WELLNESS COMMITTEE and Sunshine Committee

Does your school have a Wellness Committee?  This is a perfect time of the year with the New Year's resolutions for the committee to plan some activities for the faculty and staff.

Idea #1

Plan a healthy potluck.  You can collect recipes on Pinterest and or ask people to bring copies of their favorite recipes to the luncheons.  

R.A.K. - Random Acts of Kindness: Staff Morale Boosters

Practicing R.A.K., Random Acts of Kindness, can make a huge difference in your work environment.  

If you could listen to conversations of teachers or read private discussions teachers have in forums and Facebook groups, you would see a common topic - stress and the work environment.

While we cannot always control the expectations placed upon us or the other stressors in our work life, there are things we can do to make the climate more positive.

Word of the Day: Vocabulary, Spelling, Word Meaning, Word Study, Morning Meeting

Word of the Day can be incorporated with your schedule many different ways.  In the picture above, it is set up as a vocabulary center.  I use a wipe off pocket so it is quick and easy to slide in each "Day in History" slide.  There is a small pocket chart under it that you can change out the two words of the day quickly.  Copy the words on different colors to differentiate.    Each "Day in History" has 2 words so you can provide enrichment.  There are also foldables, half-page assignments, extensions and weekly wrap-up assignments.

Behavior Management

Class dynamics can change at the most inopportune time.  For some reason, it seems like all the rules and procedures fly out the window when the teacher is not feeling well, tired, or giving a big test. A change in weather, a new student added to your class, or several students who are feeling the symptoms of the latest virus will change your perfectly run class into a big mess.  This is why you need, not only your procedures and rules that you use to manage your class, but a big toolbox full of tools to use when one of these inopportune times happen.

When your students are off track, it is time to try something new.  The novelty of the new idea(s) help to engage your students when this happens.  Here are a few tools from my toolbox:

Positive peer pressure can be a wonderful tool.  Divide your class into teams.  I copy the letters for the word "prize" off on different colored paper for each team. (see first picture) When I catch a team doing something extra good - turn in work quietly, everyone turned in homework, walked to lunch without running or talking, I turn over a letter.  When all of the team's letters are turned over, that team earns a prize.  Prizes can be whatever you want:  first to line up at the end of the day, use special school supplies, choose what the class plays at recess, or extra computer time.

Do you remember watching Dr. Phil on the Oprah show?  He would listen to people share their issues and then he would ask, "How is that working for you?".  I have asked that same question to myself on my drive home when I'm feeling frustrated that my class is not running as smoothly as it did in the past.  One strategy I try to "go on the positive".  Yes, I may not be feeling very positive at the moment, in fact I might be feeling pretty stressed and tired of some of the ongoing behavior issues.  This strategy has worked many times for me.  I begin to look for who/which students ARE following the rules, working like they should.  When my class is off track, it has never been 100%.  It may feel like it, but it isn't.  So, I begin to reward the ones who are doing what I want and ignoring as much as possible the ones who aren't.  I reward them with praise, stickers, trips to the prize box, using special markers or gel pens.  Whatever it is that motivates my class.  In the picture above (2nd one) are happy notes.  Sometimes make them into bracelets and other times I attach them to the loop on my student's backpack.  This is a great way to a build positive relationship with your student and parents.

I found these wooden shapes at Hobby Lobby.  At magnets on the back.  When you see someone being a special friend or doing all star work put, attach the magnetic shape on his/her desk.  Your students will love the recognition.  At the end at the day, students will put the shapes in the basket.

If your class is turning in less-than-the-best quality work, it is time to show them examples of what you are looking for.  In order to motivate your class, it is important to find something to praise in a wide range of students - not just the students who are your typical gold stars.  Show a student's assignment (on the document camera) who remembered to end all of his/her sentences with the correct punctuation mark.  Show a writing assignment that is creative, an assignment with neat handwriting, an assignment that you can tell that the topic is something that the student is passionate about.  If my school allows candy, I have stapled a lifesaver on the assignments that went above and beyond.  If they don't allow candy, I have attached happy notes like the one in the picture above.  You will soon see your students working like busy bees.

