Saturday, September 21, 2013

Behavior Plan

When I began the school year with 15 (no joke) students I was rejoicing and thinking to myself how easy this school year is going to be.  15 kids, that is every teachers dream!  WOW, while I am grateful for only having 15 students, I think they are going to give me a run for my money and keep me on my toes!  I love every single one of them, and appreciate their differences.  But this school year will be far from easy! :)

I realized quickly that Whole Brain Teaching in theory sounds great, but is not for me.  I am using bits and pieces of it, but I was feeling more like a drill sergeant most days than a teacher.  I noticed that my students were missing some of the spark I have seen in the past.  I may try again next year, but for now I am going back to my own crazy fun way of doing things.  Since switching back, the aura in my classroom has improved greatly.

A question I frequently get from other teachers and parents is how do you handle behavior in your classroom.  My classroom has three simple rules:
1. Be Responsible
2. Be Respectful
3. Make Good Choices

The way I see it, no matter what a child does it falls into one of those three categories.  I don't really like public displays of misbehavior (clip charts, flipping cards).  It just isn't for me.  I had a second grade teacher who was very public with disciplining children and I was terrified of getting in trouble.  I promised myself I would never do that.  My first 4 years in kindergarten I had a flip chart where students would flip their card for misbehaving, I made it okay with myself because they could also flip to positive colors.  I realized that my students were more worried about what color OTHER students were on than themselves.  This was totally defeating the purpose, and quickly reminded me of second grade.  AAAAAHHHHHH what was I doing!!?!?!? I realized I needed to make a change, quickly.  Last year I was very lucky and had the same students for first grade that I taught in kindergarten.  Essentially I looped with them for one year.  I thought it was the perfect time to make a change, the students knew my expectations.  I loved the change I made last year but was a little nervous that it would not work very well with students who had not already had me for a year.  22 days into the new school year and I still love it!

Basically, the students are responsible for reporting to their parents how their day went.  They rate their day a 3, 2, or a 1 based on their behavior and they write it in their assignment notebook.  We made a rubric together during the first week of school and it is hung in my classroom.

3 - I made good choices and followed the rules ALL day.
2- I made good choices and followed the rules MOST of the Day.
1 - I will work harder tomorrow to make good choices and follow the rules.

Notice there is no zero on my rubric.  I believe that every child can find at least SOMETHING that they did well, even if it was writing their name on all of their papers for the day or lining up quietly one time.

Each student has a behavior punch card that they are responsible for.  If I agree with the number they put in their assignment notebook I initial it and punch their card with my super special star hole punch.
The students get 2 punches for a 3, 1 punch for a 2 and 0 punches for a 1.  When they get their behavior card filled up, they get to pick out of my prize binder.  All of the prizes in my binder are FREE!  They don't cost me a penny!  Some of the prizes include:
1.  Stinky Feet Day (take off your shoes and relax while we are in our classroom)
2.  Line Swap (swap line spots with anyone but the leader)
3.  Bodacious Book (bring in a book for me to read aloud during snack)
4. Show and Tell
5. Zoo Day (bring a stuffed animal to school)
6. Wear a Hat in the classroom

I got this idea from a fabulous first grade blog (First Grade Fever) and adapted it fit my needs.  She already has the catalog and reward cards made for you. The best part is, they are FREE!!! Click HERE!

Click HERE for a copy of my Zebra behavior punch cards.  The zebra clip art is from Scrappin Doodles. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Patriot's Day

September 11th is always a difficult thing for me to talk about in the classroom.  I never know how much information to give the kids and what their parents really want them to know.  Today I basically gave them the large very brief overview.  We then talked a little bit about heroes.  I quickly realized that these kids had no idea what a real hero was.  All they knew was Batman, Spiderman, Superman etc.  I explained to them how firefighters and policemen and EMT's were heroes that day.  We made a venn diagram or super heroes verse real heroes.  It was fun to hear the kids talk about some real heroes they had in their own lives.  After that discussion we talked about why America is a great place to live.  We made the hearts below!
I found it here on TeachersPayTeachers!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Classroom Tour...Part One

I have been in my room A LOT the past two weeks, and while I am not ready to give you the full classroom tour, here is a sneak peak of my classroom!
This is my math wall.  It has shapes, a hundreds chart, a calendar that is always up, months of the year and days of the week posters.  The pizza pans are where my math groups are posted.  Their names are on magnets so it is easily interchangeable. 
Number Line:  Get it here!
Shape Posters:  Get them here! (they are FREE!)

