Monday, February 2, 2015

Classroom Management: The Blurt Chart

It's Monday again.
Yep, it was inevitable. So it's Feb 2st and the newness of 2015 is starting to wear off. Having any behavior hiccups yet? I sure am.

The other day a question was asked in one of my Teacher FB groups and I immediately thought, I have SO been meaning to blog about that! Shame on me for not getting to this earlier.

The question asked was...
What do you do when a student is constantly blurting out in class?
One of the answers I read that made me laugh was "Take a deep breath and listen." While this can sometimes be true, and useful, it can really throw a wrench in the plans. I mean we know those little darlings can go on and on and on (imagine The Sandlot) 
Who has that kind of time? I know I don't, I only get an hour a day with my little ones. (ELL teacher remember.)
Personally I totally understand how they feel. Think about it, they are learning SO much, I mean constantly experiencing new things and we are asking them to sit and listen to us all day. It is crazy town. However, it isn't like I can let them all go to town talking about everything. 
Most of the time I let my students know that they have a WONDERFUL story ready for our Writers Workshop, or Talking Buddies, and I ask them to put it away in their pocket for later. This totally works for 90% of my students.

Yet, there is always a student or two that just can't seem to keep their thoughts to themselves. Yes that student whose words just FLY out of their mouth. I know it is difficult for US, but for the most part this is an impulse control problem with the student. They don't even realize how often they are blurting. The other option is a student who is being defiant. Option two is a little bit harder to deal with. Mainly because they are doing it consciously. However I go about this next part in the same way.

Here is when I take out my sticky note pad. I let my student know, ahead of time and privately, that they have been interrupting and talking without permission during my lesson. I let them know that I will be making a mark on my note every time they do, just to collect data that will help both them and ME. During that lesson I make a tally each time the student blurts. At the end of the lesson I show the student how many tallies.

Got the impulsive student this part is usually an eye opener. For the defiant student it is more of a gotcha, or an "I'm watching you." Regardless like before I go about this next part int he same way...
I let the student know that I am making a plan to help them and ME in class. I remind them that talking while someone else is talking is rude and that it makes be feel bad when they interrupt me and/ or their classmates. I don't want them to be rude so I am going to help them with some reminders.
Here is what that looks like.
Seriously it is this simple.
I write the students name, date, and make 3 boxes. I tell the student that I will give them 3 chances. Each time they blurt I will x-out a box. If they blurt more than 3 times I will separate them from the main group so they can think about what the problem was. If they get 1 or 2 marks I make a smiley face. If they get no marks they get a sticker. As you can see my student this day got no marks. This particular student LOVES his blurt chart and asks me for it on the daily even though he doesn't need it any more.

I keep this sticky not on the students desk, right near them, or in their line of sight as a simple reminder. Most of the time I don't even say anything, just mark off a box and he quickly gets in line.

I do want to say I have a defiant kiddo that this strategy is only mildly successful with. When he is in a bad mood he doesn't really care. I still do this though because it helps me collect that all important data to be able to share with parents.
I normally let my students take their sticky not with them when they return to class. If I am collecting data I either snap a pic with my iPad or write it down in a notebook, but I could keep these in a notebook if I wanted to.

That's it folks. Hope this was helpful to you.
Happy planning, and may you avoid the Sunday night teacher blues. <3 p="">

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February Currently

Please be good to me.

Alright so we got off to a rough start this morning when I woke up and decided to go shovel snow for 2 hours. I am so ready for a nap now. 
No rest for the wicked though. 
Here is the February Currently!

So I am a little obsessed with the new series on Fox, Empire. The show it self is excellent, the acting is great and the music is wonderful. So naturally I have been buying the songs on iTunes. :)
This morning I woke up the the most wonderful post. Cindy from Mrs. Price's Kindergators. I recently worked on a custom template for her and Cindy wrote me a WONDERFUL review. I was blown away, and am so grateful to her. She is a fabulous teacher, you simply must check out her blog.

