Thursday, July 30, 2015

T-T-Teach Me How to Dojo

Okay, I'll say it...sometimes my blog titles make me giggle. I'm not sure any of you get a chuckle but I do. That one is a play on Teach Me How to Dougie...oh....the giggles.

Back to business ::puts on teacher face::

I go back to school in 8 days. Well officially back because I've been going in periodically anyway. But I'm back "on the clock" next Tuesday morning with meetings and what not.

This year my co-teacher and I want to do a new behavior management plan. The things I look for in a good behavior plan are

  • Consistency
  • Ease of use
  • Ease of understanding (for kiddos and parents)
  • Clearly defined
  • Works for me-works for that particular class
  • Practical
  • Inexpensive!
  • Unobtrusive (doesn't take away from classroom decor, teaching, learning, space, instructional time)
When I first started teaching I used good 'ol card flips. It's what my mentor teacher used during student teaching, it's what I saw work (very well). It was easy. I used it for a few years then I was itching for something new. I was introduced to the clip chart. I love it. I created several versions, it was super cute, had room for positives and negatives and gave an overall view of the day. I read many blogs about it and I found some articles. 

Well, I'm still happy with the clip chart. I like that the kindergarten teachers used it so they are already acclimated to it and adjust quickly to my personal variations. HOWEVER, I've been using it for a few years and I WANT A CHANGE. lol Sometimes you change adapt for the kiddos and sometimes you have to make it fresh for yourself. I mean you're the one stuck in {first grade} every year.

Last summer I was introduced to Class Dojo. It's an online behavior management system. You assign each kid an avatar. Then the kids can earn or lose points based onto choices that they make throughout the day. The neat thing is that you get to customize the categories to meet the needs of your specific group of kids and you get to set their point value. 

So if sharing happens to be a big problem in your room you can make it worth more points and that will help to encourage the kiddos to share. I'm still working on my categories and point values. I'm struggling with the part of knowing about how many points I expect them to earn daily so I've had to accept that I'l need to use it for a few weeks and tweak it. 

I've created some things to help make this transition go smoothly for me. I'm going to write their names on varied avatars and when they move to a new reward level I'm going to move their avatar along the way. This will be a cute visual for me.
customize your point levels and rewards
use mine or use them to help give you some ideas

I've also created some recording sheets to send home to the parents. Starting off I am not going to invite the parents. I just don't want midday emails asking why Susie lost 1pt for a bathroom break. I'm going to have them color how many points they have. I am still thinking of consequences or what to do if they are in the negative. Ideas?
class dojo will produce reports for this data but I wanted an easy to use recording page
click here or the image to get it for FREE on TpT
Oh and one of my favorite things is that you can use this on a standard PC, cell phone, or tablet. This way I can take my phone or iPad into the hallway, cafeteria, field trips, etc and effectively reinforce behavior. I can also give a code to specials teachers if they would like to use it when they have my kiddos. :D 

different point levels for their avatars to go through
write kiddo names on the blanks

Monday, July 20, 2015

Some of my must haves

I'm almost down to my last free Monday. Let's all take a moment of silence to really consider what this means. **sniffle**

No more late night Sundays in bed reading or watching Netflix
No more sleeping until my body wakes
No more laying in bed and checking every social media app and email half a dozen times before actually getting out of bed
No more leisurely mornings spent in my jammies
No more home cooked breakfasts (because who has time for that on a work day?!)
No more morning workouts when it's way less crowded
No more spur of the moment trips to the movies

Yes I'm excited to meet the kiddos. Yes there are times that I get a bit bored. Yes I miss seeing my coworkers regularly.

Well since I am gearing up back to school I've decided to join the Monday Must Haves.

When going back to school I have touch up my bulletin boards or create new ones. Last year I went with a Lego theme (I may reuse this one, it was too stinkin' cute!)
original post here
Well to get those bulletin boards up and running I love a good palm tacker. I ordered one a few years ago and I haven't looked back. I don't use it often but it's so handy when I'm putting up bulletin boards by myself.

Here is the one I have:

Organizational drawers/baskets/etc

Another must-have for me would be dice. I LOVE dice.
Regular dice, colorful dice, dice with number words, dice with letters, dice with large numbers. I just love dice in general. They're great for activities and the kiddos get a kick out of using them. My letter dice are foam so I don't even have to fret over the noise of 24 firsties rolling dice.

Those are just a few things that I love having. There are a ton more. These just make the beginning of the year a bit easier for me.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Five for Friday

 Out of boredom and actual interest I wanted to practice Spanish again. I took it for quite a few years in school and some in college. I miss speaking it. I was by no means fluent but I could communicate but I never get the opportunity to anymore. Also, my grammar is now awful!

