A New Day of Learning: 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Classroom Management

Hi all! I have a such a treat for you today! I am so excited to introduce Tamara Russell of Mrs. Russell's Room as my very first guest blogger! She is going to talking about classroom management and getting ready for the beginning of the year! Her ideas are perfect for brand new teachers and veteran teachers alike! She has such great ideas, and I can't wait to implement them this year! In addition, she just celebrated a TpT milestone! Congrats!!

Hello everyone! :)
I'm excited to be guest blogging for Michelle today! ;)
I was so honored to be asked! 
A few years ago, I developed this list of questions to help me get my mind wrapped around the expectations I have for my students.  It's a great tool that I reflect on often before the year! :)

Click HERE if you'd like to download this free item for your own files! :)

Michelle wanted us to chat a bit about how I use this tool in my classroom, so, I thought what I'd do is highlight a few important points that are underscored by the questions in my management freebie! :)
Let's get started!

This is a super busy time for you!
Know what you will and won't allow during this time, and practice these things with the kids.
A fun idea that I tried this year was the Don't Bother Me Hat from Today in Second Grade.
If I just needed a minute to gather my thoughts at my desk and my hat was on, the kids knew...just wait at your seat until the hat comes off! :)

I like to use a mailbox system in my room.
The kids know that they put their homework in it every day.  This is something we practice doing often at the beginning of the year.
Don't have cardboard mailboxes?  How about a milk crate with hanging folders?
Just make sure the kids know how to file it before you leave them to do it independently.

Make sure that you have high expectations for this.  As the year goes on, you will get more laid back...so, if you are too laid back, transitions will last FOREVER! :(
Make sure that the kids know they need to take the quickest route to where they need to go.
In order to go to the bathroom, you don't need to stop by Jimmy's desk, pick up the pencil on the floor, and throw out your tissue. LOL! :)
Reward students, table groups...or a whole class if they're quick and prepared to begin when you are! :)

Especially as a new teacher...it's important that when your students are out and about that their behavior reflects the character that you work on in the room.  I love these line up chants from Jennifer over at Herding Kats in Kindergarten!  They are a great way to cue the students to what kind of behavior is appropriate with a light touch! :)

This a tough one...especially as a new teacher.  What is too hard?  What is too soft?
Well, if you are CONSISTENT with both rewards and consequences, you will find that the students will work within the boundaries you set.
I just recently blogged about how I tie my clip chart system into my pirate themed classroom! :)
Click HERE to see the post!  Make sure that you are verbal and varied in your praise.  Don't just say...good job.  Say...That was a great choice! :)  I also like to praise my students with specific things that relate to their character.  A few years ago, I had a boy in my third grade class who jumped to steady me when I wobbled on a stool while I was getting something.  I turned to him and said...some day, you'll make a good husband.  You know...that boy never saw me get up on that stool again without coming beside me to hold my hand and steady me...or to take what I was holding from my hands.  Verbal praise is POWERFUL! :)

Keep your centers simple.  Make sure that the students are able to embrace the routine.
Have a plan for what they do when they are done.
Think about this a lot before you start to implement anything! :)
Daily 5 is a great structure, if you don't know where to start! :)

Especially when you are new, the temptation to NOT communicate is strong.
You are afraid to be vulnerable...I get it. :)
The lower the grade, the more parents want to know you.
In my class, I do a weekly update.  I use this template from Laura Martin over at Peace, Love & First.
I have an email list for my parents and send them the updates electronically.  Earlier in my career, I just printed them weekly for the children. 
I also like to try to make positive contact with ALL my parents about their children...but ESPECIALLY if there are a few that I think will have a few calls about negative behavior.  Remember, parents are human too, and they want to hear that their sweeties are doing well...it hurts to hear that they are not.  Be careful how you share your frustration with them. Always have HOPE...even if you don't know a solution just yet! :)

It can be tempting to get busy packing your bag, or sending off last minute emails before the kids leave.
Make sure the last contact they get from you is sincere.
Do a high five or a pound.
Ask them what they liked best about the day...what they look forward to tomorrow.
When you remember it the next day...for the kids...its PRICELESS! :)

When in doubt...love it out! :)
At the end of the day...if you love this job, and you love your kids...most of this will come in time! :)
You've got this!! :)
I hope these tips and links are some that you feel you can come back to throughout the year.

Click HERE to visit me on my blog! :)

You're welcome anytime! :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Save the Nurse!

I don't know how things go down at your school, but I can tell you how things work at my school.  There are kids that always seem to  have an injury.  We are talking about the same few in your classroom that need to go to the nurse after EVERY recess.  It doesn't take long to identify them at the beginning of the year, does it? Those are the kids who are constantly waiting in triage at the nurses office while he/she deals with students who really have a medical issue.  These are the same kids that continue to miss out on your beautifully planned lesson hooks and the reading of the objectives.

