Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Made It--June 29th

I love being crafty, but summers are about the only time I get a chance. I've been able to make three things! That's right, three crafts in one week! One or two may not fall into the usual craft category, but if I used glue, yarn, or scissors, it's a craft.

So, I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics to share my crafts or "crafts."
I made this pencil for the writing wall in my classroom. Since we do so much writing, I like to have my students clip a clothespin on the pencil to indicate where they are in the writing process.
I used scrapbook paper to put it together. I love scrapbook paper. It has so many uses!
Next up, I made these 2nd Grade Teacher buttons to give to 2nd grade buddies in Vegas. I want to be able to identify you all easily. Well 20 of you. That's all I have.
Were any of you Girl Scouts? Remember going to camp and bringing little trinkets to swap with scouts from other troops? This is my version of that :)
I showed these off in a previous post, but they didn't have the yarn yet. These are my Friday Funday activity tags that I will be using this year.
 You can see how I'm using them here.

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to link up with 4th Grade Frolics!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Class Dojo. . . Hi Ya!

Last year was my first year using Class Dojo. It just kind of happened. I usually have a cute little jar filled with wooden "chocolate chip cookies" with each student's name written on the backs as my random selection tool.

But last year was different. The truth is, I was too cheap to purchase those wooden circles. They were great. I'd shake the jar and it would make a noise that would get the students' attention. But it just didn't happen last year.

So for some reason I decided to start using the Dojo. It was a great decision!

After a year of using Class Dojo, I've learned more about what it has to offer and what works well. So, I have a plan. And I'm excited!

Before I tell you about my plan, let me tell you about the features I like most about the Dojo.

1. Random selection tool which lets me choose students at random for anything I choose.
2. Both positive and negative points. Yes, I like the negative.
3. The timer
4. Parent access and communication
5. I can display Class Dojo on the Smart Board for the kids to see.

So here's the plan. . .

Class Dojo allows you to reward students for whatever you want. It's easy to edit the positive and negative points. I can reward students for the things I find to be most important. For example, I believe it's important for kids to be at school on time. Therefore, the kids that are at school on time will receive a point. I will not punish kids that are late, but I will not reward them either.

I can add positive behaviors at anytime, but for now, this is what I choose. Students do not need to be at the top of the class to earn points. My students just need to participate and be on task.

Now, I don't take away points all day long. I try to look for the positive before I begin taking away points, but sometimes that doesn't work. I will say, the best part of the negative points is the sound it makes. When I take away a point from a child, Class Dojo makes a noise that gets the kids' attention.

One of the features Class Dojo has is the ability to turn the sounds on and off. It also allows you to show or not show award notifications. So, if I take a point away, the kids might hear a sound, but I can choose to not let them see which student lost a point.

So what do we do with the points?

Each Friday is Friday Funday. It lasts about the last 20 minutes of class. The students can choose from different fun activities. But there's a catch. Students must earn at least 20 points to participate. If we have a Monday off or for illnesses, the points can be adjusted. The students with the most points get to choose their activities first. Students with less points must wait to choose their activities.

As you can see, Stacy is the best student in the class. She gets to choose first.

My students get to wear a tag to indicate the activity they have chosen. Once all of the tags are gone, they cannot choose that particular activity.  Here are the new tags for the year :)

 Students can choose from:
  • Art Supplies
  • Computers
  • Board Games
  • Play dough
  • Science Supplies
  • Teacher's Board (kids get to write on the whiteboard)
The students that do not earn 20 points can do several things: complete incomplete work, write a letter telling me what they can do differently next week, or work from the extra work box. Because I like to give points out, I generally don't have kids sitting out. But the kids that are always on top of things, do get first choice of the best activities.
On Friday, the points are reset, but they don't just go away. The plan, this year, is to log them on a chart. With those points, the students will be able to "buy" from the Dojo Store.

I truly like to reward students for many positive behaviors. We all have students that are better at some things than others. For example, last year I had a student that had a hard time paying attention. He was a daydreamer. But he was a fast runner. So, when we went out to run the track, he'd finish his lap first and I would reward him with 5 extra credit points.

This year, I have some extra credit tickets, which I'll hand out while outside of the classroom. I may use them for being quiet in the library, walking in line nicely, picking up trash. . .

Finally, parent communication. Parents are able to view their child's behavior online, but I also want to send home a behavior report. Class Dojo allows you to print a report that looks like this:

It's a great report, but it'll take a lot of ink and a lot of paper. So, I'll just use this one:

That's the plan! I will not be using the conduct chart or a clip chart. I will be using Class Dojo. At least that's the plan. Fingers crossed all goes well.

