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Taking the time to teach social skills in the classroom


We have A LOT to teach...I get it.  I mean there are days I just put an arrow in my lesson plan book to the following day for a skill I just didn't get to...can I hear an amen?!?  
One thing that I will not neglect though is basic social skills.  That will never go out the door for me.

teaching social skills to kids


This has been bothering me for a while and I'm glad to tackle it today on my newest edition of...


Social skills ~ I have heard some teachers talking in the lounge complaining that kids don't have social skills but yet I rarely hear solutions.  I'm a big - if you are going to complain about it, you should also either be open to solutions or have one in mind to at least talk about with someone.  I've heard teachers complaining and blaming the parents for the student's lack of social skills, I've heard them complain and blame technology (I've done both by the way).  I've been teaching for 23 years so I can tell you that I've seen LOTS of changes over the years.  When I first taught we didn't have cell phones or ipads, or mini gaming systems.  I am definitely a tech immigrant and I've seen some effects of technology that I truly don't like at all.
So back to social skills and how important I think they are...if you follow me you know how big I am on classroom community.  I see my classroom as a 'family' and do my very best to make my room a loving, risk free, caring, safe place for kids to come each day.  Mutual respect and no put downs are extremely important to me.  I talk a lot about how we are all talented in some way and good at different things.  There are several ways that I try to build classroom community and social skills among my students.

#1

I greet each child at the door and smile, hug or 'knuckle' them as they come in.  This lets them know I'm happy to see them and it gives them a chance to look me in the eye and greet me in the same way.  No joke when my kids were little, I had a babysitter walk out the door with her HAND OUT to take the money while she was looking at her phone.  I was horrified and never asked her back.  Seriously!?!?!  That lack of respect really bothered me as a mom and it does as a teacher as well.

morning greetings in the classroom


#2

When kids are involved in a conflict, I walk them through the steps to figure it out.  I teach third grade and they should probably already have a sense of this by now, but many don't.  I usually pull the kids aside and talk quietly to them.  I tell them to tell the other person how they feel and say, "look them in the eye as you say it."  If they don't I tell them to do it again...uncomfortable maybe a bit.  However, I think teaching kids to look people in the eye is very important.  ALSO don't even get me started on how I feel technology has RUINED this for kids.  When I started teaching like I said earlier there weren't phones, etc and kids actually asked kids to play by looking at their FACE.

#3

Class meetings are another great way to build community.  Often when kids ( younger ones mostly ) have something on their mind they will have a difficult time concentrating anyway on school work.  Class meetings allow a quick share among students to do just that.  Also it encourages listening skills and listening to listen and not just to talk again.  There are a variety of resources on the web to help you out with this if you want more information.

#4

Unfortunately one of the down falls of technology is the want it now, instant gratification, never bored syndrome kids have nowadays.  This also includes the #alwayslookingdownatyourdevice problem ~  I legit should make that a hashtag cuz that is #reallife peeps!
Kids NEED to be bored parents...PLEASE let your kids be bored.  As a young mom I loved watching my toddler turn a box into a spaceship or train.  I enjoyed watching my son create and recreate new tracks for his Thomas and friends mini trains.  I saw them pick up books again and again just to look at the pictures and 'read a story' in their mind to their stuffed animals.  These things make me sad because I don't see enough young parents doing this anymore.  I see 2 year olds on their devices at dinner and parents on theirs or talking to each other but not engaging with the toddler.  For those young parents that aren't doing this I applaud you, I get it that it's a different time BUT that doesn't mean you have to feed into it.  Kids still want boundaries, still need boundaries and still desire expectations placed on them
I make it a very big deal in my room to be respectful and I let them know they have to WAIT!  Wait for directions, wait in line patiently, wait for me to finish what I'm saying and look at me the entire time I'm talking.  These are skills that are extremely important to me.  In fact, this skill is so lacking in my room that I had to make up a QUESTIONS behavioral sign.  Basically, because my students are so impatient they blurt out questions before I'm done giving instructions, they ask questions AFTER I've given instructions, they ask redundant questions that they already know but are too lazy to remember.  It's unfortunate and I love them dearly but these are skills that a boss isn't going to want to deal with when they are adults.

behavior management tip for the classroom

I was so tired of all the questions that I made this up last week.  I told the students if someone asked me an inappropriate question  for instance ( one that I already explained, or where to turn something in ( seriously?!? ) It's November folks. ) you get it, I take down a letter.  The first day I only took down 2 letters but they were both within 5 minutes of walking into class.  It was a great visual for the kids to see how many questions they ask.  I have kids raise their hands and then pull their hand down and say never mind because they either looked around the room for the answer, or just realized how they could solve that problem on their own.  For instance, it's not okay to ask what are we doing next in my room, I post a schedule every single day.  The answer is right in front of them.

