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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

3, 2, 1 Helpful [& fun!] Behavior Managment Hints for the Linky Party

Researchers (and just about any teacher I know) will tell you the hardest part of teaching is classroom management.  I wanted to share 6 of my helpful and fun lil' hints that help make behavior management novel and exciting.  I don't have 1 set "system" for behavior management (clips, colored cards, clothespins, etc...).  Instead, I utilize lots of different reward ideas and motivators throughout the year.  Changing it up is KEY!  Kids get bored of the same things and they lose their "pizzazz" over time.   So let's count down my 6 fave behavior hints...
Mr. Potato Head: This fabulous idea came from my amazing colleague Jessica Bolejack.  I don't have any kids at home, so I had to buy one of these, but many of you may already have one around the house!  Mr. Potato Head sits on a shelf near the front entrance of our classroom.  He starts out "naked."  Every time we line-up, if everyone gets in line correctly and quietly, without pushing or whining, I choose 1 student to add 1 piece to Mr. Potato Head.  When he's complete, we have a potato head party!  That's when Mr. Potato Head gets to pick a type of party to have.  ;-)  He whispers his choice to me, of course.

Backward Character Hats: I throw these on from time-to-time as we walk through the hallway.  Goofy and Angry Bird watch the line for me!  They whisper in my ear when we reach our destination to choose a student to earn some type of reward for nice hallway behavior.

LipSmacker "Smellies":  Another gem from Jessica...  No, we don't put these on the students' lips, don't worry.  ;-)  Carry a smelly with you occasionally as you walk through the hallway.  (I always let a kid who is lined-up nicely choose the flavor before we begin the trek.)  When you get where you're going, students who walked nicely get a smelly on their hand.  They just raise their hands up and you rub a swipe of the LipSmacker on them.  The kids FLIP for these!
Clean-Up Song: I cannot live without my clean-up song!  I use "We Will Rock You" - the instrumental version.  It's about 2 minutes long and a perfect pace.  Peppy to get the kids moving, but not too fast that they get revved up and wild.  I train the kids the first week of school to start the song independently so all it takes is telling a student to go turn it on.

Fuzzy Jar: If the students clean the entire room by the end of the song, they earn a fuzzy in the jar!  When the jar is full, we get a fuzzy party!  A fuzzy party can be any type of party we decide on when the jar is empty and we are ready to start earning again (popcorn party, glow-stick party, slipper party).  We can also earn fuzzies for other whole-class successes but it is consistently used for clean-up time.
 Class Dojo: Such an amazing FREE website!  If you haven't heard of it, please go there NOW!  [www.classdojo.com] You enter your students' names, they can choose "monster" avatars for themselves, and then start giving them points!  I use only the positive points.  The built-in categories are Helping Others, On Task, Participating, Teamwork, and Working Hard.  You can also add your own.  You could also plug in groups (such as table groups) rather than single children.  It makes a nice dinging sound when I award a point, so without saying a word, I can excite the kids ("Who just got the point!?!") and subtly remind them to stay on task.

I hope you enjoy these hints!  Make sure to hop on over to the linky to see lots more

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fluency warm-up cards - first three get 'em free!

Happy fall my Kindergarten blog friends! :) I do love this time of year, especially in the Kindergarten classroom. Pumpkins, turkeys, colorful leaves, cool recess weather... the kids love it all! I've been MIA on the blog, mostly due to the time spent on a technology presentation I helped plan, create, and give to our school board. I plan to post on what I shared in the presentation later this week.

I've been thinking a lot this year about fluency. In particular, how do we build fluency in students who are still at the emergent reading phase? This year, I have a class filled almost exclusively with beginning readers. Which is great! But it is different than the wider range of readers I have typically had in years past - including students who enter Kindergarten reading on a 2nd grade level! Fluency can (and should) still be taught with our newbie readers - it just looks different than it does when working with established readers.
I wanted some handy, easy to grab-and-go, fluency warm-up cards or pages for the students to use at the beginning of Guided Reading. I printed them 2-sided on cardstock and laminated them. They live in the chair pockets on the chairs at teacher table, so students can get them out quickly, grab a fun reading finger, and get busy! I can lean in and listen to students one-at-time and assess/assist as necessary.
There are 8 pages... Letter Names & Sounds (in random order), High Frequency Words, 2-letter VC Words, CVC Words, CVCe Words, Words with Blends, Words with Digraphs, and Words with Bonus Letters (twin consonants). You will be able to use these cards every year with all levels of readers! They would be great for 1st grade readers, too! http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Primary-Fluency-Warm-Up-Cards-969660
My students love these because they can challenge themselves to read the WHOLE page! You can also time students and have them set goals for improving. I also like using these to pre-teach word patterns that appear in the books we will read during guided reading that day. And of course, what else do you need to make fluency FUN!?? Reading fingers!!  
I collect more and more of these each year. So motivating for the students - and most are pretty cheap, too. My 3 favorites are available on Amazon.  (Click on the finger titles to see them for sale on Amazon!)
(Surprisingly cheap - $8.76 for 48 of 'em) 

If you'd like these Fluency Warm-Up Cards, they are $1.75 and for sale here at TPT.  If you follow my blog, leave a comment below!  The first 3 followers to comment will get these cards for FREE!  Make sure to leave your email address in the comment, and I'll send them over asap!  :)