Wait for it Wednesday ~ teaching time

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

This month and each week is just flying by...I can' t believe it's already another Wait for it Wednesday!  I'm excited to share some teaching tips on telling time + a FREEBIE.  We are just finishing up our unit on this and I have some fun ideas to share with you!

PRE ~ LESSON { anticipatory set }
I found this tip once years ago when I was observing a teacher while getting my credential and have used it ever since...it's such a great idea and visual for the kids.  First I start the lesson telling the kids we are going to learn about telling time and I call up a volunteer 
{ boy }.  I talk about how I know his mama raised him well, etc., etc.  that I know he has the best manners ever.... then I tell him to act out and respond to me appropriately.  So I walk up to the classroom door as if to open it...he rushes to open it for me like a gentleman and .....I've started my lesson.  Sounds funny right?!!?  Well it works.  I praise him up and down for being a gentleman and letting ladies go first.  That leads me right into my anchor chart and how manners tie into telling time.

This leads perfectly into the anchor chart ~ ~ ~  After acting out the manners pre lesson I show them this pre made anchor chart.

We talk about manners and how men should open doors for women like the picture above with the pre lesson.  We discuss the 'ladies first' theory and show that the small hand ( hour ) is the lady hand and you should read it FIRST when telling time.  My students have done a great job with remembering ladies first.

I found this brilliant video that talks about this exact concept:  This guy is great:  teachertipster.com if you haven't found him yet.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBXW6ypG0xo

Here's a brilliant post on teaching the hour hand correctly from the start!  I love this!  Props to Cindy Lee of Ainslee Labs.  Click          { here } to read about how she teaches this concept.

This is a little gem I've used for years - probably close to 20 years.  It's most perfect for first grade in my opinion.  Firsties are unique in that often this is their first and only experience in a whole day learning environment.  They are tired....I mean TIRED at the beginning of the year.  They think it's time to go home at like 10:45 am.  I remember some of them asking, " Mrs. Moore is it time to go home yet and I was like girl...we haven't even had snack yet." #sadville
So I used 4 clocks - not only did it keep my SANITY but it taught them a little concept of time as well.

We've all seen these pictures all over pinterest. 

These are truly wonderful and helpful ideas and great for kids to see for sure.

 **The difference is that I don't keep these clocks up all day. **  As the time approaches I slide a clock down from my white board.  So my littles could see oh, we started our day with 4 clocks and now I have 3 more clocks until I go home....or ok we've had snack and Mrs. Moore pulled the second clock down so I only have 2 more clocks until I go home.  It's kinda like the 2 more sleeps until Nana or 1 more sleep until Disney World.  I wish I could show you the magic that happens when you do this.  It will REDUCE and ELIMINATE the tears or questions.  When is it lunch?  When do we go home?  Also even if they can' t tell time yet it's still a wonderful visual for them to make sense of time even elapsed time.  When telling time comes around they will have a better idea of how time works.

You can choose to either draw the hands on with sharpie OR I would either use Expo markers or create hands with tag board and pin them in with a brad.  You never know when your schedule might change and you don't want the clocks to have permanent marks on them.  Don't forget to laminate for durability.

So at this point in the day ~ ~ I would say, "Oh my goodness boys and girls we only have 2 clocks left of our day.  Look we've already passed up 2 clocks and worked so hard.  Isn't the day flying by?!?"  Of course at the beginning of the year in first grade you never know what answer you're going to get.  It might be a: NO!!! This is the longest day ever...where's my mama!  Or Wow, it is flying by Mrs. Moore you're the best teacher ever!  But either way this clock trick works like a charm!  If you want the clock I used I've included it on my Google Docs for you.  You can grab this freebie { here }

If all else fails just think about this: LOL

Hope this gave you some great tips on teaching time! See you next Wednesday for my next Edition of Wait for it Wednesday: same place, same time!


SST or RTI help

Friday, April 22, 2016

So you're calling an S.S.T.?  Some call it RTI... we all do it at some point in our year for a child at risk.  What are some ways you can make calling an SST the very BEST thing that you did for that particular child and family?  I'm here to share some ideas that have worked for me in the past.

First off ~ ~ document.  We're all teachers here and it isn't our first rodeo.  It doesn't take long to notice that a child is sticking out in your class because they aren't keeping up, asking for help a lot, hard to understand when speaking, etc.  Usually within the first week or much sooner  you can tell that something is off.  Start documenting things in a notebook about the child.  Conversations you have with them....I often keep tally marks... how often do they interrupt me?  How often are they having an altercation with another student, etc.  This is all useful information to bring to the SST or for parent conferences when you bring up the idea of having one.  

