Saturday, October 8, 2011

Daily 5 (or rather Daily 7) goodies to share....

I seriously can't believe it has been almost 2 months since my last post! This school year is C~R~A~Z~Y!!!! Or maybe it's just me that is crazy! Along with teaching...I'm taking 9 hours of grad school (which is kicking my butt!!), I will be teaching 2 technology classes a week to students after school, and I will begin tutoring 1 day a week after school....not to mention my poor family who is suffering without me most nights! So this is why I haven't posted in awhile (and I'm up at 3:30 in the morning) But I wanted to share good news about my daily 5 centers!

My daily 5 centers are working! Yea!!! Last year I could not get them to run smoothly for the life of me and ended up taking away the choice for students. This year it is running so smoothly...that it's kind of scary! I have to admit though - I don't have Daily 5, I have Daily 7. I love the original Daily 5, but my students needed a little bit more than those skills. (Yes I know the upper grades are only supposed to do 3 - but some of my kids come in so low that we really need all 5!) So let me explain how it all works! Along with the originals, I also have skill builders (cause/effect, sequence, main idea, summary, etc) and technology! My skill builders center is differentiated and has activities for students who are on level, below level and above level. Most of the activities that I have are from the Florida Reading Center (love it!!). I store all of the activities in that nifty cart I found over the summer! There is one weekly activity that everyone must complete, then they can choose a drawer that is labeled with their level (1 star, 2 stars, 3 stars). It is working out quite nicely and it really is giving students that extra practice they need. For technology, I have several things going on here. I use our textbook adoptions (Treasures) website to assign the skills that we are using that week in centers. Once the students complete this skill they have many different options including spellingcity,, tumblebooks, and more. I eventually want to get to where the students use programs such as inspiration to create graphic organizers for the skills we are learning - we're getting there it just takes baby steps. All of my centers have a must do/can do poster. At the beginning of the week, I just write down what activity must be done, along with directions, and the activities they can do if they finish that task.

The reason I think centers is so successful this year is because I only allow 3 people at each center, except buddy reading (only 2) and technology (4). Since the students are so separated, I don't have as many off task and they are able to be very productive!! I have 3 small pocket charts (ones from Targets 1$ spot). Each pocket is a new rotation. Inside each pocket is a card with the centers name. The students each have 3 name cards. In the morning I post which groups I will be meeting with during each rotation. Throughout the morning/day, I call on students who are being productive to go choose their centers for the day. They just put their name next to the center they want , if they will be working with me they don't choose a center for that rotation. I couldn't let go of not holding the students accountable for the work that needed to be accomplished during centers. So I created a checklist. I based the checklist off the group I see the most. So the checklist would be attainable for even them, meaning the other groups should definitely be able to complete the requirements. I also assigned points to each activity so the students would have to make good choices when picking centers so that they could get everything they needed done. At the bottom i have the total points earned for that week, but I added a field for subtracting points and bonus points. I didn't want my students to finish the checklist in 2-3 days and be off task for the rest of the time!

So far it is working out nicely! I will try and post pics soon....but don't wait around for them ;) I hope your year is off to a great start! On another note...thank you to everyone who has given my blog an award!! You are too kind! I will go and post the awards soon!! Thank you again!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Many, many thanks! And good news to share!

I know I have been MIA...but getting ready for this school year has been chaotic {as well as trying to enjoy the last few days of summer!}. I first wanted to thank all of you - in my absence my follower count has EXPLODED and I have now passed 300!! To celebrate {and apologize for my absence/ lack of creating a store} I am sharing my "where are we" poster. I have had so many requests for it and it seems to be the perfect freebie! I also wanted to share some excellent news! My donors choose project was funded! Whoooppee! It was my first time to post a project and it was super simple to do {I encourage all of you to write one!} I am so thankful for generous people who are willing to give towards the education of children! With that said - I hope you have a terrific start of the year!!! I have meet the teacher on Friday and classes begin on Monday. I will do my best to post pics of my classroom this weekend {its turning out AWESOME!!!} as well as pictures of the computer lab that I've redone! Til then...........