This is my birthday wall.  Each month will have the students picture on it!

Get the adorable chevron numbers here!
This is my Student of the week wall.  The frame was $7.99 at Michaels and I spray painted it with glitter spray paint.  It turned out fantastic!  The student of the week will have their picture inside the frame and receive a special certificate from me!
Hopefully I will have full classroom photos for your soon!  Tomorrow I will NOT be going to school.  I will be swimming with my two adorable little fish and then going to a rodeo at our local fair.  Below is a picture of them ready for the rodeo we went to when we were on vacation in Texas!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Back To School Shopping

I have seen many blog posts about all the supplies people are buying for their classrooms.  I am a wee bit jealous, but I promised myself I was not going to buy a whole lot for my classroom this year because I still have stockpiles of stuff from previous years.  There isn't a whole lot that I NEED for my classroom.  Want, yes.  Need, NO!  Don't you worry though, I have done lots of back to school shopping, just in a different way.
After I had my daughter Whitney in November of 2011, the weight just wasn't coming off, in fact I gained more and more weight after having her.  In June of 2012 we took some generational pictures with my family and when we got them back I cried.  I hadn't realized how I looked until I saw the pictures.  Here is one with me and my girls. 
I realized I needed to take the steps to get healthy for myself and my family.  I started watching what I eat, and tried to completely cut out soda, but realistically I just cut WAY back on soda.   I HATE sweating with a fire burning passion.  It is gross.  *shudder*  I slowly started losing weight, but not how I would have liked.  I stuck with my plan when I felt like it, but any ounce of stress and the dark chocolate came out and the Diet Mt. Dew was back in my hand.  Here is a picture of my in November of 2012, about ten pounds down.
Sometime in the spring, I think around the end of February, our school decided to put on a Biggest Loser competition.  Everyone paid 20 dollars and three people who lost the biggest percentage of their body fat took the pot.  Money motivates me.  Losing money motivates me even more!  I jumped on the chance.  I knew for a fact that if I thought I was going to lose money, I would not pick up the dark chocolate, and I was right! I ended up getting 2nd place in our competition and lost 14 more pounds.  I am happy to say that I am now down 30 pounds from June 2012.   I am holding steady at my current weight, so I decided to join a Zumba class.  I sweat there, I don't like that part, but it is SO MUCH FUN!  I would go every night if I could.  I even bought the Zumba DVD's so I can do Zumba at home when my girls nap.  Here is a picture from this week, 30 pounds lighter than a year ago!

My back to school shopping this year has been for clothes.  Nothing fits me anymore.  My pajamas are even too big!  This is a good problem to have.  I am cheap. I refuse to pay full price for anything.  I have been bargain shopping and having so much fun.  The first time I went to try on clothes I had to take them ALL back because they were all 2 sizes too big!  So far I have scored the black sweater in the picture above for $8.00 at Kohls and the clothes in the pictures below!
The tan shirt on the left was $6.00 at Kohls.
The purple shirt next to it was on clearance for $5.25 at Maurices.
The off white shirt next to it was also $5.25 at Maurices.
The black and white striped shirt was on clearance for $6.00 at Maurices.
I also got a pair of blue jean trousers for $9.00 at Maurices, but they accidentally left the security tag on them so I need to take them back.  They are in my car because if I don't leave them in my car, I will forget to take care of it!

Both of these dresses are from Kohls.  I am short, like REALLY short.  Think 5 foot 1 short!  I have always wanted a Maxi dress but they are always ridiculously long on me!  The blue dress on the left was in the petites section of Kohls and with some wedges will be the perfect length!  That one was on sale for 25 dollars but my mom gave me $20 in Kohls cash so I only paid 5 dollars for it.  The one on the right was a little more expensive, but I LOVE it.  I think it was right around $20.  They have that same dress in black and white.  I really want to get it.  I have three weddings coming up and I think the black and white one would look great at a wedding.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blog Award!

I was honored to receive a comment on my blog nominating me for the Liebster Award. 
Mrs Ehles Kindergarten Connections
Mrs. Ehle from Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Connections nominated me. If you have never visited her blog, GO NOW!  It is one of my favorites!  She has awesome ideas.
Now for the award itself, here it goes!

To accept the nomination I must:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees
6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them
Here are some "facts" about me... prompted by ?s from my "nominator!"

1. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?  We have an AWESOME ice cream shop by us called Dairy Haus.  All of their ice cream is home made.  They have wedding cake ice cream that is to DIE for!
2. What is your favorite type of music to listen to?  Country or Pop, depends on the day.  My newest music obsessions are Maroon 5 and Bruno Mars
3. What is your favorite subject to teach?  Math
5. Do you prefer sweet or salty?   Sweet!
6. Name 5 things that are currently in your purse.  
     a.  a diaper (I have a 1 1/2 year old daughter)
     b. childrens underwear (I also have a 4 year old daughter)
     c.  Receipts
     d. wet ones
     e. my giraffe print wallet
7. Where is your favorite vacation destination?  Vegas
8. How long have you been teaching?  This will be my seventh year teaching.
9. What is your favorite children's book?  Oooh  this is a hard one!  I would have to say Lulu and the Brontosaurus10. Do you prefer the mountains or the beach?  neither, I prefer pools, there are fish in the ocean...and sharks.  NO THANK YOU!
11. Name one special thing about the town you live in.  There really isn't anything special about the town I live in now, but where I grew up our high school mascot was the Pretzels.  When I was a senior George Bush choked on a pretzel and the national news came to our town and interviewed all the high school kids.   It was interesting.  :)

I'm not real sure that I can come up with 11 MORE interesting facts about me that you would actually care to know, but here are a few...
1. When I was a child my first grade teacher was also my tumbling coach.  I was POSITIVE I was going to be in the Olympics one day.  That NEVER happened. 
2. I am extremely gullible.  When I was a kid, my grandpa used to tell me we were eating road kill for breakfast, and I believed him. 
3.  In my first three years teaching, I taught art, second grade, first grade and kindergarten.  Yes, I switched from Art to second grade mid-year. 
4.  I can NOT dance.  I have no rhythm what so ever, but I started taking Zumba classes and I love it!
5.  My last name rhymes with Cow.  (A lot of people ask how to say my last name)
6.  I am the middle child.  I have an older sister who is my best friend and a little brother who is pretty cool too.  There is a reason they stopped having children after him though!
7.  I know a lot of people switched over to bloglovin, but I still get really ridiculously excited when I log into blogger and see that I have a new follower.  82 and counting...  I don't really understand how bloglovin works.  I just get my blog fix from the blog feed at the bottom of my blogger dashboard.
I am nominating:
Visit My Website:
Check out their amazing blogs!
Ladies, you can answer the same set of questions I got to answer!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Crazy for Animal Print

I used to say I have a jungle themed classroom, but in reality I have an animal print classroom.  I basically just want my students to feel comfortable and not overwhelmed by classroom decorations.  Last year I did all of my bulletin boards with a black background and I LOVED how "homey" it made my classroom feel.  I had the privilege of looping with my class last year and I was really surprised about how much calmer my students were.  I am super anxious to get back in my classroom because it always takes me FOREVER to get things how I want them, and I KNOW I have a lot of organizing to do.  I decided that  I wanted a new number line and new headers for my word wall this year.  Glitter Meets Glue Designs on TPT has some adorable glittery animal prints so I got busy!  Here is what I created!

Click here to see my number on TPT!
I also created alphabet cards for my word wall, that could double as flashcards!
The cards are 3 inches wide and 4 inches tall.  I can't wait to take pictures of these hanging up in my room!
Click here to get my alphabet cards.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Super Improvers Wall

I think one of the things about Whole Brain Teaching that I am most excited about is the Super Improvers Wall.  I am a firm believer that every child (AND adult) has something that they can improve on. I love that all interactions with the Super Improver Wall are positive. 
For those of you not familiar with WBT, a Super Improvers Wall is part of their year long classroom management system.  There are ten steps to the SIW, which you can name whatever you want.  There are some really cute sports themed steps in the book, or you could just use colors.  Your SIW wall should have all the steps laid out for the students, and each student also needs to have their own individual card on the wall to chart improvements.  All students start out on the first step, which I am calling beginner.  Then they have a goal for improvement and each time you see them improve they get a star.  When a student gets ten stars, they take home their card to show their parents and they get a new one that correlates with their new level.  From what I understand, you can change the goal for improvement as you see necessary, but should only focus on ONE thing at a time.  The best part is, it doesn't have to be a behavior that you are focusing on.  A student's goal could be to return homework on time, improve sight word fluency, or anything else academic that a child needs to work on.
I am so excited to put the SIW up in my classroom, of course mine has animal print!

