Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Attention Getters: Classroom Management Series

This post is part of my Classroom Management Series. Click here to read other posts from the series.

When I graduated from college, I worked as a classroom aide for the 1st and 2nd grade level team. There was one first grade teacher who amazed me. The room would be all aflutter with little people chatting and moving and everything else that comes with being 6 years old. And then this teacher would just start talking. She would literally say, "Boys and Girls...(insert whatever she needed to tell them)" and the entire class would freeze, look and listen. Just by talking in a normal tone at a conversation volume. WHAT?

I still don't know what kind of voodoo spell she cast over them to make that magic happen, but I assure you, I have never seen it replicated anywhere or at anytime.
It's just not normal. I gave up trying to figure it out and instead worked on creating an arsenal of attention getters that have the same effect.

My "bag of tricks" includes the following:
  • I say, "1-2-3 eyes on me." They repeat, "1-2 eyes on you."
  • I clap a pattern. They repeat it.
  • I say in a soft voice, "If you can hear me clap once." This is followed with, "If you can hear me stomp once and clap twice." And so on.
However, my go to trick. My numero uno. The key playa-playa in my teaching game is....

Me: "Class"
Them "Yes"

And then there is you. You are either nodding your head in agreement or else you are thinking, "huh?" I'll explain.

The "Class / Yes" thing is from the artist formerly known as Power Teaching. It now goes by the name of "Whole Brain Teaching." I've been using it for 5 years and it is phenomenal. I love all aspects of it, but I especially like the "Class / Yes" attention getter. Check out the video below from a 1st grade classroom to get a sample of what Whole Brain Teaching has to offer and then visit their site.




How do you command attention in your classroom? Leave a comment to share your ideas!


managing a classroom classroom routines classroom procedures best practices classroom management ideas classroom management tips classroom management pictures classroom management strategies effective classroom management plan examples of classroom procedures elementary classroom procedures primary classroom procedures middle school classroom procedures kindergarten classroom procedures first grade classroom procedures sample classroom procedures manual harry wong first days of school rules routines daily classroom routines that really work children printable free freebie second grade third grade fourth grade fifth grade education behavior management clutter free classroom organized classroom tips for organizing a classroom

Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Transition Signals: Classroom Management Series

This post is part of my Classroom Management Series. Click here to read other posts from the series.

Today's post will endorse an idea that has been around forever.

An idea that has gained popularity because of the Daily 5 book.

An idea that is so simple, yet so wonderful at the same time.

Today I am "chiming in" on wind chimes. I have a whole bag of classroom management tricks up my sleeve (as I'm sure you do too) but this is just a great thing to add to your repertoire of attention seeking methods.

Because, don't we all seek a little attention now and then?

I don't like to use any one method in class all the time. In fact, I have different signals and phrases to signify different things. I do the usual share of clapping patterns. I've been known to shout out, "1-2-3 eyes on me" and wait for my little charges to chorally respond, "1-2 eyes on you." In desperation, I resort to the old "turn out the lights" method. But, for today I want to tell you about the benefits of the wind chime.

It's lovely and it's soothing.

I use it to signal that it is time to clean up an activity and join me in our whole group area (which btw, I ALWAYS assign seats for and you should too). When I swat the chimes the procedure is to become silent, put away whatever was being worked on and quickly transition to the group area. I don't need to talk over people. I don't need to state 50 bazillion times that it is time to clean-up. If someone needs further direction, the classroom is silent and I can speak in my normal tone to instruct them. The thing I love most about the chimes is that they sound lingers before it fades so it isn't a signal that will be missed.

Now is the best time to purchase a set of windchimes too. Stores like Lowe's, Home Depot and garden/pool specialty shops are beginning to wrap up the season and these typically get marked down.

managing a classroom classroom routines classroom procedures best practices classroom management ideas classroom management tips classroom management pictures classroom management strategies effective classroom management plan examples of classroom procedures elementary classroom procedures primary classroom procedures middle school classroom procedures kindergarten classroom procedures first grade classroom procedures sample classroom procedures manual harry wong first days of school rules routines daily classroom routines that really work children printable free freebie second grade third grade fourth grade fifth grade education behavior management clutter free classroom organized classroom tips for organizing a classroom transition signal transitioning kids to the rug transitioning to the group area

Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Frugal Finds: FREE boxes in your school supply aisle.