CRwhere Are We Poster

Monday, August 8, 2011

Organizing Word Sorts

Word Sort

This year our district is getting a new spelling adoption. Word sorts are a big part of the book {which I love!!} The sorts are differentiated and have 3 different levels for each unit. This summer I printed all of the sorts on color paper, laminated them and cut them out so I am ready to go for the year. At a GT training that I attended, they said when you differentiate lessons, you want the lessons to look the same for everyone - so that no one knows that another student is doing something different. So I printed the entire unit on the same color of cardstock. I was trying to find a way to organize all of the tiny cards!

I originally took file folders and stapled up the sides. I put the cards in little baggies and labeled them, then put them in the little file folder sleeve. These were great - however the folders were so thick, and I honestly don't have the space for them!

File Folder

When I was cleaning up my craft/office/work room, I found this container that I had used to hold my thread. I originally purchased it for my son's matchbox cars when he was little. I know I've seen them in Walmart's craft section, but I did have trouble finding it online. I know I paid no more than 10$ for it! I knew it would be perfect to organize the sorts!!! Especially since there are 3 rows across {the same number of levels for each unit}

Word Sort

I pulled the sorts out of the bags and used a binder clip to hold he unit together. I just slid them into their slots. I'm holding on to the bags so that I can keep them together when they go into my word work center. I made a label for each side of the container...and there you go....the perfect way to organize word sorts that doesn't take up a TON of space!

Word Sort

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Math centers for the upper grades...

In the past, our 3rd grade team has always focused on the concept currently being taught for students to practice while we conduct guided math. Basically while we worked with a small group of students, the other kids would play games that focused on our current concept. It worked out, but I always felt like the kids weren't getting enough practice of the other skills. I want to revamp the way I do guided math. I am thinking I want to do centers of some sort. I also want to make sure that I make it that there are a variety of things the kids can do so we avoid them getting bored doing the same thing over and over. Here is what I was thinking:
  • Skill builders - Work on any current and previously taught skills/concepts. I thought I could also incorporate creative ways to work on word problems since this is a big struggle for my kids.{still working on this!}
  • Fluency {drills} - flashcards, memorizing facts, I want to start something where the kids master their addition/multiplication facts and we chart it on the wall. I found a great website that has timed tests! Unfortunately the kids usually come to us without any facts memorized and struggle to memorize multiplication facts.
  • Computers - The kids will play computer games on current/previous skills.
  • Games - Misc games on current and previously taught skills. I would have to continue to change these out and add to them.
So what do you think? I like that there are only 4 centers, because we usually will only have time for 1 station a day. I also like that I've broken them down into centers so they can be more manageable {it was a sort of free for all last year - craziness!!!!}. What do you do? How do you manage your centers with upper grades? How do you keep them fresh so kids don't get bored? I welcome ANY and ALL ideas!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Where we are...classroom sign

Don't you hate when you know what you want - but you can't find it anywhere! That's when I decided to just make it myself.

I wanted a way to display where we were when we weren't in the classroom. I searched all night {really all morning - I've been up since 2am because my little one got sick}. My theme, well it isn't really a theme, but I will be doing bright colors {pink, blue, green, orange and purple} along with polka dots. Here is what I came up with!

Where we are

I created the poster {using powerpoint...thanks to Teaching in Flip Flops for the tip!} and laminated it. Then I added ribbon so that I could hang it. I plan to put it on our outdoor bulletin board so everyone will always know where we are!

I don't know about you - but I always forget what special areas we are supposed to go to {especially on Mondays!} So I made this sign as well.

Special Areas

Now I will never forget where we go each day! I was going to decorate a clothespin to move up and down - but I just couldn't get these adorable, giant paperclips I found on pinterest out of my mind! I think they add that finishing touch!! Of course mine didn't come out as cute as the original, but I had to trim the ribbon!

Giant paperclip

I need your help! I have a small bulletin board that is right outside my classroom door. I usually have a welcome of some sort along with a list of kids in my classroom. I was thinking about this doing this bulletin board, but I really want to use dots instead of puzzle pieces! Here is my dilemma, I need a catchy saying. I was thinking "Welcome to 3rd grade - we saved a spot for you!" And then have the students names on polka dots around the board. Can't wait to hear your ideas!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'm all about cooperative learning!

