Thursday, April 28, 2011

Classroom Management Linky Party

Can I just say, I LOVE linky parties!

I am reposting this to join in with Miss Kindergarten.

You can also look at my newer post about using music in the classroom.

Mrs. Randall is hosting a party for classroom management and I just had to join.

This has changed my classroom. I really like it. It has just enough negative reinforcement to make the positive reinforcement a big incentive. I was finding that my students did need a negative consequence, but I wanted something that would allow the kids to redeem themselves the same day.

Here is the ebook that explains about the clip chart.

I also use stickers and other incentives when needed. Overall, I am very happy with my classroom management. 

School Year Success

I was just wishing for a linky party and Kristen delivered.

Link up!

My biggest success this year has been working with one boy in my class.

At the beginning of the year (starting the first day), he threw crazy fits when he didn't get his way. He would throw himself on the floor, roll around kicking and screaming. This happened more times than I could count. He was crazy defiant.

I am happy to say that he hasn't thrown a fit since December. Yay! His behavior has improved by 95%. He listens to me and is respectful. We still have some problems, but they are minor.

I am so proud of his progress. There are several other kids in my class that have made similar progress, but nothing as drastic as this boy.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Morning Flipchart

I have a Promethean board in my room that I LOVE! I am so blessed to have it and I use it every day for many things. Here is our morning routine:

7:45 Pick up kids from the gym.
7:55 Tardy bell rings
        Kids come in put up their things and go to their morning work station. For most of the year they were writing in their journals in the mornings, but we all needed a change.
8:00-8:15 Announcements, attendance, generally getting ready to start the day.

Then we all come together for out morning flipchart. I wanted to share this because I have been working on this all year. First, it was a PowerPoint presentation because I was more familiar with those. Then I began to use flipcharts. I wanted this time to be interactive and a good review of concepts we need to keep fresh. Since I can't upload a real flipchart to Blogger, I have taken screen shots to show you the pages.

This is the first page of our routine. I made it more of a template so I didn't have to change all the numbers every day. This way I can write what we need. I will usually draw a time, 2 addition problems, and drag money for them to count. Then I write subtraction problems. My students do it individually on dry erase boards or notebook paper. Then I call up students to work the problems so we can talk about each one. I just added the words that tell us to add and subtract. I thought this would be a good place to review those. I have dual pens, so 2 people can be writing on the board at once. They love that!

Next we go over our word wall words. I have 3 weeks worth of words under the smiley face. We drag them out and talk about each one. I chose to do 3 weeks worth so that we review them longer. It changes as we add new words, but they get to see each word for 3 weeks. I think it helps them to remember them.

This page uses the "magic frame". I change the phrases every week. You move the frame around the screen to reveal the 4 phrases for the week. I like these little tools that help you focus the students attention.

This is my newest way to go over spelling words. We do this every morning to talk about the patterns and tricky things in our words. I took screen shots of the upper left hand corner and lower right hand corner. Then I added the words and hid them behind the new pictures. That way it looks like a beautiful picture, but I can "magically" pull the spelling words out. :)  I have been doing this in different ways for a while, this is just the newest.

Anyway, that is our morning flipchart. Let me know what you think.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Feeling a little blue...

I am really struggling right now. It seems like I am not making a difference at school. My students behavior  is deteriorating fast and we still have many weeks until summer. I am feeling insignificant and unsuccessful. Not a good week.

I love teaching and working with my students, so I am not sure why I am suddenly feeling this way. I want so much to be a great teacher. I hope I am feeling this way because of stress and being tired. I need some positive feedback every now and then, too.

I will pull myself out of this melancholy soon.

Monday, April 11, 2011

7 Favorite Things Linky Party

I am linking up with Persnickety Pickles to talk about my 7 favorite things that are non-school/work related. I am so glad I found this. I focus on school way too much, just ask my husband. ( I love you Kevin! )

I love reading. I love bookstores. I own many books and would like to have many more. My greatest dream would be to have a library like the one the Beast shows Bell in Beauty and the Beast.  :)

I have become a huge fan of Apple products in the last year. My husband and I bought an iMac for our home computer and it is amazing! I use Macs at work and they are great. I want an iPad more than anything...

