Monday, July 30, 2012

Responsive Classroom Approach/ Printable

I've seen lots of behavior clip charts on Pinterest and TPT.  I don't use that behavior/ classroom management plan.  I've tried it and it just doesn't work for me.
 I used a color system where kiddos could go up and they could go down.  They all started on the color green.  My colors where purple, blue, green, yellow and pink.  Purple was color everyone strived for.  A child on pink was having an awful day.  I had kiddos who would go home often on yellow.  Two parents claimed I was "bullying" their kids.  If you knew me at all, you would know that couldn't be true.  Those little ones were just little stinkers.  Also, my experience with this system is that the classroom focus is on the behavior, not on the learning.  When the kids get home, the first thing the parent was asking was...what color were you on.  I wanted them to ask...what fun thing did you do or learn.  So, after that particular year I went looking for a new behavior/ classroom management plan. 
The approach I found and have adopted in my classroom is the Responsive Classroom Approach

It has changed my classroom for the better and now I don't know how I ever taught differently. 
For those of you who aren't familiar with this approach, I though I would summarize for you.  Basically you model everything.  The kids don't get to use anything until you have modeled it.  I don't mean a simple demonstration.  I mean an in depth investigation, modeling and discussion of each classroom tool and procedure. 
To give you an example.  I model how I want the children to move from their table to the carpet.  First I tell the students what I am going to do...move to the carpet.  Then I model the behavior.  I usually model it more than once.  The class then makes an anchor chart that summarizes all the steps of moving to the carpet. 
Stand up, push in your chair, walk quietly to the carpet, find your spot, sit quietly in your spot, sit facing the rocking chair, sit with your legs criss crossed, put your hands in your lap, wait for instruction. 
We then practice lots and lots of times until everyone has it down. 
The next day, I model it again and we practice again. 
As I said, I do this for every classroom tool and procedure. 

Yep, it takes forever and yes, it works.  My kiddos are in kindergarten, so I would be modeling most of this anyway. However, my kiddos have been shown exactly what my expectations are...and they meet them.   

Do I have behavior issues?
Yes.  I still do.  I use a "time out" system.  Not the kind of time out that The Nanny uses.  Kinda different.  When I see someone who needs to regroup or be redirected, I kindly tell them to visit the "polka dot rug."  I have two of these little bathroom rugs that I got at Ikea.  The kids go quietly to the rug, count to 20 (this number increases as the year progresses) and quietly returns to the activity at hand.  They may not question me at that time.  I do not tell them to think about what they did.  That just makes them mad/ madder.  Yes, I model this like crazy and depending on my class, I introduce those rugs as early as the second day of school.  Everyone will visit the "polka dot rug" at some time during the first week of school.  I try very hard to take the negative stigma from the rug and yes, I do visit the rug myself. 
I also use logical consequences in my classroom.  For example, if a student doesn't use scissors correctly...he loses his scissors for the day.  Try doing your classwork without scissors for a day and that student learns pretty quickly not to mess around with his scissors again.
Most behavior issues are handled in my room right when they occur. 
I do have the occasional little stinker and I might need some parental support.  I have a behavior ticket that I send home and the parent must sign and return. 
Obviously if a child is hurting another student, being disrespectful or not following the school code of conduct...I will send them up to adminstration.  This happens rarely. 
The Responsive Classroom Approach has lots of different parts.  I am only summarizing a little of it. 
I thought I would share the handout I send home to parents at Back to School Night that summarizes my classroom management. 
If you want to learn more about Responsive Classroom.  Click on this link.  It will take you to their website and some introductory videos.  They also have a few on YouTube.  They also have a blog, newsletter and lots of support materials too.
I love to hear from others who use this approach in their classroom too.  I've only used this approach for two years, so advice is very welcome.  Classroom Management

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tell Me More...a Linky

I'm excited to join a linky that I've been stalking for a few days. The linky I am joining is hosted by Step Into Second Grade.    I've loved learning some more about my favorite bloggers and thought I would share a few things about me. 
1.  I met my Mr. when I was just 13.  We started dating when I was 16.  We grew up together and I love him more now then ever. 
2.  My first car was an orange Mustang.  I thought I was so cool when I drove it.  I had to sell it when I had my first child.  It was too hard to get the car seat in the backseat. 
1980 Ford Mustang Base picture

3.  My class pets are Madagascar Cockroaches.  My lady cockroach is currently pregnant.  I have also had stickbugs, fish, butterflies and ladybugs.  I am currently looking for a new stickbug.  The kids love them and they are so easy to take care of. 

