Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"Snow" Much Fun!

Are you being hit hard by storm Juno right now? We are! We got a phone call yesterday morning around 5:50 AM {good morning!} letting us know that there would be an early dismissal because of the impending storm. 
{Side note: doesn't my little snowman look right at home?}
 Well, for me that meant the day would end at 12:50, leaving only about 25 minutes for math. I was not going to do the whole guided math rotation that I had planned because there simply would not be enough time! Thankfully, I came across an amazing resource that I had on my flash drive from Rowdy in Room 300- snowball fight! It was a breeze to prep, and within minutes, I had a solution for my math problem!
I wrote numbers 11-19 on slips of paper, and had my students crumble them up into "snowballs." Then, we threw them around the room for a few minutes. When time was up, I partnered everyone up, and they all grabbed a snowball and brought it to their table.
Their job was to write their number and fill in the tens frames to represent it. Then, they had to do the same with their partner's number.
Once they were finished, they had to decide which number was greater, and color in that snowman. Then, they were ready to crumble up their snowball, throw it back on the floor, and grab another one! My class had an absolute BLAST doing this! They didn't even realize they were learning! Thanks so much, Rowdy in Room 300!! You're a snowy day life saver!
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Power of Positivity Week 4

Welcome back to week 4 of The Power of Positivity! Today is your last chance to link up to be entered to win January's $5 to my TPT store! Good luck!
Here's how it goes: add your own text to this image to highlight the positive things that happened to you this week. The thought behind this is that focusing on the positive instead of the negative will make us happier :) :
Post the linky button from above and your image/text to your blog. You can write a whole post about it too with more detail and photos if you'd like, but you don't have to! I like to keep it short and sweet sometimes!
The next step is to link up so others can read about your wonderful week! On the last Sunday of each month, I will randomly choose someone who linked up to win a $5 credit to my TPT store as a thank you for linking up with me!
Sounds simple, right? It is! It's up to you how often you want to participate. Join me every Sunday,  or whenever you remember {I know, life gets busy!} The more you link up, the better the chance you have to win AND the more you'll be focusing on the positive {so hopefully, the happier you will be, too!} I can't wait to have a whole "digital scrapbook" of the great things that happened at the end of 2015!
Here's a peek at my week:
Link up your Power of Positivity posts here!

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Classroom management system wearing off? Mine was!

How many of you had a brilliant classroom management system that was working wonders at the beginning of the year? Did it seem like you were working with a different class once December hit, or maybe when you got back from break? I know that this definitely happened to me! This is one reason why I LOVE whole brain teaching! The classroom management system created by WBT has different levels for you to uncover as you go through your year. You don't have to spend your nonexistent extra time and energy on devising a whole new plan, but you can just unlock some new features! I am no classroom management expert, but I brushed up on some WBT resources during my fabulous day off yesterday, and Chris Biffle, the WBT guru definitely made me feel 100 times better! I don't feel like an incompetent teacher anymore… this slump in behavior happens to everyone as students get comfortable with the classroom management plan that you have in place.
Are you an elementary teacher looking for some classroom management ideas? Read all about the whole brain teaching scoreboard and classroom rules! Find out why this classroom management system is perfect for the whole year!
So, what is this classroom management plan that I think so highly of? Well, it starts out as what many of you may have already heard of… The Scoreboard. The scoreboard is exactly what it sounds like… a scoreboard! You can use one of many variations, smileys vs. frowns, class vs. teachers, boys vs. girls, etc. I started out by using smileys vs. frowns because it was easiest to explain the type of behavior that I was looking for using this system. Now, we have moved onto class vs. teachers because my students LOVE trying to beat me! I don't think I will use boys vs. girls because I want my class working together, not against one another!
The best part… it's SO simple to implement. Just draw a t-chart on your board and label it! Voila!
Each time your students are engaging in positive behavior (responding quickly to a direction, transitioning quietly to the carpet, etc.), put a tally mark under the "smiley" side. Each time your students are not engaging in positive behavior (continuing to talk when you've called their attention, having their own conversations during a lesson, etc.), put a tally mark under the "frown" side. This has helped my transition time tremendously, simply by just saying, "I wonder who's gonna get the point, me or you!" I hear my students whispering to others "Come on! Help us beat Miss Peluso!" I love when they do the redirecting for me! :)
Here's the fun part. When they get a "smiley," students say a quick "OH YEAH!" and pump their fist in the air. When they get a "frown," students sigh and raise and lower their shoulders. This makes the whole process exciting for them. 
So, what are the other levels? Level 2 introduces practice cards. Here's what you need: a pocket chart or library pockets (1 for each student), and a stack of white practice cards labeled with a rule number. I just printed these on blank card stock, but you can just as easily use an index card and write the rule numbers on them. 
This level focuses on individual behavior, rather than whole class behavior. It helps the class still earn tally marks even though Chatty Cathy forgets to raise her hand to talk. Here's how it goes. When a student breaks a rule (Chatty Cathy calls out), he/she gets a rule #2 white card placed in his/her pocket. You don't need to say anything, just walk over and put the white card in. No instruction interrupted *cheer!* At some point during the day when there is down time (Chris Biffle suggests at the beginning of recess, but we are not allowed to take recess away. Sometimes I send my kids out a few minutes early so I am not taking away recess. Otherwise, the beginning of snack works for me), the student spends about a minute or two silently rehearsing the rule. 
Here's my task to you. Try silently rehearsing one of the rules for just 30 seconds. See how annoying it is. Personally, if I ever had to do that, I would make sure that I never broke a rule again!
The whole idea behind this is that the child is not "punished," he or she just needs more practice. Just like a professional baseball player can't be perfect if he doesn't practice! If a student does get a white card, however, a note goes home telling parents/guardians about the rule that needs additional practice. The note will come back to school signed. I like that the parents are involved in this process. It makes my students see that we are in this together.
Are you wondering what happens to kids who don't have much of a home life or whose parents are known for never sending things back in? I was too! For these kiddos, you can assign them an "on campus parent," like another teacher in your grade, or an aide who comes into your room. This is the person who the student will give the note to, and who will hold the student accountable for practicing. This is also the person who can celebrate with the child when he/she gets a purple card (more about that another time!)
Chris Biffle suggests that students get no more than two white cards a day, so use them sparingly! I agree with this. You don't want to completely stack the odds against one student. So, make sure that you don't pick apart what Chatty Cathy is doing and give her two white cards before lunch! Then you don't have much left to do about it for the rest of the day.
Finally, there is a simple solution for students who refuse to practice, or who say "I talked to dad and he said that I don't have to practice." It's the "2 minutes my way or 4 minutes your way" rule. The students can practice for 2 minutes or can sit there for 4 minutes. It's up to them! This gives the power to the student to make his/her own decision.
Interested? Here's the video if you'd like to watch!
Watch live streaming video from wholebrainteaching1 at livestream.com
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Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Power of Positivity Week 3

