Monday, June 29, 2015

Just Breathe!!

Hello bloggy friends!
Yesterday I blogged about items that I use to help the kiddos refocus & calm themselves down.
You can read about that here.

I thought I would piggyback off of that post & talk about breathing for a bit.

So, with Conscious Discipline we do a LOT of deep breathing activities to refocus & calm ourselves down. We also do the breathing activities when we are stressed or overwhelmed or just need to give ourselves a little break. I find it to be helpful to the kids that will actually do it. I still have a few hold outs that aren't crazy about stopping to take the time to breathe deeply 3 times to calm down...I'm gonna keep working on them though! 

I love to find fun breathing techniques that my kiddos love & will engage in...
One of our class favorites is "Pizza Breathing".

Here is a quick explanation of how to pizza breathe~
1. Hold palms facing up in front of your chin as if you are holding a slice of pizza.
2. Take a deep breath in through your nose as if you are smelling the pizza. Make sure you are breathing in for 3 seconds.
3. Exhale as if you are blowing the pizza to cool it down. This is also calming in that you can feel the breath going across your palms.
**Make sure to repeat these steps 3 times.

What about you?

Have you tried breathing techniques in your class
to help the kiddos refocus?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Calm Down!!

Hello blog friends!

Many of you know that my school switched to Conscious Discipline last school year. One of the big components is teaching students how to calm themselves down so that they can think before they react & do something that may not be the best choice.

One of the things that I do is to use calming items.

 I have made plenty of these...
 (this is a 12 oz water bottle)
    This is before shaking.         

This is after shaking.
Glitter storm!! 

While I was at the beach I found these fun little calming toys~

This is before the flip...

This is after the flip!

I also found these...
This is before the flip...

This is after the flip! 
This is one of my faves because you have to try to get all the sand down to the bottom! 
I think it will be super calming! 

All of these items settle after about a minute to a minute & a half. 

**REMEMBER... if you are using things like this in your class you will have to teach the procedure for each one! 

I will not put any item out until my students know exactly how to use them & what my expectation is for the item!! 

What about you? 
Do you use calming aids with your students??

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Target Got Me Again!!

Hellloooooo bloggy friends!!
I am back from the beach feeling recharged & rejuvenated...ahhhh!

I have 3 weeks until I am back in the teacher routine! Yikes!! 

Of course, when I got home I see all of the Target posts with the awesome teacher finds & just couldn't resist heading over there to see what the fuss was all about. 
Big Mistake!
I ended up with all this...

Here are my thoughts...

1. I am digging the sentence games. I got the K-1 set & the 1-2 set. I know I will need them for differentiation this year. 

2. How awesome are the orange pocket charts? I LOVE the color orange so I had to get them. I have NO IDEA how I will use them, but I'll figure something out! 

3. I couldn't resist the rainbow colored paper trays...I was a little bummed that they didn't have purple though. Oh well...

4. Who couldn't use the rainbow colored post its & notepad? I am forever needing these little gems!

5. My calendar desperately needed an update so I snagged the cute monthly headers for it. 

All in all, I am pretty pleased with my Target finds. They had sooooo much more, but I just didn't need it...imagine that!!

How about you? 
Have you had any great teacher finds this summer?? 
Please share!! :)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Beach Bound!

Hello Bloggy Friends!
I am so excited to be heading out on a beach vacation!
 Woo hoo!
Image result for cherry grove beach
So, if you need me this is where I'll be! 

With all the attacks on the east coast recently I hoping NOT to have any encounters with these...
Image result for shark

Yikes!! :( 

Anyhow~ I will jump back into blogging & reflecting when I come back from a restful & relaxing break for my teacher brain!
Image result for teacher brain
See ya when I get back!! 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A SUPER Fun Game!!

Hello Bloggy Friends! 
In my last post I mentioned that I LOVE for my kiddos to learn through games. I thought I would introduce you to a game that I play with my kiddos that is really versatile & can be played with any subject. My aunt, who used to be a teacher, taught me this game. She used it in 4th grade & I have used it in Kindergarten & First Grade. It is really simple to play & seriously fun for the kiddos! 

Have I built the suspense enough?!? Ha!

I have always called the game "Up Down". I'm sure that it goes by many others & I want you to know that I DID NOT invent this game. If you know who did, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due! :)

Up Down

To play students will need a white board, marker, & eraser. 
They will need to be seated at their desk/table.

Like I said, this can be played with ANY subject. For the sake of understanding the directions I'm going to use letter ID in the example.

The teacher will call out a letter. Students will write the letter on their white boards. After 5 seconds (you can decide it you need more or less time) the teacher says "Boards Up" & the students have to hold their boards facing the teacher above their heads. The teacher will then quickly scan the boards & tell each student "Up" or "Down" according to the answer on the board. 
 (OK, so he didn't hold it above his head, but in a room full of kids that's the only way to quickly see all the boards.)
If the answer is correct the students move UP. 
Yes, moving UP means that the students are now sitting on top of their desk **GASP** Can we really do that! Yes, you can!! 

