Monday, January 19, 2015

Effective Communication- Happy MLK Day

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a great day and had a chance to take some time to remember the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Last week I went to an awesome training called Mindset. This training is specifically for deescalation. However, I learned so much that truly will help the day to day behaviors in the classroom.

I know every one's class is full of precious, sweet angels. However, sometimes these angels come to school with quite a few learned behaviors that well mixed with other learned behaviors can create quite a challenging learning environment.

How can we help??

Well most importantly, take 2 minutes or so each day just talking one on one with the kids! The number 1 aid in creating a positive learning environment is creating RELATIONSHIPS. Kids will do what you want them do to and exhibit accepted behaviors if they LOVE you and want to please you!

Be PROACTIVE!  If you know certain kids have certain fun behaviors. Discuss them before the behaviors are in ACTION. Discuss the feelings attributed to bringing on the behaviors as well as what caused or could have been done to prevent the behaviors.

Sometimes behaviors will escalate even though you are proactive and have created relationships with kids. What should you do? Try communicating using the following steps to help the student associate a particular feeling with a particular behavior. While this may seem logical, it was quite difficult to do. We practiced scenarios in our training.

Always remain calm and be non-judgmental
1. State only what you see. This helps a young kiddo associate what is happening to a particular feeling. For example if a kid is sad and crying, say... I see you are crying.

2. Question the kiddo about how he/she is feeling. Example, I see you are crying. How do you feel? If a kid doesn't answer give him/her a couple of choices to help. Do you feel happy, or sad or mad??

3. Question the kiddo about the cause of the behavior. Do not as WHY. You can ask about who, what , where, when and how, but do not ask WHY. WHY sometimes sounds judgmental.

4. Question the kiddo about what you could do to help them feel better or solve the problem. You need a plan of action. You can help guide this plan, but ultimately try to put the planning in the hands of the kiddo. You can always give the kiddo possible solutions, but making the student create the plan empowers them be able to follow through with their plan.

We would love to hear how you effectively communicate with your kiddos to create the most positive learning environment possible!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Story Retelling

I love retelling stories! Especially when the kiddos create their own costumes or puppets to do it! 

We are just starting our authors study unit. This year we are choosing to study Keiko Kaza and Kevin Henkes. We've done Mo Willems, Audrey Wood, Robert Munsch and many others in years past. This story, The Paper Bag Princess by Munsch, is a perfect way to set the stage for the unit.  We cover a TON of standards during this unit like story elements, comparing texts, tuning in to interesting words, inferencing, and so much more...including story retelling!

And here's where the puppets come in! We start with this great book because it's easy to follow, has only 3 characters, and is soooo engaging! We read the story as a whole group first and talk about the elements. Then the next day, we will re-read and complete some sort of story map.  This ensures the kiddos get tons of exposure to the book and have a good solid understanding of the story.  

Now it's time for the fun stuff. We put out all kinds of materials...scrap paper, wiggle eyes, Popsicle sticks...and let the kiddos go wild. First they decide on their groups of 3.  Then they decide which kiddo will be which character.  They each are in charge of creating their own puppet.

Next, we all become the audience and take turns retelling the story.  

The kiddos also have the option of making simple costumes and acting out the story for their retelling. 
Nothing fancy, but it still amazes us how hard they work to come up with their own designs! We give them VERY LITTLE direction, rather we ask them questions to encourage their own creativity!

This first "trial run" with The Paper Bag Princess gets them ready for their culminating project for the unit.   They will choose a book, partners, and which author study story they wish to use for their project.  Each group decides if they will present their retelling through a puppet show or play. We create much more elaborate costumes and puppets, and then invite all our families in to see the presentations!  It's wonderful!  

Maybe you would love to try it with your kiddos!  Have fun!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

100th Day is almost here!!!

This is a THROWBACK post to last year!

Well our 100th Day was AWESOME! We think it was the smoothest running, most productive 100th day we have had in well....


Seriously!! What did we do differently??

Each kiddo had a 100 Day station card with 10 stations!

Each station was worth 10 points so when they finished, all there work added up to 100 points!!

We made a flipchart with pictures from previous years to show students instructions for many of the stations.
The kiddos worked with a partner and went at their own pace.

We had manipulatives/materials out all over the room with designated areas for certain 100 Day projects.

We had lots of extra activities that kiddos could do if they finished early!

If you need this station card, just click and grab!
For each station with an **, there is a work page in our 100th  Day Galore pack. However, each of those activities can also be done without the pack by simply using classroom writing paper or manipulatives.

We can't BELIEVE that it's almost time for our 100th day of our current school year! It's here next week!!!  This year has flown by!  I've truly missed Page as my teaching partner, but she's certainly done an outstanding job as our new AP! This 100th day will be a little bittersweet without Page dressed like an old geezer too!

We hope you're nearing your 100th day and these tips help you out!  Here's to a great 2nd half of the year!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

One Word Resolution and Currently!!

Happy New Year, FRIENDS!! We are linking up with Primary Powers for her One Word Resolution and Farley for Currently in 2015!!

Here is our one word resolution...

Thinner is our one word resolution!! Usually when I am thin, Cristy is not at her thinnest! Then when Cristy is thin, I am well, FAT!! Well it just so happens that at this point in time we are in this fight together for health, happiness, and yes, THINNESS!!  

Cristy and I both have 2 boys!!! One on the quiet/shy side and one on the well, hmmm, oh yeah, the WILD side!! So, when they play together and are not fighting, it's like music to our ears!!!

Not sure exactly what Cristy is doing at this exact moment, but pretty sure we are both enjoying the last few hours of our break!! To be honest I am a little depressed!! I will truly miss all the snuggles, lazy days, and family time! I know we have family time while school is in, but there is nothing like vacation!! 

Cristy and I are both thankful for our wonderful families, friendships and our amazing school!! We love all of our teachers, kiddos, and school families!!

Please help!! While snuggling and having family time I have done nothing but eat (well one day I did run the Jacksonville Bank Marathon- 26.2 miles)!!! I can't seem to stop snacking on candy, cookies, and basically anything there is to sink my teeth into!!  This is an area I plan on working on very soon!! Let's say January 5TH. You have to wait and start on a Monday!

I love my Christmas tree and garland and all of the holiday wall hangings. I wish it could all stay up all year!! But, I need to get this stuff down and put away before I have a year of bad luck. AHHHHH!
I know Cristy has already taken care of all of her decor! She is just amazing like that!

The school year has sure flown by!! While Cristy and I still work at the same amazing school, my new position has made it more difficult for us to talk and plan and work together!!!  I wish the rest of the school year flies by, but plan on making more time for Cristy and I to share and plan!!

YES- We are going to eat more healthy, exercise and lose weight the right way!!

MAYBE- I am going to be more comfortable and happy in my new position as I learn more!!

I WISH- Cristy and I set up monthly meets to work on a business plan!! I need guidance and deadlines!!

Thanks for reading!!