Friday, August 18, 2017

INTERRUPTIONS

"Positive redirection" is the best solution to many common classroom problems. Today I've got some ideas that might work for children who constantly interrupt during a read aloud or when others are talking. I'd start by having a class discussion about how to be a polite listener. Remind children that it hurts people's feelings when you interrupt when they are talking.

Me, Too!
Sign language for "me too" is a way that children can show they've had a similar experience. Demonstrate how to stick out your thumb and pinky as you bend down your other three fingers. Touch the thumb back and forth to your chest to show "me, too"!
                                    
Schema
Show students the symbol for join/connect in sign language. (Hook two index fingers together.)  Students put one hand on their head for what’s in their head and then they hold out the other hand for what’s in the book.  Join the fingers together to connect what’s in their head and what’s in the book to make a schema.  Encourage them to show you that they are listening and connecting to the book as you read with this sign.
              
Paper and Pencil
Explain that if they have something to say during a story they can write it down or draw a picture so you can talk about it when the story is over.


Teacher, Teacher!
Tell children if they want your attention when you are talking to another adult or if you are busy they can hold your hand.  You can let them know that you are aware of them and will help them as soon as you can by placing your other hand on top.



Thursday, August 17, 2017

NO MORE TATTLE TALES

O.K.  It's important to listen to children, but tattling can be like a fire out of control.  To prevent negativity/aka “the squeaky wheel” from getting too much attention, it’s important to have a discussion with your class at the beginning of the year about what is an emergency. If someone is in danger of getting hurt, then it’s an emergency. (One teacher said she used the “3 B Principle” – bathroom, blood, or barf!!!) There are also several good books out now that help children understand when it is appropriate to tell the teacher and what happens when you cry wolf. (A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue by Fran Sandon is adorable!)

Check out some of these ideas that teachers have shared with me.  And, never ever forget to have a sense of humor!

Leave a Message
Put an old phone on your desk for children to tell their concerns. Explain that you’ll listen to your messages at the end of the day. You might even want to have a directory.
Press #1 for the teacher.
Press #2 for your parents.
Press #3 for the principal.
Press #4 for the President…etc.
                                       

Write It
Get a spiral notebook and write “Things the Teacher Needs to Know” on the cover. When children come to tattle hand them the book and say, “Write it all down and don’t leave out a thing.” If they say, “I can’t write,” respond with, “Well, just draw a picture and don’t leave out a thing!”
               
Comment Box
Put a box, notepad, and pencil on a shelf. Explain that when they want to complain or make a comment they need to write it on a piece of paper. They must start their sentence with a capital letter and end it with a period if they want the teacher to read it at the end of the day.

Lunch Bag
Open a lunch bag and set it on your desk. When children come up to tattle say, “Go put it in the bag. I’ll listen at the end of the day.” (Yes, trust me! They will go over and talk in the bag.) At the end of the day put the bag next to your ear and pretend to listen for 15-20 seconds. Then wad up the bag and throw it in the trash as you say, “That’s the end of that!”
                                                                      

Tell the Mirror
Place a small mirror on your wall and when the children start to tattle say, "Why don't you go tell that little boy/little girl in the mirror?"
                            

Tattle Time

One of my favorite stories about tattle tales came from a teacher many years ago. When her students tried to tattle she’d smile and say, “I’m sorry. Today’s not tattle tale day. Wait until May 14th and then you can tell me.”

Oreo
Another teacher said she used the concept of an Oreo cookie for tattle tales. The child reporting had to say one nice thing, then the tale, then another nice thing.

Tattle Toy
Choose a stuffed animal or puppet to listen to children’s complaints and tattles. Be sure and name the character. Explain that when you are busy they can always tell Teddy (or whatever) their problems. He’s always there waiting to be their friend.

*You can also let them tell a plant or other inanimate object.
                                         
President
Here’s another great idea for tattle tales. Put a photograph of the President on your wall and say, “I’m just your teacher. Why don’t you tell the President?” You won’t believe it, but the children will walk over and talk to the picture!

Sometimes a sense of humor is the best solution to a problem. Keep calm and laugh inside!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

SIGNS FOR CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT

You know I LOVE sign language! I’m certainly no expert, but if I can do it, anybody can do it. Let me give you a few reasons why I’m such a believer in the power of SIGN:
It’s quiet.
It’s multi-sensory.
It’s engaging.
It’s good for differentiated instruction and for children who are non-English speakers.
It’s free and it’s simple.

