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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Clip Charts and PBIS

There has been a few blog posts recently about the negativity of clip charts and I felt like I had to put in my two cents. I love my clip chart system. I use it in a POSITIVE way. The language is explicit and motivating, and it sets high expectations for the behavior in my classroom.

A few years back, my district moved towards a PBIS system.  I was so anxious about what I was going to do. How would I survive without my clip chart? How would I manage student behavior and recognize all the GREAT things my students do? How can I lift them up and celebrate their great citizenship? The answer was really SIMPLE. Are you ready for this???  I cut off the bottom of my chart. GASP!

PBIS and clip chart critics are concerned with the public display of negative behaviors. I get that. I do. Here is my thinking about that.  I  build the expectations in my classroom around the positive behaviors. The students know my expectations.  They strive to be role models and work hard. If I work my chart early in the day lifting up my students and acknowledging their positive behaviors, I really have no need for the bottom of the chart anyway!  SHOCKING!  When a student raises their clip and earn stars, the other students congratulate them and cheer for them.  It is beautiful.

Here is a personal story.  Last year, my daughter had a really rough year.  She is a bright, well behaved little girl. She is one of the "easy" kids. She would cry at night not wanting to go to school. She would say that she was invisible and that nobody (including her teacher) would pay attention to her. She was busy dealing with the naughty kids. It broke my heart. If her teacher would have only focused a little on my daughter's positive behaviors, I think it would have made a world of difference not only in her well being, but the well being of the whole class. Instead, my daughter only remembers second grade as "the worst year of my life." Heartbreaking. I never want a student to be invisible in my class. Ever.

What about the naughty ones? 
What about consequences?  

I am not living in a dream world people!  It takes a lot of hard work to guide the students who make poor choices to come into the light!  I like to use personal clip charts that they keep on or in their desks. I have a PERSONAL conversation with the student when they have to move their clip down. We set goals.

I DO give consequences for breaking the rules. I call it "Teacher's Choice" for a reason.  Not every situation warrants the same consequence. Often times I will say, "You will have a consequence for your behavior" then decide later what that will be after some thoughtful reflection. I recognize that ALL students have special needs, and those can even vary from day to day. It is just less public now. I would rather spend my time uplifting my students in a positive way, than dealing with negative behaviors. I RARELY used the bottom of my chart anyway and don't even miss it.

In case you want to read about other ways I use my clip chart, check out these blog posts:

I have bundled ALL of my clip chart management tools into one great package. I call it the MEGA Bundle!!! It has the original chart, awards, and notes for every level of the chart, cute seasonal awards, and management forms. It also now has an editable monthly calendar, too!  It is such a deal!

This is a sample of the monthly behavior calendar:

The students color the day to match their level on the chart. 
It becomes a great visual record for them, their parents, and me. Love it! 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The "May" Basket

I'm super excited to team up with 150 bloggers for another month of bright ideas!  My bright idea is a super quick tip about managing the "stuff" kiddos bring to school. 

I have a basket in my classroom called the "May" basket. Mine is just an old Easter basket, but any kind of basket will do. It has a little tag on it that says "May Basket" that is tied on with a ribbon. 

At the beginning of the year, I explain to the students that any toys or items that they are playing with during class time will be taken away and placed in the May Basket. 
OH NO!!  
Oh, yes... I do.  

The students do not get the item back until the last week of school in MAY! Sometimes I say it means they may- or MAY NOT get it back. (Wink! Wink!)   The basket sits up on my file cabinet, and really serves as a reminder to NOT bring toys to school. It is not entirely foolproof. The basket will (most likely) have some deposits by the end of year.  I will hear the children say to one another, "Put that away! You don't want it to go into the MAY BASKET!!" The students help remind each other, which makes my job easier and leads them to managing themselves. 

 I do offer a bit of leeway if a parent comes to retrieve an item, but for the most part the collection grows throughout the year and the parents are very supportive. I have collected some pretty strange things over the years!!

I hope you enjoyed this month's Bright Ideas blog post! If you would like more ideas from me, be sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and Facebook to stay posted with fabulous freebies and ideas!

Be sure to visit the Bright Ideas Link-Up below to see more posts from over 150 fabulous educational bloggers.  Thanks for visiting!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hanging Chart Paper the Easy Way!! (Wordless Wednesday!)

Thanks to Miss DeCarbo for letting me hop in this linky! 

One of my favorite tips for saving floor space is to hang my anchor cart paper pad on my whiteboard using Command Hooks.  I use the ones with the metal tabs.  They stay up great, and my floor doesn't get cluttered with an extra chart holder.  Easy squeezy! 

Happy Hanging! 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Keeping Your Students Organized During Writer's Workshop

Managing Writer's Workshop can be a challenging task. Over the years, these have saved my sanity and kept my kiddos' writing on the "right" track.  These are multiple folders bound together to help keep students organized through the steps of the writing process. I have used two pocket folders (for a total of 4 pockets) for mine, but you can easily use 3. Students place their writing in the pocket that corresponds with the stage of the writing process they are working on. They can have multiple pieces of writing in different stages, and keep it all together. I like them to keep a pocket of "writing" ideas where they can store pictures, research, or new ideas. 

One of my sweet readers Josie sent me these pictures.  I love how she used the binding machine to assemble her Writing Workshop Folders.

