Monday, September 29, 2014

Tips to Score TOPS on a Teacher Evaluation

Who is going through an intensive teacher evaluation/effectiveness program??? Here in Georgia, all teachers/leaders are required to be a part of the TKES - Teacher Keys Effectiveness System. This systems measures teacher effectiveness by looking at student growth and teacher performance on 10 standards (included are 4 -10 minute walkthroughs and 2- 30 minutes formative observations)

Here are just a few quick tips to help you show how AWESOME you are in the category of Instructional Delivery! Those observing are looking for consistency of practice so incorporate the tips and make them become a natural part of your routine.


We would love to know what you have to do in other states!!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Get your GO NOODLE on!

Singing is fun, playing is nice, but GO NOODLING takes it to a WHOLE other level!
I might even venture to say that it has made the SINGLE biggest difference in our classroom management success this year!

That's a pretty bold statement, huh!  That's how much we LOVE and believe in GO NOODLE!!!

You have probably heard of it, but if not...then this is the perfect place for you to positively change the way you manage your classroom!

GO NOODLE is a FREE (one of the sweetest words to a teacher's ear) website that offers a TON of brain break videos.  

And I don't just mean hop around and act like a hopped up ninja brain breaks! Although that may just be my classes FAVORITE one...among other cranked up breaks that may just involve some "Shakin' of the BOOTY!"

It also offers yoga brain breaks. Mind you...a purple monkey leads the poses and our kiddos are big fans of that COOL "Pete the Cat"ish kinda monkey!

There are Calming brain breaks (breath in, breathe out...watch the bouncing star...UMMM!  Maybe these particular brain breaks are more for the teachers!  Hee Hee!

And Olympian-Led Sports brain breaks are on the list too!  I'm pretty sure I am getting r-e-e-a-a-a-a-a-l  close to making the Olympic team with all this training I'm doing!

Basically...there is something here for EVERY kind of kiddo you teach.  The brain breaks are divided by categories...Energizing, Calming, or Time (1-5 minutes) so you can pick just the right one for your kiddos.  Or better yet, let them make the call and tell YOU what they need!

There are a couple of ways you can incorporate these AWESOME brain breaks into your day that will make your life 100 times happier!  TRULY!

Kiddos are HYPER and BOUNCING off the walls!
Time for a brain break!  You may think, "WHAT??? They are already on the bus to crazy town, why would I possibly want to buy them a ticker???"  But alas, they NEED to spend some of that energy any way, so why not give them a POSITIVE way to do it?  They get to kick, dance, shake it, yell like a ninja, and it's ALL APPROPRIATE!!!!  Can I get an AMEN???

Or maybe you choose the "Let's breathe and watch the star go uuuuup and down, uuuup and down" to get them to settle down without you having to stomp your feet, beg, plead, and curl up in a corner in defeat! ;)

Kiddos are FADING on you fast and may actually be slowly drifting off to sleepy town!
Now!  Now is the time to have another brain break.  Get them up and moving.  Get those juices flowing.  Get those kiddos back in the game!  We've got work to do people, and we want our kiddos to be ACTIVE and WILLING...even HAPPY and ready to tackle whatever we throw at them!

Kiddos are ROCKING it OUT and working SOOOOO hard!
Yep...it's still time for a brain break!  You gotta keep this momentum going.  You want to reward them for their brains working so hard.  You want to keep them in the game!  Go get your GO NOODLE on!

True story... our kiddos are TOTALLY in love with GO NOODLE.  They ask us for them when they know a difficult task is coming. Like say we are about to work on building our stamina for read to self and we are getting close to 13 minutes.  Well...they know that's a LONG time to be quiet and stay focused.  So they ask to get some wiggles out!  How awesome is that!!!

Sometimes we make them EARN a brain break and sometimes we REWARD them with a brain break and sometimes we GIVE them a brain break because we see that we they just plain need it!

We get the kiddos to find a spot in the room where they can spin their arms and NOT touch anyone else.  They have to stay in that spot for the brain breaks.  You move all over the room...you sit down.  It doesn't take long for them to learn to STAY in their SPOT!

We probably do 3-4 breaks a day for a TOTAL of 10 minutes!

Some teachers are afraid they will be WASTING 10 minutes of instructional time, but we say you'll be GETTING BACK 5 HOURS of POSITIVE INSTRUCTIONAL TIME!

Some teachers say "I don't have time to GO NOODLE."  We say "You don't have time to NOT GO NOODLE!

That's it!  HAPPY TIMES can be yours again!  So...Go Get Your GO NOODLE on!!!

And also hop over to GO NOODLE'S blog for a linky about how other teachers are SUCCESSFULLY incorporating it into their own classrooms!   It works!



Monday, September 22, 2014

Win over the PARENTS

How can you win over the parents of the kiddos in your class??? It's as Easy as 1-2-3!!

1- Call early in the year to comment about something POSITIVE only!!

2- Anytime you have to report something negative, start with a POSITIVE comment!!

3- You won't need 3 if you get to know your kiddos, their parents and create a
cooperative RELATIONSHIP built on LOVE and RESPECT!!