Unfortunately I also woke up to WAY too much snow on the ground. My poor little Beetle was completely covered. I spent 2 hours shoveling and I am going to be SO sore tomorrow. I am hoping they call a snow day, so I have some recovery time.
This week is our 2nd semester Parent Conference nights and well my conference notes are so not done. Neither are my lesson plans for that matter. Yikes. I am REALLY wanting that extra day tomorrow right about now. 
We got our Snow day. Now I can spend the day off WORKING! :)
 Have you all seen the fabulous sales going on right now on Teachers Pay Teachers? Lots of teachers have put their shop on sale for the Superbowl madness, mine included. 
I like to be to think I am pretty creative, and I strive to be helpful to others. So I crowned myself...
Ms. Creatively Helpful!
Here is my way of being helpful to you, my monthly calendar freebie is now up in my shop. Go snag yourself a copy and get your February off to a great start.
Just got the call and I will be at home working on my conference notes tomorrow. 
Stay warm people!
Don't forget to stop by Farley's blog to, thank her for hosting this fab linky every month and of course read the other Currentlys.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Extreme Weather Day

Today was an extreme weather day and I didn't go into work. Warning, this post will be a bit random. Here are some of the things I got up to...
Something I want to buy...

Something I am watching...
the Walking Dead
Every time I see Beth I think of a student that looks identical to her, at work. A mini Beth.

Saw something I like...

Something I want to make for work...

Created something new...
 Stayed warm...

Something I am working on...
Happy Hump Day

Thursday, January 1, 2015

January 2015 Currently

New year, new month, new currently!

I have a few albums I am obsessed with, Maroon 5's V, TSwifts 1089, and the one I am listening to now is Ed Sheeran's X. 
One of the things I really love is having a plan day to get ready before the students arrive on Monday. I do have mixed feelings because well it means I have to go into work on a Friday, BUT I am looking forward to having some time to sort copies, change up the decor, set up new workstations, and generally organize the mess I left before break, WITHOUT children around.
I brought home work and while I have updated all 42 of my files and scored all Kinder and first grade quarterly writing samples, I have yet to upload all that information into my 2nd quarter report cards. I know I still have time, but I wanted to have it done before I went back to work tomorrow. :/ Boo
Okay, so while I am looking forward to the teacher plan day... tomorrow, I am wishing I had an extra few days or even a week. I will really miss my Doctor Who, Walking Dead and Breaking Bad marathons. 
It is no secret I am a night owl. Over break, over every break, I have a tendency to flip my hours. Yep that means I am up really late and sleep in. This is obviously a problem when I have to be at work at 8:15am. So tomorrow morning will be hard.
Again, I have made no secret about being a little organization obsessed. However, over the corse of the school year I tend to lay stuff around and some of my spaces get a bit messy. I really want to get back to a clean and organized space.
I really want to get back in the groove of blogging regularly. I am going to try and make a plan for it. Let's see if I can stick to it.
This past year, while my blog shop did ok, I have to admit I slacked quite a bit. I didn't do much in the way of creating new lesson plan templates or promotion. This year I want to refocus on my shop, update my older templates and create some new ones. I also took the big step of revamping my TPT shop, finally became a premium seller and put my pre-made templates on there. I will still sell all my pre-made templates and continue to make custom templates on my blog shop, A Teacher's Plan
but now you can also find my pre-made templates on Teachers Pay Teachers.
That is also where you can find my new freebie.
A new January calendar and To Do list.
Don't forget to stop by Farley's blog to, thank her for hosting this fab linky every month and of course read the other Currentlys.
Wishing you and yours a happy new year!
May 2015 bring you all that your heart desires.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Kindness Elves

I have to tell you what a blessing it has been to have the Kindness Elves visit my classroom this year!
I first got the idea for the Kindness Elves to from The Imagination Tree blog. I follow Anna on Instagram and instantly fell in love with these adorable elves. I know that many teachers use the infamous Elf on the Shelf in their classroom and I have thought of it as well but I can't. Or I should say I don't feel like it would be a good fit for my students. 
My students don't all believe in Santa. 
Half of my students aren't Christian and don't celebrate Christmas. 
Some of my students might not get gifts on Christmas.
Last, I just don't like the idea of behaving good just to get presents. 
Can you imagine what it would feel like if you behaved so good only to find nothing on Christmas morning? That is the reality for some of my students. 
When I found The Imagination Tree's Kindness Elves I was intrigued and very curious. This year my district adopted PBiS and I though "kindness" that's a perfect fit. So I order my elves and I waited. When they finally arrived (They came from London people) I was so excited. 