#5

Manners 101...manners are a big deal too.  We say please, thank you, bless you , etc. in my class.  We say I'm sorry and we help each other.  Part of social skills is basic manners and I want my students to come out as better human beings than when they arrived.  Some teachers think it should be left to the parents but I disagree...again, yes we have a lot to teach but you can fit in what's really important to you.


I love this because it's so true in all aspects of life.  How are you teaching these skills or reinforcing what you want to see in your classroom?  I'd love to have a discussion below in the comments.  Just like with growth  mindset, we can 'retrain' the brain to do these things that kids did more freely before technology came into their lives.  Just something to think about...as always ~ ~ ~
Happy Teaching! 
xox,




5 ways to use paint chips in the classroom




Welcome to another edition of...




So it's a short week and I didn't even realize it until Monday ...seriously?!?! SMH Usually stuff like this doesn't get by me LOL but trust me I'm in need of a day off so I'm happy to embrace a short week.  I wanted to share some easy paint chip ideas that you can use in your classroom.

The first one is a Christmas tag...how cute would it be to attach these cute trees to a paper bag gift from your students to their parents!?!  




Having these on hand for early finishers or centers is a great option for kids too!  Use them for words of meaning or fact families - they are the perfect size for little hands for ELA or math.

 
and






This one is probably my favorite...those 3 windowed paint chips are perfect for this....they chose the correct 'operation' for the three numbers given.  I can't wait to use this in a math center.






The last way to use paint chips in the classroom is for word work...this window is perfect for word family practice with your reluctant readers.



Well guys ~ I'm exhausted, #teachertruth I just want
my bed right now.  Enjoy the rest of your week and thanks for tuning in...as always
Happy teaching! xoxo,






Halloween treats for kids

I don't know about you but our district allows us 3 'parties' a year.  They mean organized parties that revolve around holidays etc.  So, that's Christmas, Valentine's Day and the end of the year.  We can have class reward parties but these parties are the kind that parents come in and there's usually food, etc.  So with that being said we don't have a Halloween party per say but...you have to do something I mean otherwise it's like a big elephant in the room right?!?  Let's be honest, full moons and Halloween are our least favorite days of the year.  So, how to handle it....well hopefully I have some ideas that you can use to help you through the day.

Welcome to my Halloween edition of...







( on SUNDAY this week )

Halloween is a like a 4 letter word for teachers...ugh!  I would honestly rather have the district take a day from my Christmas break and let me have the day of or the day after Halloween off.  Can I hear an amen!?!

So what to do?!?!

Well I always want to be sure my students have something to take home from me and we can't have candy in the classroom so, I thought I could make mini pinatas for them.  I let them decorate a tube with paper and other craft items and then I turned it into a pinata by adding candy ( the horror ) and other fun non editable treats.  That way they can feel like they had something special at school.  ( they are doing a craft ) and then they take something from me home so I see it as a win win.



Easy Halloween treats for kids

The mini pinatas were so easy to make...here's your how to:


Halloween party treats for kids

In my district we have a healthy policy so no cupcakes and treats like that...however we can send those types of things home, so this would be given to the kids on the way out the door.  
The other ideas are a healthy alternative:
Here are some fun healthy treats you can use in your classroom:

easy, healthy Halloween treats for kids

The banana is wrapped in gauze from the first aid aisle, I did pull it apart so it looked tattered and holey too.  The others I just drew faces on...easy peasy!  I hope you can use some of these ideas now or pin them for next year, have a glass of wine for me after school on Halloween or the day after...not sure which is worse. LOL
As always happy teaching!
xo,











Halloween costume ideas


Happy almost Halloween guys!   The least favorite holiday of teachers everywhere right?!?  I do love Halloween and dressing up but I'm definitely not a fan of the hyped up kids the day of and the day after that's for sure.  Halloween should always be on a Saturday night! #justsayin
I wanted to share a couple of costume ideas with you that I did last year and this year.  Last year my team partner wanted us to dress up as Charlotte and Fern for Character dress up day.  Since we are 3rd grade teachers it was perfect.  Here we are:

Halloween costume ideas for teacher team

My outfit was easy to make.  I used white felt and my first thought was to hot glue black yarn down to create a web...as I laid the yarn down I realized this job was going to be tricky.  So, I went to Party City and purchased a spider web decoration that can be put on your house and literally cut the middle and placed it on top of the white felt.  Then I carefully placed it and hot glued it in several places.  THIS made my life so much easier!  Guys, the trick really is to pre purchase the web and glue it down.  Lastly, I added a spider from Party City, glued that down and glued the words down which I spelled out with black yarn.  
You can wear leggins, printed tights, whatever you want.  I just wore a black skirt and striped legging tights to make it fun!  Oh, and I did grab a spider headband at Party City too to wear on my head.
If you want one of your teammates to be Fern...all you need is a plaid shirt, overalls or jeans and some freckles put on my an eyebrow pencil.  My friend added pig tails and carried a stuffed pig - HOWEVER, this year we have a third teammate so she will be Wilbur.
For Wilbur - just grad a pig headband and nose, pink shirt and pink leggings or tutu and you are all set.

