Monday, September 20, 2010

Behavior Management

Management in the classroom is a crucial part of a classrooms feeling of community. It is important to have enough structure in the classroom where each student is able to learn, but also where they have enough freedom for choice and are able to manage their own time.  I love positive reinforcement.  Probably about 30 times a day I say things like "I love how "student name" is standing in line." or "Look how great "student name" is doing on their work."  All of the other students just thrive for me to say something to me.  I try to say something positive out loud to the class at least once to each student a day.  I don't just limit it to my students. I make sure to positively recognize  any student in any grade that I see following the school expectations.  :)
Here are some motivators I use:
*Table points -I watch for tables doing things quick, quietly, or nicely. At the end of the week the winner gets a special prize.
*Brownie points- This is a whole group behavior management.  They can earn a brownie when they are quiet, working nicely, helping each other, etc. Click {here} to see more.
*Behavior Hole Punch- If a student has stayed on a green card all day (I use the green, yellow, red pull card system) then at the end of the day the can get a hole bunch on their behavior chart.  After 220 hole punches, they get a class applause and a prize from the drawer. To download my behavior hole punch, click {here}.
*Power Pellets -Anytime I call out "Power Position" the students have to stop what they are doing, fold their arms, and look at me.  The first one to do so quietly will get a Power Pellet (aka, one skittle). You can download a cover for the power pellets {here}.
Power Pellets (skittles) jar.

*Smarty Pants tickets -If I catch a student doing something great, I will give them a ticket and at the end of the week I draw 5 from the Smarty Pants and those winners get to pick from my prize drawer.  Then we start over next week.  Here is what one Smarty Pants ticket looks like.  I always announce: "John is getting a Smarty Pants ticket because he was so nice to help another student pick up their crayons".   The student puts their name on in and puts it in the Smarty Pants (I actually have a bowl that is shaped like pants).

Click {here} to download the smarty pants tickets

This is where the students put their ticket. My student teacher gave it to me! It's from the game, Ants in My Pants!


Thank you to my mentor teacher in my Student Teaching who gave me the "Smarty Pants" ticket idea.  A shout out to my elementary school's 1st grade team who introduced me to "Power Position" and "Power Pellets".  Way cute!


Fonts: Kevinandamanda.com
Clipart: scrappindoodles.com
Frames: Print Candee

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Your handwriting is GREAT!


I have a little sneaky motivator in my classroom that I use to help the students with their handwriting.  If I notice that they do a great job and they are really working on forming the letters correctly and taking their time, I will give one student a "Neat Treat"--Well, I actually don't give it to them, I leave it on their desk and the note says that it is from the Handwriting Fairy.  The Handwriting Fairy leaves the neat treat on their desk and they student finds it when they come to school the next day! And the crazy thing is...Mrs. Smith didn't even see a thing! They love getting a treat, especially when it's from a fairy!  This is a great motivator!
I put the treat on their desk along with some "fairy dust".
"Neat Treat"  Good job!  I really like your handwriting.  Keep up the good work!  Love, The Handwriting Fairy

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Centers

I really do believe centers should be directed by student choice.  My student's learn time management, discipline, and self-structured learning.  My 1st graders love centers and I love them because I can do guided reading groups during that time and the centers reinforce topics we have learned in class.  The BEST part about choice centers are that they are differentiated.  The high level students can elaborate on each center and expand their learning and the lower level students can do as much as they can and are able to practice concepts they might not have down yet. Find someone on your grade level that feels the same way you do about centers and work with them.  I teach with another girl on my track and we work together on coming up with new center ideas.  Basically is makes half the work for the both of us!  Ashlee...YOU ROCK!


Click HERE for centers board download!  Click HERE for planning sheet download!