Next ~ ~ Make sure all your testing on this child is up to date.  You absolutely cannot walk into an SST without the proper data to back you up.  Parents are often already nervous and on edge during this meeting and if you don't have all your ducks in a row it makes you look unprofessional, unprepared and it leads the meeting down a road you don't want to be taking.  So having all the recent district assessments, reading assessments, etc. will be just the proof you need.  If it's not an academic issue then invite the psych or principal in to observe the child so you have other's input at the SST in regards to their behavior.

Be sure to start with the child's strengths!  If you aren't a parent you might not completely understand how crucial this is.  This is their 'baby' you are talking about...you need to come in to the meeting as positive as possible.  I don't mean feed on any denial they might be having I just mean with a positive attitude.  Every child has wonderful attributes that we can share and make the parents feel proud.  Plus, it starts the meeting off on the right foot and that makes all the difference.  You are on the same team ~ ~ starting with compliments and the child's strengths reinforces that message.  You aren't there to point fingers, complain etc.

Be a support to the parents.  Most likely you have been all year...offering advice, encouragement, tips etc.  But in the SST continue that rapport that hopefully has already been established.  They need to feel like you have their back as well as their child's.  They may be feeling insecure, nervous and overwhelmed.  This is your opportunity to calm their fears, and walk them through the SST process.  You want them to feel at ease and find success for how to best meet the needs of their child.

Make sure someone in the meeting is taking notes and documenting the conversations that are happening.  At the end offer a copy of these notes to the family and keep one in the child's file.  Be sure during the meeting to talk about the mom's pregnancy, meeting milestones as a baby, any sicknesses/illness like repeat ear infections, etc.  Try to get as much health and family history as you can to get a bigger picture.

Thank the family and team for working together for the best solution for the family and that child.  Be sure that all their questions have been answered before they leave.  If you have established a time line for what's next stick to it.  Follow through on your end on everything that you can that was brought up for this situation.  

Lastly ~ ~ take care of that child for as long as you have them.  Keep loving on them and encouraging them.  Make sure you are doing everything in your power to make that child successful ~ keep doing what you're doing!



Wait for it Wednesday ~ Mapping or Earth Day activity

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mapping and understanding our place in this world is an important skill to have.  It is revisited often throughout elementary and even later throughout the school years.
I have a fun hands on experiment that makes learning this super   engaging for your little learners.  It has been used at my grade level for years and I wish I knew who to credit for this - it's an oldie but a goodie!

One concept that is difficult for littles to understand is how much water covers our Earth.  They see the blue on the globe but even still it's hard to realize just how much it covers.  So, I have done a little experiment with my firsties for years but can be used with almost any grade to help them understand it a little better.
First I have them make a prediction:  Do they think there is more LAND or WATER?

When they make their predictions I try not to have too much discussion so they aren't swayed one way or another.  I just sit a globe in front of my room.  It's interesting listening to them thinking aloud though - " but look at all the land " or " I see lots of blue "  If you want to try this hands on activity you can grab my mapping unit  { here }

BTW the ratio is : 71% water  29% land

It's time for the spinning ~ the kids LOVE this!!!!!

Next I make an anchor chart and call on kids to come up and spin the globe.  They place their index finger gently on the globe and close their eyes ~ that's important.  When the globe stops spinning they open their eyes and see where their finger landed ~ land or water.  

Lastly, we fill in our anchor chart to show that there is more water on our Earth.

This interactive activity is such a blast and it's something your students will always remember doing.  It really gets them thinking about our Earth.  You can use it when teaching mapping skills OR if you already taught mapping skills do this lesson on Earth Day.  Have fun with it ~ ~ ~ Happy Teaching! 

It's so much fun, you can grab it here.


Opinion Writing ~ Double stuff my OREO

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Many of you have seen the OREO opinion writing but I love this double stuff idea.  My team teacher is brilliant!  Brilliant I tell you!  She taught both of my kids and I learn from her every single day.  While I was teaching opinion writing to my third graders one of my kids raised her hand and said, " You mean DOUBLE STUFF our OREOS?"  She had my team teacher last year in a 2/3 combo and I loved hearing the clever ways she taught concepts.  So I asked her to explain even though I kinda knew where she was going with it.  Basically when you are teaching opinion/persuasive writing you teach the OREO method...it looks something like this:  Which you can get from my first grade opinion writing pack { here }

Well this is from my first grade pack...it's great and all.  But...now that I teach 3rd grade we can do so much more.  So you double stuff it:  2 { or more } reasons and 2 { or more } examples.  How cute is it that my teacher friend uses the term Double Stuff?!?  It certainly 'stuck' with them so of course now I have stolen borrowed this great idea and will use it with my students.
As you can see this works great for the older kids...

opinion writing freebie

You can grab this freebie from my google docs ~ { here }
Enjoy and happy teaching friends!