Another fun costume I did which was this year is a giraffe.  If you know me you know I LOVE giraffes!  I have my whole life so this was perfect.  Here's how the look turned out:

Easy giraffe halloween costume


Giraffe halloween costume


Giraffe Halloween Costume


giraffe halloween costume


If you needed to tie this look into a character from a book you could always use the book Giraffe's Can't Dance.  Hope these ideas were helpful, I'd love for you to share your looks on my facebook page.  https://www.facebook.com/teachingandmuchmoore/
I hope you survive Halloween week, as always :
happy teaching! 
xo,




Associative property of Multiplication

Happy 'hump' day friends...I'm here to share some tips on teaching the associative property of multiplication...sounds kinda dry huh?!?!  Well if you know me I try  ( very hard ) not to make things dry for my students so here's what we were up to today!
Welcome to another edition of :


If you aren't familiar with the video series on you tube by: Math & learning videos for kids you need to check them out.   Here is the link to this particular one:  
They are always engaging and a 'go to' for me.  This video placed a crown on the parenthesis to remind the kids that the parenthesis is 'king' and always goes first.  So....what was I to do of course...make a crown.  I'll be honest...first, I casually frantically asked every teacher on my wing if they had a crown ( preferably a nice solid metal or plastic one ).  No luck...so of course I headed straight to who else but kindergarten.  I mean hello...c'mon of course they would have crowns.  No luck...so I made my own cheesy crown...it worked fine.  I knew that I needed one and I had to have my parenthesis kids ( for our skit ) wear one as well.

This is what we came up with... ( oh P.S. no judging it happened to be Red Ribbon Week and a spirit day...team up against drugs ) that's the reason for the jersey and black paint on my face.

associative property of multiplication tips


As you can see above, I rocked wore the crown during the entire lesson and then I called kids up to hold numbers, multiplication signs and of course hold the all important parenthesis.  As you can see the students holding the parenthesis were wearing the crowns to show that that part needed to be done first.  Then we moved the parenthesis' ( not sure how to make that plural ) LOL around different numbers to get our point across.
So, something like this:
3 x ( 4 x 2 ) =
( 3 x 4 ) x 2 =

It worked like a charm...even my struggling students were able to pick up on the concept.  I love when I teach something like this and it sticks with everyone...that makes my teacher heart so very happy!
So, if you want to try this in your class all you need is:

associative property of multiplication

It was super fun, memorable and easy to do, if you are teaching on it and finding your students having some trouble with it then you need to definitely get all 'royal' on your students and give this lesson a try!  I've included a freebie just for you - you can grab it 
{ here }

Associative property of multiplication freebie

I hope this was helpful to you...as always,
 happy teaching!
xo,







Red Ribbon Week Ideas

Hi friends, happy hump day!  Thanks for visiting me each week for my Wait for it Wednesdays.  I love hearing from you either through comments on this post or from fb or Instagram messages.  So, thank you for your feedback.


Red Ribbon Week Ideas blog post with lots of pictures and a fun craft





Welcome to my RED RIBBON EDITION of :


This week I thought it would be an appropriate time to talk to you about Red Ribbon Week since it's right around the corner.  Our PTA usually plans our dress up days that week and of course if you know me, I love to dress up!  One thing I wanted to share with you are door ideas that I've compiled.  Most of the teachers I know either have to decorate a door, or their room mom does but here are some real cute ones:

Red Ribbon Week door idea


Red Ribbon Week door decorating idea


This fun key activity would be adorable to do with your students. Kids love to take things home to their parents...even my 3rd graders do.  When we make a craft of some kind the first they ask is, " Can we take this home today?"  If I say yes they cheer.  This would be so fun for them to take home and share with their parents as well as a great way to get kids thinking and talking about making healthy and wise choices.
Red Ribbon Week be drug free craft
If you think this is something your students would love you can grab it by clicking on the picture below:

Red Ribbon Week craft

At my school we use our school colors to build a chain that goes around our front office, hallways and MPR that we write kind messages on.  It's been a great tradition!  I love this idea which is similar but they write why they will be drug free and future goals they have on red paper to create a drug free chain.




