Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Sneak Peak

I have decided that I am going to start a classroom blog! I am doing this for numerous reasons. First, I want to remember what I do from year-to-year. I am switching grades all the time and I want to keep record what I did for each grade. Secondly, I want to be able to collaborate with fellow teachers and want to post some of my ideas on my new addiction: PINTEREST! Thirdly, friends and family are always asking what I am doing with my chickadees in my class. Therefore, this is a way for them to see what we are doing.

A little bit of management in my class is a blurt chart and a behavior rubric. I believe you have to have a controlled classroom before learning can take place. In fact, I was once told, "Procedures are the railroad tracks and content is the train." I completely agree!

Blurt Chart: When a student impulsively shouts out an answer or comment, it is considered a "blurt." With my experience, this is common amongst the little ones. They are just so excited when they have an answer that it just "pops" out of their mouth. It can be cute sometimes, but not when you have 17 blurters. Ha! In my class, you get three strikes (blurts) before you have to move your clothespin on the behavior rubric. Once they have three blurts, they start back at the top. If they get another three blurts, another clothespin on the behavior rubric is moved, etc, etc.

Behavioral Rubric: Each student has a clothespin with their name on it. Everyone starts on "Great Day." As you can see, there are consequences every time you move your pin. Our class family came up with the consequences together. "The Chill Zone" is a designated place in class where a student will sit for approximately 5 minutes to "chill out" and think about their actions. I believe that every student has a choice. They can either follow school/class rules or CHOOSE to break them. "It is their choice!"

Some ways I display students' work is with clothespins. In fact, clothespins are my best friend. I didn't have a bulletin board; therefore, I hung butcher paper and my awesome hubs attached fishing wire. Clothespins are awesome. No staples and easy to switch out students' work.

Schools today are big on "Universal Access." It is just a fancy work for differentiated instruction within the classroom. We all learn in different ways, at different paces, at different levels. In addition, there is only one of me and 17 little ones. Consequently, while I am doing reading groups. the students have a variety of options to work on independently. They have "Must Dos", the things that they "HAVE" to do; they have "May Dos", the things that they choose to do once their "Must Do" is done; finally, they have "Ketchup Work," things they need to catch up on or didn't complete from the day prior.

I love rubrics. They are a great visual for students (and teachers) to rate/grade work. We are really practicing our writing this year and I made the following rubric. It is fabulous. The students love to "rate" their own work and know I will not accept anything below a "4!" High expectations = awesome students!

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