Classroom Management Series: Part 5 {Teaching Transitions with Ease}

We're almost done with our 6 part Classroom Management series! I hope you are all learning some useful tips and tricks to use this year.

This week, I am back to share a few things to teach your students how to be transition quickly and easily. Transitions are very important in any classroom. If they are not taught consistently at the start of the school year and reinforced daily throughout the year, valuable learning time will be lost each day.

Last year, I purchased a wireless doorbell on Amazon. I used it as an attention getter, but the doorbell that I purchased had songs on it. It could be used as a way to transition your students from one thing to the next. There were 50 different ringtones and songs. There are holiday songs and regular children's songs. I think this would be a really fun way to have students move from one thing to the next.

In my school, we use Class Dojo. It has a built in timer that is perfect for everything! I use it all the time for helping students transition from one thing to the next. 

If you don't have Class Dojo, there are tons of other timers floating around the internet.

I saw this idea last year on Amy Groesbeck's Instagram and I personally thought it was genius. If your students are struggling with transitions, I think this is a great way to help students visualize where they need progress. You highlight the goal on the bottom of the chart and the objective is to stay below that goal. You may even throw in a little reward for them if they meet their goal a set number of times. 

Students LOVE a good challenge! This one kind of goes hand in hand with tracking their transitions. This is simple. Challenge your students to transition under a certain amount of time. If they continue to meet the challenges, let them earn a little treat. I would even continue to lower the transition time to increase the challenge.

Fourth and Ten has this amazing powerpoint of transition songs for different things! How cute is this!? Any time they need to cut something out, she clicks and plays the little song for that. There is a song for lining up, cleaning up, moving to your seats, and more. I LOVE this! You can click HERE to head to her blog and read more about it. Tell me you love this as much as I do! Totally making one for myself this year...

Okay, this is just an oldie, but a goodie. Just count back slowly from a number that you determine. Kids need to be where you need them to be and that's that. 

For all of these ideas to work, you need to have set clear expectations with your students for how it will work and also what will happen if they do not follow the expectations. That is up to you. These are just ideas for you to think about as you plan your year. 

I hope you were able to learn a little something new today! I'll be back next week with the last part of the series on ideas for Class Organization. 

Part 6 {Classroom Organization} 8/16

Classroom Management Series: Part 4 {Listening and Following Directions}

Welcome back to Part 4! We're over halfway through the management series and I really hope you all are learning some new tips to take back with you to your classrooms! I apologize for missing my deadline for this post. I was not feeling well after lunch yesterday and so I went to bed early. 

The focus of this post is on getting kids to listen to you while you are talking so that they can follow directions when they begin working. This is one of the most frustrating things to experience as a teacher. I hate it when students ask me what to do when I literally JUST explained it. I know you all feel me on this...I have several things that I am going to share that I have done in my classroom that have been helpful. 

One of the best things to do at the beginning of the school year is to give students one of the trick quizzes. This is an excellent way to assess which of your students struggle with following directions! I like these from Halle Across the Hall. She offers two versions {one for lower and one for upper elementary.} 

You can grab these for FREE from her TPT store HERE.

One fun way that I love to teach students to listen to directions is through directed drawing. What kid doesn't love art!? Even if they aren't great at drawing, that's the beauty of this! All of them come out looking great...IF they follow directions that is. I usually give some speech about how everyone can be great artists and have masterpieces that look like {holds up completed drawing} and they all GASP. Buuuuut I tell them, you HAVE to listen and pay attention closely the whole time so you can make sure you don't miss a step while I am showing you exactly what to do. They all nod furiously and most of them are tuned in closely the WHOLE time. I love these from Amy Lemons on TPT!

Aren't these adorable!?! You can grab each one separately by clicking the images above.

One of my all time favorite ways to build active listening is through auditory listening activities. I have used these for years and students LOVE them! They don't even know they are honing their listening skills. You give students these coloring pages and tell them that they will have to listen VERY carefully to the directions you will give. They will only hear them one time. You will say things like put a circle around the apple. Color all of the stars blue. Put an x on all of the clouds. I love this resource from Fluttering Through First Grade because she offers two levels of the directions {a beginner and intermediate}. I always start the year with the beginner directions and we build up to the harder which is more two step. We also track the number of mistakes they make on a graph so students can see their listening skills improving.

You can grab SET 1 of her resource HERE! She does have 3 different sets and then a bundle of all 3. I promise you won't be disappointed!

Another thing I have found to be really helpful AND SIMPLE for students is to repeat the directions 2 times and then have the students repeat the directions to a partner. You can also have the students shout the directions out loud if it's something small. For example, If I said, after you are done working on your reading journal assignment, please read silently. What are you going to do when you are done with your assignment students? They would shout out read silently. 

I shared about the secret code strategy in Part 1, but it also works really well for helping students listen to your every word. You can read about Secret Code HERE.

The Five Finger game is another easy little trick that I learned about last year. For this game, you explain to students that they will have the opportunity to earn some chat time if they can listen quietly while you are teaching your mini lesson or giving directions. You hold up 5 fingers while you are talking. For every time a student talks, is not listening or paying attention, you put a finger down. If students lose no fingers, they earn 2 minutes of chat time. If they lose 1-2 fingers, they earn 1 minute. If they lose 3-4 fingers, they earn no chat time and have a class discussion. If they lose all 5 fingers, the students/class get a consequence. This is up to the teacher. This game is great because students start holding each other accountable for their behavior.

