Sunday, September 30, 2012

Behaviors & Pete the Cat

I have such a sweet class this year!  On the first day of school we tried demonstrating how to NOT follow the rules and they literally could not do it.  I actually ended up not introducing the velcro behavior plan because the kids behaviors are more disability specific and need to be dealt with individually.  As the work is getting harder, they are having some motivation issues so I'm introducing the clip chart tomorrow.  

I feel weird waiting until week 3 to introduce it but I'm glad I did.  The other self-contained classroom teachers in my building do individual behavior plans and nothing for the whole class so I decided to get to know the kids and behaviors before introducing something and changing it a few times.   As long as they stay above orange, they get a stamp each day.  After they earn 5 stamps, they get to pick a prize! 

One problem in the room is how upset some students get over little things.  At our first assembly, students were asked to bring crayons.  One of my girls couldn't get her crayon box shut.  She started banging it on the table to try to shut it so I quietly asked her for it.  She SCREAMED "My crayon box won't shut!" so loud that everyone in the room, including the principal who was talking, stopped and looked at us.  I was mortified!  Instead of doing a social story, I decided to read Pete the Cat I Love my White Shoes and talk about just walking along and singing your song when little things happen!  Most of my kids LOVE to sing so I think they will take this literally and that's okay with me

We also made this class book to practice color words: 




I need to start taking more pictures so I have more to share with you!  Also, if you are interested in my clip chart, let me know. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Apologies and Differentiation

Time flies when you are having fun! It also flies when you are teaching full time, taking a crazy grad class, dealing with department of social services, managing meltdowns and doing a million other things!  Sorry for being MIA but life has been crazy!  I really love the new position though! 

Okay now onto something you can use in your room....this is not my original idea.  The girl who teaches the K-1 class started this and I copied her.  

This is my differentiated "I'm done" tree.  I have 3 different colored apples on the tree.  My students are each assigned an apple color.  It's hard to see but the three apples on the top have the students names on them.  I wrote different types of math problems on each apple, differentiated according to the level of the students.  The apples are placed on the tree problem side down so they won't pick the easiest ones :)

Sorry that this picture is sideways!  No clue how to fix that - if you know, please leave a comment sharing how!  
This is just a trial run right now.  The students seem to love it!  I plan on laminating these in the future and attaching them to a larger tree with velcro dots.  That way, I can use these over and over again.  Since September focuses on place value, the apples will have mostly place value questions (of course, I took pics of the non-place value apples! This is a pre-assessment for me too).  October will be colorful leaves and will include more addition problems.  This took about 10 minutes to put together so it is a very quick way to differentiate math problems for each student.

Enjoy your Friday :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

200 Follower Giveaway {everyone wins!}

I'm slightly late on this but it's the beginning of school and things are crazy!  I was planning on doing a giveaway to celebrate reaching 200 followers but then only a few people win.  Instead, I'm giving everyone a chance to win!  Here is what you need to do: 
1. Follow my blog 
2. Add my teachers notebook store to your favorites 
3. Leave me a comment letting me know that you did that with an email address and I will email you the files! 

Here is what you will get: 

My woodland creature literature circle packet.  You can use this with any book!  It's great for grades 2-8.  

My math work station organization kit...this includes my rotation cards, work bin cards, a detailed explanation of how to use a simplified version guided math in your room and more.  This is great for anyone getting started with guided math.  

You will also get my science journal. This has a Journal Cover, Scientist bubble map, QPEOC Posters (Question, Predict, Experiment, Observe, Conclusion), Experiment graphic organizer, and more!  I have tried to make this work for all elementary grades.  

Finally, you will also get the behavior bracelets that are not available in my store: 

This is a limited time offer so I need your comment by Monday at midnight!  I'll send the files out sometime this week.  

Soon I will be back with classroom updates! I promise!  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

New Everything!