Organization is a wonderful thing. I love my label maker, but I haven't used it much at my house. I love the feeling of reorganizing a space. I am forgetful, so I like everything to have a spot. 

P.S. The Container Store is where I want to live.

It kinda makes me feel like an old lady to share this, but I really like to cross-stitch. It is very relaxing. I enjoy seeing the pattern emerge as I add each color to the pattern. I do the counted cross stitch, so I start with a blank canvas and follow the pattern to make a beautiful picture.

We have an amazing church family and I really like being at church. My husband is our youth minister, so I will be going to summer camp this year! I am super excited because I loved camp when I was in the youth group and I want to be a part of that from the counselor prospective.

I love getting together with friends and family. Going to dinner, the movies, shopping, or just sitting together talking. I have known most of my good friends since high school or even before that (shout out to Stacy - we have been friends since Kindergarten!). It has been really weird to notice how our conversations have changed over the past few years. We are adults now...
Here is a silly one...
I love having my back and/or head rubbed. I wish I could get a massage every day. I ask for one just about every birthday, anniversary, and Christmas.

Anyway, those are my 7 favorite things!

What a week.

So last week was crazy. I had no energy for blogging, even though I made an iMovie. (Which I am so excited about!) Grades were due, we had a Math Milestone (to give, grade, bubble, submit, and go over with the kids), getting ready for TPRI (materials and just stressing about it), preparing my PDAS binder to turn in this week, and behavior issues that just drain me.

Well, we have started a new week and a new six weeks. Even though it is the last and longest six weeks, I am looking forward to it. My class has come a long way this year and I am very proud of them. I have learned SO MUCH!

I am also so happy to have found this wonderful world of blogging. There are so many creative teachers out there and I am so glad I get to peek into their rooms. I want to be like that someday! I am working up to it.  :o)

Anyway, nothing much to share right now, just wanted to check in. I will have a fun post by the end of the week!

Something fun I was just thinking about...

This is my first year to teach 2nd grade. For the past two years I was teaching Pre-K, which I loved. I just wanted to share some photos to compare the two classrooms.  :o)

Small group 2nd grade
Small group Pre-k

Group meeting area
Promethean Board
2nd grade
Group meeting area
Smart Board
Stations in 2nd grade

Block center in pre-k
Housekeeping center in Pre-k
Last but not least, my desk area...
2nd grade


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My First iMovie!

I decided to play around with iMovie tonight. I have to turn in a PDAS notebook soon and I wanted to incorporate some pictures of things we have been doing this year. I wanted something that would showcase the pictures and be fun. I found it!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Techy Tools Linky Party

I am joining up with Miss Snowden to talk about my favorite technology tools.

I am very blessed to work at a school with access to tons of technology. We have a computer lab, laptop carts, an ipod cart, a Promethean board, ActivExpression voters, an Elmo, and eReaders.

I have student computers in my room that the students use daily and I pick up two laptops every morning. I have four eReaders that the kids use daily. I love using the voters to make the Promethean board even more interactive. I create PowerPoints and flipcharts for the Promethean board for all subjects.

My favorite new program to use with the students is Comic Life. It is a great kid friendly program that is cheap. You can quickly add pictures and text.

We have used it once in the computer lab. I let the kids explore and use the built in camera on their computers to add pictures. Tomorrow we will be going to the computer lab to work on an actual project I  made for them. They are going to drag a picture of an animal from the server and then answer a few prompts. Then they will move it to my dropbox where I can grade them. I hope it goes good! Here is an example of what can be created. I made this at the class I took on Comic Life through my district.

Just ignore the crazy picture of me in the corner.  :/ We got a little silly during the class when we were using the camera on our computers.

Anyway, I love using all the technology tools. I am hoping to get my masters in Technology Instruction. We will see.

Guided Reading

I L.O.V.E. my guided reading time! It is by far my favorite time of the day. There are rough parts, like keeping my kids from coming over and wanting to talk to me or ask me a question, but I love listening to them read in small groups. We get to talk about the books and practice difficult words. We focus on fluency and intonation. We play reading games that they don't quite realize is learning or assessment. ☺

I have five groups that I work with throughout the week. I meet with my top group 2-4 times a week because they do so well on their own. I am working on doing more literature group type stuff with them. As I said before, I am new to 2nd grade and still working things out.