Here is our first week with our special Kindness Elves.

Day 1: Starting Small
For the first day with our Kindness Elves I decided to ask my students to smile and/ or wave to someone new at school. It could be a student in their class or a teacher. I shared that it feels good when someone greets us and that when another person smiles at us it is hard not to smile back. We practiced and we noticed that it made us all feel good to smile. The elves also brought us our newest center, Read It, Make It, Write It Word Work
I have to admit, my students were a little underwhelmed. I quickly found out who does the Elf at home because he went on and on about how you can't touch them. Something which I am now grateful for. LOL One of them even told me that they weren't special because they are just toys. Yes people that is the world in which I live. There is very little magic in some of these kids lives. I was not deterred though. 

Day 2: Books and a Hiccup
On the second day I decided I wanted to give my students some books, so I asked them to take their new book and read it together with a friend. Easy right?
Here was the hiccup. I have 4 groups a day, 2 First grade and 2 Kinder. My first grade groups are first in my class in the morning. I like a dummy put all the books for all the groups in the bag. When I pulled out the book for the first group they demanded, that is right demanded, that I unwrap the other gifts too. I was appalled. Seriously this was about sharing and these kids felt so entitled that they wanted to open gifts meant for others. Now I was disheartened but I didn't give up. I did talk, more like lecture, my students about how they were not being kind, how their behavior was selfish and how the elves would not be pleased. I even caught a few saying "I'm sorry" to the elves later that hour. 

Day 3: Magic Pencils
On day 3 we had a writing assessment. I wanted my students to get pumped for it and do their best. I thought some new pencils would help with that. These would be "classroom" pencils and so they had to SHARE. 
This went great, the kids worked hard on their writing and didn't fight over the pencils. They thought it was wonderful to have some "magic pencils" to have in the room.

Day 4: Picking up our trash
On day 4 the elves came and picked up all of our trash! That was so kind of them. We talked about how the custodians job is to help keep our space clean, but how it is our job to clean up after ourselves. I found a tiny solo cup and picked up some actual trash from our floor to crumble up and put in the bin. 
On this day the kids were really excited, and came in the room looking all over for the elves. I was so happy they were excited. Lately my students have been leaving quite a mess on the floor. Part of it is my fault, packing too much into each hour and rushing my students. I wanted to take a step back and remind my students that is it kind to take care of our space and pick up after ourselves. So I am making time on my end, just a minute or two and reminding my students to pick up trash when I see it on the floor. They are doing a great job of cleaning up after themselves now.

Day 5: The tale of two visits

For day five, a.k.a. Friday, the elves visited my room twice. The first time was for my Firsties. He brought us pencils to deliver to other classes in our school. It made us feel so great to give something away.
The second time they visited was for my Kinder Kids. They brought a friend to visit but like the note said he ran away, which set us on our journey around the school looking for the Gingerbread Man. Great way to end my 2 week long GBM unit. :)
With the exception of one little friend, that is afraid of the "tricky" GBM this was a hit.

After a rocky start with our Kindness Elves I can honestly say that it is now a hit! I have heard students thanking the Kindness Elves when I am not looking, and even talking to them in whispers. I have one week left with them and they are already set up and ready to go for this coming Monday. One of the best parts is watching my students learn compassion, kindness and generosity. It is exactly what I want to teach and instill in my students.

Here are a few resources I have used this week.
The Kindness Elves
25 ideas for the Kindness Elves
Kindness Elves Clipart Freebie
A note from the Kindness Elves Freebie
Kindness Elves in the Classroom Freebie
Holiday Acts of Kindness Class Project Freebie
The Kindness Helpers: Bringing Kindness into your Classroom
Oh! I have also purchased the cutest little Fairy door for our Kindness Elves to make their exit with. I hinted at it on Friday and just can't wait to it to make it's debut next week. If you want to see the pictures before I can post on here follow my Instagram account by clicking below.