About 3 days before school started, I decided to change everything!  I always do this...I bought a bunch of stuff for my dorm room and once I had everything, I returned it all and bought different stuff.  I think I have a problem.  Anyways, I was making my schedule and realized that I had NO time for free time which I planned on building into my schedule as a daily reward.  My clip-chart was based on the free time so I had to get rid of that.  Since the clip-chart was one of 3 whale-themed things in my room at the time, I decided to throw that theme out the window too!  I had a woodland creature calendar set and an owl/tree bulletin board set so I went with more of an animal theme (you can't even really call it a theme right now).  Since I was getting rid of the whale clip-chart, I decided that I wanted something smaller that would travel to specials easily and something that was a stronger visual for the students.  
Here is what I came up with: 

I used a paint stirring stick from Lowes, stuck a strip of velcro on it, and attached the animals.  Everyday, the students will have the red, orange, green (it looks yellow but it's green) and blue animal pieces.  If they go above and beyond, they get the purple hippo added (like clipping up).  They will also get a bracelet to wear home: 
However, if they are not making good choices, they will start loosing animal cards (clipping down).  Blue and green are the warning cards, orange is no sticker, red is no sticker AND moved out of the room (to a cool down spot).  I think adding and removing the animal cards is a stronger visual for the students than just moving a clip.  
Every day they kept their orange card, they can add a sticker to a sticker chart.  After 5 stickers they can get a prize.  I will increase the number of stickers needed as we go through the year.  I have the prize coupons and all the prizes that were donated from the previous teacher. 

My prizes are stored in this SUPER CUTE treasure box I found at Walmart for $5.97: 
ECR4Kids Treasures Chest, Red
(mine is pink)

The kids are VERY curious to see what is in it...I haven't told them yet. I wasn't a fan of doing prizes but I was given a TON of them and many of my students come from low income families.  The prize box items may be the only toys they get.  

Now I need to go get everything set for next week!  Soon I'll post about all the other things I changed too :) 

Friday, September 7, 2012

New Favorite Classroom Tool

I've mentioned before that I had a LOT of stuff brought to my room for my new position from the previous teacher.  As I was sorting I found this electric pencil sharpener and I was soooooo excited.


 Previously, this was the only pencil sharpener in the room: 
(Can you see why I was so excited now? This clearly isn't safe!)

It was so terrible I bought pens and mechanical pencils for my kids last year.  I was done with pencils.  I went to sharpen pencils for the first day with the new electric sharpener and it took TWO MINUTES to partially sharpen one pencil!

I wanted to scream.  That is WAY too long to sharpen a pencil, especially with a loud sharpener.  Then Troy from Classroom Friendly Supplies sent me this sharpener: 

I know you've seen it around.  It is AMAZING!  It's easy to use: 
Just pull out the metal thing (I'm sure that's the technical term)

 hold the clips to put your pencil (of varying sizes) in and turn the handle.

Easy!  It makes a slightly different sound when the pencil is sharp so it doesn't over sharpen and break the point off.  It took about 15 handle-turns to sharpen a brand new pencil (it was only a few seconds).  It's quiet too so it won't interrupt lessons.  Annnddd you get a perfect point every time!

I sharpened 2 identical brand new pencils with both sharpeners.  Look at the difference!  The classroom friendly sharpener made a perfect point (after a few seconds).  The electric sharpener did not do so well (that was after about a minute of LOUD sharpening).

One of my aides went to sharpen pencils before I could show her how to use it and she figured it out immediately.   I wanted to wait to review the sharpener until my students used it.  It's only been a day and some of them can do it easily.  Others keep forgetting to pull it out first but other than that, no issues!  Even the students with OT and PT had no trouble using this.  My students with autism like the fact that it is not loud.

A bunch of the teachers who have been in my room tried it and they all love it.  Many of them are ordering one for their rooms.  It's definitely a great investment!  The electric sharpeners are more expensive, much louder, need to be near an outlet, and they don't work nearly as well!

You can grab yours here!
I'll be back soon to post about my first few days of school assuming we have power (we keep getting big storms thanks to Issac). I hope you all had a great week!