Thursday, August 15, 2013

Teacher Week! {Taming the Wild!}

Hello teacher friends!

My hubby and I are packing up the car to head up to Bedford, Virginia to spend a long weekend with his family!  His grandparents have a bridge along the Appalachian Trail that was dedicated to them.  I've never seen it so we plan on doing a little bit of hiking and exploring while we're there!  {HOORAY!!} 

So since I'm sitting on the couch right now and he's doing all the work :)  I better make this a fast one. 

Whew behavior!!  Behavior is never perfect.  I am always learning, changing, adapting, and praying.  Behavior can make or break your year.  It definitely broke me my first year.  I have all sorts of nightmare stories from that year.  And while I know I had some rough kiddos.  I feel like it all mainly comes down to expectations and classroom community. 

So now, I start my school year off with high expectations and LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of time spent on building a community.  When you have a community built around respect and a culture of learning, a lot of behavior takes care of itself.  In this environment kiddos understand what is expected of them.  You can give them a good ol' raise of the eyebrow and they know exactly why you're doing that.  Of course you will have the kid that yells "What?  I'm not doing anything!?" And you're want to be like, "I know, that's the problem... You're not doing any work".  But I've noticed that if I really focus on expectations and community the first SIX FULL weeks of school, and continue all year long, it makes a huge impact on my classroom!

Perfect, right?

So with that being said, I handle behavior in several ways.  I have that typical "Move your clip" Red, Yellow, and Green poster.  This works well because it 1) alerts them to their behavior and 2) allows me to address kiddo's behavior in a quick and easy way.  Once I ask a kid to move their clip because of something they're doing, I almost always try to address the behavior 1 on 1  asap.  It's usually on the way to Specials or Lunch or Recess though.  They also fill out a "Cool Down Form" that you can pick up here.  {FOR FREE!} :)

Go grab this guy on TpT!

Then I have a ton of positive support to motivate kiddos to keep doing well!  My FAV is one I started using last year.  You can check it out more here {TpT} and here {Blog Post}!  But basically for individual motivation, each student has a checkbook that they create and I have checks that I can give them as "payment" for going above and beyond in the classroom.  They keep track of their balance in their checkbook {MathMathMath!!!} and they can buy certain items from the "bank" whenever the "banker" is working.  I love this system because as soon as you start passing out checks, you see other kiddos get their stuff back in order.  Once they earn a check, I never deduct money from their account.  They earned it fair and square so it is theirs to use as they please. 

I also use a marble jar to support whole class awesomeness.  Yup, I just said that.  As the entire class is working well together, I drop some marbles in the jar.  When the jar is full, we have a celebration! {Pajama day, Read-a-thon, Math Game Day, etc... I have them vote but I always tend to give one really awesome choice *that I want* and two less awesome choices...}.  The sound of marbles falling onto other marbles, or the jar, has such a great impact on a quiet classroom. :) 

To support group work, I have clothespins that I clip onto group table numbers {that hang above each table} as I see table groups working well together.  Once they receive ten clips on their table number, each member of the table gets a $20 check. 

After my first year, I really decided to focus on the positive and *on the surface* ignore a lot of the negative behaviors.  I spend a lot of time building up those kiddos that are doing great {which is normally at least 4/5 of the class!!} and then talking 1 on 1 with the "troublemakers" later on.  Not only does this help the community but it makes me feel much happier as well. 

Coming full circle, behavior is never perfect.  I am always learning, changing, adapting, and praying {seriously!}.  I don't think I'll ever have it down to a science.  Or if I do, I'll get a crazy group of kiddos who have new behavior issues.  But with a basis of expectations and community, I'm sure I'll be able to adapt to whatever is thrown at me. 

Now off to the mountains we go!!  Thanks so much for those of you who stuck with me to the end :)  Have a happy Thursday!!


  1. I liked the last thing you wrote-"Behavior is never perfect. I am always learning, changing, adapting and praying." I feel like that is something that is so important to do every year and even within the school year! And you're right, community and expectations are what make your classroom complete!!!

    1, 2, Eyes On You!

  2. Hi Kelly Anne,
    I recently started reading your blog! Would you mind sharing some of the things you do to build community the first few weeks of school? I would love to try some of your strategies! Thanks! Good luck teaching abroad!!