5

What do your students need? Back to School Management Tip

 

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Click on the picture to be sent to rafflecopter for multiple chances to win a $50 gift card to tpt or amazing resources from over 30 great teacher authors.

 

I adore pinterest for classroom arrangements and decorations.  One year, I diligently searched and figured out how to make an enormous Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Tree.  Another year I decorated in Truffula trees and Dr. Suess themes.  My fellow teachers and parents raved about the room but I eventually began to ask the question of what the students actually thought of their classroom.  Their answers surprised me and changed the way I both set up my classroom and ran it for the rest of the year.

If I just asked, “Do you like this room?” They answered, ” Yes” until one brave soul said, “It is really pretty but we didn’t make it so it doesn’t feel like our classroom.”  That is a huge statement.  I realized that even though I had strived to have a student centered classroom, I had made a beautiful-to-the-adult-eye classroom and not necessarily what my students needed.

To change the classroom, I started asking lots of questions.  “Do you like it when the walls have lots of colors?  How do you like the lights in the classroom; should we use the light from the windows only or the overhead lights? What kind of areas should we have in our classroom?”  This opened up a whole new world of information to me.  My students didn’t all have the same opinions so we would survey them and then talk about the results.  How can we make these preferences work for everyone?

Getting to know me learning edition (2)

Examples of questions to survey your students on.

What ended up happening was that the class as a whole began to develop empathy and understanding for the different preferences or needs that were in the classroom.  We also began to mix up our day, using the light from the windows for writer’s workshop and listening to background music while we did math.  It also made the discussion of how to make our classroom community the best that it could be a regular part of our classroom culture.  Kids felt free to talk about things that bothered them and then the other students would work on solutions for them.

My room may not look as pinterest ready now, though sometimes the students hit on an idea that we can go all out for, but I’ve gained a caring, peaceful class culture that I would never change.  Parents often tell me that their students feel safe and cared for by both me and their peers.  I couldn’t ask for a better learning environment than that.

You can ask your students a question a day or you can take some class sessions and let them survey their peers.  This is a freebie that lets kids tell you about their learning preferences.  It also includes some follow up activities to let them tally the results of the class as a whole and then form class agreements based on that information.  Just click on the picture below.

Back to School

Little Vikings

Follow the blog hop to get more beginning of the year classroom management and organization ideas.  Keep following through all the blogs – there are lots of brillant ideas being shared!

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Click this link to be sent to the rafflecopter for your chance to win a $50 tpt gift card over 30 resources from other teacher authors.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

3

What do I write about?- Writing Wednesday

writing wed header

To become a good writer you need to spend time writing.  It is a simple truth that drives my love of Writer’s Workshop.  Of course, everything you love also has things that are obstacles to overcome.  In this instance, the huge barrier some kids feel about coming up with anything, anything at all, to write about.

In my writer’s worskhop I do mini-lessons (5-10 minutes) about a skill or technique and then the kids are off to continue their self-chosen writing.  At the beginning of the year, I always have a group of students that stay with me a little longer to try and figure out what they will write about.  Sometimes this is related to their low level of English or their struggle to imagine new options.  Several of my students cannot fit into a general class prompt and need the option to try out a few ideas and discard some before they settle on an idea.

It was for these kids that I created this build a prompt set.  We looked at the basic idea that every story has a setting, characters, and conflict.  They are then able to pick a partial prompt from each category and ultimately build a prompt that works for them.  Lower primary kids tend to just need a very general category to write in.  e.g. Superheroes! Animals! Witches!  Most of my younger students can come up with a story (generally modelled after another story) with that little amount of prompting.  My upper primary students needed more vivid details to get into the prompt which is why the prompts have both pictures and adjectives galore.

how to build a prompt

This didn’t solve all of my writer’s workshop woes.  I still needed to figure out Writer’s offices, effective word walls, and the right pacing of instruction, but it did stop the frustration for kids that needed more help coming up with ideas.  Once they were able to build their own individual prompt, they could start writing.  And as we all know… if a kid starts enjoying writing, they’re going to want to write more.

Build a Story prompt cover

Check out the rest of the Writing Wednesday helpful blogs and products!  This a great group of teacher authors and you are sure to come away with great ideas.

Little Vikings

0

Back to School

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Meaning: You are about to leave the summer holidays. This is typical of a European road sign that lets drivers know they are leaving a city.

Summer is officially winding down and teachers are starting to slowly turn their minds to the next school year.  I’m scheduled to have  a baby on the first official day back to school, but I can’t stop the ritual of trying to figure out what would work best in my classroom this year.  I’ve been tasked by my colleagues to use my baby’s sleeping times as possible times to create resources for them.  🙂   I’ve got a list of about 30 roleplays, activities, units, etc.  Somehow, I think I won’t accomplish them all.

I did spend some sleepless nights creating an Early Years Classroom Decor Pack that has word wall headers, number posters, 6 months of calendar tiles, visuals for color words, days of the week, months of the year and more.  It is all of the basics I’ve always needed in a lower elementary classroom.  You can pick it up at 50% off for another week.

BTS cover early years

Plus, I’m posting a teacher link up with lots of great Back to School resources at great prices.  Get them now or wishlist them so you are ready for tpt’s inevitable back to school sale.

Adventures in Elementary

Finally, I want to give a shout- out to the amazing Anya.  She not only created the graphics for this blog but she drew my store logo.  She deciced that since we’re having a baby, the graphic needs to be redesigned to show all three kids.  Not only did she do that, but she added a custom onesie.  Such a nice gesture, my heart is full.

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I hope your enjoying the last bits of your summer and are happily gearing up for the great year we have ahead of us!

Little Vikings