Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Twin Tuesday: Classroom Management at the Beginning of the Year

Twin Tuesday ya'll!! And even though my twin wasn't at school today (don't worry, she kept me sane through phone conversations!!) we are ready to post!!

This week we decided that we would talk about classroom management at the BEGINNING of the year. Read below to find out what classroom management in my kinder room looks like! Then stop by my BFF's blog to see how she rocks it in first!!

So this year one of my goals and focuses was on classroom management. I came into the year a few weeks late last year so I missed the most CRUCIAL time to teach my students classroom management! This year was not about to be the same! When I sat down and planned my year, I made sure to dedicate the first few weeks (especially week one and two) to PBIS bootcamp!! I wanted to drill the classroom/school expectations and positive behavior into my adorable little rays routine!

To say I am happy with the turnout is an understatement!!!!!! Let me explain how I taught my students the expectations and my kids made classroom management seem like such an easy task!! The first two days of school, the only items on my agenda were practicing reciting names and transitions (well, and surviving!). We practiced standing up, pushing in our chairs, and going to the carpet (vice-versa) over and over. We walked the halls of the schools in a quiet line. To teach my students how to line up and walk in the halls, I first gave them their line order. It is SO much easier to have the students line up order and saves so many headaches from hearing "I was first!" Not to mention it reduces the pushing/shoving that can happen. My kids feel so mature and responsible knowing their spots in line. We put a bubble in our mouth to keep our voices from escaping us, put our hands at our sides/in our pockets/behind our backs, and my favorite part: we get our MARSHMALLOW toes ready!! Yes, you read right!! I told my kiddos that it is so important to have marshmallow toes because it means that we are so quiet, we will bring smiles to everyone's faces! My kid's LOVE it! My kids know how our classroom works. They understand when to be silly, when to focus, how to behave when other people enter our room, and most importantly, they know how AMAZING they can be.

My students practiced sharing, working together, and transitioning on repeat for the first few weeks. I do not regret a second I spent practicing this with my little rays because they work SO well together. We started practicing and rotating some reading workshops and my kids blew me away! They worked diligently on their stations, transitioned exceptionally well, and impressed me with their ability to work so well together! I have watched them work really hard to help each other and I truly think it is because we worked our little tails off to be respectful, responsible, and safe in our daily routine. We use blue tickets as a reward system at our school. Students who are working hard, showing classroom expectations, and being a friend receive a blue ticket. Once they earn 25 tickets, they get a necklace and a foot charm. Each 25 they get, they earn more feet. Last year it took months for my kids to get necklaces. This year, I had about 12 kids get necklaces the first time they were given out. I promise positive reinforcement is key in classroom management. As soon as I saw a student who was not doing what they should, I would praise a student I saw doing the right thing. The other student immediately corrected their behavior. Since the third week of school, I rarely have to redirect my kids. If I do, once is enough!!

The differences I see in my class this year compared to last differ IMMENSELY, especially when looking at classroom management. Last year, my students had a hard time during specials classes and with transitions. This year, my students have been able to transition so well that they tied for having the best behavior during their prep classes (which earned us a trophy!) AND they won the shelf elf from the library for being the QUIETEST CLASS IN THE WHOLE SCHOOL. Yep, reread that. The WHOLE school. Did I mention I teach kindergarten??? They also have earned almost 30 compasses, a reward given from another teacher for seeing them show expectations in the hallway! My kids impress me on a daily basis. I credit all of our success on the PBIS bootcamp and their desire to learn and grow. I think my students were able to fully grasp what they are expected to do and more importantly, know that I believe that they are capable of it.

Thanks for reading!! What do you do for classroom management in the beginning of the year?? Leave a comment below!! AND Make sure to check out what classroom management in the beginning of the year looks like in first grade with Beginnings With Baer!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, GO, she is AH-MAZING!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Twin Tuesday!

So after such a long hiatus from blogging, one of my teaching besties and I decided we needed a schedule and we needed something that would be 'our thing' to do each week. Accountability is SO important.

We brainstormed a few ideas and finally came up with an awesome idea: TWIN TUESDAY!

The whole twin idea came from the fact that Beginnings with Baer and I are actually twins. I mean, minus a few years, we are identical! Our parents promise us over and over that we are not actually twins, but the similarities don't lie, folks!!!! We have so much in common and the fact that she is my mentor only adds fire to the amazing bond we share!! Finding someone who understands your job, shares your beliefs, and does nothing but build you up can be an extremely hard thing to find. Luckily, I found it my first year!!! I can't even begin to explain how helpful, inspiring, and grateful I am to have been so fortunate :) Not only are we both teachers, but we both have the same humor, deeply rooted faith, energy, and motivation. Having someone I can text at any hour of the day to give me a boost

Enough about us!!! So Twin Tuesday, what is it??? The whole idea behind this is that we will choose a topic (ie: math workshop, literacy stations, writing samples, science, etc) and make it our Tuesday focus. We will share our lessons, activities, and glimpses into our classroom!! We will then write about it and get the viewpoint from a kindergarten class versus a first grade class. Being able to compare and contrast the skills, successes, and struggles of two different grade levels working on the same topic would serve as an amazing reflection. We are also excited to be able to share how things worked and give each other ideas on what worked best for us and what we would change.