Earlier this year I was searching the internet for good reminders to post at my guided reading table. I found these:

I taped page protectors to my guided reading table and slipped these inside. We refer to them as needed. Just to clarify one more time, I didn't make these. I found them through the internet. I believe I was on the Second Grade Teacher's Club website. That is a great blog for sharing ideas, by the way.

My school bought bank bags a few years ago with our school name on them. We use them as our take home "Book Bags." I give the kids leveled books to take home and read every week. It is difficult to remember to do this, but I am getting better at it. For some of my students, these are the only books they read at home. For others, it is just wishful thinking on my part that they are reading at all. I encourage them to read every night. Here are two things I have tried so far for  documentation of their reading.

I made this and it stayed in their book bags with their books. They were to fill it in each night. Most of them did a great job, but it always seems like the kids who would benefit the most, don't participate.

Lately I have been giving them post its and asking them to make connections in their books or writing questions. I was trying to kill two birds with one stone.  :) They love post it notes! So... most of the kids participated in this. I found another great thing over Spring Break and I implemented it last week. I offered the student who read the most a prize. I was kind of sad that only a few made it the entire week, but after I handed out the prizes today, I am hoping more will participate this week. Once again, I didn't make this and it is not my idea, just a great thing I found on the internet! Thank you Mrs. Stamp for sharing!

I would love to hear what other teachers are doing to encourage their students to read. I love reading in my "spare" time, so I want to pass that on the my students. I heard about a fun idea called Flashlight Fridays. The kids bring a flashlight on Friday and get to read in the dark. I am going to try it this week!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Miscellaneous Organization

This is the last day of Organization Week from Mrs. Patton. I have loved it! There is not much I have to share on this one. I have a file folder bucket that holds all the students cumulative folders. I also put writing samples and other things in that file folder.

I want to find a better way to organize report cards and other things like that I keep until the end of the year. I am thinking about just adding another file to my sorter for notes from home. We will see.

I do assign every student a number and that helps with a lot of organization. That is how they know which mailbox is theirs, where to hang their backpacks, and what station they go to in the morning.

I really need to learn how to minimize everything in my room. That is going to be my project for the next few weeks. I was proud of myself for going through the cabinet behind my desk and all the papers I had been piling up this six weeks. I can't decide if I just want to keep a digital copy of all materials or have a paper copy as well. Let me know if you do the digital copies and how that works for you.

I will hopefully post again in a few weeks about how I decided to change some things around.  :)

I love having a clean desk.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Language Arts Block Organization

This part of my day has changed several times this year. Since I didn't really know what to expect at the beginning of the year, I didn't have them going to centers or stations. I thought they would be too old for this. (I was coming from Pre-k.) Well, that is NOT true. We all LOVE centers! I love this part of my day because it gives the kids a chance to get out of their seats, move around, talk to a partner, and work in a less restrictive atmosphere.

Here is how my morning routine works. I pick up the kids in the gym at 7:45 and the tardy bell rings at 7:55. Usually I have a few students come in late. Up until 2 weeks ago, they would put away their things and write in their morning work journal. I recently decided to have them at centers when they arrive in the morning. So far it is working good. The kids can't wait to see what their center will be. Here is a picture of the choices. I choose these for them.

The big notecards are morning work centers
and the little ones are their jobs.

Then we all come together for a morning routine on a flipchart. I release them to get their book boxes and go to their reading spots. They read independently for 15-25 minutes. Also during this time a group will go to our classroom library to choose new books for their book boxes.


I pull 3-4 groups a day. A Title 1 teacher comes in to work with a group of low kids daily during this time. After their reading time, I release them to go to their literacy center. They get to choose these centers every morning. The most popular are Promethean Board, computers, eReaders, and Spelling. 

I keep these behind my u-shaped table.
These are some of my centers. Spelling is a big
favorite because of the shaving cream and play-doh.  :)

These are my 2 favorite things. I keep my guided reading
materials and books in the file organizer. I keep my
guided reading logs and running records in the binder.

This is what I am going to start using in the 6th Six Weeks. I have something similar I am using now, but it was made by someone else. I wanted to personalize it for my needs. If you can use it, please do!

Thanks Mrs. Patton!