Friday, August 16, 2013

Teacher Week Day 4 and 5

Today I am posting day four and five of Teacher Week at BlogHoppin together. The theme for the days is Taming the Wild ~ Tricks for Classroom Management and Teacher tips. We have just completed our first full week of teaching. With this being my first year in kindergarten, I am feeling very excited but very busy. Add a one year old with newly diagnosed food allergies, and my life resembles a circus just a little bit. I decided to post the last two days together to save a little time.

Classroom management is so important. It is an area that every teacher must improve on every year because every single class is different. I spend a lot of time at the beginning of each school year focusing on classroom procedures and routines. While it takes a lot of time in the beginning, the payoff later makes it so worth it. Later in the year, I am able to quickly manage my classroom and focus more heavily on instruction without constantly having to stop instruction to correct a behavior.

A few of the things that I do…
·      Classroom Stoplight ~ Our school uses a stoplight program to help monitor behavior. I do think that it is effective for young children because they understand the concept of a stoplight. Green means go, yellow means slow down, and red means stop. This year, I opted to use pizza boards as my stoplight. After adding a little cricut vinyl to them, they are too precious. I printed each child’s picture in wallet size and added it to the board. Now students only have to “move their picture.” This really helps with my kinders who can’t recognize their own names.

·      Lunch Count Clipboard ~ I LOVE my lunch count clipboard. It makes taking the lunch count so easy. I am also able to easily carry it to the lunchroom to make sure none of my kindergartners are changing their lunch choices. Each child has their name on a white plastic clothespin. It honestly takes about 2 minutes for me to ask each child for their lunch choice.
·      Daily folders ~ I know that some teachers only send home weekly folders in kindergarten, but I am doing daily folders. While work is not going home each day, I do like sending home the folder for communication purposes.  I would rather look in the folder each day for a transportation change then chance depending on a 5 year old to remember to give me the note that is floating in the bottom of their book bag. I call my daily folders my B.E.E. folders. I was a little concerned when all I could find at Walmart was black plastic folders-YUCK! But my bee themed turned them into a cute communication method. I will post pictures later.
·      Pencils ~ I HATE pencils! I hate sharpening them, I hate pencil shavings, I hate kids sharpening them, I hate how dirty they make your hands. This year, I used my cricut vinyl to make a pencil holder out of a straw dispenser. It turned out cute and is so easy for students to use to retrieve a pencil. Plus, I can easily sharpen any dull pencils and then drop them in the top.
·      Student numbers ~ Why did I not think of this earlier??? With my older kiddos (2nd and 3rd grade), they could always put themselves in number order quickly. With my kinders, umm… not so much. The night before school started, I quickly cut out numbers with cricut vinyl. It took about 5 minutes honestly to cut them out and put them on the tile. The first day, my students learned their number and could easily line up with no problems. This was especially helpful since we had a fire drill during the first two hours of school! Bless my kinders hearts- they were so scared! Anyway, I highly recommend that any teacher do this. This vinyl will easily peel up at the end of the year, but is stuck tight now. The wonderful custodians have even mopped without any problems. This is a must try!

My teacher tip is to never stop learning. I never want to be the teacher who decides that she has everything perfect and doesn’t need to change up her teaching. I purposely throw my lesson plans away at the end of each year because I never want to use the same plans again. I thrive on finding new ways to best meet my kiddos. The best teachers are constantly improving on what they already do. Don’t get stuck in a rut.

I can’t wait to see what other classroom management tricks and teacher tips teachers have up their sleeves. Our greatest strength as teachers is our ability to learn from each other. This blog party is sure to be a great asset to all teachers. Have a great week!

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