If the answer is incorrect the students move DOWN. 
 Moving down means that the student moves down to the floor. 

Throughout the course of the game students will be moving UP & DOWN. The student that is on the floor will move back to the chair when he gets a correct answer. The student sitting on the desk will move down to the chair with an incorrect answer. A second incorrect answer will get that student to the floor. 

**You will want to sprinkle in questions that are very easy so that your low students will not stay on the floor! It is a great confidence builder when they get to sit on top of the desk. Likewise, you will want to have some difficult questions for your high flyers to knock them off the desks. 

This game can be played whole group or small group. I have done it both ways & it was great fun either way. I have played it by calling out spelling words, math facts, land forms, shapes, numbers, letters, blends, digraphs, showing time on a clock, calling out rules & they write yes/no if what I say is or isn't following a rule...I mean, the possibilities are ENDLESS! 

Try the game! I promise that your kiddos will love it! 

Let me know if I need to explain anything to make it a little clearer! 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Reflection Post #2- Math

Hello Friends!
Here I go with another reflection post...look at me!
Today's post will be about math. 

Math is my favorite subject to teach & I think that I do a pretty good job getting my kiddos on grade level. :)
Here are my reflections:

  2. Kids LOVE to play math games!
  3. I am not great at spiraling, but I did get much better this year.

To address the above I started to create my own math centers that were based on the CCSS, but, more importantly, on the needs of my classroom. Since I change my math centers pretty frequently I knew that 2 things had to occur...#1 they had to be centers that could be printed using NO COLORED INK & #2 they had to be centers that were completely independent (repetitive). I make VERY small changes, but the centers remain engaging & stimulating to the students. So, I came up with these math packets...

*I am making more of these! I wanted to make sure that they would meet the needs of my students! 

The activities in these packets are engaging, fun, competitive, independent, spiraled, and REPETITIVE! I used them in my class this year & they were always a hit. I think that the kiddos liked the fact that they looked new each time, but were played in the same way. Once I taught the activities my kiddos were good to go for the rest of the year. It was super-awesome for me to be able to work with my small groups & not have to worry about the rest of the class goofing off being off task!

My centers & my homework are spiraled to ensure that my kiddos are keeping all the math strands fresh. I have worked hard to spiral this year & I know that I will have to work even harder this next school year! :) 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Reflection Post #1- Conscious Discipline

Hi Blog Friends~
I am doing a series of posts on my reflections on this last school year (2014-2015).
I am doing it mostly for me, but I thought that some of you may benefit from it as well.

So, reflection #1 has to do with BEHAVIOR...
My school started Conscious Discipline right after the Winter Break. Here are my thoughts:

  1. It is a LOT of work!
  2. I like the philosophy of CD & I think it will be a good move for my school. It's just going to take a little time. My principal keeps reminding me that it is a marathon & not a sprint.
  3. It has some very valuable components that are perfect for my Title 1, high poverty, high ESL population school. I LOVE the problem solving skills that I am instilling, morning meetings, rituals, school family, & building a safe environment. My kiddos need ALL of these things. 
  4. It is a LOT of work!
  5. I am glad that I will start it at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year instead of in the middle of the year because I think that it will be easier to start with them from Day 1!
That being said, I have been thinking (& searching Pinterest) for things that I would like to incorporate to support the CD philosophy in my classroom. Here are some that I especially liked.
(You can click any of the pics to be taken to the original Pin)
Family Tree for Classroom... Good way to build a sense of classroom community by having each child fill out a piece of the tree.
I am thinking that I will have a tree similar to this in my SAFE PLACE with pics of my kiddos & their families. That way when they go there to calm down or to just feel safe, they will have something comforting to look at. :)

A true apology has three parts. #quotes #apology
The 3 parts of an apology! I worked REALLY hard to instill this in my kiddos this year. I am definitely incorporating it next year! It is a SUPER skill for all of us to have!! 

Chart for beginning of year--I tell my kids to problem solve all the time, so they can be more independent!
I am planning on making lots of charts like this- mine will need more pics! They just need to learn HOW to solve problems. They have never been taught & I think that this is a valuable tool not only in first grade, but for their entire lives! :)

So, there you have it!
 If you have any other suggestions, comments, information...PLEASE leave me a comment or shoot me an email! 

Thanks friends!! :)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Summer Vacay!!

Hi friends!
Wooooooo Hoooooo!
Can you tell that I'm a tiny bit excited?!
I was so happy when my room looked like this...

I'm not gonna lie this has been a crappy challenging year. It seemed like no matter how hard I tried, my kiddos were just plain mean. I know that sounds terrible, but the mixture of kids & the fact that many of them were related made for a ridiculous challenging year! 
But- I stuck with them & we made it! ALL of them passed & will be going to second grade, so I guess there is a bright spot! :)

With that being said, I have been doing some reflecting with my friend, Kim from Mrs. J's Jitterbugs (GO TO HER BLOG!!) & we are collaborating on some stuff you are gonna LOVE! 

Stay Tuned...