kids really made the connection between science and reading.  If you're interested in looking at this science pack, here's the TPT link.  These graphic organizers are really wonderful to use as assessments for science.

Ok, so here are some freebies.  I use these pictures to teach the lesson and to discuss different types of movement:

I also used scarves to have my children simulate "around and around", "back and forth", "side to side", and "up and down."  Some of the songs that I used were "The Freeze" by Greg & Steve, "The Body Rock" by Greg & Steve, and "Spin and Stop" by Music Together.

Last, but not least, for comprehension I used this graphic organizer to see if the children could notice details by choosing which items Michael took with him on Mother's Lap:

I hope this post is helpful!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mother's Day Magic

Ok, I'm going to be honest.  I was out of school for the last two days at a teacher workshop.  I didn't even remember that Mother's Day was Sunday until about half an hour ago.  I nearly started pulling out my hair!  I love all of my students' moms, and I had to come up with a quick idea.  Since we've been working so much on writing lately, I thought "Why not use these Mother's Day cards that I created last year?"

I also really love this book, My Mommy Is Magic by Carl Norac.  The son in the book talks about all the ways in which his mom is amazing and magical, accomplishing feats that nobody else could.  She can chase monsters away after a bad dream, conjure a delicious cake out of thin air, etc.  It really captures the admiration and awe that children have for their mothers, and your students will absolutely love it.

For guided reading, I wanted to use this book:

When I was little, I sang the song "M-O-T-H-E-R" to my mother.  I did it when I was six years old, and I still remember all the words, and I'm almost 45 now!  So it really made an impression.  It's a great song for kids to learn about their mothers, because it's so true.  Here are the lyrics:

M Is for the Many things she gave me,
O Means only that she’s growing Old.
T Is for the Tears she shed to save me,
H Is for her Heart of purest gold.
E Is for her Eyes with love light shining,
R Means Right and Right she’ll always be.

I would love to hear what other mother-teacher's are doing for Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Writing Work Samples

Hi all!  I wanted to share with you some of my kids' writing samples.  I think these writing prompts are really working.  I can't believe that at the beginning of kindergarten it was a challenge just to get them to write one word!  Now look at what they're doing!

If you're interested in purchasing these, you can find them on my TPT store.

Have a wonderful Wednesday night!