I love cooperative learning! I was fortunate in college to have a professor {for 2 semesters} who was also a Kagan trainer. {they have amazing resources - go check them out!} I truly had the best of both worlds - not only was I introduced to the basic concepts of coop. learning, but it was also modeled to me at every class meeting. We constantly did coop. structures for all of our learning {and I saw the proof of how powerful it can be}. Of course we are filled with all of this wonderful knowledge in school, but when we get into our own classroom we can't always reproduce what we were taught. However, I have tried to hold onto my coop. learning strategies and implement them whenever possible.

I find that science lends itself so well to coop. learning. I created these cards to assign jobs to each group (table) of students. I assign students a job for each experiment and then rotate roles. Most of my students sit in groups of 4, but a few have 5. For the groups of 5 I have 2 material handlers. I can't tell you how this has saved me from discipline problems during science. The students don't fight over who gets to do what - or not getting a turn. It also prevents from having 10 students coming up to me at once (since only directors may come up to me with questions/problems). This also allows me to move around the room to have discussions with the children. It also allows students to problem solve within their group!!
  • Print a set of cards for each group (table) on different colored cardstock and laminate.
  • Cut the cards out and then use the bottom portion to remind the groups of the expectations for each job.
  • I keep the job cards/job explanation card in a plastic baggie that gets passed out with the experiment materials. (I prepare experiments by placing everything in tubs for each group)
  • I have each student within a group numbered 1-5. This makes it easier to assign job roles each time. I just assign each job a number...this make it so easy to switch jobs each time.
  • I have used these cards with both 3rd and 1st graders. It was a breeze with 3rd graders...however 1st graders need modeling to u

I hope that you enjoy these and they are helpful in your classroom! On a side note, I'm realizing that as the start of the year gets closer it is getting harder and harder for me to get on and blog (I have so much to do and not enough time!)

*Somehow when I converted to a pdf it changed moved the picture for investigator - I'll have to fix it another time - sorry!

Science Cooperative Jobs

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Awesome finds....

Sorry I've been MIA the past few days! It was my baby girl's {8th} birthday and I have been some more shopping! I {heart} back to school sales - I have been finding some amazing things for my classroom! Here are just a few {well a little more than a few!}.....

I found these at the dollar tree! They are different sized clocks that you can use a dry erase markers with. I plan to break them up and make centers {check back because I'll be sharing the centers I create!} I also found a synonym file folder game.

Another Dollar Tree find... this great spinner. I'm thinking about using this to call on students. {My students are in groups of 4-5 and each have an assigned number 1-5 to each group!} I would have to ignore 6-8 though! I also found this pointer - I got it just because the teacher store is right next door to DT and they were selling these things for 6$!!!!!!!!

More dollar tree finds {it was a great day!} I found these for my treasure box. I will use the balls for a grand prize week. My students last year went nuts for erasers! I was so excited to find these bright colored ones as well as skateboard erasers!

Ok last dollar tree find. I found these adorable tubs that match the colors in my room! {Love it} I thought about moving all of my math manipulatives into them. Of course I bought like 12 of them {I wanted more though!!!}

I found these at Target so I can make those cute paperclip bookmarks that I saw on pinterest {love pinterest!} I found the ribbon in the dollar spot! The giant paperclips are on the supplies aisle! I already started making these and they are so much fun! I plan to give them as gifts to my teammates.

I found these sticker gems at the Target 1$ spot. I got an awesome idea from Tara at 4th Grade Frolics to put jewels on students' papers when they use "sparkling" vocabulary or use creativity in their writing. {Love this idea!}

Another great Target 1$ spot find! More shaped erasers {ice cream, crayons and cute hand shapes - i love you, hang 10, thumbs up} These are for my treasure box! I also finally found the mini erasers! I found them awhile back and decided to wait, then went back and they were GONE!! I plan to use them with centers!

And my coolest find is this timer {Target 14.99}! Sure it just looks like a regular timer....but it's quite the opposite. This is a giant timer {hard to tell in the picture} it's 8.5 in by 8.5 in! The best part - it's magnetic! I plan to put it on my whiteboard!!

I didn't take a pic of it, but I also found a good size rug 7ft X 5ft - with giant polka dots {and my room colors} for only 15$!!! And guess where I found it?!?! At my grocery store of all places. They had a dorm section with all kinds of goodies!

