Every grade has it’s own challenges and rewards when teaching. Regardless of the age of the students you teach friend drama always seems to occur at some point or another. How do you handle the best friend break up or the partner pair that just throws the whole class off?
Friend drama or students who plain dislike each other can leave you as the mediator and tangled in some sticky situations. Who will work with who today? Are they going to be speaking tomorrow? Oh no tears!
Here you will find some useful tips I have learned from working as a camp counselor and in an after school program setting. I hope you find them helpful!
Learn and Grow!
- It’s ok not be be friends with everyone. / You don’t have to like everyone you just have to try and get along.– You don’t have to be friends with everyone. They can just be your classmate and someone you are nice to in school, on the playground, if you see them at the store… You don’t have to invite them to the movies or over to play if you don’t want to. However, in this room we are kind everyone.
- If you want to be a friend ,be nice, be a good friend.– What does it look like to be a good friend? Do you stick up for them if someone says something mean or ask them whats wrong if they look sad? What would you want in a good friend? Don’t say or do something mean to them because you would not like it if you were in their shoes.
- ALWAYS REMEMBER! Friends can not be forced!- Friendship happens over time. Sometimes you and someone will play a lot on the playground or sit near each other on the bus, but it might not mean you are friends. What do you know about them? Do you do nice things for them and play together or hang out together outside of school? Friendship takes time and work.
Every room needs a reward system. They don’t need to be expensive though! I’m a fan of intrinsic motivation or fun whole class rewards. I’ve never been a big fan of prize boxes or candy. Too often I see these result in arrangements, tears, and the give-me gimmies. However, if that’s what your students need to succeed then I understand too. In this post I wanted to provide some ideas for classroom reward systems that I like. These systems and ideas don’t involve a lot of money or candy.
Enjoy and Grow!
-This teacher had a fun idea. She put magnets on the back of a large puzzle and the students earned pieces. When it was completed they earned a class prize that was set together.
-This idea was cute! I like catching students helping others and being nice. Plus what kiddo doesn’t love googly eyes?
-I saw a teacher use check registers through out the year with 5th grade students as the reward system. Students had to carefully keep track of the “money” given to them for a perfect attendance day, homework, 100% on a test, being a good buddy, etc. Then at the end of the year there was an auction with class cash. Some items were special like from school events such as a poetry night poster or mask from a play. Others were small dollar store toys.
-Need some ideas for classroom rewards? PJ day, crazy socks, wear hats in class, bring a stuffed animal to school, homework pass, extra 5 minutes of recess, game day for math, movie in the afternoon (perhaps Magic School Bus or Bill Nye) . There are a lot of in class prizes students can work towards!
If you don’t know what a classroom call back is you will soon! They are wonderful tools to quiet own a noisy classroom or group of students. I use callbacks everyday at my after school program to get 45 excited kids to listen. If you have ever heard of African call and response songs? This is sort of what you are doing with the students in your room when you grab their attention with a class call back.
Here are some ideas for fun class callbacks to use in your room. What is your favorite call back?
-Check out this article of 50 call-and response ideas.
–Buzzfeed asked teachers what their favorites were. Check them out.
-We use a clap pattern at work. The kids know the end of it to fill in so we don’t have to talk and they can see/hear when it is time to clean up and listen.
What do you do in your room?
Share and Grow,
Exit Slips are great way for you to get feedback from your students about how a lesson or the whole day went. They take less than 5 minutes and can be anonymous if you choose. These are informal assessments and can be a nice way to see what students are still confused or what they really got. Included here are some exit slip examples and ideas. What’s your favorite out the door assessment?
Learn and Grow,
– Check out this article and learn about ideas for online exit slips!
-Want some ideas for exit slip questions? This article has 53.
What’s up-cycling you may ask? It’s taking things that could be old or recycled and turning them into everyday useful things! Decorating and keeping a classroom stocked can be expensive, especially in the primary grades. So I wanted to take the time and post about how to up-cycle and DIY some things for your room.
Before I get into useful tips on how to reuse the things in your room, I wanted to tell you about a great hidden gem of a website. I’ll post the link as always. If you type it in BE CAREFUL not to reverse the wording. This is a page I learned about from an art professor and the products are amazing! You can buy all your glue, paper, markers, and craft sticks in bulk cheap. If you have a limited budget and need to buy these items out of pocket go here!
This blog, the Clutter-Free Classroom, has great ideas on how to reuse and decorate containers for classroom storage.
Students or you have a messy desk? Those desk and paper organizers can add up your first year. Who doesn’t have cereal boxes though?
What other ways can you re- purpose items in your classroom?
Share and Grow!
Have you ever heard of Story Cubes? If you haven’t I highly recommend finding a set ( or two) for your classroom. Later on I’ll post a picture and but here is a link to where you can find them online.
I found this gem a few years ago at a store when they were closing and have used them for everything but the game the game on the box. Basically, they are dice with images instead of dots. I have renames them “spark cubes” because they spark ideas.
Some ideas for these cubes can be sparking creative writing, bell ringers, or a station for ELA.
I made a lesson to help students understand verbs using movement. Students were placed in groups of three or four and each group was given 1-2 cube. They had to roll the cube then draw and write what they thought the image was on a paper. After that, they were asked to collaboratively write a 3-5 sentence story with VERBS (action words) and act or dance it out. They were asked to share this with one other group as I wandered around to observe and assess.
The stories were all unique and the students had fun. These spark cubes are a great creative tool and I would recommend them as a tool for your classroom.
Learn and Grow!
Having been in a classroom where the teacher never assigned students jobs I see the value in it even more now than before being in his room. Student jobs not only help the classroom run smoother because they help tasks get accomplished as a community but the jobs also take stress off of the teacher. Asking students to help with small tasks can help free up the few minutes in the day you need to help explain a challenging math problem to a student.
Having jobs in the classroom are not only beneficial to the teacher but the students. Students will learn responsibility by taking on small tasks weekly and rotating why gets each task. While being the paper passer or official lunch counter isn’t a huge task, students don’t usually want to let their classmates down. After all, they want the spelling test back or their lunch accurately put in just as much as their peers.
Jobs are not the only part of making a schedule in the classroom. It’s important for students, especially those who struggle to read time, to know whats going on when. Having a schedule posted in the room of the daily routine can be useful to not only the students but the teacher. If you are running late to music and the clock looks like the picture someone is sure to remind you!
I love the idea of using calender’s to help students know what is going on later in the months as well. You can place little cards in the slots (that can be a classroom job) or simply print one out from Google to display with icons for major events/ holidays. If you print one it’s nice to get it done BIG! Then you can write notes for due dates to students in colors as reminders in the room.
Enjoy and Grow!