A student would have to make 100 improvements throughout the school year to achieve living legend status.  I plan on having a permanent place in my classroom to display pictures of students who have made living legend status throughout the years.

You can snag my Super Improvers Wall posters in my TPT!
Click here to go to my store!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


In honor of Independence Day my entire TPT store is on sale until Friday at midnight!  Stock up now!  I am going to try and finish up a few things I have been working on today, but if I don't get them finished before the sale is over, I will put them on sale for a couple days after they are posted!  Here are a few things that I have finished and are in my store ready for purchase!
These adorable locker tags match the rest of the owl themed items in my store! 
This math packet includes at LEAST one worksheet for each standard under Operations and Algebraic thinking for first grade.  Download the preview for the freebie pictured below!
Have a great holiday weekend for your family!  And remember we are the land of the free because of the brave! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Fourth of July!

I am so thankful to be an American! 
I love my country and couldn't imagine living anywhere else. 
 It frustrates me when people say negative things about our country after tragedies like the Boston Marathon bombings and Sandy Hook happen. 
I refuse to let the horrendous acts of a few people change my feelings about our country as a whole.  
It makes me so proud to be an American, when we all come together to help the victims of these events by donating whatever we can to help. 
America has a lot of amazing things to offer! 
In honor of Independence Day, I joined up with 180 Days and Counting for a July 4th giveaway. 
I also will be putting my entire TPT store 20% off from July 3 to July 5th! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please enjoy the holiday with your family and take some time to think about the men and women who are currently overseas. 
 It breaks my heart knowing that their families miss them like crazy and they miss their family also. 
This school year I had a little boy who's dad is overseas and it broke my heart every time he talked about missing his father.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pinterest Widgets and Pin It Hover Button Tutorial!

I seriously just spent well over and hour trying to figure out how to get the pin it button to hover over my images.  I found numerous blogs with html code ready for me and not one of them worked for me.    Did you know that Pinterest has a widget builder?  It was SOOO easy using their website and it worked on my very first try!  Here is the link to their widget builder: Pinterest Widget Builder. 
It was so easy!  I just selected the pin it button up top by clicking on it.  Where it says button type, I clicked on image hover and it took me to this page where I clicked build it!
After clicking Build It!, it gave me the html code and where to embed it in my blog.

  If you don't know how to find your html code, it is super easy!  Go to your blogger dashboard.  On the left hand side click on template.

Once you click on template, you will see this screen:
I suggest backing up your html code by clicking the backup and restore button in the upper right hand corner before you mess with your html code.  I do this no matter what I am doing, just in case I mess something up!  After you back up your code, click on edit html and follow the directions that are on the Pinterest sight!
Easy, peasy lemon squeezy!

I'm A Little Late....

But follow me on BlogLovin!  I'm not real sure what is going on, and if I even use google reader.  I just follow blogs by the blog list on the bottom of my dashboard.  Everything I have read, says that is not going away, but we will see tomorrow.  Either way, I know a lot of people are starting to use BlogLovin and I love that they have an app for my Galaxy!
Keeping things short and sweet today!  My girls want to play outside, and since it isn't raining for the first time in like a week, we are headed outside to play in the pool, ride our bikes, blow bubbles, and maybe go for a walk!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Whole Brain Teaching...Getting Started

I have started to read the Whole Brain Teaching Book, which so far has been amazing and eye opening.  I must say, I wish that I started reading this at the beginning of August so I could jump in and get started sooner.  It all sounds so perfect on paper, and I can only hope it works as well in the classroom as they say it does.  I know going in that I am going to be making A LOT of changes in how I do things and it is going to be a lot of work up front "training" them.  I don't like using the word training, but in essence when it comes to routines, that is what we are doing.

The idea of WBT is to engage the child's whole brain in learning so there isn't any mental area left over for challenging behavior.  The book gives some pretty detailed explanations on how to do that.  On top of the book, which is awesome, they have an amazing website with a plethora of resources. One of the thinks that stood out in the introduction to me was when the author pointed out that no adult really wants to punish a kid, we punish because we don't know what else to do.  I don't know about you, but this is very true for me.  I get to the point where I am pulling out my hair and I don't know what else to do sometimes. I can't wait to try the ideas outlined in this book and put them to use this year.  I want to leave you one final quote from the introduction today.  This quote is so extremely true, and I need to remember this when I get to that frustration point at home and in the classroom.

Ps.  I took my little cuties camping last weekend.  Despite getting 8 inches of rain the two days we were there, we had a blast!