Another school released red balloons into the air at the same time, I'm sure that left quite an impression on young minds.

Red Ribbon Week school wide idea

We will dress up everyday, make a hand print pledge and do my key craft.  What are some things you do for Red Ribbon Week at your school?
Share some of your ideas with our  community below....as always
Happy Teaching! 
xo, 





Genius ideas to use with everyday items in the classroom

Teachers....we are a unique breed that's for sure.  My mom was a teacher for 30 years and I can't tell you the random things she would find/bring home/collect etc.  I know, I know, I'm preaching to the choir here.  We would go on trips and go way out of our way for something she knew she could use in her classroom.  She collected Pringles can and covered them with 1970's shelf liner paper -no joke!  AND here's the kicker, we didn't even eat Pringles chips.  ( did you see how I started a sentence with and...oh the horror!! )

Welcome to another edition of :
( disclaimer... ok, so maybe all of these ideas aren't genius...but hey they aren't bad... )



random hacks for teaching

I thought I would compile a list of everyday or not so everyday items that teachers can use in their classroom.  I hope you find a lot of new ones you didn't think of before to help you out.



using tile spacers as manipulatives to practice multiplication sentences and repeated addition


Tile spacers are PERFECT for teaching repeated addition and then the corresponding multiplication sentence to match.  FIRST, they are really FUN to touch, bend, etc.  They are kinda bendy and definitely a little addictive to hold on to I must say!  SECOND they are perfect to teach this concept and the kids loved using them as manipulatives.  They are CHEAP at the Home Depot at just over $5 for 500 of them too!

Creative uses for pool noodles are popping up everywhere you look.  I bet the pool noodle inventors could've never imagined all the things that they are used for nowadays.  For the last several years I have used a pool noodle on my classroom door so my students aren't constantly having to jump up to answer it when a classmate needs their water or homework from their backpack during a lesson. 






pool noodle door stop hack for teachers


We all have these in our classroom and yes, they work perfectly on a bulletin board when you don't want to rip your student's work or the background paper...but here's another way you can use a staple remover that I bet you didn't think of before:


open key ring with staple remover

I know I don't want to ruin my pretty nails like ever...so a staple remover to the rescue ladies!



Another popular item found in classrooms across the world...but let's think outside the box on this one.  They are perfect to use when you need to write yourself a note and remind yourself to do something later.  They are perfect to use when you need to send a quick note home or a note to a colleague as well.  But did you know that they work perfectly to CLEAN the keys on your computer keypad, or even better your students grimy keypads?!?!


random uses for sticky notes



If you have scrap fabric laying around or know a quilter ask them to share.  Lots of people have scraps of fabric hanging around and it's perfect to use as an inexpensive way to decorate your classroom.  Here's a banner I made with scraps:

clever way to use extra fabric in the classroom



Curtain rods can be used to hang things other than curtains obviously.  I have used a curtain rod to hang my anchor chart each week for the skill we are working on.  It has been so easy to change out each week.  I just used command hooks on either side and then hung the rod.  Lastly I punched holes in my anchor chart and hung them from the rod with over sized o rings.

teacher hacks for the classroom


Teachers are the kings and queens of using things for other purposes and saving a buck here and there right!?!?  See how this is suppose to be used for filing papers?  LOL  Nope, use an over sized paper clip to organize your computer cords...stop the chaos!

how to organize all those computer cords


hack for storing small items


Eye glass cases aren't that hard to get a hold of...through donations, older parents, etc. it's easy to collect them.  You can use them to store thumb tacks, staples, paper clips...you name it.  It's nice if you are working on something and need them handy because it's so portable.  I can't tell you how many times I had a tiny little paper clip box beside me and the side opened or top popped off and they ended up all over the floor.



clever use for command hooks in the classroom

I also hang command hooks around my room with word lists and journal prompt ideas as well as their password codes in various places.  They know they are free to get up and grab what they need when they need it.  Handy...yes!

Other ideas:

use shaving cream on student desks to practice multiplication facts

shaving cream - use on desks to work on sight words or multiplication facts.  Not only is it fun and smells good but it cleans the desks too!  #winwin

lazy susan - this works wonders to hold crayons, scissors, etc. as a community supply holder at student tables.  Ordinarymom.ca use this brilliant hack to organize her supplies.

use a lazy susan to store community classroom supplies

I hope you can incorporate a few of these ideas if you haven't yet.  I always enjoy coming across new ideas to make my life easier in the classroom.  What great ideas do you have to share?  Happy teaching!
xo,
















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