She says she has used them for a few YEARS now and just uses a Magic Eraser sponge to change the kiddos names.  BRILLIANT!  You are a smartie, Josie!!

And speaking of writing...  I recently realized that I never blogged about another one of my favorite tools for Writer's Workshop -- My Writing Placemat.  It is a really simple chart that the students keep in their desks and can pull out when they need help with writing. The students can also take it to a spot around the room if needed. It contains word lists to increase vocabulary and improve word choice.  There are several lists of adjectives as well as common words like months, numbers, and family.   I also see them pulling them out during science and social studies, too.  BONUS!! 

This has been a game changer for my both my struggling and gifted writers. The funny thing is that I notice that they will start using the words more fluently, without using their placemat.  

Check them out!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The GIngerbread Man: LOOSE in the SCHOOL!!!

OH NO!  The Gingerbread Man is LOOSE IN THE SCHOOL!!! Not, really, he is just looking for the kids that made him.
The Gingerbread Man - Loose in the School by Laura Murray is a terrific book for the beginning of the year, or anytime you want to add a little gingery fun to your classroom.

It is written in a fun graphic novel style with almost retro feeling artwork. The story unfolds as a brand new gingerbread man is left behind by the children who made him.  He just wants to play, so he sets out around the school to find them encountering many school staff along the way.

I love this book so much I made a little companion pack to go with it. It is based on the Common Core State Standards, but can be easily used by teachers who aren't core states.  It is just chock full of great graphic organizers and fun activities that would be great in the beginning of the school year!

Check it out!!!

This unit Contains:
Vocabulary cards (perfect for a pocket chart) for nine words
Vocabulary worksheets (3)
Prediction page
Beginning-Middle-End organizer
Character Reaction page
Parts of A Story page
Sequencing (cut and paste)
Problem/Solution graphic organizer
Can-Have-Are graphic organizer
Asking Questions graphic organizer
Fiction vs. Non-Fiction worksheet
Fiction vs. Non-Fiction graphic organizer
Story Retelling Puppets (color for a class set)
Story Retelling Puppets (black and white for students) 
Missing! Story Writing Template

The "Missing" poster is my FAVORITE!  They always are so cute!!

I just LOVE this book!  I "almost" can't wait for school to start!  
What are some of your favorite back to school books?

Happy Reading!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back to School- Super Savings on SUPER Bundles!

I am so excited to announce that is having a HUGE 
back-to-school blowout sale and I am going to be featured in the management bundle! From NOW through August 2 (Saturday), they are bringing back all of their favorite and most popular bundles for INSTANT download at up to 77% OFF! There is something for everyone and it is their BIGGEST sale of the year! Take a peek at what is on sale! Tell your friends, because there is something for everyone who teaches children in PreK-8th grade!

This is a peek at the management bundle:  

There is a ton of GREAT stuff to get your classroom up and running for the new school year, and it is a PHENOMENAL DEAL!  
Even if you just use TWO of the products in this bundle, it will 

Management, D├ęcor, & Organization

You all know I am a huge fan of my clip chart management system
My MEGA bundle is included in this set! It includes all of my favorite forms, charts, and awards that I use everyday to keep the behavior in my classroom POSITIVE and MANAGEABLE.

The bundle also has Simply Kinder's Partner Up - Partnering System. 
I wrote a blog post about how I use this in my classroom here

AND I JUST LOVE the Hands-On Teacher in First's BRAG BRACELETS! 
They are so FUN and MOTIVATING! 

AND there is SO much more in the BUNDLE!!  
Those three products bought separately would be more than the cost of the bundle, and there are 12 MORE GREAT FILES!!! 
It is so exciting to be a part of this set and to be working with Educents on this project. 
They are passionate about saving teachers money and helping all students learn.
Go CHECK IT OUT! You will probably find other great bundles there, too. Uh...  I DID!!  


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Want to give your students a birthday gift they'll use and remember?

Check this out! You might recall last winter when I was so excited about my Send Home Science Kits. They have become one of my favorite things to give to students, and EVERY TIME... the kids go nuts for them! They think they have won the lottery.  It is awesome!

To celebrate back to school, I am giving away a class set of BIRTHDAY science kits to one lucky winner!
How cool will it be to give these out to your kiddos?

In case you aren't familiar with my Send Home Science Kits, they are really a terrific product,
and versatile for grades kinder through fifth grade.

The file contains all the instructions (including a shopping list) to assemble a bag full of tried-and-true science activities that your students can take home and complete. They are a great way to incorporate science at home. They require very inexpensive materials, many that you can get for no cost!

There is a printable science booklet and science journal that you copy and put in each bag, 
and printable bag toppers for multiple uses. 

I set up an assembly line when I am putting them together. It looks like a lot, but it was really easy!
(Ignore the Crock Pot... that was dinner!) 

My hubby bagged them and I put the topper on:

Well, here is your chance to win a class set of BIRTHDAY science kits, already assembled and ready for 
YOU to give to YOUR students. Who doesn't need that?!?!

Check it out here in my TPT store: 

I am also giving away 2 of the downloads to 2 lucky winners, too! 

Enter today! 

** NOTE:  Kits will only be shipped within the contiguous United States.**

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