There's an app called Duolingo that is free and you can practice several languages. You choose a language and take a placement test and can go through levels. It's not super gamey in that it's not necessarily directed at the kiddos with cartoons and games. I do think that you could have kids do this though. I thought about loading it to an iPad in the fall and maybe letting it be an enrichment activity.

This was one of the sentences I had to translate. When will I need to say this?! lol
I have a homework club in my room. I needed new number pieces for it...and I like going to Michael's. 
clear glass mosaic pieces, acrylic paint, magnets
I wrote the numbers of my kiddos on the mosaic pieces (backwards--eek!), painted them, then glued magnets
This is my current board (below) and I really like it but my numbers don't all fit and one of them got lost last year. Unfortunately the recycle bin was located right below. Oops.
current board 

Ummm...a bit too early for fall there buddy!!! (@Walgreens) #TooSoon

I live in Indiana and for the first time ever I went downtown for fireworks. I've been recreationally taking pictures and was jazzed to get to do some firework shots. They are NOT as easy as anticipated. Here is my favorite picture. 

I am slowly working on some new things for the upcoming year. I genuinely think I'm in denial for Back to School. Denial or's quickly approaching. I'm switching up my classroom management system and I'm going to give Class Dojo a try! Do you Dojo? I'm working on incentive rewards. How many points do your kiddos usually earn? I don't want to make the levels too hard reach but I don't want to be giving out prizes left and right like crazy. 

Here are some recording sheets I'm working on

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Work it Wednesday...err Thursday

Hey bogland. I'm joining Katie over at Queen of the First Grade Jungle for Work it Wednesday. (Yes, I know it's bad)

 click image to link up

During the winter I'm a weenie. I hate cold weather and the wind hurts me. HURTS. We have had some pretty cold winters these last few years, like so cold school is delayed or cancelled due to temps. Well in January I was visiting my favorite froyo place. (Never too cold for froyo) When I was indulging in some froyo I saw an advertisement for kickboxing fitness. The first session was free. It only takes 30 minutes and there's someone there to guide you. Well I went and did my freebie visit and god my butt kicked!!! About two days later I went and signed up. I've been going 3-4x a week since January. I really haven't lost much weight but I had lost a lot beforehand. I do however notice much more strength in my body. I see it in my legs, my arms, and I feel it in my core. 

Since school has been out I have been going consistently but I get to go earlier which I like because it's usually less crowded. I also will walk, jog, or bike sometimes. 

Here is what it looks like. The objective at each station changes daily. 
I was running late so I had to put on my wraps in the car. Luckily (?) there are two super long stoplights on my way. 
I even have pink boxing gloves that go with it. 

I bought a Polar heart rate monitor. I use it for every workout. On average I burn about 350 calories in my 30 minute workout. 
I finally improved my speed bag skills and earned my 300 Hit Club T-Shirt!
How are you staying active this summer?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July already! Well...July currently

Hello everyone! Today is July 1st and I think you know what that means. Time for another currently! I still love these things.

Listening-->I just finished an episode of Big Brother. Did you watch it? Is it too early to backdoor? Did Audrey really need to get to everyone in the middle of the night?!

Loveing--> So I mentioned some time last year about my weight loss and fitness journey. I've been on the struggle bus people. I was doing SOOO well but recently I've gained a little weight. I'm hoping some was muscle but I'm betting most of it was not. I didn't gain a ton but I am taking it very badly. I've been great with my kickboxing workouts but I'd be lying if I didn't say I haven't reincorporated some sweets. I mean...c'mon free goodies were everywhere at school in May. EVERYWHERE!

So I'm recently back on the My Fitness Pal and trying to make good choices. That said I still have some sweet tooth cravings. Enter Quest Bars! They're my favorite protein bar (and I've tried quite a few)
My favorite flavor!
I also have to remember that even though I've had a bit of a backslide I'm no where near where I began.
I haven't had the nerve to share a before/after on fb. On the left is a few years ago NYE I think and on the right is the other day after I went jogging. 
Thinking--> I absolutely love having time to myself and to reenergize during the summer. I love it. I know that we all do professional development, Pin a ton of ideas, blog/read blogs, IG or IG stalk, attend meet-ups, take classes and do so much during the summer that most people never consider. But I'd be lying if I didn't throw in as much relaxation and fun as possible. Right?! Saturday I'm hanging with some friends that I haven't seen a while and we'll be doing some imbibing, lol. (yeah I get that that is weird after my above comment but I'll be mindful) And then Saturday night I want to go and photograph some fireworks. I've been trying to get better w/ my Nikon skills. I practiced the other night.