I think that is enough goodies for now!! Stay tuned, I've been working on some great printables to label your crates {should post in the next few days!}

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pinterest..Facebook..Twitter Oh my!

As I was writing my post about making pinterest work for you and your blog...I realized I had to create a facebook page to attach to my blog, especially after telling you guys that the more you link up - the more people that can find you! You may have also noticed that I figured out how to add a pin it button to my posts! Kelsey at her blog Kelsey Creates has a super easy tutorial!! I also updated my facebook and twitter buttons!! So come follow me....

Follow Me on Pinterest

Kinder fun is also having a facebook linky party!! Come link up your facebook page!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

An Eye Opening Experience...

I am attending an amazing training this week - Stellar Summer Institute {Science for ELLs}. Today, I had a major AHA moment and it will forever be on my heart {I know it will change the way I teach!}

Let me give you a little background about me. I am bi-racial, half Hispanic and half Caucasian. So growing up, my father never taught me Spanish {it was like his secret language - he would use it talk to his family when he didn't want me to listen} I tried to learn it - I took 2 years in high school and attempted to learn in college {I failed miserably} I can pick out words here and there and usually make a good attempt to know what someone is saying. I have always caught flak from others for not knowing how to speak it {I really struggle with this}!

So today during our training we had two amazing speakers who are from UC Berkley and also help create FOSS kits. Right after his introduction, he began only speaking in Spanish. {Remember it is an ELL conference and most of the people were bilingual} At first I just sat there and tried to pull out the words I knew and attempt to piece together what he was saying. I could see everyone at my table nodding their heads completely understanding what he was saying. Then he began using a powerpoint of vocabulary words with pictures and a definition in Spanish. I knew he was giving us a science lesson and I thought I was doing ok trying to get what he was saying. As he continued to give the lesson he began to use gestures with the science materials we would be using. He modeled blowing on a piece of paper and questioning whether it would go up or down {he put his finger up and down}. I was still feeling ok with what he was presenting - I could pull out the word velocity and that he was asking us if we blew on the paper which direction would it go. Then all of a sudden he said something and everyone in my group started talking to one another in Spanish. I was completely lost! I was so uncomfortable!! Words cannot describe what I was feeling {scared, nervous, worried, frustrated, embarrassed}! I was frustrated because I was so lost in what was going on {I basically checked out}...but then I was embarrassed because I was worried that the people at my table would look down on me because I should know Spanish. I honestly wanted to run to the bathroom. I finally got the nerve to tell one of my teammates that I didn't know Spanish. She turned around and began to explain what he was wanting us to do. The rest of my group members kept talking in Spanish, but used gestures with their hands so I could understand.

The speaker then started to speak in English again and asked us to talk about the experience with our table groups. It was strange because even though I didn't know Spanish...many of my teammates were uncomfortable too! They are more comfortable with conversational Spanish, but weren't as comfortable with academic language {science vocabulary and terms}. Like me, the gestures and the pictures helped them to know what the speaker was asking of them. It made me realize some things and reinforce what I've been taught {these are just my observations and thoughts based on my experience with this activity}!!

1. Science could be its own language - there are so many terms and vocabulary for people to know and understand {it's usually foreign to all of us}. With this said - ELL strategies work well in science for ALL STUDENTS!!

2. We will have different levels of ELL students - some will be transitioning straight from a bilingual classroom, others could have mastered conversational language (BIC) , but still struggle with academic language (CALP). We need to know what type of supports our students need from us!

3. We must continue to use strategies {visual aids, modeling, repeating, etc) with all ELLs - no matter what their level is!!! I would have been so completely lost if the speaker hadn't shown vocabulary with pictures and modeled what he wanted us to do! And it sounds like my teammates who weren't as strong with the academic language also benefited from the strategies!

4. We MUST make sure our students understand our lessons, directions and what we are asking of them!! It is our job to make sure they are learning! We must pick up on their cues {checking-out or getting uncomfortable}!! If we loose them - we may not get them back to complete the lesson or worse they may shy away from future lessons!

5. Use your other students as a resource!! We always say we learn best from one another! It could also be said that students feel more comfortable asking another student for help than asking the teacher {this is how I felt during this activity - I was way too embarrassed to make the speaker stop to let him know I wasn't understanding!}

6. I feel like I have a better understanding of how intimidating it can be to be in a classroom where you don't understand because of a language barrier. I will always do my best to never make my students feel the way I did today!!

