Saturday, March 28, 2015

I Took Down My Clip Chart! What happened next was SHOCKING...

Have you seen this post from Simply Kinder? Chances are, if you are a teacher who loves social media and reading blogs, you HAVE! 

If you HAVE NOT read it yet, you MUST go read Just CLICK HERE to see the full post. 

Jennifer has already done an amazing job of explaining her reasoning behind taking her behavior chart down, so I thought I would share my experience with you.

First of all, I saw her post SEVERAL times on my Facebook feed. I saw it on her blog...I saw other teacher bloggers mentioning her post. This post was/is everywhere. And every single time I saw it, ONE thing went through my mind:

I would cringe, literally, every single time. I couldn't imagine how that would ever work...and I just knew that she had some type of magic recipe that was making this method work for her. 

Then, I did some serious reflecting. I asked myself lots of questions. My thought process went something like this:

1. Have I always used a clip chart? fact, I just started using my clip chart last school year.
2. Does my clip chart accomplish what I want it to? NOPE. In all honestly, it did exactly what I wanted it to do last year...but that was last year. And if you are a teacher you can relate when I say that EVERY year is absolutely different. We get a new batch of students each year and those students always bring in a different set of personalities. This year, my clip chart just isn't really doing what I'd like...
3. What exactly DO I WANT from my clip chart? I want students to know and understand and want to follow my rules. I'd like students to have consequences and also get rewarded for above average behavior.
4. Why am I so scared to try this NO CLIP CHART system if I have taught for so many years before without it? Simple....I started this last school year and now I am feeling this stubborn pull to KEEP WITH IT for one simple and dumb reason...I started it and want to finish it. (*YES, I realized how awful this is...and I'm not proud of it, but I'm being real with ya'll.) --- and yes, I just said ya'll....I'm southern. 

I found this quote from The Science Penguin and could NOT agree more!!!

OK, now the big reason I wanted to write this post....I want to share with you what my personal results have been since I TOOK DOWN MY BEHAVIOR CHART!

I took down my chart on Monday of this week. I did this while my students were in the room and it gave me a great opportunity to talk about how we try certain things and then we realize that what we are trying may  not be working the way we wanted. It was a great time to show students that teachers are in fact human and we have to use the same type of trial and error that we teach them to use. 

One surprising note: My students seemed EXCITED about the fact that this chart was coming down...and if you read Jennifer's post, you may be able to figure out which of my students were excited!

I talked about how our classroom would "look and feel" after the chart came down and if you are wondering what exactly that looks like, go up to the top of this post and click on Simply Kinder's link.

These are my WEEK ONE results:

1. I am taking more time to actually TALK with my students and understand not only why they broke the rule that was broken, but also talk with them about the importance of that rule that was broken.

2. My students are more aware of their own behavior and are taking more responsibility for their actions. 

3. My students are looking after there peers more...and what I mean by that is they are taking it upon themselves to remind friends of our rules. EX: I had noticed during a lesson one of my students was playing with his pencil and had started stabbing holes into his eraser. I watched, and was about to give my "teacher eye", but just before I had a chance, a sweet little guy sitting beside this eraser stabber said "Hey, don't you know that's not a smart choice?" (MAKE SMART CHOICES is one of my classroom rules.) Talk about a great PROUD teacher moment!!! After my lesson was over I gave that sweet little one a "You made your teacher proud" note and told him I noticed him looking out for his fellow student. I also spoke with the other student and told him that I was happy to see that he listened to his peer when he was given that reminder. He stopped what he was doing and refocused on my lesson. NOW, for an honest, real teacher moment....before I got rid of my behavior chart I would have just said, "Go clip down. You know you are not supposed to do that with your eraser." And, had I done that, I would have missed this amazing moment.

4. I am recognizing more POSITIVE behavior moments, instead of spending more of my time having students go clip down. 

5. My students are happier and are feeling more empowered.

and lastly....but maybe the most important:

I am feeling empowered again too! I feel like I am a better teacher than before. I'm more engaged and spending more time listening and talking with my class about the importance of our rules. 

Are you interested??? Go read her post! I swear, if you are on the fence about making this move, you will NOT be disappointed. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dr. Seuss Week!

This is one of my favorite week's to teach! With Dr. Seuss's birthday and Read Across America, there are just so many fantastic ideas and activities to try. 

Here is a peek at my week!

My new HAPPY LOVE TO READ DAY shirt from
Tea and Coffee

My Kids helped me make "green eggs and ham" to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday!
**Pretzels, white chocolate melted, mint green M&M's

I made this little freebie for my students to work on after watching The Lorax. They turned out SUPER CUTE!
Just print this page on cardstock. Then cut out white circles (I used our diecut machine). Glue the circle to the top of the tree trunk so that part of it hangs off of the page. Use tissue paper and glue to make it look like a fluffy truffula tree!

If you would like to grab this writing page, just CLICK HERE for the 1 page freebie!

OH, and I HAVE to share this picture. A girlfriend of mine made these (WITHOUT using nutter butter cookies) and they turned out just adorable!

Lorax Cookies

Hope your week has been as fun as mine!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Report Card Comments....Made EASY!

It's report card time at our school...if you are a teacher, you either have come to terms with the fact that this is something required of you, or you still feel like crying and contemplate quitting around this time every year. I am somewhere between those feelings unfortunately....