If the examples do not help, you may need to staple a "speeding ticket" on a few assignments.   Usually just one or two of these is all that it takes to slow your student down.

Have you tried a marble jar for a class incentive? I love using class incentive for things like hallway behavior, recess behavior, and lunch behavior.  Sometimes I have found that I need to try something new, though.  I found this funny little monster guy at a thrift store.  I usually start with a big object to put in the "jar/monster" because it takes fewer objects to fill it up.  After my class earns a prize or two, I will begin to use smaller objects like BINGO chips.

Playing a game is another fun class incentive.  When your class can get ready at the end of the day within a certain amount of time, choose a student to make one move on the game.  You will soon find your transitions are smoother, quieter, and quicker.

If the positives haven't worked, you may need to individualize your management with a few of your students. To keep your students engaged, change how your students mark their charts.  You can use smelly BINGO markers, highlighters or Scentos markers.

When I document, I like to color code my documentation.  I think it is easier to find this way.  The orange page is behavior documentation for R.T.I. or a student that may need to be tested in the future. The purple page is work habits documentation for R.T.I. or a student that may need to be tested in the future.  The green page is class behavior.  I like to change this color each month. 

The charts and pages, plus more can be found in my Behavior 101 file.

Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE.
Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

100th Day of School for 2nd Grade and Older


Do you celebrate the 100th day of school?  If you teach 2nd grade+, you may get a few "I've already done X, Y, or Z in kindergarten or first grade".  Why not take a social studies approach to this day instead of a making it a math day?  It is a fun way to honor this milestone and study history at the same time.

Students will look back in history 100 years.  Add a tech connection and investigate the following topics: exploration, transportation, commerce, political events, world/national events, and interesting facts.  Here is a form students can use to take notes from their investigation.  You can decide what they do with this information.  They could write a report, make a poster, or design an advertising campaign.


Centers Management, Organization, Work Habits and More!

Do you have any New Years resolutions for your job? When the holiday craziness is over, I like to do a little reflecting. What needs a little tweaking? How can I make things a little smoother for next semester.

In the picture above is a big time savers. Label each unit in your Teacher's Edition with a different color. Label each chapter of the unit with the same color. You would be surprised at how much time you waste flipping through your T.E. looking for a specific chapter.
Students take pride when their work is displayed. Making seasonal bulletin boards is time consuming. If you don't have a lot of extra time, I would recommend getting some of the greeting card display cords like in the picture above.

I found this set at Hobby Lobby at an after Christmas sale. Students can even hang their own work. Independent work display - what more could you ask for?

Hanging on the line is: Morning Message and Winter vs. Christmas
It seems like the management of centers was one of the areas that I reflected on each year. I have compiled a file full of tips, management ideas, printables, and other helpful tools that will help you if this is your area that needs tweaking.

Here are some of the things included:
Late work tips and sign

School Subject and Days of Week signs

44 center signs

There are a variety of printables included to use with the centers.

Center printables include:

Brain Thinkers (creative thinking, divergent thinking)
Word Work - (can use with word of the day) Thesaurus, Synonyms, Antonyms
Dictionary Work
List Maker
Label It
Computer Center
Take a Tour (write the room) find things that begin with vowels, contain r-controlled vowel, begin with ch, sh, th, wh, bl, cl, fl, pl, sl,; end with ed, ing, ap, ag, sh
Write a letter
Word Work: using rubber worms
Poetry Center: compare poems
Let's Edit: 3 printables and answer keys are included
Playdough mats - "Design it"
There are also work habit tips and printables included.
Behavior management tips and printables are also included.
I am going to give one teacher all of the fun stuff in the picture above plus a copy of Teacher Toolbox.

Please download the preview file. There are some forms that are EDITABLE in Powerpoint.

Date of Giveaway: JANUARY 3 - 8, 2016

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE.
Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.