Saturday, June 30, 2012

Teaching Spelling the Organized Way

My goal every year is to be more organized. I started with spelling this year and LOVE how I have it organized. No more searching in 10 different spots for activities that match the week's spelling pattern. Our school has adopted Letterland but you could do this with any spelling list or phonics program.Here is what it looks like:

I used an empty crate and hanging file folders.

Each hanging file folder is labeled with the unit number.

Then I fill the folder with any and every material that I own that will help me teach the skill. I took pictures of two of the units that I teach. It contains the words that I use to sort words on the pocket chart, decodable readers that I matched with our Scott Foresman basal, and word work activities that students can use during Daily Five or literacy centers. The examples that I have shown are from a Mailbox magazine, and blogs (Cara Carroll {the first grade parade} and Abby Mullins {the inspired apple}).
I also made a small labeled manilla envelope to hold my word cards used for word sorts and small group activities. That way they won't get lost in the folder. 

I have two crates that I use for the entire year's worth of spelling and word work activities. I keep both tucked away in my closet and only get out what I am using. Nothing gets lost or forgotten about. Let me know what you think and if you have any other great ideas!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Behavior Management- The Clip System {Freebie}

One of the most important parts of running a successful classroom is having a solid classroom management system that works for you. I have tried lots, but this one that I started using last year is my absolute favorite. Its called the clip-system! Here is what it looks like:

At the beginning of the day everyone starts on green. I number the clips instead of using their names. It's nice for when we have visitors.
Students are able to move their clip up to blue, purple, or pink for good behavior...such as sitting on the carpet quietly, cleaning up a center quickly or apologizing for an accident to another student. Basically anytime that you notice someone doing the right thing that is setting an example for others, move their clip up.  The same goes for if they break a class rule.
Now for the meaning of each color:
Yellow- consequence
Orange- Teacher Choice...walk during part of recess, silent lunch, or time out during an activity
Red- Parent, email, or send a note home.
Throughout the day the student can move their clip back up by demonstrating good behavior.

{sorry, my walls and door are a little bare...its all boring because it's summer}

Blue- earn a sticker on their sticker chart

I purchased these sticker charts from a teacher catalog but you can get them at the dollar tree. Last year my student kept their sticker charts in their desk but they kept losing them and the stickers would fall off so this year I have made pocket chart to keep their sticker charts in.When they fill up their sticker charts they get to choose a reward from the behavior catalog. This idea came from the fabulous Sarah Cooley at First last and can be found here.

This is my version. I have two title is based on a pirate theme (Treasured Behavior) I used last year and the second one is based on a bug theme (best bee-havior). Here is what it looks like.

You can get your free copy here...just click on the image!

Purple: Earn a falcon feather
Ok, let me explain this one. At our school students can earn falcon feathers {our mascot is a falcon btw} for good behavior. Any teacher can give any student a falcon feather. Students take their falcon feathers to the library to enter their name in to win one of four prizes. They choose which prize they want and put their falcon feathers in the jar to win. Each Friday names are drawn and students receive their prize. If your school doesn't do this then you can do it yourself if your room. I added a picture of what this could look like in your room.

Pink: Earn a jewel for your clip
Ya'll, this is huge. Even the boys love this, in fact this past year the two students with the most jewels were boys. I got the jewels from Wal-Mart in the scrapbook sticker section. Sorry I don't have a better picture. I need to buy some more for next year.

And that's my behavior management. It works great and its affordable. You can adjust this system to fit your comfort level.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's Finally Ready!

Welcome to my blog! Ever since I discovered teacher blogs I have been itching to start my own. I had a baby last May and that put life on serious slow down as I was adjusting to the physical and emotional trials of being a brand new mommy. Now that little man is a year old, things have started getting some what easier (I write this as he is screaming from his bedroom because the child refuses to sleep, but that's a whole different topic) or maybe I have just finally adjusted. As I have sat and read literally hundreds of blog posts by all of you amazing teachers out there I realized that I too have lots of ideas to share. I can't wait to get started and only hope that this blog is as helpful to ya'll as your blogs are to me.