Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Why I NEVER used a Clip Chart & still EFFECTIVELY manage my class!

Why I never used a Clip Chart and still effectively manage my class...

So, I know that some schools require Behavior Charts or Clip Charts but if you think about what PBIS means (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports), moving clips down are not really reinforcing anything positive.  Moving a clip down actually brings attention to the student who is not following the rules and typically, this is why kids break rules in the first place!  So when we move clips down for bad behavior, all we are doing is giving that student attention for doing something wrong.  

I realized this when I was student teaching.  Moving clips down was ineffective in changing the student's negative behavior because it only caused more negative emotions.  So, when I started as a substitute teacher, I came up with what I call a STAR STUDENT BOARD. Instead of writing names on the board for "being bad", I decided to write down names of students doing a good job.  I wasn't sure how it would work but I figured it was worth a shot!  As a substitute, you will try almost anything to manage a class you have for only one day!

This is my basic and easy Star Student board...

The Star Student board worked like a charm!  I was shocked myself and how well it worked!  If I saw a student off task, I would walk over to the board and write the name of those students doing a good job.  Immediately, the students who were off task fixed their behavior because they too wanted that attention and to see their name on the board!  It was amazing!  If a student already had their name on the board, I started giving them stars for continued good behavior.  As a sub, I would give them rewards for stars such as sitting on the floor (or special table) to do their work, a little computer time at the end of the day, or let them use my "special" pen to write with.  Nothing I had to buy or spend any time at all setting up!

I used this throughout my subbing experience and then I got my own classroom.  I knew this worked short term but could it really work all year?  I figured I would try it and if it wore out, I would have to come up with something else.  Well... guess what??  3 years later I STILL USE it and honestly, I cannot let it go!  

So, with this AND Whole Brain Teaching, this is what I do... 

Star Student Board
I use my Star Student Board for behaviors (just like a clip chart).  So I start the day writing students names on the board immediately (if they are on task) - either when they walk in (if they are particularly rowdy) or when I am ready to start our morning meeting.  

Every student does NOT always get their name on the board right away.  **Only those who were doing what is expected.**  Throughout the day, I add names and/or stars when I notice ON-task behavior.  I will also add stars to students names who are ON-task when I see OFF-task behavior.  This let's the off task student know that I see them without giving them the attention!  It almost always works on getting that student back on task!

I have come up with a system in my classroom for daily "rewards" for stars.  There is no reward for just having your name on the board this year.  Last year I had an especially challenging group so I worked the board according to their needs.  My "rewards" this year look like this:

During D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read - which I do after lunch)

1 star = read a book on a beanbag
2 stars = read STAR STUDENT book on a beanbag & get a stuffed animal buddy
3 stars = computer time
4 stars = free choice (between drawing, computers, beanbags, stuffed animals)
5 stars = leappad time

With my group last year they needed a little extra attention so I would also implement things like a 5 star student autograph book, no-work pass, etc.

Because my incentives for stars are given after lunch, I had to also come up with a way to keep students motivated until the end of the day... we are a priority school which means we have an extended school day (7:15am - 3:35pm)!  So, I made a PBIS Reward Catalog ... at the end of each day, I tally up each student's stars.  Once they get to 20, they can go shopping in the catalog.  Everything in the catalog is FREE and does not require any prep or work!

The not so fun part....

Now if a student is acting out and has their name on the board, it CAN get erased, however, they always have a change to get their name back on the board.  I usually give a student a warning before I erase their name.  If I do have to erase a name, I do it without bringing any attention to the student.  I do not say anything and I continue my teaching as if it did not happen.  If a student does not have their name on the board and not following rules, I use choice chairs.  I RARELY have to go this route but when I do, I make sure the student in the choice chair is missing out on some really awesome, super-fun learning!  The student can get out of the choice chair after we talk and they come up with a plan for improving their behavior.

The reason I keep my star student board even though I have a Super Improver Team AND use the WBT Scoreboard is because it really helps hold students accountable for their behaviors every single day!  

Scoreboard (WBT)
The Whole Brain Teaching Scoreboard is an amazing way to keep all your students engaged and accountable as a team!  There are so many variations of the Scoreboard and if you watch Coach B's webcast (and read the WBT book) you will get so many ideas to keep your kids engaged throughout the year!  I play scoreboard all day as well and this one is awesome because really the only reward is to win!  NO EXTRA WORK FOR YOU!  When the students get restless or bored with it, that is when you change it up and play for things like *30 seconds of extra recess* or *1 minute extra in the computer lab*!  Just like Coach says... it is teacher heaven!