I love me some Target any time of the year.

But, if I'm being honest, I must say that I get an extra rush of adrenaline when their seasonal display is transformed into a mecca of shiny notebooks, perfectly pointy crayons, and markers that are ready to perform in all of their rainbow glory. Serious endorphins people!

In addition to the perfection of back-to-schoolness and the bargains galore lies a real treat.
FREE BOXES!!! Sure you can stroll into most stores 365 days a year and walk away with free boxes, but only now will you find an abundance of colorful, sturdy treasures that are designed to hold classroom items. Most have minimal markings on them and are ideal for housing notebooks, folders or even your guided reading sets in your classroom.

Be respectful about it. I do my best to impersonate a Target / Walmart worker as I condense stray composition books into one box so that I may become the proud owner of the boxes they were scattered into.



Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Organization Tip: Numbering Student Supplies

Thanks to Hurricane Irene, I got a ton of stuff done for school this weekend.

Actually, it wasn't so much Hurricane Irene as it was the hype surrounding the possibility of her blowing through these here parts that motivated me to chip away at the 'ole to do list.

I'll wave my freak flag high and proud and admit to you all that I actually made TWO to do lists. We had the regular weekend to do list and the "things I can do in the event that we lose electricity and/or internet to do list." That is how much I love me some list-making. Anyhow, I took on some of the "no power needed" tasks which I had been putting off because they lack a component of fun.

Although mundane and over the top, I labeled all of my student supplies.

I usually do individual supplies.

Last year I did community supplies.

And I hated it.

Yes, I know "hate" is a strong word, but that's how much I loathed it. In fact, I didn't just hate it. I HATED it!!!! (See that. All caps, with bold font, AND an few exclamation points. That's how I felt about community supplies.)

My friends just didn't care for the supplies the way that they do when they are their very own. Glue sticks were dried out. Crayons were peeled and broken. Colored pencils were sharpened down to a nub. It gave me hives.

This year I am back to the individual supply boxes. There are, however, downfalls that come with having individual supplies. One of which is the petty arguments over who owns what. You've seen it. Two friends bickering because they can't determine who owns the red colored pencil that is 3/8 of an inch longer than the other one. It's bigger and therefore perceived as better and that means they both want it. Which also means you'll need to referee.

So to eliminate that problem. Along with the problem of lost supplies. I label them.

I know what you are thinking...No brainer, right?

Well, I go a step further and label all parts. Instead of just writing a name/number on the box of markers, I write it on each marker AND cap. I also write it on the pencils AND the erasers. I write it on the watercolors AND the brushes. I label the base of the glue stick and the tube which it slides into.

I know what you are thinking. Go ahead and say it. "OCD much?"

I realize it takes anal retentive to a whole new level, BUT there is never a second of time in class wasted mediating an argument over who a crayon belongs to. I never have to pick up the cap of a marker and wonder who will be sobbing because their blue crayola is all dried out the next time we do a project. It's definitely time well spent.

Anytime you can find a way to proactively make your classroom run more efficiently, I feel it is worth putting forth the effort. Our days are so short. We simply don't have time for distractions.

With my OCD labeling, I find that kids don't spend time off task mindlessly peeling crayons or doing that annoying drill a hole in the eraser with a pencil thing because they are accountable for their belongings. It ensures that each child is prepared for each project and not waiting for a tablemate to finish up using a gluestick.

It also makes me happy knowing that those little ones who get giddy over pristine school supplies the same way that I do are able to enjoy a box of items in tip top shape even when spring rolls around.

Have you clicked on my product button over there on the right? If not, check it out. There are a bunch of freebies available on there to help you organize and manage your classroom. :)

Do you do anything over the top in your classroom that you think is well worth the time investment?

Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Shoot For the Moon Writing Project.

Earlier today I showed off my Krissy Venosdale inspired bulletin board. I spent a good chunk of today creating a new writing project kit to go with it and just uploaded it to my store.

It includes the following. There are two different graphic organizers to help students brainstorm ideas, select a topic and plan their writing. One guides them to write about their own dreams or goals. The other focuses on why they are a "star." I've included four pages for their published writing project. One has primary ruled lines with a headline, midline and baseline. The other is ruled for intermediate writers. Each has a top page and a second page with stars at the top if needed. There are bright, colorful printables and greyline reproducibles included. They feature Thistlegirl Designs clipart. I can't wait for school to start so that I can jump in with this activity. I am going to display them around the board, but they would also make a wonderful classbook or a nice addition to a writing portfolio. Click here to purchase this product.

Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Welcome Board: My Classroom Makeover




Long before the Pinterest craze, I coveted this bulletin board. I don't even know how I found it. I was just wandering through cyberspace one day and stumbled upon Krissy's classroom photos and fell in love. Everything that girl touches is so bright, colorful and creative...three adjectives that when combined together truly make my heart skip a beat.
Anyhow...I so loved her "reach for the moon" board, but since wall space is limited I couldn't justify putting it in my classroom simply for aesthetic purposes (though I secretly wanted to).
BUT...I then realized that it would make a super "Welcome Back" board for the hallway.
AND...since our "mascot" is a rocket, the pieces all fell into place.
I'm also working on a writing activity for the first week of school titled, "Why I'm a Star." I'll display those around the board before the parent open house/info night.
Edited to add: I DID create a writing project to go with it. You can view all of the details here.
Unfortunately, the pictures aren't fantastic because the board sits directly under windows and right next to big doors and it was a very bright morning and I am far too lazy to read the instruction manual on my camera to figure out how to compensate for that, but you get the idea.
I'll snap some better pictures when I go in next week to put the finishing touches on my home-away-from-home.
The stars are all cut from patterned yellow scrapbook paper and have my friends names printed on them.
I added the name on the rocket using stickers that I already had lying around the room.
In an attempt to be the tiniest bit different from the original, I added the boy using my trusty Cricut. I think I need to write our school name on his shirt. He just needs a little somethin'.
Krissy's original board had a very cool lighted rope. Love it.
Cara Carroll recreated the board using a jumprope from Dollar Tree. I think I will go that route too.
I actually made all of the words myself by selecting different fonts, but when I went to Krissy's site to get the link and give her credit, I saw that she so kindly uploaded a printable and directions. I could have used that two days ago, but hopefully you all will be able to take advantage of it. Prepare to be blown away by her site and classroom. She's awesome!
Which is why she is this Friday's...
Click on her blog button to check out her awesomeness...

pinterest


Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three for Thursday

I'm joining the Blog Hoppin' linky to share three of my favorites with you:
My Favorite Font:
Gosh, I have a bunch. But, since I mainly stick to two on here, I
figured I would share those:

Picking a favorite blog is much harder. While I super heart so many, there are two that stand out.
As a blogger, I've been so greatly influenced by Kristen at Ladybug Teacher Files. She has shared some ideas and tutorials for bloggers that have been incredibly helpful. Stuff I didn't even realize I needed to know. She also has great teacher tips for the classroom.


I also need to mention Beth Newingham. Actually it is her site that wows me, but she also blogged for Scholastic. I found Beth when I began teaching 3rd grade. I had been home on maternity leave for over a year and tackling 3rd grade and being a working mom for the first time. Her site and resources were invaluable.
Online Resource:
Hands down:

Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Listening Look - classroom management series

This post is part of my Classroom Management Series. Click here to read other posts from the series.

Listening Look

At the start of the year we establish a “Listening Look.” This shows that they are focused on the speaker. In my classroom a listening look includes hands clasped together (so as not to be touching/fidgeting with anything), eyes and ears on the person speaking.