I don't know if there is anything as complicated as writing comments on a student's report card.
It involves so much brain power. If you are like me (and many other teachers) you may find yourself struggling with the most tactful way to address certain behavioral and academic issues. 

I think we can all agree that NOTHING written in the comments on a report card should be "new" to the parents. Emails have been sent, phone calls have been made, and maybe a parent conference or two have occurred if there is a big issue. 

Either way, whether you have something BIG that needs to be documented in the report card comments, or you are just required by your administration to include a certain amount of information here, it can be time consuming and exhausting to write comments for an entire classroom. Each student is different and it is imperative that your comments reflect that. Report card comments should never look the same across your classroom. These comments should show that you have taken the time to get to know each child and that you are putting thought into them. 

HOWEVER, sometimes, that's just tough. Bottom line. Of course you know these students. You are with them all the time. You see everything they do and hear everything they say. But, coming up with well thought out comments is just not always as easy as it sounds. 

For starters, there are always going to be certain students that you struggle to think of anything positive to write. And, you should ALWAYS have something positive to say about a child in their report card comments. Always. 

Then there is the battle of what you WANT to say, and what you MUST say in order to keep your job!

I've compiled a list of comment ideas to help you out! 

Below are some ideas and prompts for Academic areas and Behavioral areas:

POSITIVE COMMENTS for students who are on track and progressing:


is eager to learn new things
shows enthusiasm when working in class
is always up for a new challenge
demonstrates good work habits
completes work in a timely manner
has shown significant progress in...
is beginning to show progress in...
has great self-confidence/ is beginning to show more self-confidence
is not afraid to try new strategies
works well with peers in small group and partner settings
is becoming a peer leader
has become a much more fluent reader
is great at problem solving
does well with working independently
is a well-liked citizen of our classroom
makes friends easily
works hard and puts in his/her best effort on assignments
is a wonderful friend 
is becoming much better at remembering and following our classroom rules
has worked hard and shown steady progress in ___________
has done well with our ___________ unit and can now ____________

POSITIVE COMMENTS for students who NEED to show improvement and/or may be behind:


needs reminders to follow our classroom rules
requires repetition in order to retain information learned
would benefit from extra help/practice with ___________________
is not putting his/her best effort into assignments
has not taken part in our classroom discussions
needs help managing his/her time in the classroom
is not accepting responsibility 
needs reminders and signals to stay focused during lessons
is not completing work in a timely manner
needs to be reminded to raise his/her hand instead of shouting out during lessons

I have also searched and found some AMAZING other links to resources and comment ideas. Be sure you check them out below!

I hope that you have found this article helpful!

Monday, December 8, 2014

12 Days of Christmas Giveaways! DAY 8

Have you heard about Zippy's BIG 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway??? The prizes are amazing and so are all of the people that are helping to make it happen!

Today's giveaway is brought to you in part by the following TpT sellers:


To enter today's giveaway, just use the rafflecopter below:

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

October Currently and a TREAT!

I'm linking up with Farley, at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her monthly CURRENTLY!

Time to give you a peek into my world :)

Listening: To country music, of course! Right now it's Jason Aldean's song Burnin' It Down...I like!

Loving: Yes...being able to open the windows in my house without heating to death is a luxury here in AZ...alas, Fall truly has arrived! lol

Thinking: I should stop thinking and GO TO BED...but my brain is on a roll right now and I literally CANNOT turn it off. I may need to down some NyQuil or something!

Wanting: These new cute running shoes (because CURRENTLY my big toe on my left foot literally has a peep hole in my shoes).
Asics Gel Noosa Tri 8

Needing: This is something I think every Mom I know would agree with...especially on Fall break with the kids. I need more patience....I need to slow down, breathe, give myself a time out...regroup and HAVE more patience with my own children.

Trick or Treat???

I just uploaded a new freebie to my TpT store today. 

 I made these simple story sequencing posters to go along with my Story Elements packet. I am going to laminate a few sets of these with thick laminate and let my students write on them during writing and literacy centers for sequencing practice! You could also just hang them as posters. Hope you like them! If you download, please leave me some feedback!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Day 4 of my Mega Milestone Giveaway: A BIG TpT GIFT!

Today I am telling you about the very last prize of this giveaway and I have saved the BIGGEST for last! Who doesn't LOVE TpT???? And who doesn't LOVE FREE THINGS? 

Well, today's giveaway will get one lucky winner a $150 TpT Gift certificate! I mean, are you serious?? I wish I could enter this one! I have AT least that much sitting in my wishlist right now!

This giveaway AND the last three (go back and check out the last three posts to get entered) will end this Friday, September 19th! SO, be sure you enter them all! Winners will be announced BY Sunday!

This prize is being brought to you by these amazing bloggers:

Adventures in Teaching
The Resourceful Apple

My Silly Firsties
Rowdy in First Grade
Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations
and they all fall down
Kindergarten Craftiness
Sarah's First Grade Snippets!

Georgia Grown Kiddos
First Grade Kate

Elementary Matters
A First Grade Teacher
First Grade and Flip Flops
I hope you'll stop by their blogs and check them out...because on top of being incredible friends, they are all AMAZING bloggers! :)
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