I want to see your BEST writing!

Hello peeps.

Quick question. Does asking your students to make sure they use their best printing or handwriting every single day starting to make your head spin?!?!?!

I have found a solution! Unfortunately, this isn't my idea. But it is amazing and I love the woman who came up with it because it has already changed my 'bang my head into the wall' routine into more of a positive one (thanks so much to Ashley Zatt for sharing).

Here is what we did.

1.) Grab index cards.
2.) Tell your students that you have a challenge for them. "I want you to take this index card and write 'My name is _______ and this is my best handwriting'.
3.) Don't tell them what it is for until they have completed this task.
4.) I then collected my index cards and laminated them. I posted them on my door for parent teacher time so that parents could see what their children think is their neatest handwriting.
5.) When students complete other work during the school year, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO RUSH THROUGH IT, and it isn't quite what they are capable of, refer back to the index card. "Hmm.. Johnny, this doesn't look like your neatest handwriting.."

They will know that you know what they are capable of, and that they aren't reaching that potential when they rush through. Eventually, you will just have to point to the card, or tell them that you're looking for their neatest handwriting.


Better late than never?

I'm so behind the ball this month! Here is all of the things that are currently going on in my life - all sorted out on this little page thanks to Farley Farley Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade.

1. Listening to Ashley Schroeder on Periscope. She was just giving tips on organization. WHO DOESN'T NEED TIPS ON ORGANIZATION? I know I do. Can I hear an 'AMEN'?

2. LOVING that I have finally received my Math makes sense resource. Holy moly, what an incredible guide for teachers! If you have not seen this, I highly recommend it. My school purchased the teacher guide for my grade level. It's awesome. 

3. Holy moly, parent conferences are on Thursday/Friday. I have so much to prepare for them! Will I have enough time to get it done? I sure hope so. 

4. So, I'm not a very big fan of cold. Snow is fine, winter is fine, cold IS NOT FINE. I like sunshine, and beaches, water and heat. Not snow filled boots, heating up my car, slipping on hidden ice, bundle up weather. Give me desert heat any day!

5. I need a nap. Am I the only one?

6.  Caesar salad. I just can't seem to get enough of it. MMMM!!! 


Traffic Light Behaviour Management (WITH A FREEBIE!)

Well, we are well into the school year. That being said, have your behaviour problems dissolved? Mine haven't.

That brings me to my post - The Behaviour Management Traffic Light!

If you are a genius at making that happen, please tell me all your secrets! I'll pay you a dollar (what can I say, you know a teacher's salary, right?)

Well, thanks to one of my delightful friends in Grade 2 (Julie), I now have a great tool in my back pocket that helps to keep my students on task! Check out this bad boy!

This, my friends, is the 'Carson Dellosa Stoplight Pocket Chart!' If you are interested in checking out more information on this bad boy, you can check it out here.

I love this pocket chart. I don't love how this pocket chart didn't come with any labels though... Would you like to have mine?
Here is a freebie!

In my classroom, this is fine and dandy. But what next? How does it work? Is there any follow up to this? How do parents know what is happening at school? Well, here are some of the answers for you.

1.) How do you move from one colour to another?

The Rules:
As always we go over rules at the beginning of the year. We discuss appropriate and inappropriate behaviours. 
We talk about what they think could get them into a 'yellow zone' or 'think about it zone'. This is a good chance to figure things out together as a class so that everyone is aware of the expectations. 
  • not working
  • chatting at inappropriate times (during tests or writing time)
  • hurting other kids' feelings
  • basically anything I have to remind my students about more than 2 times goes into think about it. 
We also talk about 'teacher's choice' 
  • continuing above behaviour 
  • physical violence (zero tolerance)
  • any other activity that you deem inappropriate in your classroom

2.) Can you move from yellow or red back down to green?

In my class, ABSOLUTELY! I love when students choose to make a positive change. If they are in 'think about it' and they change the behaviour that moved them to yellow, I call them over to me, and then ask them to move their name back to green. They love moving that little guy back down. If they have landed in red, and they really try hard for the rest of the day, then it's your choice. 

