Monday, August 21, 2017

TIDY UP!

Clean up will be much more successful if you choose a song and sing it consistently when you want the children to tidy up.  You really can use any song that you like (country, broadway, college fight song), but use the same song every day and model what you want the children to do.
                                                 
I used to sing these songs in my classroom and to my own children at home.  (My daughter and son would clean up just to get me to shut up!)

A Helper I Will Be (“The Farmer in the Dell”)
A helper I will be.
A helper I will be.
There’s work to do,
There’s work to do.
A helper I will be.
A picker up I’ll be.
A picker up I’ll be.
It’s time to put our things away,
A picker up I’ll be.

Hint! Change the words to whatever you want the children to do, such as “pick up the trash,” “push in the chairs,” etc.

Tidy Up (“Jingle Bells”)
Chorus:
Tidy up, tidy up, put your things away.
Tidy up, tidy up, we’re finished for today.
Oh, tidy up, tidy up, put your things away.
For we’ll get them out again another school day.

We’ve had lots of fun as we’ve worked and played.
Now it’s time to all join in and play the clean up game.
Chorus

Can You? (Tune: “Skip to My Lou”)
I can clean quietly, how about you?
I can clean quietly, how about you?
I can clean quietly, how about you?
How about you, my darlin?

*Change the words to “push in my chair,” “pick up trash,” etc.

Magic Trash
Select one random piece of trash to be the “magic trash.” Have children pick up the room. As they dump the paper and scraps in the trash can, inspect what they have in their hands. The one to find the “magic trash” gets a prize or gets to be the line leader.  (Only you and I know there's no special piece of trash!)
                                                          
Timer
To help prepare children to clean-up or move to another activity, set a timer for five minutes. Explain, “You have five more minutes. When the timer goes
off we will have a whisper clean up.”

Who You Gonna Call?
Send a letter home asking if anyone has an old dust buster to donate to your classroom. Choose one person each day to be the “dust buster.” When there’s a mess shout, “Who you gonna call?” Children respond, “Dust buster!” The designated “dust buster” of the day GETS to clean up the mess.
                 
Classroom Jobs 

Assign classroom jobs weekly. Title the jobs by real careers.
Supervisor – Calls the roll.
Maintenance – Picks up the classroom.
Police Officer – Makes sure everyone walks slowly in the hall.
Mail Carrier – Passes out papers.
Librarian – Cleans the classroom library.
Gardener – Waters the plants.
Meteorologist – Gives the morning weather report.
Accountant – Does the lunch count.
UPS – Takes reports to the office.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

LINE UP - LINE UP!

Kids and lines don't go together very well, but it's a necessary part of classroom life. Instead of "keep your hands to yourself," try one of these positive approaches.
                                             
I’m Ready (Say or sing to the tune from "Gilligan's Island")
I’m looking straight ahead of me.
My arms are at my side.
My feet are quiet as can be,
I’m ready for outside.
Hint! Write the chant on a poster and tape it to the door.

Line Up Song  (Tune: “Hi Ho, Hi Ho”)
Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to (lunch, play, home, etc.) we go.
With our heads held high and arms by our sides
And our belly buttons all in a row.



Hips and Lips
Teacher says "Hips" - children put one hand on their hips.
Teacher says "Lips" - children put index finger from the other hand on their lips.

Hallway Trip
“Zip” – pretend to zip your lips.
“Flip” – fold arms across your chest.
“We’re ready for the hallway trip.”

Line Up Call Back
I say “line.”
You say “up.”
Line (teacher)
Up (Children)
I say “sit.”
You say “down.”
Sit (teacher)
Down (Children)
“Happy” – “Monday” etc. 


Let’s Pretend!
Marshmallows - Have the children put “marshmallows” in their mouths (Puff out cheeks.)
and put “marshmallows” on their feet. (Model walking slowly and gently.)
Museum Hands – Children clasp their hands behind their backs.
Butterfly Wings or Angel Wings - Children put their hands behind their backs and stick out their elbows and flap them like wings.
                              
Fix It Up
When students forget school rules and appropriate behavior, simply say:
STOP! (Put your hand in the air.)
BACK IT UP! (Have them return to their seats.)
FIX IT UP! (Choose a child to describe the appropriate behavior.)

Days of the Week
Name your tables, rows, etc. according to the days of the 
week. On Monday, the “Monday table” gets to line up first all day long. For example:
“Monday table, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.” On Tuesday, call the “Tuesday
table” first all day. “Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Monday.” Every group will
have a turn being first as well as last.

Line Up Rhymes
Use these rhymes to dismiss children:
Apples, peaches, pears, plums –
Tell me when your birthday comes.
(Each child tells their birthday.)

Cat, dog, frog mouse –
Tell me the number on your house.
(Children say their street address.)

Ring, ring, anybody home?
What’s the number of your telephone?
(Children state their phone number.)

A E I O You may be dismissed.
(Point to children as you say the vowels. The child who would be “U” may line up.)


Wall Push Ups
While children are waiting and standing in line in the hall encourage them to do push ups against the wall.

