Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Made it

 I'm in love with "Monday Made it" hosted by Tara of 4th Grade Frolics.

Monday is my new favorite day of the week. Well, in the summer, that is.

I have been working hard making behavior kits using Popsicle sticks and colored Duct tape. Students start their day with their clothespin clipped on the color pink since I am "tickled pink" with their behavior.  A reminder means they clip down and so on. For privacy, we store our behavior clips and brag tags in the zippered pouches. 

I wasn't sure how I was going to use this notebook pennant I saw in the Dollar Spot at Target a few weeks back. But....since it was in the Dollar Spot, I figured...Oh heck...and bought them. I now have a welcome sign for my classroom:

I used KG font Why you Gotta Be So Mean and outlined the font in blue to make each letter.  I also used some stickers from Creative Memories that I had laying around to make the banner.

I also made these Back to School Trading Cards this week.

I think it's important for students to know the staff members who are in our school and what their job is. It helps to build school community and involvement.

During the first week of school, school personnel will get a set of cards (one for each student in my class) and as we tour the school and meet the staff members, we will collect a trading card. Kids just love playing cards and collecting them.

My boys and I had fun playing "Go Fish" and "Concentration" with these at home this past week.

Sometimes when I need a little "pick me up" at school, just reading a simple quote helps me to catch my breath and take a minute when I need to. I LOVE Kid President.  I have been creating some quotes by him using a burlap and chalkboard theme. I am printing them out and adding them to a frame. I plan to change out the quote every month.


What have you created lately? I'd love to hear about it. :)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dear Future Teacher

Do you have this student in your classroom?

My son has dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. He also has ADHD. School is not a happy place for Tyler. The boy in this picture is not him could be. 

I have done a lot of reflecting on my classroom management. After many years and different grade levels I have finally found a system that works for me. 

At least I thought I did.

Then Tyler started telling me who misbehaves in his class, and why, and how, and what happened next, and it went on and on until I changed the subject.

And then I thought....Oh. My. Word.  What if this was one of my students?  I would feel terrible for THAT student. The one that everyone was talking about at home with their families. What if this was my own son?

I'm thrilled to be linking up with my friend Missy from Dirt Road Teacher this week to share a classroom behavior management strategy.

So....this chart that I have used for years....that has worked wonders for me and I really, really couldn't live without.  It's gone. 


See ya later never. 

I have never used it again.

Now I can sleep better at night. True story.

I thought it was the greatest thing.  And it was...except....

Everybody knew what everyone's card color was.

Everyone knew everybody's business.

Everyone knew who was acting like this:

and who was acting like this:

Not good. Not good at all. What was I doing to their self esteem?

So then I found this on Pinterest. Because...isn't that where all greatness can be found? 

Many, many thanks to Sarah from Miss A's Kindergarten for posting this on Pinterest because it's awesome! You can find her original pin and idea here.

And just like that....the heavens opened up. 

And now I have this...

Concrete, visual, yet discreet behavior modification program for the elementary classroom.

I used large Popsicle sticks and colored duct tape. I chose duct tape because of the bright colors and it was on sale and truth be told if something says "sale" I feel like I have to have it or I'm missing out.

Then I went to the Dollar Tree and found these.

Concrete, visual, and discreet behavior modification system for the elementary classroom.

I numbered the sticks and I numbered the zippered pouches. I didn't label them with student names so that  

1. I can use them again.
2. It keeps behavior status anonymous.

I don't have desks in my first grade classroom. I have tables. I store these in one of the drawers of the Sterlite storage drawers I bought for each table to store table supplies (pencil boxes, folders, workbooks, journals and the plethora of other stuff).

So...back to the color system and how it works in my classroom.

Every child gets a Popsicle stick covered with the colored Duct Tape and a zippered pouch. The clip chart stick and the pouches are numbered so you want to make sure each child gets the same number stick and bag.   You can use whichever colors you like but I use pink, orange, yellow, and green. 

Everyone starts off with pink since I am "tickeled pink" with their behavior. Therefore, each student begins their day with their clothespin on the color pink. 

If student makes a poor choice, they move their clip down to orange. This is a reminder. A second reminder is a clip down to yellow. A clip down to green would mean a note, email, or phone call home.