I certainly don’t expect the class to be in this position throughout every lesson and conversation, but instead save it for important messages and guests. For example, if the principal came in to tell them something I would say, “Boys and Girls please stop what you are doing and give Ms. ___ a listening look.”


I also use it to signal heightened importance or to redirect them if it is getting a bit chaotic. It's much nicer to say, "I need a listening look" and have a hush fall across the room than to point out that it's too loud...too crazy...too whatever.


The poster at the top was something I purchased during my very first year of teaching. Boyfriend took residence in 2 states, 4 schools and 8 classrooms before being retired last year. We now create an anchor chart and I use a photo of my actual class sporting the listening look.


It's effective. I like being able to say, "You should look like your picture."


Because on that very first day of school, when the Kodak moment takes place, the kiddos are on their bestest behavior in their finest of clothes. Never will a listening look appear more serious or perfect. It sets the bar high. :)



managing a classroom classroom routines classroom procedures best practices classroom management ideas classroom management tips classroom management pictures classroom management strategies effective classroom management plan examples of classroom procedures elementary classroom procedures primary classroom procedures middle school classroom procedures kindergarten classroom procedures first grade classroom procedures sample classroom procedures manual harry wong first days of school rules routines daily classroom routines that really work children printable free freebie second grade third grade fourth grade fifth grade education behavior management clutter free classroom organized classroom tips for organizing a classroom how to get attention how to get a class' attention commanding attention from a class.

Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

No Sew Curtains: My Classroom Makeover


I don't sew.

It's as simple as that.

My mother and my sister are able to create wonders with a needle and thread.

I've been known to duct tape the hem on a pair of pants. Lucky for me, I'm tall enough that most pants are already short and don't need hemming.

However, girlfriend here known how to work a stapler and a pair of scissors and that was all that was needed to make me a pair of curtains.
I began with twin flat sheets from Walmart. They are cheap and the colors are plentiful.

I measured the length from the ceiling to where wanted them to fall.


Next, I measured that same distance on the sheet from the already sewn edge and cut it.

A staple here. A staple there. I had me a set of curtains to add charm and reduce glare.

I choose to alternate colors. Actually my class voted on it and they wanted alternating colors. I love it too though.

Because they are not hanging on a rod or sewn in any way they lacked a "finished look."
I grabbed some bulletin board border that was left over and stapled that at the top.

That's it. Easy-peasy!!

Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Communication Folders - Classroom Management Series

This post is part of my Classroom Management Series. Click here to read other posts from the series.

Working as a team with families is key. It’s important to establish a consistent method of communication for keeping everyone organized. If you do a Google search for “Moose Binders,” you’ll have access to lots of information on communication books. I’ve experimented with several ideas and methods and have found that a pronged pocket folder works best for me.


In my opinion, the binder was too bulky and I didn’t need that much space. I found them awkward to check, cumbersome for the kids, and struggled with where to store them during the day. My teaching partner LOVED them. It really is a matter of personal preference in regards to what you use, but I do think it is important to have some form of communication tool.


  • Decide what type of system will work for you and then figure out where the folders/binders will be stored during the day.

  • Determine how you will check them for notes from home and distribute them at the end of the day. I have the students place them in a pile on my teacher table. I quickly check each folder for notes or dismissal changes. My helper of the day places them into the student mailboxes and let’s me know if any are missing. I check in diretly with those friends to see if the folder was forgotten at home or is in the backpack.


managing a classroom classroom routines classroom procedures best practices classroom management ideas classroom management tips classroom management pictures classroom management strategies effective classroom management plan examples of classroom procedures elementary classroom procedures primary classroom procedures middle school classroom procedures kindergarten classroom procedures first grade classroom procedures sample classroom procedures manual harry wong first days of school rules routines daily classroom routines that really work children printable free freebie second grade third grade fourth grade fifth grade education behavior management clutter free classroom organized classroom tips for organizing a classroom MOOSE binder communication home school communication communication folders

Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

You may also enjoy...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...