Remember what Kid President says in his video about 20 things we should say more,

"If you can't think of anything nice to say.... Try HARDER."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Meet the Teacher Team Linky

C: Hi everyone!  We are joining up with our friends over at Created for Learning for another FUN linky! Created for Learning is a hubby and wife duo working together in life AND in their TpT store.  Page met them face to face at the TpT conference and fell in love right away.  They were both so helpful and shared TONS of great tips about making top notch products among other things.

P: It was pure luck that I met Lisa and Jonathan. Lisa immediately recognized that I was alone and sad to be alone! She extended an invitation to hang with them and it was instant FRIENDSHIP!! We had an amazing time and after I left, I felt like we had been friends forever!! Amazing couple with cutie pie kiddos!!

So we were both really excited when they emailed us about a linky they were planning.  The ENTIRE linky will revolve around getting to know some of the TEAMS out there!




So...here are our interview questions.  Hope you enjoy!

Where did you meet?


C: SHORT VERSION:  Page was hired on at the school I was currently working in.  Funny story...I actually was part of the interview team and I LOVED her right away, but she maybe said "kicks butt" and "suck at delegating" during the interview!  Holy smokes!  We had to BEG our principal to hire her and trust us!  She did and we were all VERY grateful...because Page rocked!

 LONG VERSION:  To the tune of The Brady Bunch :)

Here's the story of a lovely teacher,
Who was teaching lots of boys and girls.
All of them were cute and bright,
Like their teacher--
The youngest one was 4.

Here's the story of another teacher,
Who was teaching very far away.
Then she moved to Newnan, Georgia
To continue teaching.
Yet she was all alone.

Till the one day when Page met Cristy,
And they knew that they were perfectly paired,
That these two might somehow form a friendship!!
That's the way that we became... Kindergarten Squared!!

Kindergarten Squared... dah, dun, dah, dun
Kindergarten Squared...dah, dun, dah, dun
That's the way we became... Kindergarten Squared!!

P: Ahhh I love our Brady Bunch song! Cristy nailed it on our first meet up!! It was an awesome interview! What I remember most was really wanting to work with her and the the other k girls!! I was ready to grow professionally and knew that Cristy was who I wanted to learn from!!
Who does what?
C:  I would say that we both do a little bit of everything.  We brainstorm a lot to get ideas for new products.  We both create products and edit for each other. (I maybe have to edit Page a bit more...you'll see why in the "do you have nicknames section")  I do all the Pinterest who-ha!  We both Instagram, but I am probably more the IG crack head!  Page is kicking around the idea of starting a Facebook page.  We both blog (OK...so we maybe both stink at that...I swear between the TWO of us, we still somehow manage to only blog every 3 days or so!)  So I think all in all, we are a pretty good duo mix!

P: I agree with Cristy except she does waaaayyyy more!! I like to chug along at our products that are predictable and add to our bundles! Cristy is the dynamic partner that creates products that have sales that sky rocket!! She really should fire me!! I do appreciate that every time I bring up her amazing products that sell like HOT CAKES that she reminds me that I created the tpt account for us to get started. Not really sure how long that will carry me with her amazing talent!!
What do enjoy most about 
your partnership?
C: Working and planning with someone I truly respect.  I think we both expect much from ourselves and we like that we push each other to do more, be better, and NEVER quit learning and changing how we teach! Also...we both like a nice pedi here and there! ;)

P: DITTO!! Cristy is awesome! Professional, knowledgeable and agrees with me on everything curricular!! Love it! Sometimes it's hard to convince people that you are always right, but with Cristy, we are always right together (or at least we think we are). Pedi's are awesome especially when we can go together!!!
Do you have nicknames for each other?
C: Why do I have to edit a little more???...well...that's because "Quick Click Page" types faster than the roadrunner runs!  (Think "Meep!  Meep!" and Wile E Coyote!)  That woman's fingers have flames shooting out from them as she pings here and there on her keyboard!  That woman is WILD I tell you!!!  I'm not sure what nicknames Page has for me...at least she doesn't tell them to my face...but maybe "Anal Annie" would be a good one.  I OBSESS over statistics, products, and little details! I'm pretty sure that maybe drives her crazy!

P: Yeah yeah I am quick clicker, but Cristy is the comma, grammer an spacing police! She really can tell if I put an extra space, used a crazy comma, or misspelled a ton of words. Ok, that's a good thing!! Thank goodness for Cristy's editing skills! Without her editing, we would have some ticked off customers!!
What is your teaching theme song? (Either what song inspires your teaching or, totally pretend, what song would play when you're introduced, like at a sporting event?)
C: Here Comes the BOOM! OK...so Page may not agree with this one!  Maybe it's my LOVE of college football that made this come to mind (GO DAWGS!!!...even though the defense did NOT show up against South Carolina and that stinkin' Steve Spurrier beat us again...not that I'm bitter...but I am...RANT over!)  This also comes to mind because Page and I are both SUPER competitive...both IN the classroom...and ON the field!  We like to WIN!  So..."BOOM!  Here Comes the BOOM!   Ready or Not, Here Comes the GIRLS from the South!...BOOM!