I hope you found this helpful. If you're looking for a new behavior management system, I would recommend trying Class Dojo.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Share and Prepare: Community Helpers

I'm linking up with Marie at Once Upon a Classroom for Summer Share & Prepare. Stop by her blog to get some ideas for next school year.
I recently completed this product, which I'm excited to use in my classroom this coming school year. I created it for 1st and 2nd grade, but it can be adapted for kindergarten.
I have included 10 activities, which can be stretched out into many more.

Here we begin with the vocabulary.
I have included pocket chart cards. I love using pocket charts because it's easy to put stuff in and take it out. With these cards, kids will discuss community helpers and community buildings. There are clue cards for the teacher to read while kids guess the community helper. The clue cards are great for language development.
Included are 6 graphic organizers for class research on various community helpers. Teachers can use them to work with the class, but eventually, the kids should be able to find the information on their own.
One of my favorite parts of this product are the tri-folds. There are three included. The students read and answer questions with each. They give information about the jobs of vets, firefighters, and mail carriers. They also give the students information about how to become any of those community helpers.Student will also engage in a community making activity. They can work independently or in groups.
Finally the kiddos will work on a writing piece telling which community helper they would like to be when they grow up. The writing is differentiated to meet the needs of your students.

I can't wait to use this in my classroom! Get it here at half off :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Five for Friday: June 19th

I love summer! I love teaching, too, but waking up without an alarm and having to do only one thing a day is awesome! Yesterday I had to get a hair cut. It was tough.

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for 5 for Friday. Head on over and link up, too!
Did you reserve a spot? I love GoNoodle! It saved my life this year. Especially Koo Koo Kangaroo!
If you'd like to get started on teachers pay teachers, this is for you.
I've been using my new Getting Started on Teachers Pay Teachers product to plan my own products. I planned out my latest unit using the organizers and it made it so simple. Many times I have an idea and then I get more ideas and eventually I have too many ideas. With this, I drew pictures and explanations with it. I went from beginning to end and it made it so easy. I got on the computer, followed my plan and within a couple of hours. . . done! Well, pretty much done.
And this is a sample of what I had planned with the organizers from #2.
Because it is summer, school nights don't exist. I can have margaritas whenever I want!
Lily made it on 5 for Friday last week. Diego wanted his turn. He's the sweetest! #BestDogEver

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 15, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge: Makeover Madness

Hey! I'm linking up with a great bunch--Third in Hollywood, Sparkling in Second, Peppy Zesty Teacherista, and Teach Create Motivate--for the first TpT Seller Challenge: Makeover Madness.

I made over one product, which reminded me that this product is part of a bundle. So. . . I had to makeover all three of the products. This took ALL DAY! Seriously, I worked on it, went to the gym, came home and worked on it, went out to run some errands, worked on it some more. I'm finally finished. They look good and it was worth it :)
This was one of my very first products. I was so proud of it! But it needed a little makeover. I have since made a major font purchase and I think I own all of the clip art sold by Whimsy Clips, Educlips, and Graphics from the Pond. Oh, and I love RedPepper digital paper. So I spruced up my Writing a Narrative product.
I wanted my second Writing a Narrative to match the first. I used similar colors, fonts, and clip art. I spent most of the day copying, pasting, and reformatting the original from Word to PowerPoint. If there's an easier way, please let me know!
This is one of my favorite products! I use this all the time in my classroom, but I haven't sold many. I hope more teachers are drawn to it because it's awesome!

After creating for about a year, I have learned lots and lots. I've come up with some tips:
1. Use PowerPoint not Word!
2. Invest in clip art and fonts.
3. Once finished, reread several times over several days. If you look at your creation too much, you'll get tunnel vision.
4. Don't force your creativity.
5. Only create products you would use.

If you'd like to check out any of these products, click on the links below:
Writing a Narrative: Writing a Sequence of Events and Providing Closure
Writing a Narrative: Using Temporal Words and Adding Detail
Step-by-Step Paragraph Writing
Writing Bundle

Friday, June 12, 2015

Five for Friday-June 12th

Hi! I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.


 It has been a nice, relaxing week of vacation!
So I needed some accountability when it comes to eating well and exercising. And this, my friends, has been just that. My Fitbit has been great, too. If you've been thinking about getting one, I would highly recommend it :)
 I visited Hobby Lobby for the first time this week. It's HUGE! I walked up and down every single isle and added more than a thousand steps to my Fitbit. 
 I posted this photo on Instagram and asked my buddies how they manage to organize all of their clip art. I'm hearing folders, folders, folders. Thank you for the help. Now I just need to DO IT! Blah.
 I visited a tasty bakery last Saturday and picked up some goodies. It's all a part of my search for Southern California's best bakeries. Any bakeries you think I should try?
Every morning this little girl hears me wake up and she comes to the bed and pokes her head up. On this particular morning, I had my camera ready.
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