Here are some great signs for classroom management to start your school year. I’d explain to the class that you are going to teach them a new language called “sign language.” It’s a special language for people who can’t hear because you talk with your hands. I’d suggest introducing one new sign each day. Encourage the children to model what you do when you make the sign. In a few weeks, you’ll be amazed at how the volume in your classroom has been turned down.

Pay Attention (Palms pointing towards face and shake back and forth.)

Stand Up (Two fingers standing on palm and then point up.)

Sit Down (Two fingers sitting on 2 fingers of other hand and point down.)

Walk (Walk fingers.)

Line Up (Fingers up with right pinky and left thumb touching.)

Bathroom (Make “t” and wiggle.)

Water (Make “w” with fingers and place near your mouth.)

More (Fingertips touching.)

Wonderful (Palms open facing out and move down and then up.)

I love you! (Fingers up with middle finger and ring finger bent down.)

Look! Listen! Learn (“L” by eyes, ears, and then brain.)

Finished (Brush hands away from chest.)

Help (Make a fist with one hand and place it on the open palm of the other hand. Bring both up in the air at the same time.)

Stop (One palm open. Pretend to chop it with the other palm.)

Wait (Hold hands open and off to the side and wiggle the fingers.)

Yes (Make an “s” with your fist and raise and lower it like your head.)

No (Middle and index finger straight and close toward the thumb.)

Please (One palm open on chest and make a circular motion.)

Thank you (Touch fingertips on chin and extend out.)

Sorry (Make fist and rub on chest in circular motion.)

Excuse me (One palm up and brush fingertips of other hand across.)

Note!  There are several excellent websites where you can view videos of these signs.  (aslpro.com, handspeak.com, and lifeprint.com)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS...

I have so much fun learning new ideas from teachers all over the country. I bet you'll find an idea or two just right for your class today.

Dental Health (Stephanie Velasquez)
Glue the cut out of a white tooth on a colored sheet of paper and place in a clear sheet protector. Let the children color the tooth with a dry erase marker to represent the “germs" on the tooth after they eat. Children use a toothbrush to erase the germs.
                             

Old MacDonald (Clarisa Ehrmantraut)
Make a red barn out of paper and staple a zip bag behind it. Use pictures of animals and insert them in the baggie as you sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”
                                                              

Pool Noodle Wiggle Sticks (Alison Zukowski)
Poke holes through a swim noodle (6”-12” long) and thread ribbon through it. Knot the ribbon and use for movement activities.
*Tie ribbons to diving rings and use for movement activities. 
              

Puppets (Nancy Patrick)
Use puppets to sing the song "I Had a Bird."
                                                  
Swat Game (Elizabeth Allen)
Write letters, numbers, colors, shapes, words, or whatever skill you want to reinforce on a big piece of paper. Give children small fly swatters and as you call out information they can "swat" it. 
                              

Same Song - New Verse (Megan Munselle)
Here are some new verses for "The Banana Dance."
Build the house, build build the house...Rock the house, rock, rock the house...
Form the Skittles, eat the Skittles, taste the rainbow...
Form the potato, peel the potato, mash potatoes...

Listen and Obey (Stephanie Velasquez) 
If we listen to our teachers (point to ears) 
And do it right away. (point with finger) 
Happy, happy, happy is our day. (point and smile) 
OBEY! (Everyone yells together.) 

Morning Dance (Genevieve Shafer) 
This call and response reminds students to have a positive attitude, it’s O.K. to make mistakes, and they are all special. 
I am ready for school. (wiggle shoulders) 
I will have a good day. (twist) 
I am confident. (stand tall)
I’m not better than you. (lean and point to the side) 
You’re not better than me. (lean and point to the other side) 
We’re all amazing! (spin with arms up) 
If I fall, I get up. (tuck and touch floor and stand up “x” with body) 
I win or I learn. 
Thank you God for making me. (pray hands) 
I’m exactly who I’m supposed to be! (say loud and proud while jumping with arms in the air) 

Classroom Mirror (Andrea Neal) 
Children love using mirrors in the classroom. Cover a mirror and ask students to look under it to see your favorite kid. 
*If a student is upset, sad, or misbehaving then ask them to go find the happy well-behaved student that you know in the mirror. When they see themselves they will smile, and it usually changes their attitude. 

Under (Elma Valdez) 
Tape caution tape across the classroom doorway and have the children crawl “UNDER” the tape for the letter “U.” 

