Monday, August 20, 2012

A New School Year and Monday Made It!

Hello all of my bloggy friends out there (yes, that's not a real word...but I like it!)  I am so excited today.  Today is the first day out kiddos come back to school.  I am so looking forward to learning about my students today.  I am going to be borrowing a few things from my friends in the blog world, but I also have a few tricks up my sleeve.  I can't wait to come back and share with all of you later.  But today I wanted to share my Monday Made Its!  It has been a while since I linked up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics.  Her Monday Made Its have been so helpful this summer.  And imagine my surprise when she used the Math It Up Game as one of her Made Its!  I was so happy and floored.  I rushed to tell my boyfriend (with me being a new blogger, this was great), of course he didn't really understand as he is not a blogger.  But he made me feel great anyway.  And I have to thank him for all of his help preparing for the school year.  He has cut, paste, moved things, put up things so much ans I couldn't have done most of it without him.  Love you babe.  Okay enough rambling..on to the Made Its.

My 1st Made It:
This is my snack pouch.  Our school has a snack time provided in all grade levels.  Last year, I had a problem with students sneaking snack during instruction.  Talk about an issue.  So I stated to make them put their snacks a basket with their name.  The problem with that is the time it took to get their names on it.  So this was the new alternative and I love it.

 This is just a shoe pouch that hangs on a door, I numbered each pouch and students will place their snacks in their pouches.

My 2nd Monday Made It:
This is my writing utensils in my Writing Center.  I love this so much.  I purchased the tin buckets from Target Dollar Spot and they were worth every penny.  I just placed a label on the bucket.  I saw on one of these fantastic blogs that they placed duct tape around their writing utensils and loved it so I did it as well.  I know that items are going to come up missing, but hopefully this will cut that down a bit.

My 3rd Monday Made It:
This is probably my favorite made it this year.  I had a cork board that I use last year.  The sad thing is that it didn't match this year's theme (No, you are no the only ones that are anal about color schemes.  So I set out to redecorate it for my room.

I actually used left over sheet that I used to cover my bulletin boards to cover the cork board.  Then I added ribbon and buttons.  I used binder clips and ribbon to hang my board.  And that's it.

I am loving my room and promise to post pictures soon.  Hope you all enjoy your day and good luck to those just starting the school, the ones that are already there, and those that are still enjoying your summer vava.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Super Improvers Wall....and Whole Brain Teaching!

Hello everyone out there in the blog world.  I am extremely tired today.  I have been slaving working in my classroom the past two days trying to get everything together before the pre-school workshops begin. (You all know the ones where you sit and listen to people speak about the upcoming year, learn this and that, and almost fall asleep in the process... Just Kidding, I only nodded off once. LOL!).  Needless to say, the job is still not done (is the job ever done?)  But I am proud of the progress.  I wanted to share with you guys something from my classroom in three ways:
  1. Background
  2. Pictures
  3. Freebie
You CANNOT beat that!  So let's get down to business. 

I have been researching some great ways to improve classroom management, motivation, and personal success in my students.  Whether we want to admit it or not, many students just do what it takes to get by and move on.  I wanted more for my students this year and set out to research some ideas.  Imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon Stephanie over at 3rd Grade Thoughts Whole Brain Teaching section.  I was immediately blown away and wanted to know more.  So I then set out to research Whole Brain Teaching (Isn't the internet wonderful?)  I found loads of information on Whole Brain Teaching and fell in love.  I knew that this was happening in my classroom.  First I had to learn how to implement it in my classroom and with the free resources on the official Whole Brain Teaching website....everything you need is there....FREE!  I learned all of the ideas and started creating some ways to do the things.... (Picture this... Alabama 2012, a teacher sitting in her bed mimicking "Class, Yes" and "Mirror".  Don't worry, if you are new to WBT, you will know what they are soon enough).  There are so many ideas and techniques behind Whole Brain Teaching:
  • Class, Yes
  • Teach, Okay
  • Scoreboard
  • Five Rules
  • Mirror
and the one I will be talking about today....SUPER IMPROVERS WALL!

What is the Super Improvers Wall?
 The "Super Improvers Wall" is a  method used to increase student motivation.  It is self motivating and self differentiating! The "Super Improvers Wall"  is based off of students beating their own personal goals, whether they are academic, social, or behavioral. 

How do you use the  Super Improvers Wall?

This is very simple.  There are ten different levels that are used for the wall.  The levels can be whatever you want.  Many teachers have used levels that match their classroom theme or just general levels.   I chose to use levels that can be used throughout many different classrooms.  Students work towards receiving stars.  For every ten starts earned, students move up a level.  

Students can earn stars for many things.  They can earn them for academic, behavior, or both.  A student can earn a star for increasing in a certain subject or coming in the classroom appropriately after struggling with it.  Since we are a 7 Habits school, I loved the idea of allowing students to earn stars as I see them exhibiting 7 Habits behavior as well.  Some teachers use the wall for an entire year (and that was the goal behind the SIW idea), however, I think I will be doing mine every semester and having a Super Improvers Celebration for those who reached the highest level.  I am hoping this will motivate those who didn't really see the purpose behind improving oneself to work harder at reaching that highest level.

What does the Super Improvers Wall look like?

Each classroom varies in how it looks, and that is completely up to you.  I opted for a clip chart and recorder sheet.   Students will record their stars (improvements) and clip up a level when they reach ten stars (using clothespins) Check out the full view of my Super Improvers Wall in my classroom below (:


The levels I have chosen was adapted from Tara over at Little Minds at Work.  I changed the levels a bit to match my age group and a general classroom theme.  My levels are:
  1. Beginner
  2. Learner
  3. Challenger
  4. Captain
  5. Wiz Kid
  6. Specialist
  7. Perfectionist
  8. Pro
  9. Super Star 
  10. Genius
2012-08-02_15-19-41_863.jpg      2012-08-02_15-19-49_362.jpg
I got the awesome graphics for this from Phil Martin.  He offers his graphics free.  They are awesome!

To keep track of the stars for each level, I created the Student Recording Sheet.  See below:

To reach the different levels each student must get ten stars. Students will just fill in the color for each level. (You can use the colorful star stickers and match up the color with the level they are on of just colorful dry erase markers.)

Now for the fun stuff.  I am sharing these with you!  Just click on the picture below to print and enjoy.

I love Super Improvers Wall and look forward to the motivational effect it will have on my students.  I will keep you posted.  Are you a Super Imrovers Wall user?  If you are, how do you use SIW in your classroom.  I love ideas.  If not, you should check it out and see if it will work for you.