I can't put into words how eye opening this experience was for me! It's like with anything that is taught - someone can tell you and you think you've got it...then you get hands on experience and you have a deeper understanding.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Let Pinterest work for you...

While you are fulfilling those pinterest cravings - let it work for you and your blog! I only starting using pinterest about a week ago, yet it is already bringing more people to my blog than any other site {linky parties, sqworl, blog buttons, google search, etc}. Here are some tips you can do to bring more visitors to your site:

To get to your profile click on your name on the right side of the page, your image will be on the left with an "edit profile" button underneath - click this button.


*Add a blurb in the about section
Whatever you put here will show up right below your profile image. Mention what grade you teach as well as something about your blog {along with the blog url}

*Change your profile image to your blog button. There are thousands of people on pinterest - no one is going to remember what someone looks like, but if you put your cute button picture there - they are more likely to remember it and seek you out! Go to your profile to make this change

Setting up profile

*Add your website {Blog url}. Under your profile add your blog url. People can get to your blog by clicking on the world icon under your image.

See blog

*Allow your account to be searched in Google - Google is a very powerful tool...make sure you use it!!! Under your account make sure the you have "Don't search index" unchecked.

*Link up your twitter and facebook!! I am a firm believer that the more you have connected to one another the easier it is for people to find you! Note: the twitter account that will be attached to your pinterest account with the same email address. {This doesn't work for me because I have 2 twitter accts personal/teaching. When I go to link it, it picks up my personal acct} This will also be another way for people to follow you. There is an icon under your picture for both twitter/facebook.

*Create a board on your pinterest for blogs and pin your blog header/button. There are tons of people on Pinterest that don't necessarily have a blog or know about the teaching blog world. If you make a board and list your favorite blogs {including yours} this will bring more traffic. It also helps you keep organized with your blogs. Make sure to leave a description {grade level} and add little notes!

*Add a follow me pinterest button Under the main page click on about and then help, click on goodies. Find the image you would like to use. Copy the code. Go to your blog - under design - add a gadget - choose HTML/Java enter your code and save. You can move the widget around to where you want it. Again the more you connect...the easier it is for people to find you!

*Add a pin it button to your blog. You will be making it easier for people to pin your ideas - which means more people will see them and be able to go back to your blog! There is a code for this as well under the goodies section. I'm still debating where to put my pin it button - but I'm leaning towards next to my signature at the bottom of each post!

*Add your blog name to your pictures If you use an outside picture hosting site {picasa web, photobucket, tinypic, etc} instead of uploading your pictures directly into your blog make sure that your blog name is written on your pictures. Here is the problem - if you use one of these sites and someone pins one of you pictures - it links them to the picture hosting site vs your blog. This will allow people to know the source of the picture. This is very simple to do using a program like photoshop or an online program like picnik.

Picture with blog name

I hope these tips will help you increase the traffic on your site!! And if you'd like, come follow me on pinterest! Follow Me on Pinterest

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I decided to link my blog to twitter! Come follow me!

Follow SweetLifeof3rd on Twitter

Saturday, July 23, 2011

And the winner is.....

And the winner is..........

Congratulations Katie!! I hope you are able to purchase items from your wish list!! Please contact me within 48 hours with your email so that I can email you your prize!

I want to thank everyone else - I am still blown away that I have almost 200 people interested in my ramblings. And thank you so much for sharing your ideas and lessons! {I do hope that you find some ideas that you can use from my blog as well!} I am so excited for this next school year and to be able to use everything that I have learned for each of you!!

Just a reminder....

My giveaway ends TONIGHT at midnight CST!!! I will announce the winner tomorrow!

Friday, July 22, 2011


Tara at 4th grade frolic is having the sweetest giveaway yet!! She is giving away one of the cutest bracelets ever!! Go check out her site!!

Adventures of Room 129 is also having a great giveaway! She's giving away 3 different prizes! Head over there and check her out ~hurry it ends tonight!

Also don't forget about my giveaway - it ends tomorrow!!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pinterest Inspirations!