Monday, August 14, 2017

"PAT ON THE BACK" FOR PAT!

Pat Gusoff told me about a fantastic family project she uses to decorate her room. You're going to love her ideas! 

Here is the canvas color board idea I did last year with my families.
                              

First we made the “white” board together as a classroom activity. We “hid” white items all over the room and went on a color hunt!

            
This is a copy of the letter that I sent home. The children colored their note with their specific color.


We kept them hanging up all year and sent them home at the end of the school year!
Note! Michaels carries 8x8 canvas boards in packs of fives. Use your teacher discount and coupons that come in the mail.

Self-Portraits
                                             
I drew picture frames outside of our classroom for our children's first one-hour visit to draw their self portraits!

Go Fishing
Here is an oil pan from the dollar store that I painted blue with acrylic paint. I’ll fill it with water for the ping pong balls that I numbered and mini sharks! Happy fishing with the lobster claws!


                         
P.S. She calls her ideas "Pat-rest" instead of Pinterest!


Sunday, August 13, 2017

WITH APOLOGIES TO NONE!

Over 40 years ago when I taught in the lab kindergarten at DeKalb College I found a purple ditto in an old file with this thought on it. “Source Unknown” was all it said at the bottom. Times have changed, but our hearts as educators remain the same. On this Sunday before many of you start your journey into the new school year I thought it was appropriate to remember WHY we do WHAT we do!
                                 

When I am introduced as a teacher, I generally hear a very flat, “Oh.” I have never been certain whether that is an expression of sympathy, pity, arrogance, or disinterest. Always I wish I had time to explain to them like this. Yes! I’m a teacher and I love my job!

Where else would a handsome and very young man put his arms around me and ask, “Do you know I love you?”

Where else could my limited wardrobe be complimented or have someone say, “You sing pretty.”

Where else could I eat a soiled cookie from a grimy little hand and not become ill?

Where else could I guide a chubby hand that some day may write a book or important document?

Where else could I get to play outside, laugh, sing, read and get paid for it?

Where else could I forget my own aches and pains because of so many scratched knees, bumped heads, and broken hearts that need care?

Where else could I forget about taxes and our country’s political problems because Josh isn’t adjusting as he should and Margo needs help with her math?

Where else could my mind stay so young as with a group whose attention span is so short that I must always keep a bag of tricks up my sleeve?

Where else could I feel so close to my Maker as I do each year because of something that I have done to help one of His little children learn and grow.

Yes, I am a teacher and I LOVE my job!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

THE RULES RAP

Do you remember Deputy Barney Fife from Mayberry RFD? One of his favorite sayings was “nip it in the bud.” That’s something to take to heart as the school year starts. Take your time to teach rules and routines and the rest of your year will go much smoother.

Rules help children feel secure and know what behavior is expected of them. Choose a few simple rules and state them in a positive way. You can get a free download of this “Rules Rap” from my website this month.

Rules Rap
Chorus:
The rules, the rules, the rules of the classroom. (Snap fingers.)
The rules, the rules, the rules of the classroom.

Follow, follow, follow directions, (Point index fingers.)
Follow, follow, follow directions. Chorus

Feet and hands, feet and hands, (Point to feet and hands.)
Feet and hands to yourself. Chorus

Small voices inside, tall voices on the playground.
(Quiet voice, then loud voice.)
Small voices inside, tall voices on the playground. Chorus

Work together, don’t fight, or you’ll get in trouble.
(Clasp hands, then hold nose.)
Work together, don’t fight, or you’ll get in trouble. Chorus
YEAH!


Here's a video where your children can do the "Rules Rap" with me.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z60vA7vVYUY


After teaching the class the “Rules Rap” discuss why rules are important. Say, “I know everyone in our class has a good rule to share with us.” Give each child a sheet of paper to draw a rule. Older students can write the rule and younger students can dictate the rule. Put their rules together, make a cover, and bind to make a book. Explain that when adults agree to do something they sign a contract. “Everyone made these rules. Are you all going to obey these rules? (Of course, they’ll agree!) Then I’m going to let you put your thumb on an ink pad and stamp your thumbprint on our book to show that you will abide by these rules.” 
                                 
When children are doing something they shouldn’t be doing take the book and point to a page as you say, “Look, it says _______ in the book. Show me the right thing to do.” (Most of them can’t read anyway, so you can turn to any page in the book!)