      

Saturday, August 19, 2017

WE CAN WORK IT OUT

Here are some ideas that may help your students work out their own problems.

Peace Flower
You’ll need a large fake flower to make “peace.” When two children come to you to solve an argument hand them the flower. Explain that they must both hold the flower with two hands and look at each other. When they’ve worked out their problem and have “peace” they can hug and go back and play.
                                 

Peace Talks
Here's another “peaceful” way to solve problems using a composition book or spiral notebook. Ask the children who have had a conflict to sit next to each other at a table. Open the notebook and put it between them. Explain that you want to know both of their opinions of what the problem is. Give them pencils and ask them to write and draw their version of what happened in the book. When they have resolved their problem they can bring you the book and go back and play.
                  

Problem Resolution
After students resolve a problem they can follow this routine:
1st - Fist bump
2nd - Hand shake
3rd - High five
4th - Hug
5th - Walk away happy!

Mirror Talk
If children talk ugly to a friend, then tell them to go talk like that in the mirror and see how it feels.

Peace and Quiet
Here's an attention grabber that never fails. Tell children when you make the peace symbol (middle and index finger up in the air) with one hand and put the index finger from your other hand on your lips they should do the same thing. Tadaa! Peace and quiet!!!!
                                            

Friday, August 18, 2017

INTERRUPTIONS

"Positive redirection" is the best solution to many common classroom problems. Today I've got some ideas that might work for children who constantly interrupt during a read aloud or when others are talking. I'd start by having a class discussion about how to be a polite listener. Remind children that it hurts people's feelings when you interrupt when they are talking.

Me, Too!
Sign language for "me too" is a way that children can show they've had a similar experience. Demonstrate how to stick out your thumb and pinky as you bend down your other three fingers. Touch the thumb back and forth to your chest to show "me, too"!
                                    
Schema
Show students the symbol for join/connect in sign language. (Hook two index fingers together.)  Students put one hand on their head for what’s in their head and then they hold out the other hand for what’s in the book.  Join the fingers together to connect what’s in their head and what’s in the book to make a schema.  Encourage them to show you that they are listening and connecting to the book as you read with this sign.
              
Paper and Pencil
Explain that if they have something to say during a story they can write it down or draw a picture so you can talk about it when the story is over.


Teacher, Teacher!
Tell children if they want your attention when you are talking to another adult or if you are busy they can hold your hand.  You can let them know that you are aware of them and will help them as soon as you can by placing your other hand on top.



Thursday, August 17, 2017

NO MORE TATTLE TALES

O.K.  It's important to listen to children, but tattling can be like a fire out of control.  To prevent negativity/aka “the squeaky wheel” from getting too much attention, it’s important to have a discussion with your class at the beginning of the year about what is an emergency. If someone is in danger of getting hurt, then it’s an emergency. (One teacher said she used the “3 B Principle” – bathroom, blood, or barf!!!) There are also several good books out now that help children understand when it is appropriate to tell the teacher and what happens when you cry wolf. (A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue by Fran Sandon is adorable!)

Check out some of these ideas that teachers have shared with me.  And, never ever forget to have a sense of humor!

Leave a Message
Put an old phone on your desk for children to tell their concerns. Explain that you’ll listen to your messages at the end of the day. You might even want to have a directory.
Press #1 for the teacher.
Press #2 for your parents.
Press #3 for the principal.
Press #4 for the President…etc.
                                       

Write It
Get a spiral notebook and write “Things the Teacher Needs to Know” on the cover. When children come to tattle hand them the book and say, “Write it all down and don’t leave out a thing.” If they say, “I can’t write,” respond with, “Well, just draw a picture and don’t leave out a thing!”
               
Comment Box
Put a box, notepad, and pencil on a shelf. Explain that when they want to complain or make a comment they need to write it on a piece of paper. They must start their sentence with a capital letter and end it with a period if they want the teacher to read it at the end of the day.

Lunch Bag
Open a lunch bag and set it on your desk. When children come up to tattle say, “Go put it in the bag. I’ll listen at the end of the day.” (Yes, trust me! They will go over and talk in the bag.) At the end of the day put the bag next to your ear and pretend to listen for 15-20 seconds. Then wad up the bag and throw it in the trash as you say, “That’s the end of that!”
                                                                      

Tell the Mirror
Place a small mirror on your wall and when the children start to tattle say, "Why don't you go tell that little boy/little girl in the mirror?"
                            

Tattle Time

One of my favorite stories about tattle tales came from a teacher many years ago. When her students tried to tattle she’d smile and say, “I’m sorry. Today’s not tattle tale day. Wait until May 14th and then you can tell me.”

Oreo
Another teacher said she used the concept of an Oreo cookie for tattle tales. The child reporting had to say one nice thing, then the tale, then another nice thing.

Tattle Toy
Choose a stuffed animal or puppet to listen to children’s complaints and tattles. Be sure and name the character. Explain that when you are busy they can always tell Teddy (or whatever) their problems. He’s always there waiting to be their friend.