Happy Sunday, friends! Thanks for stopping by to read about my week. I hope that you will take a few minutes to reflect on the positive things that happened to you this week and link up below!
Here's how it goes: add your own text to this image to highlight the positive things that happened to you this week. The thought behind this is that focusing on the positive instead of the negative will make us happier :) :
Post the linky button from above and your image/text to your blog. You can write a whole post about it too with more detail and photos if you'd like, but you don't have to! I like to keep it short and sweet sometimes!
The next step is to link up so others can read about your wonderful week! On the last Sunday of each month, I will randomly choose someone who linked up to win a $5 credit to my TPT store as a thank you for linking up with me!
Sounds simple, right? It is! It's up to you how often you want to participate. Join me every Sunday,  or whenever you remember {I know, life gets busy!} The more you link up, the better the chance you have to win AND the more you'll be focusing on the positive {so hopefully, the happier you will be, too!} I can't wait to have a whole "digital scrapbook" of the great things that happened at the end of 2015!
Thanks for joining me for week 3.. here we go!

Now for the fun part, link up with me!

Have a great week!
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Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Power of Positivity Week 2

Hi guys! I am super excited for week 2 of my linky party...The Power of Positivity! I LOVED reflecting on the positive things that happened last week, and I found myself naturally doing it {instead of waiting until Sunday} this week!
Here's how it goes: add your own text to this image to highlight the positive things that happened to you this week. The thought behind this is that focusing on the positive instead of the negative will make us happier :) :
Post the linky button from above and your image/text to your blog. You can write a whole post about it too with more detail and photos if you'd like, but you don't have to! I like to keep it short and sweet sometimes!
The next step is to link up so others can read about your wonderful week! On the last Sunday of each month, I will randomly choose someone who linked up to win a $5 credit to my TPT store as a thank you for linking up with me!
Sounds simple, right? It is! It's up to you how often you want to participate. Join me every Sunday,  or whenever you remember {I know, life gets busy!} The more you link up, the better the chance you have to win AND the more you'll be focusing on the positive {so hopefully, the happier you will be, too!} I can't wait to have a whole "digital scrapbook" of the great things that happened at the end of 2015!
Thanks for joining me for week 2.. here we go!
Now for the fun part, link up with me!


Before you leave, make sure you check out my post on The Primary Pack today. It's all about creating independent writers in any grade! Click {here} to check it out!

Have a wonderful week, friends!
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Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Power of Positivity Linky Party Week 1 & GIVEAWAY!

Hi guys! I have so much to be excited about today! First, I am THRILLED to be hosting week one of the newest linky party, The Power of Positivity! 
Here's how it goes: add your own text to this image to highlight the positive things that happened to you this week. The thought behind this is that focusing on the positive instead of the negative will make us happier :) :
Post the linky button from above and your image/text to your blog. You can write a whole post about it too with more detail and photos if you'd like, but you don't have to! I like to keep it short and sweet sometimes!
The next step is to link up so others can read about your wonderful week! On the last Sunday of each month, I will randomly choose someone who linked up to win a $5 credit to my TPT store as a thank you for linking up with me!
Sounds simple, right? It is! It's up to you how often you want to participate. Join me every Sunday,  or whenever you remember {I know, life gets busy!} The more you link up, the better the chance you have to win AND the more you'll be focusing on the positive {so hopefully, the happier you will be, too!} I can't wait to have a whole "digital scrapbook" of the great things that happened at the end of 2015!
Thanks for joining me for week 1.. here we go!
Link up your Power of Positivity posts here!

