Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sparking Motivation: Silver Spoons

I'm linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching to share how we motivate appropriate lunch room behavior. 

Our PBIS and Leadership teams came up with this school wide program for our students. 
The cafeteria can be a place of pandemonium in any school. It's just a lot of bodies in one large space. There have to be systems in place. 

We have a Silver Spoons competition going on in ours. 
Each table has a set of cups. (sorry, I forgot to take a picture of them) They are one red, one yellow and one green solo cup. Each lunch class,  they start on green. If students get a little too loud, any teacher on duty can change the cup to yellow as a warning. If a class gets out of control or continues poor cafeteria behavior, the cup can be moved to red. 
We do allow cups to go back to green if students fix the poor behaviors. 

At the end of each grade level's lunch time, one of the teachers will complete a chart to keep track. 

After five days on green, the class earns a silver spoon to our Silver Spoon Leader board. 
This board is huge and right where all the students see and can track who's winning. 

At the end of each six weeks, the class in each grade level will win the Silver Spoon trophy to keep for the whole six weeks. 

Notice how each trophy is grade level specific. One of our teachers and her husband made these. Super creative, right? 
I love the K one! 

It's really going well. Everyday when my boys and I leave school, my 4th grader asks how our classes did. He has made it a competition between my class, his class and his brother's kindergarten class. He really wants that trophy for his class. So, I'd say the program is working. Anything that will get kids talking about lunchroom behavior after school, is a PLUS! 

Be sure to check out Joanne's blog and see other great ideas to motivate your students. 

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Sunday, September 6, 2015

#thingsIlove #thingsIlike #thingsIdislike

"How's it going?", "So, do you like it?", "Is it better than middle school?" 

These are just some of the question I have been asked over the past two weeks. 
For new readers, I moved from sixth grade math to fifth grade self contained. 

Depending on the person that asks me those question, my response is always different. 
Some are just asking to be polite, make small talk. I get it. I say "fine". 

Some really want to know. I tell them its good and like everyone, I am adjusting. 

Some ask me at the wrong time and I cry. Not from sadness, from exhaustion. 
Changing grade levels that you have never taught before is like starting your first year of teaching all over. It's incredibly overwhelming. 

I cried a lot when I started middle school. So far, I have only cried a few times. 

So, I decided to share my thoughts about my change in 3 ways, #thingsIlove, #thingsIlike and #thingsIdislike (because hate would be too strong of a word) and I want to make sure I add #thingsImissaboutmiddleschool

#things I love 

I love going to school with my two boys. 
I love being able to get to school in less than 5 minutes. (we live in the neighborhood across from our school, its awesome!)
I love being able to see them during the day. 

 I was able to see both my boys on the first day of school during their lunch times. 

Found this in the teachers lounge while making copies. 
 And got to see them trying to find the gingerbread man during my off period.
 Love how that worked out! 

I love my team. 
I work with some very young teachers. They are awesome. I am old enough to be most of their mothers, but I LOVE working with them. 

I love my staff. Everyone has been so nice and inviting. I am familiar with many faces because I have had a child there for four years. Plus, our community is very small. I have also worked with some of the teachers at summer school, middle school, training, and sporting events in town. Making friends was not an issue. 

I love my admin. My principal has been with our school for years, this is her first year as the principal though and she is awesome. I knew she would be, that's why I chose to move there. Our new assistant principal is great too. I left an amazing leader at middle school, so they had some pretty big shoes to fill. 

I love my schedule. In a nut shell, I teach in the morning. We have specials, recess and lunch in the  middle and I teach in the afternoon. #sweet

#things I like 

I like having the same kids all day. Being self contained means I teach everything to the same kids all day. I was a little nervous about this coming from 54 minute classes. It has been nice. My kids are good. We have a few wrinkles to work out, but we are doing it as a family unit. I see these kids more during the week than my own kids, so yes, they are family to me. 

I like the positive systems my school has in place. We are a PBIS school and a Leader in Me school as well. We truly focus on rewarding good behavior. 

I like the support available to me. Our district is building an amazing curriculum department and that has been good. In my school we have amazing instructional aides, and interventionist who work really hard. I have two special education teachers in my room this year and they are both amazing. Everyone is doing their part and that is really important. 

#things I dislike 

I haven't quite gotten a hold on planning for every subject. I have done only math for the past 7-8 years and now I am doing EVERYTHING. This is where a GREAT team is coming in handy. 

My students love science time. We have been doing quite a few experiments already. Preparing for those is a LOT of work and time consuming. 

Meetings. No one likes these. This week I had a meeting or training, EVERY DAY after school. (wait, not Friday) It's a necessity, I get it, but I don't like it. (who does though, right?) 
I also had a meeting 3 out of 5 days during my planning time. YUCK! 

Starting something and then finding out how I should be teaching it to match the school's expectations. I started grammar in my ELA block from stuff I found online. Then, we had a training for Rainbow Writing after school on Thursday. This is how it is suggested I do grammar/writing. Okay, I like it. It looks great. The students did it last year, they will. get it. Heck, they will even help me. I just wish there had been more time to learn it before school and start it right away. I am flexible though, so I will make it work. 

Duty. It's a necessity though. Thankfully I only have it for one week every three weeks. It's at 7:10am though. So, obviously waking up early is a dislike! 