*You can also let them tell a plant or other inanimate object.
                                         
President
Here’s another great idea for tattle tales. Put a photograph of the President on your wall and say, “I’m just your teacher. Why don’t you tell the President?” You won’t believe it, but the children will walk over and talk to the picture!

Sometimes a sense of humor is the best solution to a problem. Keep calm and laugh inside!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

SIGNS FOR CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT

You know I LOVE sign language! I’m certainly no expert, but if I can do it, anybody can do it. Let me give you a few reasons why I’m such a believer in the power of SIGN:
It’s quiet.
It’s multi-sensory.
It’s engaging.
It’s good for differentiated instruction and for children who are non-English speakers.
It’s free and it’s simple.

Here are some great signs for classroom management to start your school year. I’d explain to the class that you are going to teach them a new language called “sign language.” It’s a special language for people who can’t hear because you talk with your hands. I’d suggest introducing one new sign each day. Encourage the children to model what you do when you make the sign. In a few weeks, you’ll be amazed at how the volume in your classroom has been turned down.

Pay Attention (Palms pointing towards face and shake back and forth.)

Stand Up (Two fingers standing on palm and then point up.)

Sit Down (Two fingers sitting on 2 fingers of other hand and point down.)

Walk (Walk fingers.)

Line Up (Fingers up with right pinky and left thumb touching.)

Bathroom (Make “t” and wiggle.)

Water (Make “w” with fingers and place near your mouth.)

More (Fingertips touching.)

Wonderful (Palms open facing out and move down and then up.)

I love you! (Fingers up with middle finger and ring finger bent down.)

Look! Listen! Learn (“L” by eyes, ears, and then brain.)

Finished (Brush hands away from chest.)

Help (Make a fist with one hand and place it on the open palm of the other hand. Bring both up in the air at the same time.)

Stop (One palm open. Pretend to chop it with the other palm.)

Wait (Hold hands open and off to the side and wiggle the fingers.)

Yes (Make an “s” with your fist and raise and lower it like your head.)

No (Middle and index finger straight and close toward the thumb.)

Please (One palm open on chest and make a circular motion.)

Thank you (Touch fingertips on chin and extend out.)

Sorry (Make fist and rub on chest in circular motion.)

Excuse me (One palm up and brush fingertips of other hand across.)

Note!  There are several excellent websites where you can view videos of these signs.  (aslpro.com, handspeak.com, and lifeprint.com)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS...

I have so much fun learning new ideas from teachers all over the country. I bet you'll find an idea or two just right for your class today.

Dental Health (Stephanie Velasquez)
Glue the cut out of a white tooth on a colored sheet of paper and place in a clear sheet protector. Let the children color the tooth with a dry erase marker to represent the “germs" on the tooth after they eat. Children use a toothbrush to erase the germs.
                             

Old MacDonald (Clarisa Ehrmantraut)
Make a red barn out of paper and staple a zip bag behind it. Use pictures of animals and insert them in the baggie as you sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”
                                                              

Pool Noodle Wiggle Sticks (Alison Zukowski)
Poke holes through a swim noodle (6”-12” long) and thread ribbon through it. Knot the ribbon and use for movement activities.
*Tie ribbons to diving rings and use for movement activities. 
              

Puppets (Nancy Patrick)
Use puppets to sing the song "I Had a Bird."
                                                  
Swat Game (Elizabeth Allen)
Write letters, numbers, colors, shapes, words, or whatever skill you want to reinforce on a big piece of paper. Give children small fly swatters and as you call out information they can "swat" it. 
                              

Same Song - New Verse (Megan Munselle)
Here are some new verses for "The Banana Dance."
Build the house, build build the house...Rock the house, rock, rock the house...
Form the Skittles, eat the Skittles, taste the rainbow...
Form the potato, peel the potato, mash potatoes...

Listen and Obey (Stephanie Velasquez) 
If we listen to our teachers (point to ears) 
And do it right away. (point with finger) 
Happy, happy, happy is our day. (point and smile) 
OBEY! (Everyone yells together.) 

Morning Dance (Genevieve Shafer) 
This call and response reminds students to have a positive attitude, it’s O.K. to make mistakes, and they are all special. 
I am ready for school. (wiggle shoulders) 
I will have a good day. (twist) 
I am confident. (stand tall)
I’m not better than you. (lean and point to the side) 
You’re not better than me. (lean and point to the other side) 
We’re all amazing! (spin with arms up) 
If I fall, I get up. (tuck and touch floor and stand up “x” with body) 
I win or I learn. 
Thank you God for making me. (pray hands) 
I’m exactly who I’m supposed to be! (say loud and proud while jumping with arms in the air) 

Classroom Mirror (Andrea Neal) 
Children love using mirrors in the classroom. Cover a mirror and ask students to look under it to see your favorite kid. 
*If a student is upset, sad, or misbehaving then ask them to go find the happy well-behaved student that you know in the mirror. When they see themselves they will smile, and it usually changes their attitude. 

Under (Elma Valdez) 
Tape caution tape across the classroom doorway and have the children crawl “UNDER” the tape for the letter “U.”