My goal is to move to just using Scoreboard, SIT, and Practice Cards, but if you are looking to get rid of your clip chart, a Star Student board is a GREAT way to start!

Super Improver Team

This is my Super Improver Team this year.  Since I switched to a jungle theme, I updated my SIT too!  This is a picture from the beginning of the year when they all start at level 1.  As they have moved up, I put a color coded piece of construction paper behind their name to show what level they are on.  

This is what it looks like now...

I actually have a student this year who made it up to the legendary lion!  He definitely deserves it.  He has worked so hard to improve all year long!  When other kids were talking, he was working.  Any time I gave him a goal, he worked until he met it.  Just like Coach B says, it is not about being the smartest, it is about IMPROVEMENT.  

Since I use my Star Student board for behaviors, I use my SIT for academics.  Every time a student improves academically, they can earn stars.  We have individual and class goals throughout the year.  

This year I introduced Strategy Cards to help keep track of student goals and monitor progress!  Click the link to get yours for FREE!

Our end of the year goal is for all students to make it to a certain level to earn a pizza party.  This year it was the super snake level (which is a high goal)!  MOST of my student made it!  I give students every opportunity to improve in something somewhere to earn stars to make it to this party so if they do not make it, they really do not get to come to the party.  As hard as that is!

Here are some pictures from our Super Improver Party this year!  I always have the students dress their best to show their professionalism & hard work!  It is so fun to see them all looking so professional!

My husband is an in-house sub at our school so my kids feel like he is their 2nd teacher!  We had to include him at the party!

5 Classroom Rules
So the final component of my classroom management system are the WBT Classroom Rules. I spend a lot of time in the beginning of the year practicing these rules and gestures.  

Here is a video of the rules that I did for Coach, with gestures!

After some practice, all you have to do is call out "Rule #1!" when someone is not following that direction and the class replies with what rule number 1 is.  So if I am talking and a student shouts out, this is what happens....

I say, "Rule #2!"
Class says, "Raise your hand for permission to speak!" (with gestures)

Immediately, the student talking out realizes they have broken a rule and 99.9999% of the time, they fix it!  Once again.... teacher heaven!

Here are some FREE classroom rules books and posters to start you out next  year! You can get them HERE!

So.... I know this is a lot of information but I wanted to share my story so other teachers know it is possible to have an amazing class without using a clip chart!

Throw that thing away and try something new next year!  The key to any management system is consistency.  Use it all day everyday and do what works for YOUR class!

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment!

Monday, May 11, 2015

BRAIN obsessed! Whole Brain Teaching & Brain Games...

Happy Monday!

It's been a little while in between blogs trying to keep up with everything so I thought I would do a quick update on what we are up to!

First of all, I am so excited to announce that I booked a Whole Brain Teaching Classroom Management Conference (finally) for our district!  The amazing Sarah Meador from Meador in the Middle will be teaching all the WBT basics for 6 fabulous hours!  I am hoping to get her back at our school this fall as well!  I have been working to get people on board with WBT since I started a year and half ago!  It is finally starting to catch on! :)

I am working on my certification through an internship with Farrah Shipley (and Nancy Stoltenberg has been a gem giving me feedback as well!) but sometimes I feel like I will never get there!  There is always so much to learn!  I have been working on getting some videos ready for submission and crossing my fingers that eventually one will be semi close to exemplary!  **Fingers crossed!**

Here is the link to sign up for the conference in our district if you are close to the Wisconsin area!  

WBT Classroom Management Conference

Brain Games
So, I have to confess.... I am completely OBSESSED with Brain Games in my classroom!  I truly believe they are making a difference in my students!  I started out with one Brain Box....

I now have 3 Brain Boxes, 4 Spot-It GamesQ-Bitz, and a spatial Brain Builder Game!  I started these as a morning wake-up activity but now we play them every free second I get!  Last Friday, my students got some lap-top time and when I asked who wanted to play a brain game, every single hand shot up!  It was amazing to see every single student want to get off of a computer and play a brain game!  **Teacher Heaven**

Here is a look at some of these games... 

I just got this one so we haven't played it yet!

This one was a gamble since it says ages 8+ and I teach First Grade but they LOVE it and they can do it!

Here they are having an intense Q-bitz tournament!

And this last one (Spot-It) was such a hit, I had to get several of them!  They have a lot of different versions... I think my students love this one because they get to shout out :)  Either way, it works for ALL ability levels and is a really great brain workout!

Since my kiddos worked so hard this year, I am considering turning our centers into all brain games for the last several weeks of school!  

Have you tried brain games in the classroom yet?