 Very, very rarely have I ever had to have a student clip down to green. In fact, I think maybe a handful of times.

 When moving the clip, the student tells me how they can make a better choice the next time. 90% of the time, the clip doesn't move down again for the remainder of the day. 

Each student's clip stick stays in the zippered pouch. We use the zippered pouches to keep the kiddos from playing with them and to keep the system as anonymous as possible. The zippered pouches also store brag tags but...

more about that in a bit.

Concrete, visual yet discreet behavior modification system for the elementary classroom.

When the clip stays on pink for the day, students get a punch on their punch card. Here's an example of the punch cards I use (which are seasonal).
When the punch card is full, they can choose a reward coupon.

And just like that... the prize box that I've always used...started collecting dust.

Not because I was denying anyone a prize....but because they truly wanted a reward coupon instead. I love it!

I love it because I'm not buying prizes anymore, or reminding the kiddos to keep them in their backpack until they get home, or replacing broken prizes, or running out of prizes and on and on and on. 

Now....these rewards are just plan simple. I mean....easy, peasy. I wanted rewards that weren't going to be a pain were easy.

Things like: use a pen all day, sit in the teacher's chair, wear slippers to school, etc. I know....silly.

But you would think that this has happened when a student gets to choose a reward coupon:

I'm. Dead. Serious.  They get that excited.  For real.

And then when they choose a reward coupon they can also choose one of these brag tags if they want:

And then this happens:

They wear these brag tags around school the next school day like nobody's business.  They. Love. It! Even the boys.

They especially love it when another staff member or student asks "How come you have that?" They get so proud!

Some students like to save their brag tags and wear them at the same time on one necklace.  I allow time on Friday afternoons for Brag Tag wearing.  Otherwise, the day they earn it, is the day they wear it (except for gym and recess).  Students store their brag tags (if they decide to save them) in the front pocket of the zippered pouch.

Concrete, visual, yet discreet behavior modification program for the elementary classroom.

The great thing about this system is that everyone is aware of it. It is a concrete model. Students, parents, and even substitutes know this plan. I leave a note in my sub folder that explains my behavior management system. It is the same note that I send home to parents at the beginning of the school year that explains our classroom behavior management system.

I have a little freebie for you!  A sample of the brag tags featured in this post is a freebie right now. 

Brag tags offer a great way to reward positive behaviors.

The complete set of Brag Tags can be found here.

Brags tags offer a great way to reward positive behaviors.

Also available here are the punch cards and reward coupons I use.  The whole behavior management set (punch cards, reward coupons, and brag tags) can be purchased here at a low bundle price.

Make sure to check out the other bloggers below to get some more ideas on behavior management in the classroom. Start the year off with a system in place and have a great year!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Battle of the Bulge

   Tomorrow I leave for Las Vegas. I can't wait to go to the Teachers Pay Teachers Conference.   

I have been very fortunate to get to know some really wonderful people here in the blogging work.  Karen from Little Smarticle Particles who has become my product proofreading goddess I met through the TPT Seller Challenge. Also, Kristen from Kristen's Kindergarten is a doll.

Amy from Learning Lessons with Mrs. Labrasciano has become my dearest friend.  Without her love, support, guidance, and friendship I would never be blogging or traveling to Vegas.

Here is Paul Edelman (founder of TPT) Amy, and me at the last TPT conference last summer.

As excited as I am about traveling to Vegas and seeing all the friends I have made in the teaching, blogging and TPT community, I have had some....what's the word....anxiety, fear, and depression about it.  Maybe this is normal.  Maybe not.  I'm not sure.

My fears are not about traveling, or flying, or getting lost. I am not anxious about socializing (I actually love that part). I am anxious  It's hard to even type that.

I am struggling with my weight and it hurts.  I use to look like this...

This was in 2009.

Now....not so much...

I'd like to say that I'm eating salads and healthy foods, drinking water, working out and doing all I can but the truth is...I'm not. I'm eating what I've always eaten. The problem is that I'm now 41. I'm not 22 anymore. I can't eat the way I used to and I want to cry just typing that. My exercise is walking the dog and since I have a beagle we do a lot more of this....

than actual walking.

... so my exercise is lacking.