3.) Do you have a tracking system?

I absolutely do in my classroom. I like to have a track record to show when a student has fallen into a category so that parents can see if there is growth at parent/teacher conferences, I can see if there are changes in the student, patterns between split family dynamics, among many other things. 

This is what it looks like.
{Editable version in my TpT shop}

4.) Do you notify parents if students move to yellow or red?

This is something I work out with the parent at the beginning of the year. If parents insist on being informed after each colour change, then I do send home a note that requires a parent signature. Here is what they look like. 

I tell parents that if their child manages to make it back into green by the end of the day, I usually will not send home a notice. I want my students to know that everyone has bad judgment sometimes, and as long as we try our best to change silly decisions, we don't need to dwell on the slip ups. 

5.) What about the kids who go above and beyond to work hard? Or the ones that have trouble but are working hard that day?

For this I use something called 'Golden Tickets'.
When I see exceptional behaviour, whether it is exceptional for any student, or if a student is trying particularly hard, I reward them with a 'Golden Ticket.' These bad boys are easy-peasy. Print and go. 
Print off the golden ticket (I usually print it on yellow paper), cut it up, and when you see great behaviour, hand out one of these bad boys. Have the student fill in their name. At the end of the week, I do a draw to see who gets to choose a prize. The more golden tickets you have, the better your odds. 

If you are interested in the package that I have created to go along with this chart, 
you can click here.

This package includes:
- Traffic Light labels for your chart
- Monthly Data Tracker (12 pages)
- Editable Monthly Data Tracker
- Letter to send home to parents at the beginning of the year (editable)
-Letter to send home to parents at the beginning of the year (non-editable)
- Golden Tickets
- Send Home Yellow zone Notes
- Send Home Red Zone Notes

I hope that this will help you on your journey to Behaviour Management in your classroom! 

Remembrance Day...

Hello folks,

So, I had such a great idea for remembrance day writing the other day. My Co-op teacher was away, so my plan was to discuss John McCrae and we were going to write a wonderful long and detailed story about why Remembrance Day is so important, and talk all about all the lives that were lost, the hardships that the soldiers and their families went through, and about the symbolism of the poppy among about a million other ideas that we came up with as a class.

Well, when the time came for my students to write, it was like I took the 'Men in Black' flasher and zapped their memory of any and all the great ideas we had just discussed 4 seconds prior.

Please tell me I'm not the only one that this happens to.

Oh boy. It was P-A-I-N-F-U-L! Painful!

So, I realized that was the moment to scrap the whole idea and start from scratch. I know many teachers like to use the time of Remembrance Day to teach poetry, and more specifically, acrostic poetry. I am no different, though I added a little twist.

First thing I did was take 20 deep breaths. Then I sat my class back down on the floor and we went trough this again. I gave my students 2 choices. They could use the word 'poppy' or 'remember'.

As a class, we sat down and really brainstormed ideas about what words we could use to fill in the poem 'REMEMBER'.

Here is our attempt.

Once we finished this part, I erased the board. I wanted them to use their brains to come up with proper wording and sentence structure rather than relying on my white board chicken scratch. Some students were brave enough to use the word poppy too. They told me that poppy would be a much easier word to use. I told them that I wouldn't help them with that word though, and that there were 3 Ps to figure out.

Let's just say it using the word 'poppy' proved to be more difficult than they initially anticipated (I didn't even say 'I told you so' to them).

Not bad for grade 3 students who were just MIB flashed right?  When it came down to time to work on their rough copy, I was pleasantly surprised. They had words on their page. Good words, not even over use of the word 'every' like we had originally came up with.

After we finished our rough copies, I let them choose their paper that matched their word (poppy or remember).

Here is what our page looked like.  I even let my students make their own 3D poppy to put on the page.

We aren't quite done this activity yet, so you'll have to come back to see what they turn out like! I hope they are as awesome as they are in my head.

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