Monday, 15 August 2016

Classroom Management & Organization Ideas From Karen & Kelie

We are excited to join in with other awesome teacher-author-bloggers on this Back to School Blog Hop. Today we will be sharing some of our favorite management and organization ideas with you as you prepare to head back into the trenches.

Our first idea comes from Karen... Don't be afraid to try new things when it comes to classroom management! What works for one teacher may not work for you. When I started teaching at my last school, Beech, I had never heard of Whole Brain Teaching Techniques. My principal, Michele Mower, was a big supporter of it. I decided to read up about it online and watch videos online to educate myself. One year I had kind of a chatty class so, after Christmas break, I decided I was ready to dive in. And I did! Just like a diet... who says you have to start on a Monday or on the first day of the new school year!? Hog wash! :) I never put all my eggs in one basket though, so to speak, so I combined my new LOVE for WBT with my LOVE for Class Dojo, a clip chart, and GoNoodle Brain Breaks! In true WBT fashion, we had a scoreboard and after every activity, no matter how short and sweet or how long, we visited the scoreboard. The kids loved giving a "Mighty OH YEAH!" or a "Mighty GROAN!" My district was against using happy/sad faces so instead our scoreboard was "Teacher vs. Students." I hit it hard that they were a TEAM and that teams only work if EVERYONE is helping and engaged. I had my best and highest classroom engagement EVER. For every five points they earned I let them have a short, quick Brain Break via GoNoodle. I used my Class Dojo "randomizer" (said in my best iCarly voice, haha) to choose the student who would pick our Brain Break. The catch here was that their clip had to be on green or better. Now, here's the kicker... I kept points on Dojo, but started only documenting negative points if it was something severe that I needed parents to know about and discuss with their child. I found kindergarten students couldn't keep track of their points or how they were doing without visual clues... enter the clip chart. They knew at all times where they stood. Again, this management tip may not work for you, but it was MAGICAL in my classroom. :)

** The above Dr. Seuss Clip Chart was a custom request by my friend Ena Picon and is available in my TpT store along with a Bono the Monkey themed clip chart and a Cute Kids themed clip chart. Check out some great Classroom Management Resources, including the clip charts and some FREE Class Dojo award certificates by CLICKING HERE.

Check out Whole Brain Teaching by Clicking HERE.
Click HERE to check out GoNoodle Brain Breaks.
And finally, click HERE to visit Class Dojo.

Kelie here to share 2 quick tips for managing your first days back at school.  First of all ladies and gentlemen, set some realistic expectations.  Your classroom does not have to be "Pinterest"ready to have a successful school year.  Get organized in a way that works for YOU.  Your students will appreciate and respond to routine and order, whereas the perfectly decorated classroom will run it's course very quickly.  Now don't get me wrong, I have my fair share of cute bulletin board display's in my classroom, but I also have "stuff" shoved under a table because it simply wont fit in a cupboard.
Here is an example of what I'm taking about.  My guided reading books are organized by AR levels and are easy for me to use.  Could I have put a cute label on them instead of the sticky note? Yes.  Would it have made it anymore functional? No.  Don't sweat the small stuff guys!

My second tip I have to share with you today is the convenience of these "sticks". Each student gets their name written on a stick,  and the sticks get placed in a container.  Anytime I need to call on a student, I pull a stick instead of calling on a volunteer.  This solves the problem of the same students repeatedly getting the opportunity to answer questions or to volunteer.  Everyone is held accountable because you just never know whose stick will get pulled next. As an added bonus, these are also wonderful those first few days of school, when you are still learning your student's names.

** I teach 3 rotations of math throughout the day and thus need three different sets of sticks.

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