Truth is I love food. I have a sweet tooth. I eat anything with sugar.  I know. It's horrible for me. I'm addicted. No joke-addicted. I don't want to give up the foods I love. I don't want to exercise. I. hate. it.  I'm not good at it. And I look like this.

And I hate it.

I know I shouldn't worry about what people think of me. I know I shouldn't feel the need to impress. I know this and yet maybe if I had the perfect dress I would feel better. So yesterday..

I went here...

and tried on 3 dresses.

Then I went here...

and tried on 5.

Then I went here...

and didn't try any because there were no dresses in my size (which used to be a 16 but now I'm pushing a size 18) and 2 really cute, skinny girls who had an armful or dresses and it made me feel bad.

So then I went to...

and tried on 3 more.

Next I went to..

and after almost fainting at the prices, I tried on one dress. I couldn't get that one over my hips.

After dinner, I ventured to...

where...wait for it.....

I finally got a dress!  Then it was onto CVS to get nail polish and a tanning lotion.

 When I got home I texted Amy and told her about how sad and depressed and anxious I have been feeling and she responded with this (her comments are I grey, mine are blue)...

And I started to cry. I mean...full on ugly tears cry. She had no idea. I never told her. Amy didn't even know it but she reminded me what is most important in life.

I thought back to all the stores I went to, shopping for "THE perfect outfit" as if that outfit was going to make me feel better. As if a dress, a pair of shoes, and all the right the matching accessories are going to make Cara Carroll or Annie Moffatt (ladies I truly admire) like me more.

No dress is going to do that. Not even the most well matched accessories.

I have 2 choices.

1. I can accept myself for the way I am or...
2. I can not. And make....really make...the conscience decision to work for it.  It's not going to just happen. I have to work for it.

If I put as much time and energy into getting myself healthy and fit as I do into blogging and creating new products I wouldn't have to shop in 10 different stores to find validation. Or would I? 

Would scrolling through my Instagram feed make me still want to have what it seems like everyone else has? The clothes, the earrings from Kendall Scott, the Erin Condren Planner that I can't afford but want anyway?  I'm willing to bet it would. I think that's the Devil talking.

Thank you, Amy for reminding me what really matters.  For grounding me and getting me off the pity train. I love you, dear friend.

What I have learned through the TPT Seller Challenge is that the friends I have met along the way are my friends because they accept me for who and what I am. There is no competition between is. We truly want one another to succeed and do well. We support one another and lift each other up.  Sometimes it's a simple comment on a blog post, a like or a comment on Instagram, a kind email, or an invite to a linky. And sometimes it comes as a text from someone you never even knew 2 years ago but they knew just what to say. 

This week when I am in Vegas I am going to keep all of this in mind. I'm looking forward to seeing my friends, in the new dress I bought and the other 4 outfits I pulled from my closet.  I'm looking forward to enjoying the moment and living in the moment.

How about you? Have you made friends here in the blogging community? I hope so.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday Made It

I'm so excited for another Monday Made it with 4th Grade Frolics!

My parents bought this desk for me for $2 when I was a little girl. I spent many hours playing school with it as a child.  Over the years it has rusted but it is still well-loved.  I decided to give it a facelift and I hope to use it as a "VIP" desk in my classroom.

I covered the edges of the desk with painters tape and the seat of the chair with newspaper.

Next, I used a wire brush to brush off excess rust and dirt.  I then used dish soap and water to clean it.

I spray painted a coat of primer on the legs and sides to help the paint

adhere. Since the top of the desk is a wood laminate I just left that alone.
I then spray painted the legs, sides, and inside of the desk with a grey stone Rustoleum spray paint.  I used the same paint on the legs of the chair.

I wanted to keep the vintage look of the desk but also give it some life so chose a rather neutral grey  color.

My favorite part of the desk though is this vintage scrapbook paper that I Mod Podged on the top.  It took about 10-12 layers of Mod Podge to make it smooth but I love the results!


I am so happy with this TPT Planner and Blog Organizer that I made this week.  It has really helped me to organize my blog posts, plan future products, monitor my expenses, and track my followers on social media.



The month of July is free. You can find it by clicking on the FREEBIES tab here on my blog.

Have you made any fun projects this summer?