4.  I love Ikea.  Most of my classroom furniture is Ikea furniture.  I was hired at the last minute four years ago and my classroom was empty.  My hubby and I made a trip to Ikea and supplied my room with cubbies, bookshelves and carpets. 

5.  I lived in Hawaii for 2 1/2 years.  We were as poor as church mice, but I loved it.  We went to the beach every Friday all year long.  We even had Thanksgiving dinner at the beach.  I would move back to Hawaii in a second.  This was our favorite beach.  Ko Olina. 


Friday, July 27, 2012

Virginia Blogger Get Together

Mrs. Stamp is putting together a VA Blogger get together.  It would be nice to meet some other VA bloggers.  Check out her blog...I'd love to meet you. 

Mrs. Stamp's Kindergarten: VA Blogger Get-Together!#c6908885060510310553

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

An Award...

Wow!  A Lovely Blog Award.  Thank you Karmen for this sweet award. 
I also want to send a thank you to Pamela at The Posh Box Blog DesignsI won a giveaway and she redesigned my blog.  I LOVE it and I think it is One Lovely Blog too. 

Now for the rules...
1. Follow the person who gave me the award.  I am more than happy to follow Karmen.  She is a fellow Virginia Kindergarten Teacher after all. 

2. Link back to the person that gave me the award.  Here is the link.  You should check out her blog.  I just began checking it out and can't wait to finish this post so I can spend more time there.  Karmen's Kinders of Room 103

3. Pass to 15 new bloggers and then let them know they have received the award.  Okay, the hunt begins.  There are lots of beautiful blogs, but to find one who hasn't already received it is the trick.  If you get this award more than once...just think of yourself as extra fabulous.  Okay...I've been at this for a few hours.  I'm new at this and it takes a while.  I found 10 blogs who haven't received this award and although I think that there are lots of beautiful blogs, it is 11:43 PM and I am stopping the hunt.  I know I'm cheating a little and I'm sorry. 
Congratulations to the following bloggers...Click on the link and check out just how lovely their blogs are.  I can't wait to see who these ladies give this award to.  There are so many lovely blogs out in blog land. 

2,  Rene at A Passion for Primary

3.  Sue at
4.  Amy at 
Adventures in Teaching

5.  Ms. Smith at

6. Kelly at Apple for the Teacher

7.  Jenna at Blog Button

8.  Kelly at First Grade Fairytales
9.  Meghan at First Grade With a Cherry On Top

10.  Elizabeth at

Goodness Everyone Has a Giveaway!

Goodness.  Everyone has a giveaway.  These are just a few of the ones I found this morning.  As I find more, I'll update this post.  Click on these buttons to find fabulous prizes...

Just Reed!Photobucket

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Newbie Bloggers Blog Hop

I'm trying my first Blog Hop.  It is sponsored by

Grade Three is the Place for Me!
Here it goes. 

1. what state you are in
2. your current teaching position
3. your teaching experience
4. when you started blogging
5. share a blogging tip / blogging resource

1.  I live in Virginia. 
2.  I teach Kindergarten.
3.  I homeschooled my own kiddos for 11 years.  I have taught K, and 6-8 grade English in private schools.  I also worked as a library youth services reference assistant/ programmer for a total of 5 years.   I now teach Kindergarten at a public school where I am beginning my 5th year and I work part-time as a library youth services reference assistant. 
4.  I started this blog in April when I won a blog make-over.  I have previously hosted a blog that my older students used to review books.  I am learning as I go and making lots of mistakes. 
5.  My blogging tip is to use the save and draft button until your post is completely ready.  I keep finding typos after I post.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Liebster Award

This award is named for the German word "Liebster," which translates to "beloved" or "favorite", and it is given to "new, up and coming bloggers."   Thank you Nicole from Lanier's Lions for giving me this award.  My very first award.

Lanier's Kindergarten Lions

The rules:
1. Link back to the person who gave it to you.
2. Post the award to your blog.
3. Give the award to at least 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers.
4. Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have been offered this award. 

