Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Back to School Tips and Tricks {Part 2}

Happy Tuesday! I am back today with the second chapter of The First Six Weeks of School by Paula Denton and Roxann Kriete.  Yesterday, I outlined and posted my views about chapter one (week one). If you missed it, check it out {here}! I don't practice everything suggested in this book, but I definitely take things and tweak them to work for me!


Chapter Two- Week 2

This chapter begins with some changes to Morning Meeting. Starting this week, the morning message will evolve.  Last week, our morning message read something like this: "Dear Friends, Good Morning! Today is Monday.  We will learn names today."  Now, I add another piece of information about the day; I usually add the special that we have.  Paula & Roxann suggest also naming a student who is "first" in line, and a door holder.  However, I use classroom jobs (that change bi-weekly) so I don't do that.  It would be boring to read the same two names every day for 10 days! Just my thought, though!

The other fun part about morning meeting is that sharing is introduced.  After modeling the components of a good share and having students identify what makes a good share, I have 2 students share each day.  Once they have shared, they can take 3 questions or comments.  Of course, we also have to talk about what a thoughtful question or comment consists of.  {Love those kiddos who turn their "comment" into their own share!} I keep track of who has shared on a checklist so that all students have a chance to share and the same 2 people aren't sharing each day.  Once I get down to the last few students, I will ask the remaining students if they would like to share instead of taking volunteers.  If they don't want to {which is perfectly fine}, then the other students can have a second turn.

The remainer of this chapter outlines how to establish classroom rules.  Paula & Roxann suggest compiling a list of written classroom rules on Day 6.  Last year, I did this on Day 3 (which was a Friday, because we started on a Wednesday).  It's just my opinion, but I kind of freak out at the thought of going an entire week with no classroom rules. Who knows, maybe I will be brave this year! If you've waited this long to establish classroom rules, let me know how that worked for ya! I'd love to hear some inspiration.

Anyway, Paula & Roxann suggest working on the rules for a few days.  On the first day, you can take suggestions for rules and then turn them into positive statements like "Use your words" instead of "Don't hit."  On the second day, you will categorize the rules.  They usually fall into 3 main categories: care for ourselves, care for others, and care for our environment.  You can use general categories that work for you.  My rules this past year were: Be kind, Be responsible, Be ready to learn.

The next part is something that I did not do this year, but I am planning to do next year: have students illustrate children following one of the rules.  I think this is a great idea, especially for kindergarten, because these pictures can be posted near the classroom rules as a visual reminder.  I also have the students sign the rules after I recopy them onto a final poster.  This is their promise to me that they will follow the rules!

I hope you've gotten a few tips out of this chapter! I will write about Chapter 3 later in the week!
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