P: Ok I am not a big music connoisseur, but if I had to choose it would be the Lego Movie theme song
Everything is awesome!! Everything is cool when you're part of a team! 

OR

I love, love the song by Bruno Mars, You Can Count on ME
You can count on me like 1, 2, 3
 I'll be there
And I know I can count on you like 4, 3, 2 
You'll be there!!
Yep!! That's Kindergarten Squared!! Awesome team who will always be there for each other!!
If you could dress-up to go somewhere, what would you wear and where would you go?
C: I'm thinking if Page and I were BOTH going somewhere together...especially if the hubs' were coming...it would be to a music event...like Jimmy Buffet or something like that!  We've been there and done that and had a WHOLE lot of fun...so we would probably wear something snazzy and comfy all rolled into one!

P: Woohoo I do love some Buffet!! I like to go anywhere! Comfy jeans are always a must but who doesn't love to add a tiara to the outfit!! Ok, Cristy doesn't really do tiaras, but I always love a tiara!!
Which do you prefer, cookies, brownies, or neither?
C:Yes, please!  (Oh...wait!  Were we only supposed to pick ONE????)

P: You know I can pick one!! It is cookies definitely, but not just any cookies!! I prefer the sweet, yummy beautiful cookies that my friend Cristy used to make, but now neglects me by not baking those sweet, gorgeous treats! Seriously!! Hands down, the best cookies every! One time I found one hidden away that was only half eat about a month after she gave them to me! It was like I won the lottery!! It tasked like heaven!!
Name something you've created that you love using in your classroom?
C: We use ALL of our own Common Core Math Units!  The county and state frameworks have some good games and lesson ideas, but they LOOK SO BORING!  I'm not quite sure how they are supposed to grab and hold the attention of our 5 year olds!  So we use the HECK out of the games, lessons, and printables that we created!

P:  We also use every week our Alphabet Word Work packs!! We really love using these as part of Daily 5!They may seem challenging, but we feel they are easy to differentiate and help increase the rigor in our rooms!

C: So there you have it...now head over to Created for Learning to meet Lisa and Jonathan and some other great teams!  Have fun!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Giveaways Galore

Woohoo!! We  are part of another great GIVEAWAY!  Help us celebrate with Kelly over at An Apple for the Teacher! She is super excited to celebrate 700 followers!

This is a huge giveaway! She is giving away a $25 TPT gift certificate along with products from 70 TPT sellers.

From our Kindergarten Squared store, we are giving away WINNERS CHOICE! Winner can choose any product that is $10 or less in our store! Woohoo! Check out our store Kindergarten Squared to see what we have!!

Click below to head on over to An Apple for the Teacher!! You have 6 days to enter in this giveaway!


Good luck friends!!!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Giveaway at Teaching Trio

Hi Friends, we are celebrating Kristen's 30th Birthday, by participating in her GIVEAWAY over at Teaching Trio. 30 sellers are participating!!!


You have until Wednesday at Midnight to enter this awesome give away! Below are the prize packs for grade levels k-3, but visit Teaching Trio's site to see prize packs also for grades 4-6, for anyone as well as enter this give away!!!

We are giving away our newly popular Back to School GALORE pack for kinders. Check it out!!






Good luck EVERYONE!!! 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

PBIS- Another Acronym??

What is PBIS??? Well you probably already know, but if not for my husband heading to a conference this summer and me interviewing for a new position, I probably would have no idea what that acronym stands for!

Anyway it stands for Positive Behavior Intervention System. I guess good thing I threw out that red light last year! That definitely did not qualify as Positive! Can you believe I was like Negative Nellie for 16 years!! Yikes! Poor babies!!

Love some PBIS! We are just getting started and decided to implement in phases as not to send out staff over a CLIFF! AHHHHHHH!

No we wanted this to be simple, but effective! What did we need first??? A common set of expectations around our school and community! Here is what our School Based Leadership Team came up with!

Now that we have common expectations what do we do?? We made a video of students doing things the right way and the wrong way. We showed the video on our school news show just to help our kiddos know what we expected.

What next???  Make some coupons of course! Who gets to give these out?? Teachers, administrators, counselors, bus drivers, custodians, our media specialist, etc... Basically, anyone in the VILLAGE! You know it does take a VILLAGE to raise our kiddos!!

Who earns coupons?? Anyone in the school community?? There should be rewards for everyone!! AWESOMENESS should be rewarded no matter the position (student, teacher, administrator, driver, cafeteria worker, custodian, etc...)


So, what is our last phase of implementation for the year??? A list of rewards for students and other stakeholders! Right now this is very tentative. We are still working on refining rewards and number of coupons needed for the prizes. We have asked teachers, students and are now asking you! Help us!! What are some more rewards?? How many Gators should be required at each prize level. These are rewards for students only right now! Do you have any suggestions for faculty/ staff rewards?? 


What happens after we get this rolling?? Eventually, our entire school would use a similar classroom management system (class dojo rocks)! 

We can't wait for this to be in full effect!! This is a Tier I system! We have more ideas for what to do if this does not work for all of our students. We do have  Tier II and Tier III (SST) ideas! Tune in later for those!

Thanks so much for your help!!!