Spring Fever Behavior Tips

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Spring fever is here ~ ~ ~ some years are better than others.  This year I'm not feeling the spring fever too much but the last couple of years I sure did.  Here are some ways to cope with those behaviors so close to the end of the year.

behavior hacks to try out in your classroom at anytime of the year

A good and faithful tip that I've used for years is the Fancy Desk...I've noticed some bloggers now call it the VIP desk or VIP materials.  Way back I decorated an extra desk in my room and would pick a different child every hour or so to sit there that was on task and focused/listening.  It had a soft cushion to sit on, new materials to use and it was decorated very cute of course.

VIP table - behavior hack ideas for the classroom

Switch things up a bit with your table points.  I've seen several clever, smart and different ways to use or do table points.  Just last week I came up with a really random idea to use with a sub and it worked beautifully! #gofigure  I called it Double Down Friyay!  Once the sub arrived for the afternoon all table points earned were doubled for the afternoon.  She reported that all the students were behaving to earn those coveted points and if a table was behind it was their chance to catch up before the end of the day.

If you haven't used the Compliment Chain in the past or in a while it can spark new desired behavior in your classroom.  It's actually a wonderful tool to bring in at this time of year.  It has a fun poem to copy and your students can earn links - you decide how long you want the link to be that they earn and once earned they are rewarded with a class party.  I usually tell teachers on campus that we are working towards it so they can be looking out to give us compliments at specials or in the hallways.

Quiet Spray ~ ~ ~ an oldie but a goodie!  It works with K's and Firsties.  I would just walk around the room and spray it telling them it magically reminds them to be quiet and work.  I would laugh quietly to myself when I would hear one of my kiddos say, 
" Oh, I knew it would work, I don't even feel like talking at all! "

One of my favorites ~ ~ ~ The Chair Pocket!  Have a roving chair pocket during the day.  I find children that are on task, making great choices, not talking, engaged, etc.  The child that ends up with it at the end of our day gets a prize.  Sometimes I've used seasonal chair pockets from the Dollar Tree, sometimes I've used theme ones that I bought or have made.

Another one of my favorites from when I taught first grade is the Tattle Turtle.  Some years....man!  You've got tattlers -- whew!  You know what I'm talking about.  That ONE year was the year I wrote this poem and hubby bought me a big stuffed turtle.  I would have to hold in my laugh when I saw kids walk up to the turtle and tell it something and walk away with a smile on their face... #whoknew  LOL  Definitely an oldie but a goodie here as well.  This curbs behaviors issues that tie into tattling fo' sure!

Do you need to reduce tattling in your classroom?  I have an idea for you!

If you love this idea I have the poem in my tattling pack you can grab { here }

tattling hack - reduce the tattles

I call them Smile Tiles but many of my friends call them Brag Tags.  My version is a bit different but the same general idea.  Kids love coming home with a little something special in their hand on their head or around their necks.  So...I started using Brag Tags in my classroom a couple of years ago.  That way a child can go home wearing it around their neck and their parents can quickly see that they : behaved nicely in the library or did a great job in math...

smile tiles, just like brag tags to build community and reward behavior

Use Cool Down Cubes if you need to...this is so smart!  I love how the Crafty Counselor Chick uses these.  If you have 1 or 2 students that are egging others on or needing a break.  Have them pull out a cool down cube.  You can buy these at the Dollar Tree and write some cool down tips on them with a sharpie.  

You can read all about how this super smart blogger uses these
{ here }

I love using my Behavior Bites which I've shared before but trust me it can get your whole class to sit a little straighter and behave a little better for you and for others as well.  They are now editable so you can have them fit the personal needs of your own classroom.

behavior hack ideas, monthly ideas you can use right away.

You can grab them { here }  This takes you to my product line page at my store...just scroll down and you will find these ~ ~ I have them from November - April right now.

Use a class mascot, stuffed animal or seasonal item - you can either move it around to the desks during the day.  The desk/child that has it  at lunch and at the end of the day gets a blue ticket or prize OR you can do it by tables and the table can earn extra table points.  I LOVE how Rachelle from What the Teacher Wants used the Cat in the Hat in March for this idea.  When I had a Busy Bee's class I used a stuffed bee, I've used a stuffed giraffe ( my favorite animal ) etc.

Click { here } to read Rachelle's post on this clever idea. 

Well that wraps it up ~ ~ I hope this gives you some new tricks to try come Monday or anytime in the next few months that you need to spice up your behavior management.  Happy Spring my friends! xo,