So, what's the other reason that I'm super excited? Well, I've reached 500 TPT followers! Woohoo! I know it's a small drop in the bucket compared to some other sellers with thousands of followers, but I never thought I'd have any! To celebrate, some of my best blogger friends have donated credits to their stores. Enter the Rafflecopters below for your chance to win one of four prize packs totaling $200!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Winners will be announced on Saturday! Thank you SO much for stopping by! If you didn't link up for The Power of Positivity, I hope you will join me next week! Have a great first week back, friends!
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Friday, January 2, 2015

JOY

With the new year approaching, I am sure that we all have begun making our new year's resolutions. For me, my resolutions usually sound like this:
1. Go to the gym at least 3 times a week
2. Leave school before 5:30pm
3. Be optimistic
You don't want to ask me how many of those I usually wind up sticking with. The answer is, unfortunately, a resounding ZERO. I usually do pretty well with my resolutions for the first week or so, and then life gets busy, and we all know what happens next.
This year, I have been inspired by my fellow Life is Good playmakers once again to focus on JOY in my resolutions.
Our last Life is Good booster in Boston was quite the event. I'll give you a quick recap… seven of us drove up in a minivan with antlers and a red nose. Our driver was no other than SANTA CLAUS, and our co-pilot was an elf. We hit MAJOR traffic on our way up, and then walked to our destination through the streets of Boston… in our pajamas and slippers. And yes, still with Santa and the elf.
It was the most FUN that I've had in a long while! No, it wasn't just being in the outfit that brings me the most joy {yoga pants, a sweatshirt, and my 3D penguin socks}, but it was being with other playmakers and playmakers in training SHARING how we make joy happen. This booster inspired me to share these joy-making ideas with all of you.
Let's face it. Smiling is contagious. I have experienced first hand being in a crappy mood and having someone's smile completely change my day around. The most common theme at our LIG booster was smiling. Smile at everyone you see, even if you don't know them. It's guaranteed to bring some joy to their day, even if it's only for a little while! Also, it's really hard not to smile back at someone who's smiling at you, and once you've smiled, it instantly makes you feel a little better. It's like tricking your brain into thinking that you are having a good day!
This is kind of along the same idea as smiling, except it requires some extra effort {yes, you have to speak or wave!} By saying good morning, you're letting the other person know that you acknowledge them, and they are important enough for you to say good morning to! What a compliment that is! Sometimes it's even a chain reaction… you say good morning to someone, and then they feel the urge to say good morning to someone that they see! Keep spreading the joy!
This is one that I have personally been working on this school year. It brings such smiles to my students' faces when I am silly and I am able to laugh at myself! You know those brain breaks we put on for our kiddos? Well, next time you put Go Noodle on, stay and do the dance with your students instead of rushing to prep something for the next activity. Even if you wind up making a fool of yourself, your kids LOVE seeing you dance with them, and it puts a little pep in your step as well. It has definitely brought a smile to my face on many mornings! Did you know, laughter has been shown to reduce stress?
Are you ever having a rough day and then you hear your favorite song on the radio? I have! Playing music that we associate with good times or having fun can help make you happy! I definitely have an upbeat group of songs that I listen to {and maybe sing to} on my way to school each morning. In fact, as a result of this LIG booster, we have petitioned our principal to allow us to play music over the loudspeakers in the hallway and classrooms. Child-approved music, obviously, because it will be playing as students come in as well. I can't wait to start when we get back… I know it will help lift some spirits in the wee hours of the morning!
Everyone loves feeling appreciated. Next time someone does something nice for you, go out of your way to say thank you later on, or leave them a note. Even a note on a post-it goes a long way, it doesn't have to be anything fancy! In fact, notes of any kind can raise someone's spirits by letting them know that you're thinking of them. Last year, my co-worker and good friend, Erin, got me flowers and a card when my dog died. I didn't think that anyone would acknowledge how I was feeling because it was my first year teaching, and I didn't know everyone THAT well. This small act of kindness made my whole day. It was so nice to know that someone was thinking of me!
One thing a lot of playmakers shared at the LIG booster was how they always complain when they have to wait in line at the food store, or when they are are stuck in traffic driving home. Next time that happens to you, try putting a positive spin on it. Think about how lucky you are to have money to be ABLE to wait in line at the food store, or how lucky you are to be ABLE to have a car to be stuck in traffic in. This type of thinking will change the way you look at things.
The LIG booster inspired me to create and spread joy in my life. I've recently explored the whole Random Acts of Kindness idea, and I am blown away by all of the joy that this movement has created! Next time you have a few minutes, check out the website and all of the amazing ways that you can create joy not only in your life, but in the lives of others. If this doesn't inspire you to create joy, maybe these tips from some fellow teachers will!
So… do you want to start spreading JOY? How about starting with your students? Check out my Positive Postcards available in my TPT store to send home little notes of encouragement with your students OR grab this freebie to keep track of the happy calls or emails you send parents!
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