Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Reindeer Games!

It's been such a fun week! Mentally we are all eyeballing the clock and calendar, but having a full schedule of academics and seasonal fun is holding us together!

Today we finally made our reindeer food! 

The kids wanted to see how it would smell to lure in the reindeer.  ABSOLUTELY PRECIOUS!

They wrote to Rudolph and described their homes.  

Then we made our reindeer.  Pattern and paper from HERE.

Our mornings have been our regular academic schedule.  We are really into our literacy printables as of late!

Sequence a Story Writing

 Highlight and write parts of speech

Word endings -s and -es

Scrambled sentences 
 How are you holding up!?  Two days!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December Behavior Management

Teachers are throwing back Ventis like shots. Students are lit up like trees made of tinsel.  We are grinching, polar expressing, ornament making, celebrating, {assessing}, and crafting.   For some reason, we love it and wouldn't change it!


Here's three easy and free ideas to stop your students from jingling your bells in the month of December! 

Because there are three ideas, ideally you would introduce one a week for the three week school month of December.  Before your left pinky is permanently glue gunned to the felt and the glitter has scratched your right cornea, you can have you control, peace, joy, love, and all that goodness that is 20+ little bodies in the confines of your 4 walls.

 December Classroom Management Idea
 Create a class icon such as a tree and have students work to add their names through their kindness and good choices.  I chose to make a class tree on our door.  Mostly because my smart team came up with the entire idea and I stole it. 
On Monday morning I had each student's name spelled out on ornaments that I made by putting two circles together.  #nailedit   All of their letters were sitting on their desk as they came into the room in the morning.  Get the ornaments HERE.

The students were intrigued about their names when they came in.  I explained that as we worked through our day they would be able to color a letter in their name as I saw good choices and kindness.  Then I quickly found someone being awesome that got to get up and go color a letter.  The entire class sat up straight and quiet from that moment and I knew I HAD them!
I kept a small class list by my side to make tallies or checks by students that I had already noticed being good.  It just helps you catch everyone being awesome.   Realizing I needed to catch students up or get everyone to earn a letter,  I would say things like, "Let's see who can earn a letter as we walk to the library."  Then, upon our return everyone would color a letter.
If students have very short names or very long names I explained that we had a goal to meet.  Once we met that goal, our name could go on the tree regardless of the number of letters in our name.  This evens the playing field!

December Classroom Management Idea
I shared a version of this idea last year, but have since changed how I handle it.  Here's last year's idea.  Each student has a snowball and the snowball moved to the different hat colors based on behavior. We tried to stay near our green hat snowman by making good choices.  This year we no longer focus our time or attention on the mistakes we make, but rather on how we improve.
We use the super improver wall.  The idea comes from whole brain teaching.
An incentive or reward for super improvers this month is to move your snowball to the daily drawing!  I like to make it tie into something we will be learning.

 Every student has their snowball on the board, but they can move it for making an improvement or a good choice throughout the day.  Wow I see that you are trying to use your manners by staying quiet while working, you may go move your snowball! 

We studied the long A silent E pattern in spelling.  Students don't question the cane or rake on the board.  They just try to figure out the connection to our learning! "I know!" "We are studying silent e!  They have silent e!!!"

The day we made our sock snowmen, students earned their way onto the snowman.  #exciting
If you want these snowballs with numbers on them grab them here!

 December Classroom Management Idea
Light Em Up! 
Student Kindness Trees
This was not my original idea.  A teamie shared her light 'em up with kindness ideas and we all used this in our own way to teach our students about kindness. I had each student make a kindness tree that they could use to gift each other with light bulbs when they noticed that person lighting someone else up with kindness!  It helps students to pay attention to kindness and to appreciate those around them!

 Students gave a kindness light bulb to someone when they saw an act of kindness and could verbalize what they saw.  Rather than students saying they were kind themselves, they had to notice others being kind.
 die cut light bulbs

Each act of kindness that was noticed, earned the kind person a light bulb.  This was slow at first, because students weren't used to looking for kindness.  Giving students a daily kindness focus helped.  We began with let's work on saying the person's name and thanking them for something specific.  For example.  If I drop my pencil and Sara picks it up, I will say, "Sara, thank you for picking up my pencil."  Students were saying, "Gracie, thank you for getting my jacket for me when I forgot it"  Then they knew that someone had just been kind!

Each student made their own kindness tree using my tree craft in my December art and writing pack. 

The kindness light bulbs were placed on the tree to light up our hallway with kindness!

When a student earns a light bulb to go on their tree, they get to sign it! 

I hope these ideas will help create a less hectic December not only for this last week before break, but next year too!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Five For Friday

Anyone else hanging on by a holly berry?!?!  I am actually enjoying the relaxed crafty goodness that this time of year brings, but keeping the nutty behavior at bay is a challenge!  More on that in my next post!  It's time for Five for Friday!!!  {insert fan fare here}

We got our stockings from Bebesnickelfritz on etsy!  We were all at home serving our plates for dinner and our package arrived.  I knew immediately what it was, but hadn't let the family know what I had ordered.  When I opened the package everyone was happy!  Hubs didn't even get upset that I spent money!  Maybe there is something about seeing your name on a stocking that makes your heart melt!!!
I think I need a blanket made from the white fabric she uses.  It is so wonderful!
Last week we experimented and created our magnet force and motion books!  Oh so fun!!!
Students used little bar magnets to discover that opposites attract!  It was so fun watching them get excited when the magnets either repelled or attracted!  Hello vocabulary!  Perfect!

I ordered these bar magnets on amazon.  BAR MAGNETS

We also explored how objects moved in order to hit our force and motion standards.  
It goes so perfectly with push and pull!  We raided our junk tubs to find what we needed.  Each team got a ball, cube and car.
It was time to make parent gifts again! We made our tried and true sock snowman!  This is such a student favorite and a memory maker for your year.  To see how to make your own sock snowman, just click the picture.

 This week, we also wrote our Dear Santa letters.  We figured Santa would be checking his iPad for our emails so we made Techy Santa!

I am pumped about our next science book!  We will tackle weather in January and make these 3 D umbrellas to hold all of our studies!  I have already hoarded gathered different colors of 12X18 paper that we will use to make the umbrella color of our choice.  I know they will look terrific hanging in our room or hallway!

I am wrapping up a post with three ideas for keeping the students calm and focused next week when it can be a BIG challenge!  I'll be back this weekend with that post!