#things I miss about middle school 

Seriously, some of you are probably thinking, NOTHING. Who misses teaching middle school? 
Me, a little. I like the relationships I built with the kiddos and having "grown up" conversations with them. 

Mostly, though I miss the relationships I built over the past four years with my staff, My middle school principal sent me an email the first week wishing me well and saying she missed me. It made me cry. In a good way though. I felt the same way. I miss my teaching buddies. Thankfully though, with social media, I still get to participate in their lives. And again, we are a small town, I will see them around. I even got to see my old students at the football game Friday night. That was awesome! 

The change has been good.
 I am happy. 
Change is just hard, for everyone, not just me. 
I am excited about the potential this school year brings. 
I am excited about learning new things and teaching them to my students. 

Thanks for letting me take some time and just #be real with you! 

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

2gether We Are Better- Classroom Reveal

It's finally here!!! I have been waiting to reveal my classroom for some time now. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you have seen some sneak peaks, but here s the whole sha-bang!!! 

My theme changed from bright and black to bright, black and leadership. 
Love my door! 

To keep with the leadership theme, the front of my room has Hope King's Desire to Inspire quotes. 
I didn't have time to find and buy frames but I love how these black chalkboard place mats turned out. When I have time (bahahahaha) I plan to accent theme with colored chalk. For now, they are fine. 

We have uncovered August and written about it in our journals already. The students really enjoyed the  unveiling. I look forward to incorporating this all year. 

Under the first section is my writing wall, which has just begun to  take shape. 

Under the second section is where I am housing my brag tags.
The black box on the right is where my tags are stored. 
My goal is to keep this table clean each day. 

I don't have a desk, but these cubbies are awesome. They store all my stuff. It is keeping me super organized. The drawers are for my weekly papers. 

The bulletin board is part of the Desire to Inspire and these are my expectations. I didn't do rules with my kids this year, just expectations. 

Above this are the seven habits. Our school is a Leader in Me school and we focus on these a lot. 

This is my MUST have for teaching. If you have followed me, you know I love this timer. I can't teach without it. It's called a Time Timer and it keeps me on track. Under it is our daily schedule. 

I have two objective boards. I am teaching everything this year, It's my biggest challenge. 
I will be using these boards for the first time this week. 

This wall has a lot going on. 

At the top, I created this display for student work. I don't have a wall outside to do this, so I made inside.I love how it turned out. 

Students added their names last week and we even put up work. 
I know it's hard to see, but they were so excited when I climbed on my step stool and hung up their writing. Mission accomplished! 

This is my Daily 5 Chart. I accidentally printed it small, but decided to keep it. 
Since this picture I have separated them by tape to create columns. Just keeps the magnets where they should be. 

The magnets, I LOVE THEM!!! They are old bottle caps I spray painted, made numbers and my husband poured a clear glaze. We let them dry for about 3 days and they were exactly what I wanted, 
I glued heavy duty magnets on the back and they stick perfectly to my white board. 
Students will use these to choose their Daily 5 activity. 

Beside this is my calendar and how we show birthdays. I don't teach "calendar" in 5th grade, but its necessary to have one. 

Next is my sad library. It's a work in progress. 
The genre posters are from Brown Bag teacher. 
We created that anchor chart this past week. 
I know, there are no books. But there will  be. 
Luckily my students went to our school library the fourth day of school and were able to check out a book. I am disappointed that I didn't get it all done, but in reality it wasn't the end of the world, so I am over it. 

Love the place value chart. We have already used it with a task card activity and I have seen kids look back at it and use it on their own too! 

My "back" wall has a few windows, but I do plan on utilizing those for vocabulary. 
If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen my area and perimeter window. I absolutely adore it. 
I love the Astrobrights colors and even though I wish the word area could have been bigger, I am pleased with how it turned out. If I had done it any larger, it would not have fit in my school laminator. 

Then begins my Science focus. 
I have shared my Scientific plates I copied off of Alison at Rockin' Lovin' and Learnin'
The other Science stuff from Ari at Science Penguin. I pretty much bought all her stuff during the big back to school sale. Just a complete time saver! 
 Science Tools from Ari too! 

 I am blessed with tons of storage. 
These cabinets will house our Science Vocabulary. 

The trash cans have been great for foldable trash. But they play with the lids ALL THE TIME and I can't handle it, so they have to stay on the back counter when we aren't using them. 

The blue papers are job descriptions for Science experiments. (yes, from Science Penguin) 

And yes, I am somewhat obsessed with the tubs, 

This week we have also been creating our Daily 5 charts. 

More storage. The boxes on top are the school supplies students brought. 
Thankfully I am tall so I can access them easily. 
I have been receiving lots of textbook stuff.  Much of it is here. 

The middle is my student book boxes. 
Super cheap from Ikea and fun labels from Tara at 4th Grade Frolics.

This was actually the second bulletin board I created. 
It's my TEAM jobs. Gonna try something different. 

The purple letters above it is a school wide attendance incentive. 
We are trying to spell Go Wildcats. 

The red folder houses WOW stickers and Zoot Loots. 
Wow stickers are a school wide caught being good initiative. And Zoot Loots are a 5th grade positive behavior incentive. I just had to find a safe place to keep them. 

This is a shot of my work area. My goal is to keep it this clean at the end of every day. 

This is a shot of my entire room from the front door. 

Thanks for making it through all the pictures. I am sure I went overboard. 
I have really enjoyed sharing with you though. 

Be sure to check out all the other reveals 

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