Here are the basics:

*There are 15 centers (or more, or less-depends on you and your class)

*Centers are placed around the classroom in bins and are labeled with a picture.
An example of the center bins placed around the room.
*A matching picture is placed on the board (center board) so the students know what centers are available (sometimes you won't have some centers running each week).
Center Board



*Each center picture on the center board will have either a green dot or a red dot next to it.  EACH DAY-The students must do 2 green dot centers (example: spelling, wordwall, math) before moving on to a red dot center (star center, file folder games, art, puzzles).  This motivates the students.  -A student does not have to move on to a red dot.  They can continue on green dots.  Think of the green dot centers as "must do" centers and the red dots as "can do" centers.
*In order to go to recess that day, the student must at least complete one green dot center that day. Remember the expectations are for each day.  They are expected to complete 2 green dots before they go to a red dot THAT DAY, not each week.
*If a center only has 4 bag (example: bag of alphabet cards), then only 4 students can use this center. You will indicate this on the center board above the green/red dot.  You will simply write a 4 above it.  This tells the students that only 4 students can go to this center at one time.
*Centers are independent in my classroom.  I teach them what independent work looks like and sounds like.  If they have a question and I am with a reading group, they are not allowed to interrupt the group.  They must ask the center inspectors.
*Center Inspectors are 2 students who know what to do on each center.  They can answer simple questions students might have (How many words do I have to write on this, how do I glue this...? etc).  They also check the centers at the end of the day and let me know if I need to make any copies or need more supplies for any centers.



Frequently asked question:
How do you make sure the students are doing the center correctly?
Each center has a way that I can check their accountability.  Every center is hands on, but after the hands on part is completed, the student needs to document what they did on either a worksheet or in their center journal (Usually just for green dot centers).  The center journal basically has 20 pages double side of handwriting lines in a folder.  For example, in spelling center this week, the student will write the spelling words in rice. When they finish, they will write the spelling words in their center journal.  If the student has to write something in their center journal because there is no worksheet, I will put a star next to the color of center it is red/green. When the bell rings to go to recess, the students will clean and make sure their centers are on their desk.  I check the center off just by glancing at it.  If I check them off, they put their center work in the "center basket" (just a drawer).

How do you get started?
Remember, choice centers are all about procedure.  The students need to be trained.  I train them for about 3 weeks before I even start the centers. 


When do you change the centers?
Every 2 weeks.  I introduce on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.  I will intro 4 centers on Wednesday, 4 on Thursday, and 5 on Friday.  Most of the activities the students are familiar with and I always give them an example and show how to do each center.

Do you grade the center work?
NO!  That would be so much work and you really are just practicing each skill and trying to reinforce concepts.  I do make sure the student is doing the center correctly.  I go through each center worksheet/journal after they turn them in to the "center basket" each day. 


What about behavior management?
Centers are a privilege and the students know that.  They practice behaving in the center before they even practice the center.  The students are usually so actively involved and they work very hard on their centers.

What if a student does not finish a center that day?
If it is their 1st green dot, they must try to finish that center while the other students are at recess.  If it is their second green dot, they may go to recess, but put their unfinished center in their center journal folder to finish tomorrow.  Yes, this green dot can carry on to the next day.  If it is a red dot that they did not fully complete, I have them finish 2 green dots the next day before they can finish that red dot from yesterday. Get it? Wow!  That's intense.

Does everyone start centers at the same time?
No.  Centers are stagger started by first having 3 review worksheets that each student must complete before they go to centers (this is where their time management skills will show). The worksheets are usually: 1 spelling review, 1 math review, and one language review that goes along with our them that week (this weeks theme is friendship) At first, it is quite difficult for a few students to manage their time and that is why we practice.  For 3 weeks at the beginning of school, we do 3 workshops and then if they finish early, they get to play a game.  This motivates them to finish and they then recognize what pace they need to keep in order to finish.


Here is my center planning sheet.  Each time I switch a center, I write it down so I can have that idea for next year! The pictures next to the center name are the same I use on the bins and on the center board!



*A huge thank you to Carrie, my sister in-law who helped me start up these wonderful centers that she also did in her classroom.
*A BIG thanks to Ashlee, my partner in crime, for making the centers what they are today!
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