Be sure to check out Nicole's blog at Beginnings with Baer because she ROCKS!!

We are super excited to start this Twin Tuesday blogging and would LOVE any feedback and suggestions!!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Motivational Monday

Happy Monday!! Before you ask why the weekend ended so quickly, ask yourself if there is a better job than teaching. Is there really anything that beats greeting 20 adorable and smiley kiddos who are eager to learn, play, and grow?? Is there anything that could be better than being the foundation of a child's education and being able to give them the tools they need to be successful???

I know that we all enjoy a little extra rest, but you can't tell me that these reminders don't make up for it!!!

I am dedicating my Monday posts from now on to provide motivation and positive energy! We are human. We will have days when we feel like crawling back into bed. We will have days when we need 4 extra shots of caffeine. But for each of those days, as well as all the others, we have the opportunity to make a difference!!

So here is some Monday motivation for you!!

The future of the world is in my classroom today ~Ivan Welton Fitzwater

Now reread it. Let it sink in. How does it make you feel? To me, I get a wave of excitement. I feel reenergized. I feel empowered. I feel that what I do DOES make a difference. I remember the importance that my attitude, my commitment, and my job have on the little ones in my room. These kids are my students, but they are even more than that. Within a couple of weeks, these little five year olds have become my kids. I defend them, I praise them, I empower them. I hold them to the highest of expectations not to intimidate them, but to show them what I know they are capable of. I push them, I laugh with them, I remind them that it is okay to be silly. I give them the tools they need to be successful and teach them to love to learn. Being a teacher is more than just showing up at 8 am and leaving at 3. It is being dedicated to finding new resources and ideas to engage your students. It is reminding yourself that these kids are depending on you to show them the way. The students in our class, OUR KIDS, rely on us to help them. It is our responsibility to give them the strategies they need to be successful, fuel the dreams they have, give them goals to reach, and inspire them to be their best. I am challenging myself to repeat this quote everyday, especially the days when I am feeling defeated because in the end, it isn't about me. It is all about MY kids.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Peek at My Week!

After way too many days (okay, weeks!!) off of blogging, I am BACK and ready for some serious blogging! I let the beginning of the school year take over and am OVER using excuses on not posting. Seriously, I mean who isn't busy? This little lady is ready to get her blogging on!!

Of course the school year gets busy, but what better thing to do then SHARE the chaos with others who understand it! I am thrilled to not only have survived the first five weeks of school, but to have already seen so much growth and excitement from my kiddos! I am beyond thankful that I spent the first two weeks drilling expectations and procedures. My little rays have made me one proud teacher, and we are hardly through our first quarter :)

Some things that I have been working on including in my classroom are anchor charts, technology, and writing. I have been huge on anchor charts and building them WITH the students. I have been using a mix of sound spelling and real spelling, which has helped them with stretching out words and sounds. They have been able to connect to the topic more easily when they have this kind of visual so it will definitely be something I continue. Another thing I have been big on is technology. Not just doing our calendar on the SmartBoard, but integrating it into all subjects and allowing students to participate in it frequently. The hands on and interactive features of technology greatly improve attentiveness. In fact, because I am a big proponent of it, I am spoiling them a bit by including the computers, iPads, and iPods into our Daily Five and Math Workshop time. I am also a big fan of writing. I want my students to be extremely familiar with using writing in all of their subjects. We start the day off by writing in their journal and I try to include it in all of our lessons. I think that it is truly important to familiarize them as often as possible with writing. Even when we draw pictures, we label and work our way towards making sentences. By starting the year off with this as a focus, they will be more apt to push themselves and to be confident in their writing abilities!!

Enough about what we HAVE been doing, onto what we WILL be doing! I decided that Sundays will be my day to show you a glimpse of my week that is ahead! With a half day on Wednesday and assembly on Friday, our week will be a little funky, but I am ready to rock and roll! We are starting our two week unit on Apples, practicing our labeling and detailed pictures, and finding hidden partners to five! We are going into our full blown Daily Five (the past few weeks we have concentrated on rotating, cleaning up, and noise level) and are starting our Junior Achievement internship! We also have a Back to School Showcase that I am thrilled to get ready for! I hope to accomplish quite a few things with my little rays so that they can show off their AWESOMENESS to their parents ;) The weather has finally decided to take a chill pill (literally!) and we will be in a much more comfortable environment which will help the work ethic!

There is a little taste of what is going to be going on with Miss K's Little Rays!
What does your week have in store for you?!