This year, I have decided to take $2 and help save our school nurse some time and some sanity! I went to Family Dollar and invested in 1 pack of jumbo sponges.  I made ice packs out of these sponges and will keep them in my classroom freezer -inside my little mini-fridge.  This way, I can help those students right in the classroom! The nurse won't have a line (at least from my classroom), and those students won't miss my anticipatory set! 

Here is what you can do to help out your school nurse:

Before posting this I consulted with my WONDERFUL school nurse and she said as long as the sponge doesn't touch the student and you change the bag after each student, this is a great idea to help minimize the amount of trips some students make to the nurses office! 

Of course, even the students who are always "sick"  really do need to see the nurse sometimes. So, be sure to use your professional judgment! 

Can you relate?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Reading Speeds

Many times I have noticed my students reading every detail when they should have been skimming for one piece of information or skimming when they should have been reading for pleasure. 

As fluent readers, you know that we read at different speeds, or gears, for different reasons. Sometimes we read very slow- like when we are doing a close read or learning new information. We read even slower when we want to memorize something.  You also know that learning the art skimming and scanning can save you valuable time as you study or look for information.  As a teacher, I skim and scan EVERYDAY - especially using technology!

I have found that my students have not mastered when to use each speed.  In an ever-changing world, where technology is becoming more and more present in our lives, I know that my students really need to know what the speeds of reading are and more importantly WHY we use them.

I will be doing this lesson during the first few weeks of school this year and then I will store one set of sticks in a cute vase close to my desk.That will make it very easy for us to review which speed we should use before we take on new texts.

I have created two versions of this lesson that are for sale in my Teachers Pay Teachers store:

One for K-2: http://bit.ly/1zGU8NY
One for Grades 3-6: http://bit.ly/1t0G7WP

I hope this helps your readers choose the right speed for the text they select! 

What is one lesson you teach in the first few weeks of school?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Calling ALL Teachers!

(Keep reading for more details!)

I promised in an earlier post that I would let you know what my new adventure is.  My new adventure has been fun, rewarding, and came with an awesome support team! Now, all of those things are great, but the biggest game changer for me is how much money I have been making.   I am assuming that most people that read my blog are teachers and are in need of extra money to do fun things with their families, support their habit of buying things for their classroom, buying comfortable shoes to stand in all day, and the list goes on and on!

I have recently joined Charity Preston, of The Organized Classroom Blog, on an exciting Jamberry Nails adventure.  I started by hosting a party, then I decided I should be hobbyist to get my product at a discount, then soon after that I realized how silly it was to not be selling it, because it sells itself! Now, I am building my team, hosting parties, and making some serious fun money!  This morning, I used my PART of my commission from last week to buy two pairs of Dankso shoes for the start of school! It was great to not have to pull that out of my regular funds!

So, you are probably wondering what Jamberry Nails are, right? They are vinyl stickers that have heat activated adhesive on the back that you apply with pressure! They are available in over 300 designs! They will last up to 2 weeks on your fingers and four or more weeks on your toes! There is no drying time, they won't chip, and they are made in the USA! 3 of the pictures below are my actual fingers! The patriotic fingers belong to my friend and business partner, Julie!

So, how would you like to host an online Jamberry Facebook Party, that earns you FREE money for your classroom? 

We are accepting party dates now! Fill out this form, choose a date, and leave us a comment on the form that you want to have a FUNdraiser and we will get your party scheduled!

Are you interested in having a party that is not for your classroom?  Click here and fill out the form! 

Are you interested in joining our team?
 Click here to get started! 

I can't wait to hear from you!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Currently

Happy July, everyone! Today I am linking up with Farley from Oh Boy 4th Grade with "July Currently".

L:istening:  Seriously, I am little bit of a bird nerd.  Some mornings, I take my bird book out on the deck  and check off which birds I see.  We don't get a ton of variety, but once I saw a Cedar Waxwing in the tree in the backyard and that made my day! 

Loving: As I was cleaning yesterday, I had brilliant idea to bring up this table/desk from the basement and rearrange a little bit to make room for a desk in the living room.  It is AMAZING! I have room for everything I need, plus I have this super awesome leopard print chair to sit on! I will have to get a pic for you soon!

Thinking:  I have lots of my agenda today including work on my Jamberry business, cleaning, grocery shopping, organizing and blogging.  Not too mention finishing up the latte I am almost done with! Do you love your morning coffee or latte?  It totally relaxes me and makes me take just a few minutes to myself in the morning! 

