August 26, 2015

Buckle Up, Folks...

This one's gonna' be all over the place!

School has been going on for about two weeks. We're finally starting to get in a groove. And, my classroom already looks completely different than it did in those pristine pictures of my last post.  

So, I just thought I'd do a quick run-down of what all we've been working on so far in second grade...

1. Old School Behavior Charts

Okay. So. This may not be a popular opinion and I'm sure it won't win me any new blog followers. But, I tend to think that we, as teachers, spend way too much time rewarding behavior that is expected. I shouldn't have to move your clip UP because you did what I asked you to. Does that make sense to anybody else? I also think that small kids need to clearly understand the consequences of their actions. I think it's really confusing to them to move their clips for misbehavior and then move them back up later in the day. All that to say, my teaching partner and I decided to go back to the old-school chart this year. Everybody starts on green and you can only go down. We hand out tickets to kids who stay on green and then we draw one ticket on Monday, two on Tuesday, three on Wednesday, etc. I'm just trying to teach my kids that, as my (imaginary) friend Ron Clark says, "not everybody gets a cookie." I think we're too soft on kids and we're raising a group of children who adults are afraid to punish. And, that scares me. A lot. 

Like I said, that's just my opinion and I'm sure you disagree with me. That's fine! 

Oh, and don't feel sorry for my kids. We earn class points for behavior hallway and also earn other rewards as a team. I promise they're all happy as can be :)

2. Team Building Fun

We did an awesome team-building activity this year that I found on Pinterest. Basically, I put a gummy worm under a cup and then stacked other cups on top of it. Then, I have each group one rubber band and a piece of string for each kid. They had to rescue the worm but couldn't touch the cups with their hands. It was awesome because it required a lot of trial and error and eventually, they had to work together to do it. It's definitely a "keeper" activity!!

3. Thinking Maps

If you've followed my blog at all, you know I'm a HUGE fan of Thinking Maps! I absolutely, positively think they work and have given my students (from first-third grades) such independence and ownership of their learning. We started this year on day 1 with the maps. We read The Teacher from the Black Lagoon and made a describing map of Ms. Green. They loved this and did some great writing!

We also read Officer Buckle and Gloria and the kids used a classifying map to make safety tips for areas of our school! 

4. Our Class Promise

This year, our class promise wasn't cute. It wasn't fancy. But, I love it. Because the kids made it. They came up with it, wrote it and signed it. That makes my teacher heart happy. 

5. The Hall of Fame

On my back cabinet, I set up a Hall of Fame. And, shortly after, I came across some writing from one of my friends that blew me away!! So, I brought them all to the carpet and we talked about what made that writing so good. We wrote the reasons on post-it's and then put the writing and the post-it's up so that everyone can see what amazing writing looks like. My kiddos were amazed!! They couldn't get enough!! Since then, we've added one other piece. But, that's it. I'm being pretty selective. It's something to work for!!

6. Measurement Madness

We've been learning about measurement in math. So, one day last week, we went on a scavenger hunt outside for things we could measure using yards, inches or feet. The kiddos had so much fun and I think they got a good grasp of which units they should measure with. 

7. I just love this...

Especially his caption. So literal. Haha!

8. Super Readers

So, the credit for this next idea goes to my teaching partners friend. She came up with these six super heros for comprehension. So, we made these little charts and I've been telling my kids all about Mister Questions this week and next week, we're going to learn about Visual I. Zing. I'm loving this so far and I've even added on to it a little...

Gasp. I'm so excited. Give me a few weeks and then I'll come back and blog more about these. But, just know I'm excited. And, in in the process of making super reader capes for guided reading. Ahhhh! 

9. More Thinking Maps

I just wanted to share how I display all our thinking maps. I put up student samples of each one so that the kids can choose which one they want to make. I've only used three so far but will be adding the others around them. Love this set up!  Also, check out our short vowel brainstorm maps that we've been working on filling out! 

Okay, that was... long. Ha! All in all, we're off to a great start this year. I love my class! They're squirrelly, for sure. But, I know it takes a little while to train them. I'm looking forward to an awesome two years with them! 


Cassie Tennyson said...

I've been stalking your blog for quite some time now after running across some of your pins on Pinterest. After I found the blog, I started at the beginning and watched your home progress, which was my favorite part until now. Your post this morning about rewarding/not rewarding good behavior is what I wish others would understand! I am not a teacher, nor do I EVER want to be, but I wish more people understood that we're raising our children to expect pats on the back for something that is expected of them. I completely agree with the green/yellow/red system and that's how we are raising my niece. I can only hope there are more teachers out there like you!