Archive for Classroom Management

May I have your Attention Please!

Get a bunch of  10 year olds in a room, and then try to talk over them…tell me how it goes! That’s why every teacher I know has a few “Attention Getters” in their bag o’ tricks, a little phrase or call and response that gets the kids attention. I started a list of all the ones I heard or had found. For example at our school, everyone does “Give me 3” and the kids are supposed to hold up 3 fingers and “1. Stop, 2. Look, 3. Listen.” That’s all well and good, but it get’s worn out if you use it too much. My plan is to introduce a new “Attention Getter” every 4-6 weeks to keep my kids on their toes and because it’s fun! Here is my list so far, fell free to give me more suggestions:

  • Teacher: All Set?             Students: You bet!
  • Teacher: Flat tire             Students: Shhhhhhh
  • Teacher: Shark Bait!       Students: Brew ha-ha (from Finding Nemo!)
  • Teacher: What’s up?            Students: It’s all good! (kids love this one)
  • Teacher: Hocus Pocus            Student: Everybody focus! (Whoooo!)
  • Teacher: Good gracious            Students: Great balls of fire!
  • Teacher: And a hush came over the crowd             Student: Shhhhhh.
  • Teacher: Mama mia                        Students: That’s a spicey meatball! (Of course this one must be done with an Italian accent)
  • Teacher: Who ya gonna call            Students: Ghost busters! (whoo)
  • Teacher: Hear ye, hear ye!                        Students: All eyes on the queen! (I particularly like this one!)
  • Teacher: Bum budda bum bum            Students: Bum, bum!
  • Teacher: www dot                        Students: zip it dot com
  • Teacher: Uf-da                        Students: Ya, sure, you betcha! (I can’t wait to hear my little Texans sound all Minnesoootan!)

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Every book needs a basket

Here is Part 2 of my classroom library organization, just like yesterday, it is way easier to show you rather than tell you:

This was how I originally had my library...way back in my first year of teaching :) See how all the books are just lined up? Kids have a really hard time finding books this way, let me show you a better way!

This was how I originally had my library…way back in my first year of teaching 🙂 See how all the books are just lined up? Kids have a really hard time finding books this way, let me show you a “better” way!

See how the cover of the books are visible? So much easier to browse and find what your looking for. But there is more to it than just throwing all the books in a basket.

First I went through ALL my 1000+ classroom books and labeled and categorized them! (that process will be another post!). Here are the book labels I created

First I went through ALL my 1000+ classroom books and labeled and categorized them! (that process will be another post!). Here are the book labels I created to fit the name tag holders I bought at WalMart. These sturdy, plastic holders will keep my tags nice and neat, and also allow for quick switches. Here is a link to my page with all my Library Resources

Here is my first round of book baskets, see my labels in the middle? I had 42 different categories, but only 30 baskets–but I got started anyway, I made a trip back to Dollar Tree to get some more baskets yesterday. Almost every basket in my library is from Dollar Tree and I’ve got a LOT of baskets, but at only $1 a pop it is much more reasonable than some of the baskets at WalMart or Target that can run $3-5+ each.

Big tub of books #1–I have 6 tubs like this, plus a few cardboard boxes full of books!! Luckily I sorted them all this spring and categorized them so all I had to do is put them in the corresponding basket.

See how I already have all the books labeled with the Library Section (Fiction, Non Fiction, Series etc…)

There is a colored dot sticker that indicates the Reading Level and the specific reading level and AR points is written on the inside cover. Yes, this took a LONG time, but I know it will make my Reading Workshop run so much more smoothly.

Whew! Here I have all my fiction books baskets on the shelves. I have a few more baskets to fill so I’m sure things will be shifted some, but this is how it will be in general! Monday I’m going to organize my Non Fiction books.

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Classroom Economy

One of the big things I’m working on this summer (mostly during the lulls in summer school computer lab 🙂 is my classroom economy. The bread and butter of my classroom management is the Scholar Dollar system, otherwise known as the “Checkbook” system. I can’t take credit for coming up with this idea, when I student taught in Orange City, IA the 4th grade teacher I worked with used the checkbook system and it was so effective that I have implemented it every year…and every year it gets more involved! Here it is in a nutshell.

  1. I ask my local bank to donate 25 checkbook registers and plastic checkbook covers–they have come through every year! Thanks Wells Fargo!
  2. At the beginning of the year each student applies to the “Scholar Dollar” bank and receives a checkbook.
  3. They are responsible to keep track of their credits and debits–more on that later!
  4. Students accumulate Scholar Dollars and at the end of the 6 weeks we have “Scholar Dollar Fair” where students work together to come up with an idea for a booth, bring the items they want to sell, set their prices, man their booths and sell their wares! (See Scholar Dollar pictures here)

Ok, that was the simple version…let me flesh it out for you!

Why I Do It:

I’m a huge advocate of creating a classroom community where learners are actively involved in every aspect of the classroom and where students take responsibility. Scholar Dollars are FANTASTIC for this! The first few weeks of school I spend a lot of time explaining and modeling how students are to keep their checkbooks, they catch on very quickly, mostly because they are so excited! (And aren’t kids way more capable than we give them credit for sometimes?)

How I do It:

I already explained that I have checkbook registers donated, here’s the rest of the story.

Attendance–I use the checkbook system in every aspect of my classroom management. When kids arrive in the morning they take their checkbook out of their pocket in our pocket chart. This serves as my attendance system–if the checkbook is still there the kiddo is absent. (Click here to see the bulletin board)

Classroom Jobs–Every student has a daily classroom job that they are expected to perform each day at the end of the day to help keep our classroom neat and organized. They are paid $1 per day for coming to school (attendance) and performing their job. If they aren’t at school, they don’t get paid…sound like real life?! Besides applying for a Scholar Dollar checking account, students also fill out an application for a special classroom job. This application asks them about their strengths and weaknesses and even requires them to provide a “reference”. All these things are great real life applications and open up conversations about why we are doing it.  These jobs are things I need throughout the day and that need a responsible committed student.

Credits–As I mentioned, students are paid $1/day for coming to school and performing their classroom job. They can also get money for the following things:

  • Getting their weekly folder signed–The first day=$2, The second day=$1, Every day after= -$1
  • Good grades on tests–90-100%=$3, 80-89=$2, 70-79=$1
  • Special Classroom Jobs–Depends on job!
  • Bonuses= Good report from a substitute, compliments from other teachers, random acts of kindness

Debits–There are also fines and debits for things that happen in the classroom

  • Color Changes–If students get their color changed they loose $$ (Yellow=-$1, Orange=-$2, Red=-$3, Blue=-$5)
  • Losing Homework–$1/Sheet
  • Speeding Tickets (Misbehavior in hallway)–$1
  • Late Fees–$1/Day

Purchases–There are some items students can purchase from me if they choose

  • Extra pencil (we pool our pencils, but they can purchase “special” pencils to keep at their desk)
  • Homework passes
  • Free time on the computer

Click here to find all my Scholar Dollar resources!

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