The other day I was searching the area Targets to find more stickers for my multiple choice sticks. I just happened to go down the "summer stuff" aisle and saw that everything was 75% off! If there is one thing you should know about me - it's that I go a little crazy when I see the word "SALE" or "CLEARANCE or " blank % off" {ok you get the picture} I found metal tubs {beverage containers} and I was beyond ecstatic because they were only 3$ {yes 3$} I grabbed 2 of them {probably should have grabbed more!} My hubby has been wanting one for when we have get-togethers. I wanted one for my classroom because it reminded me of a picture I found on pinterest from Ms. Nichols classroom....

Like many of you, I'm completely addicted to Follow Me on Pinterest! I seriously have a pinning problems {and I just started!} I have found so many ideas {check back because I have a long list of things I'm going to make from the ideas I have found!} So I found this clipboard bucket and thought it was adorable. We do a lot of carpet work with whiteboards, yet I store my wb at the back of the room {opposite end of the classroom}. I thought this tub I found would be P-E-R-F-E-C-T to store my whiteboards, dry erase markers and erasers! Here are my before and after photos.

Bucket before

Bucket after

Want to make a bucket too? It was super simple. I took scrapbook paper and used my cricut to cut out the letters {you could also buy letters already cut out}. Then I modge podged them on the bucket {remember to do thin layers at a time to prevent bubbles and the paper raising off} I put 6-7 layers of modge podge. You may also want to spray a clear sealant once it all dries to ensure that the letters are secure. Next I just tied coordinating ribbon on the handles. I plan to put some sort of basket inside this to store all three things and keep them organized. I'll keep you posted!

What have you made that was inspired by a pinterest find? Or what are you considering making? If you are on pinterest come check mine out!! Follow Me on Pinterest

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What I'm in love with {Linky Party}

I couldn't pass up the linky party that First Grade Blue Skies is hosting - What are you in love with? What is on your wish list for next year!

{What I am in love with}

Here is my classroom from last year {before school started that's why the bb are bare}. My theme was bright colors and black. All of my bulletin boards were solid black and the borders were black with brightly multi-colored shapes {dots, stars, stripes}. I love my theme! I love how my word wall pops! But I think I want to change my borders {shhh! don't tell my hubby} I found these borders from frog street press and I think they will make all of my bulletin boards pop! {plus I'm totally diggin' polka dots right now} I will still keep the solid black background. What do you think? Too much?

Here are the borders I would use - they're great because they're reversible. These are the main colors that I've already used, {word wall, library baskets & the caddies that are on the desks} I think they would match nicely.

These are cute numbers for my calendar - they only had them in green, but I'm sure I could make my own pretty easily.

Love, love, love these letters, but I think I could make these too! {with my handy, dandy cricut}

I would also love to get some of these storage ottomans! I love the ones everyone is making with the storage crates - but you just can't beat the price of these. Right now they are on sale at Target for 15$ I want a blue, pink, and green one! Not sure what I would use them for exactly, but they are so stinkin' cute!

Come join the up your wish list!

First Grade Blue Skies

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a 20$ gift certificate!

Looky...Looky!! Look what I made!

I was so inspired when I first saw these adorable multiple choice sticks on Tara's blog 4th Grade Frolics! I just knew I had to make them! Being in an upper elementary grade we do so much testing. {unfortunately} Of course I could have made another set of ABCD cards but these are way too much fun! {Don't you know the kids are going to love them!} I promise - super, super simple to make. It took hubby and I less than an hour to make 25 of them!! {including the drilling}

Here is what you need:
Total cost for 25 of them:
Popsicle sticks (100) - 2$
Screws/Nuts (#8) - 3$
Washers (#8) - 2$
Stickers - 5$
Total: 12$ for these amazingly cute multiple choice sticks!

Basically you drill a hole and attach 4 sticks together using the screw, nuts, and washers. Then if you'd like you can add alphabet stickers {or you could just write the number on them}. We found that it was easiest to put 4 sticks together using a binder clip and then drill the 4 sticks at one time.