...Now the hunt is on. 
Wild About Words


3.  The Madness that is Kindergarten

Okay, I found three.  As soon as I would find a fourth, someone else would post it.  I'll look for more later.  Check out these three blogs.  They are fantastic and I am proud to be the one to nominate them. 


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Nature Walk

I just read the most inspiring post from Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes .  She uses nature in her classroom in the most amazing ways.  Her post reminded me of a nature scavenger hunt I send home every year.  The purpose is to have students and parents experience nature together.  The kiddos love this homework project and usually can't wait to share where they found their items.  We take the items and sort them into baskets.  We then sort them by size.  We plant the seeds to see what might grow.  We investigate all the items with magnifying glasses.  After all of this exploration the items all find their way into our science center. 
I wish I had pictures, but it is summer.  I did think I could share the scavenger hunt though.  The clip art is a mixture from Microsoft and DJ Inkers.   I hope this can inspire you in some small way. 
Don't forget, to show me some love and leave a comment.  I'm new at this, so advice is more than welcome.   
Nature Scavenger Hunt

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Storytime Props

While I worked as a youth services programmer, I did lots and lots of storytimes.  I loved it.  I liked to mix up the media a bit and I used felt boards and music.  I thought I would share a few of my favorite felt board resources with you. 
I love April's Daycare.  She has the cutest feltboard sets.  They are durable and fabulous.  She includes the storyboard no flipping through the book as you are telling the story.  Now that I teach Kindergarten I put these sets in my flannelboard/ retelling literacy center.  It is a very popular center in my classroom. 
  April's Daycare


Kidzclub has lots of storytime props to offer.  I love their printable storytime patterns.  You can print in color or black and white.  I print one set in color and I laminate them.  I put the smallest amount of velcro on the back to make them stick to the felt/ flannel.  You could also put a tiny magnet and they would stick to your white board and easel.  I print a black and white set for each of my kinder kiddos.  They color them and cut them out.  They put them inside a little plastic baggie and practice retelling the story to a friend.  Once they have practiced for a while, I have them take them home and retell the story to their family.  This is a perfect activity for my ESL students and a great phonologic awareness activity for all of my kiddos.  They have props for lots of my favorite storytime books.   I can't figure out how to post a sample...but trust me and click on the link.  These are wonderful. 


Monday, July 16, 2012

Must Have Picture Books

The Teacher Wife
I'm trying a linky.   My very first. 
Okay, here it first linky.  I've been tempted to try this before, but chickened out.  I hope this works.  I couldn't resist this linky.  I LOVE picture books.  I work part time as a children's reference assistant at a public library in addition to teaching Kindergarten.  I used to work as a youth services programmer at the public library.  I know my picture books.  There are too many that I can't live without, so I thought I would share some that make good read-alouds for beach themed interactive storytimes.  You can click on the book titles to check out the book in Amazon.  I copied the summaries from our local library website. 

1.  I love The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen.
The pout-pout fish believes he only knows how to frown, even though many of his friends suggest ways to change his expression, until one day a fish comes along that shows him otherwise.
Product Details

2.  Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea  by Jan Peck is another summer favorite. 
A child explores the treasures of the deep blue sea from the safety of a bathtub.
Jan Peck has written others in this series including Way Up High in the Tall Green Tree. 

3.  I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean  by Kevin Sherry is so very fun. 
A giant squid brags about being bigger than everything else in the ocean--almost.
There is a sequel  I'm The Best Artist in the Ocean. 
I'm The Biggest Thing in the Ocean
4.  I'm a Shark  by Bob Shea is a newer fun ocean book. 

A boastful shark is not afraid of anything, which impresses his underwater friends until they ask about spiders.
View full image

5.  A House for Hermit Crab  by Eric Carle is an older, but wonderful book. 
Poor Hermit Crab! He's outgrown his snug little shell, so he finds himself a larger one -- and many new friends to decorate and protect his new house. But what will happen when he outgrows this shell, and has to say good-bye to all the sea creatures who have made Hermit Crab's house a home? Children facing change in their own lives will relate to Hermit Crab's story -- and learn a lot about the fascinating world of marine life along the way.

I have used all of these in a storytime and in my classroom and I checked to make sure they are still available.    My first linky.