Wanting: My amazing hubby has requested that I make him a pan of Baklava.  Of course, I obliged and told him I would do it yesterday.  Then I got busy setting up my new desk area and cleaning the floors that I didn't even make it to the store! Oops! 

Needing: Okay, so the house needs to be cleaned.  I despise cleaning, but I love how it feels and looks when I am done.  That should be enough motivation to get me through the next couple of rooms! What do you do to make your cleaning go faster?  Hire someone? LOL!!!

4th Plans: I am super excited to be going to visit my mom and dad at their new lake lot.  It sounds funny to say visit them because in reality they live 2 miles away. However, they have always wanted a place to park their travel trailer and now they have it! It is a gorgeous lot with the most beautiful sunsets you have ever seen. (This is what I am told, anyway)  We will take some time this weekend to go check it out! We are mega excited! 

Thanks for checking in with me as we start of this first full month of summer vacation - WOOT WOOT!

What is something you have going on this July?

Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm Back!

Hi there! Long time no see! It has been awhile since I have done a post! I can't believe how time has gotten away from me! I have been so busy working on a new adventure (more of that in an upcoming post), that my blogging has been put on the back burner!

We finished up the school year the first week of June and what a great end to the school year.  We celebrated with a 4th grade graduation and then invited all of the student's families and friends back to our classroom for a small presentation.  We handed out classroom awards, watched a slideshow of all of the fun things we did this year, and had plenty of treats for everyone!

The end of the school year is always crazy! I am always looking for things that make that hectic time of the year a little easier! Featured below are two products that made my life so much easier at the end of this school year! First off,   these awesome awards from Teaching With A Mountain View were a hit at our graduation reception!

The students loved being recognized for their individual strengths! The parents were so proud that their child's strengths were recognized and celebrated. One of the things that I love most about these awards is that it was easy to find the perfect award to fit each student. There are enough choices that you don't have to struggle to find just the right one! It was amazing to have that many options.  It was so easy that I was able to print and fill them out in less than 1 prep! To me, that was just icing on the cake! 

The next thing that made my end of the year so special was our slideshow.  I wish I could show it to you because I think it would have you in tears, even though you don't know my kiddos! The best part is the website does all the work! All you have do is capture picture of your students throughout the year and upload them. From there you can choose music and a theme that matches the look and feel that you want for your slideshow.  They have a free membership that allows you to try out short slideshows, but for a few dollars a month you can upgrade and get many more features and the ability to have longer shows! I also love that you can upgrade one month and change it back to free for the next month!  Check it out at 

Next, I would like to give you a little gift to apologize for my month long absence! Even though the weather here is gorgeous, and I am in the middle of a wonderful summer break, I am still thinking about back to school.  I haven't created any FREEBIES for awhile, so I thought I would think ahead to our Fall poetry projects that we always do and make some cute stationary to go with it! There are 6 different adorable designs! I hope you love how they look adorning your hallways and bulletin board with your students seasonal writing! See below on how to get them!

Get your own set by clicking on the picture below to download them!  (Be sure to be logged into your Google Account.) Don't have a Google account? No worries! You can get them from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store! 

I am linked up this week at 

Freebie Fridays         Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Leave me some comment love and let me know 1 great thing from the end of your school year!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Teacher Appreciation

Do you have your wishlist all ready to go for the TpT Teacher Appreciation Sale?  EVERYTHING in my store will be 20% off! Then, you can use the promo code TPTXO to get a total of 28% off!

Thank you for making a huge difference in the lives of children everyday! 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Brain Breaks

Have you registered at Go Noodle yet? It is a FREE website that gives you many choices for brain breaks during the day.  One of my favorite features is that they have each video broken down into categories for you! There are some games that are made to calm the students and others that are designed to energize or enhance focus.  It is also very helpful that they have categories by grade level as well.  You can check out a picture of their menu below.

One of the brain breaks my students have been LOVING is the sing along of "Let it Go" from Frozen.  It is amazing how many of them just belt it out without a care in the world.  I love that about them! They are also really digging "Happy" from Despicable Me. 

This is what the videos look like on www.gonoodle.com.
My 4th graders are also very engaged by the home screen that features a silly monsters and the bar that moves up every time you complete a game.  After they reach their goal, the monster transforms and becomes a little bigger. Then they are on a new level and start trying to reach their new goal.   Also, I quite enjoy the funny little jokes that each monster says! 

I am loving that even the kids that I thought would be "too cool" or resistant to standing up and dancing or singing are joining in on the fun! It has been bringing lots of extra smiles to our classroom lately! Give it a try and let me know how it goes in your classroom!

What brain breaks do your students enjoy the most?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Back to the Top