I couldn't find the stickers Tara used, but I found these really cute dot stickers at the Target 1$ spot that fit perfect on the tip of the stick. They came with 5 sheets to a package {so I needed 5 of them} I also didn't use modge podge for the sticks like Tara did {I didn't have the patience - I wanted them that bad!} but the stickers were pretty secure on them. {I'm sure I'll regret it later!} I also went ahead and put the numbers 1-4 on the backside. {since I already had the stickers}

I cannot wait for my students to use these! Such an awesome, awesome idea! Again I would like to thank Tara for the inspiration and sharing her wonderful idea! If you have not checked out her blog - GO NOW!! She has so many more wonderful ideas! {definitely one of my favorite blogs!}

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a 20$ gift certificate!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Classroom Management

In my classroom - I have 3 reward systems in place. My students can earn rewards individually, as a team, or as a class. All 3 were very effective for me!

Individual Rewards:

I use tickets in my class. I just get a roll of them for around 4$ at Walmart {I only had to buy 2 rolls all year long} The students would get a ticket for anything from on task behavior to answering questions and participating{I know reward systems should only focus on behavior, but this worked for me} When students received a ticket they would write their name on the back and drop it in my little bucket. I would pass out tickets all week long. On Fridays, I would draw one name out and that person went to my treasure box. {At the end of the week I threw all of the tickets in the recycle bin and started over on Monday} I was honestly amazed at how hard students would work for the tickets, especially knowing only 1 person would win each week {it's the same concept of why we go crazy bidding on ebay - WE WANT TO WIN!!}. I would carry tickets in my pocket everywhere we went - it worked especially well in the hallways. About midway through the year, I heard of another teacher taking this system one step further. She would pull a name every so often during the day. If the person was off task she would say, "Oh this person isn't ready to get their name pulled, let me try again." She wouldn't share the name and would just put it back into the bucket. If the person was on task - that child got to pick from a list of privileges {take your shoes off, switch seats, extra computer time, etc} then their ticket went back into the bucket for the drawing on Friday. This worked so well in my class, if everyone was off task it was a quick and easy way to get everyone to refocus {it also gave us a break to redirect ourselves} I recently placed an order at vistaprint and ordered these cards with the choices listed for them {this way I don't have to stop my lesson to ask the kids what they want - and I don't forget to give them their rewards} This system worked so well that I plan to use it next year {it also saved me on prizes - only 1 a week}! Oh and on those weeks when behavior is just naturally off {like the week before winter break} I'd have a grand prize week where I would just give a bigger prize than normal. It made those weeks so much easier!

Team Rewards:
My class is setup with the desks in groups of 4 or 5 {for coop learning}. Each group of desks is a team. I had a part of my whiteboard sectioned off for team points. I had all of the teams listed {by color but next year I'll let teams create mascots}. They would earn points for being on task, being prepared, and participating. I would just write tallies for their points. At the end of the week the team would choose a reward {they came up with their own but I could always veto it} Most would choose lunch in the classroom, no homework pass or treasure box. Not only did this work great to get the class on task quickly but it really reinforced working as a team! I would have students help other kids get ready {help them find their spiral} and would even give them reminders to be on task. I don't like to take rewards away once they are earned - however I did remove table points for teams who were off task. This too worked really well - I will continue it
next year.

Class Reward:

I learned this system from my cooperating teacher while I student taught {I just tweaked it a bit}. I had a hundreds pocket chart. The numbers are all flipped to the back. When the students earns the number they flip it around on the chart. When we get 10 in a row {horizontal/vertical} we earn a class reward {party!!}. The students earn numbers for being on task as a class or getting compliments in the hallway/specials/lunch {5 numbers if the compliment is from an administrator}. I tally the numbers and when we have a free moment I give them their numbers. I have a baggie with a hundreds chart cut up #1-100. I call students {by pulling sticks} to pull out a number from the bag without looking. Then the student flips their number over. I have a separate bag that all of the used numbers go in so I can reuse for next time. On the first day of school all of the numbers are flipped to the back. During the first week of school I introduce the system to my students and let them pick any 10 numbers {can't be in the same row horizontal/vertical}. This way the understand how the system works as well as give them motivation to work hard. The students really love this system {another lottery type thing - they go crazy when they earn numbers}. The don't realize it could take months and months to fill up a row even though they earn numbers daily. We hit 10 in a row - two times last year. My class chose to have a hot chocolate party and then to have popcorn and a movie. I love this system! It's so easy to maintain and it takes up very little space {and reinforces math skills}!

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