Wanting--> Froyo! My true vice. And it's not that froyo is that bad....but I love to load it with melted peanut butter. Just thinking about it made me gain a pound, lol. 

a google image from my favorite local place. Yum
Needing--> A shower! I didn't go to my regular workout class today. I decided to go for a run. (okay I'm slow and can't go too far so maybe a jog) and then I went on a bike ride. I haven't showered yet and needless to say I am not April fresh.

All Star--> I joke around and I talk a lot but I'm actually a pretty good listener. I remember what is said and when wanted I try to offer thoughtful advice. I can also keep a secret. I'm often a sounding board for friends/family. 

Okay. Your turn! Go link up. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Do you Osmo?

So to say I've taken a blogging break is a bit of an understatement. That's not to say I haven't been blog stalking or IG stalking. I just needed a break from the posting. I've had a very nice relaxing start to my summer break. This in spite of three days tech professional development and today's 3hr training on our new teacher evaluation system. Le sigh.

Like many of you I've been looking into new and exciting things to incorporate into my classroom for next year. Truthfully I do this as much for me as I do the kiddos. Because let's face it...I could get tired with the same content every year. Luckily each batch of kids is different so they learn differently as a group (and certainly individually) but I find new ways to present the material or tweak what has worked in the past.

Last school year our school was fortunate to get a cart of iPads. The downside is that it's one cart for the school and we must share. That said...we're teachers and we're great at sharing. However, I'm a tech glutton and I want my hands on them!! lol There weren't really many k-2 apps on them when school ended and I had a very busy and stressful end of the school year so I didn't get to utilize them.

Well that's gonna change my friends in the 2015-2016 ( old am I?!) school year. The tech professional development, playing around on the one existing classroom iPad I had, and oddly Facebook have given me some ideas.

Just for now I'm going to share the one I found on Facebook. I kept getting ads for this device called Osmo. I had no idea what this thing was but after SEVERAL ads on the sidebar and in my newsfeed I had to check it out. So there ya' go. Advertising worked.

Targeted Facebook advertising....
So when you buy your Osmo you get a stand, a mirrored piece that goes on top of the iPad camera, and it comes with 4 games, and he pieces you'll need for three of those games.
Masterpiece-You can take a picture and it'll help you draw it and it records you while you draw. (Educationally there are many ways you could incorporate this including but not limited to drawing)

Words-You get sets of letters and create words. You can play this against an opponent, too. I watched a YouTube video of this and the kids were racing to spell words and search for the letters so it's great for letter recognition as well as spelling.

Tangram-Well...exactly what it says, lol. It comes with the pieces and the more you're able to complete the more complex the images get.

Newton-You have to draw or use manipulative to make the balls hit a target. This one is actually not easy to explain but it screamed STEM to me.

I wanted to know more so I went to good 'ol YouTube. This is a video of kids doing a review and playing the games. Don't let the timestamp turn you off. It was fun to watch.

Well I was sooooo intrigued by this thing that I took it to DonorsChoose. I submitted it and it got approved and posted in just a few days. I got an email today saying that my project had been fully funded!!! My DonorsChoose project asked for 3 Osmo devices. I'll have to have our Tech people install the apps but I cannot wait until school starts (gasp!) and these come in the mail.

No, I was not paid or bribed to post this. However, if for some reason the nice people at Osmo see this I'd be more than happy to discuss this! (wink wink, lol)

They have a cool thing going on that if you buy one on their site they'll give a free one to your child's school. I thought that was neat.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Currently March

I haven't done one of these in ages! Not because I am tired of them but because I've been so stinkin' busy I always forget. :( I used to be on top of it.

Listening--> Criminal Minds--Netflix recommended it and there are like 8 seasons for me to binge watch! (currently season 3)

Loving-->2hr delay call--I'm VERY thankful to have this phone call the night before and not at 5:30am when I struggle to go back to sleep. We got a bunch of snow last night so I'm hoping for a safe trip....just 2hrs later.

Thinking-->I'm hungry!! (I have a candy-baresque protein bar calling my name...I hear it now telling me to type quicker!)

Wanting-->What I'd really love is to sit down with a jar of almost butter (or any nut butter really) and a spoon. This has proven unhelpful to my weight loss endeavors though....a healthy fat is still a fat and needs to be in moderation....or whatever

Needing-->Haha, willpower to not eat the aforementioned almond butter (it was ON SALE & I had a coupon...I **had** to buy it)

Spring Break Plans-->Sigh....I know I do not want to be home and bored. I am looking at plane tickets to Florida. I hate not having a plan.

Speaking of snow....have you checked out my Snow Day inspired freebies?
click here

click here