Monthly Archives: August 2012

Teacher Letter

I’m going to quickly post and run. Just wanted to post my teacher letter. It’s simple but kinda cute!

My goal is just to share a little about me and get the kids excited. I don’t want to overwhelm families with 1001 rules and procedures. There is plenty of time for that later.

The second page covers class information. It still doesn’t have rules and policies, but gives parents some information they will need for the first week of school (like snacks, how I will communicate, etc). It also gives the url to the class website so they can check it out.

I also did a little attention-whoring by including some quotes from former students. Again, I just want to get the kids and parents excited for the first day of school and ease some of the worries that they may have since I’m new to the school.

Categories: Summer Work, Uncategorized

Behavior Bay

I’d like to start sharing some of my beach classroom theme. I’m really happy with it so far! I think the classroom is going to be really cute when I’m done.

Today I’ll share Behavior Bay. The job chart isn’t done yet but I love the beach-themed clip chart!

Probably anyone who knows me knows about the clip chart, and I wrote a long post about it a couple weeks ago. The only things different about this one are that it has a beach theme and the consequence is a passport signature rather than losing minutes of recess or whatever consequence the teacher chooses. My 4th grade team uses a passport system, so I wanted the clip chart to tie in with that.

Here’s the picture (FYI, please excuse my horrible photography skills! I’ll try to improve, I promise!):

The tree has all of the different clips the kids can earn. Last year, the kids loved looking at all the clips to see what they could earn. The tree was made by tracing a projected image onto colored butcher paper, then scrunching up strips of paper and stapling them to the edges to outline it. BTW the diamond clip is missing because I haven’t made them yet.

The surfboard is where the kids will attach their clips. All the clips will start in the middle on the green “Ready to Learn” and will then clip up and down throughout the day. Anyone on Outstanding at the end of the year gets a sticker on their clip. Students get the next color clip once they get 5 stickers.

The words on the clip chart from the bottom to the top say:

Wipeout: Contact Home
Bummer: Consequence (mine says Passport Signature)
Rough Waters: Think About It
Surf’s Up: Ready to Learn
Cowabunga: Showing Pride
Off the Hook: Role Model
Epic: Outstanding

The metal sheet is just a sheet of galvanized metal that was under $10 at Lowes. I attached it to the wall with velcro strips. I got this idea from a co-worker, and I love it! It’s such a cheap and easy way to add magnet boards to your classroom. I’m going to put my job chart on this board. I’ll take another picture once it’s done.

If anyone wants to make a surfboard clip chart, you can print out the attached document with the words in cute fonts. Enjoy!

BeachClipChart

Categories: Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Class, Yes

You might have seen some Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) videos on the Internet. I will say that some of those WBT videos out there kind of make the kids look like robots. That is not the intention, and it is not what my classroom looked like last year or what it will look like this year. However, I am a huge fan of some of the techniques and thought I’d share them on my blog over the next week. If nothing else, it’ll be a good reminder to me of how to use these techniques.

One basic thing teachers need to be able to do is get the attention of the class. There are all kinds of things teachers say, like “123 eyes on me” etc. My school had a school-wide attention getter called Paws Up. The teacher said, “Paws Up!”, and students were *supposed to* put their hands in the air, stop talking, and look at the teacher.

I’m going to be blunt. I hated paws up. Teachers had to say it over and over before anyone listened. It was marginally effective when I had a perfect class. It was 1000000% ineffective for the class I had last year. I would say, “Paws up!” I had only one child who would do paws up every time. The other kids were COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS. They would just keep working and talking.

I searched the Internet and found out about Class Yes. It is ridiculously simple. You say, “Class!” They say, “Yes!” Then they stop talking and look at you. You can make it fun by saying variations of “Class” and they repeat the same variation for “Yes”. So if you say, “Classity Class!” then they say “Yessity Yes!”. You can say it in a deep voice, high pitched voice, etc.

The best part is that it WORKS!

Here’s why it works. Let’s say that I when I say “Class,”  only some of the kids hear me. The kids who don’t hear me still have a second opportunity to figure out what’s going on because they’ll hear a bunch of kids yell, “Yes!”  With paws up, they didn’t hear me say “Paws up” and they didn’t notice the few kids (er, one kid) who did paws up. The second reason it works is because it’s fun! The kids love to reply, especially when it’s a fun variation in a silly voice. Paws up was not fun. It was more like being arrested.

I was worried that the kids still wouldn’t hear me, but it worked perfectly for my class!  They loved yelling “YES!” so they were extremely enthusiastic about it. It worked from the moment I introduced it through the end of the  year. It is the perfect technique for kids who love to talk!

According to the Whole Brain Teaching website, this is why it works:

“Why is the Class-Yes, in terms of brain structure, so effective?  The neo-cortex, the part of your brain behind your forehead, controls, among other things, decision making.  Think of the neo-cortex as an executive, organizing other brain areas for complex tasks.  When the teacher says, “Class!” and students respond “Yes!,” you have, in effect focused your students’ neo-cortices on what you’re going to say next.  In other words, their brain’s executives are ready to take directions from your brain’s executive.  That’s wonderful!  Your neo-cortex is the CEO of all your kids’ neo-cortices.  We call that, Teaching Heaven”

Give “Class Yes” a try! You’ll probably love it!

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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