The last strategy I want to share is helpful for students who can never remember what you just said to do...You know which friend I'm talkin' about. You have 1 or 2 every year who ALWAYS ask you what to do RIGHT after you just explained it because they weren't listening...Insert eye roll. Well, this is something that I plan on doing this year! You just post some visual numbers with steps for students. You don't have to get that creative with it. You can even just type the directions up on the board if you have a smartboard. Here is a great example although I'm not sure exactly where the picture is from. Lucky to Be in First, maybe?? 

Anyway, I hope you were able to take away something from the post today! Let me know your favorite strategies for teaching kids to listen and follow directions!

Part 6 {Classroom Organization} 8/16

Classroom Management Series: Part 3 {Tattling}

Tattling is one my biggest pet peeves in the classroom, but the good news is there are some great ideas to help you deal with this problem.

One of the most important things to remember is that students do not tattle because they want to get on your nerves or make you angry. They do it because they are trying to communicate something with you and they don't know how else to do it. Our job is to teach them the RIGHT way to communicate what it is they need say and sometimes that is learning that not everything
needs to be communicated.

As with the first two parts in this series, most of these ideas are things I have discovered in my years of teaching, on Teachers Pay Teachers, or Pinterest. I will share links to blogs, sites, and TPT shops where necessary.

Tootling is actually the opposite of tattling. The point is to hopefully encourage students to write positive things about their classmates instead of coming to you with negative things. The goal is to reduce kids coming to you to tell on students and encourage them to look for the positive things. All you need is a board like the one pictured below and students write positive notes on their own time to the sticky notes.

One of the best ways we can reduce tattling is to explicitly teach students the difference between tattling and reporting. Provide them with a visible chart and discuss. Have students come up with more examples. Have students sort examples until they really understand what tattling is and is NOT. Here is a great poster from my sweet friend Lindsay Flood! You can download this free poster by clicking the image below.

The tattle box is simple...have a box placed somewhere in your classroom where students can write their tattles. This way, you don't have to have kids interrupt your instruction time. Of course, you need to make sure you have discussed tattling v. reporting. If you see that a certain student's name keeps appearing in the box, you can pull them aside and have a little conversation. This also goes for the student who is abusing the tattle box. Use your teacher discretion. I have also seen this called the Tattle Monster. You can decorate your box and call it whatever your little teacher heart desires. 

Similar to the tattle box, sometimes students just need an outlet to communicate. Placing a Tattle journal or notebook somewhere in your room and letting students go to write down their issues during their own time can be a great way to help students channel their urge to tattle.

There are some great read alouds out there to help you get started when teaching your students about tattling. Tattle Tongue is one of my favorites! Stories by Storie has an awesome book companion that you can purchase to go with this book. 

She also has a great sorting freebie pictured below that you can download on her blog. Head over by clicking below.

Another book for teaching about tattling is called Don't Squeal Unless It's a Big Deal. You can view it on YouTube by clicking below. 

I saw this idea from Teach Love and Iced Coffee on Instagram last week and I thought it was just the cutest! It is sort of a spin on the Tattle box. Display this cute little bulletin board. Students write their "drama" on little cards and give it to the llama! I mean, WHAT?! How cute is that? Who doesn't love llamas?! You can snag this adorable bulletin board set by clicking the image below!

I hope you were able to learn some new tips for Tackling those Tattlers! Join me later this week for learning some new tricks for teaching kids how to listen and follow directions. What are your favorite strategies for Tackling Tattlers?

Part 6 {Classroom Organization} 8/16

Classroom Management Series: Part 2 {Blurting}

Welcome to the second part of my classroom management series on dealing with blurters. These kids are just a special kind of friend and they call for a little bit of an intervention. Your typical talking strategies may not quite work on your blurters, so I have compiled a comprehensive list of strategies (some I've used, most I have not) for you to consider as you deal with these special friends.

I will be linking to several other teachers posts and TPT stores in this post because these strategies are not my own ideas. The purpose for this series for me was to put all the strategies together in one place to make it easier for teachers to find tools and tricks that they need to help them when they are struggling in a particular area.

I read about this strategy last year as I tried to deal with the fact that I had several sweet little friends who struggled with blurting out. All you need is a couple of containers and some beans. At the start of each lesson, I had my helper give each student a bean. If a student blurted out, their bean went back into the community container. All students who still had their bean at the end of the lesson or lecture, put theirs in the reward jar. It was as simple as that! You can pass out beans as little or as often as you like. I let students help me determine what rewards we were working towards. Just remember, the larger the reward container, the longer it will take to get there....This can lose its effect quickly if you don't pass out the beans often or if you make your container too large. I found this out the hard way last year.

When blurt beans weren't quite working for one of my little friends, I had to try something a little more drastic. I read about Blurt Cubes on Miss Giraffes post about taming a chatty class. You can read her post HERE. This REALLY seemed to work for my guy for a while. Every time he blurted out, he had to turn one of his letters over. If he still had letters left by the end of the time we had determined, I let him go into my treat box.

For him, I felt that it was important that he didn't feel defeated if he lost all of his letters before the day was over so we decided that he got to reset and get a second chance at lunch time if didn't meet the goal. I think this really helped him think and reflect that "Hey, I need to do better this afternoon." I didn't want him to give up on the rest of the day because he had already lost his letters. This worked really well for him for a couple of months. As with everything else, things tend to lose their magic and you have to try something else. I do recommend this strategy for your high flyer blurters. Letting him determine what the reward was each time was also really helpful. He liked picking reward passes like lunch with a friend or having me buy him a snack a lunch.

For the Blurt Box or Bucket, students fill out a ticket or paper with their name and date each time they blurt out and interrupt the class. You want to make sure you have clearly defined what all qualifies as blurting out {making noises, talking to a friend while the teacher is talking, shouting out an answer without raising their hand, etc...). This way, your students are well aware of reasons they may receive a ticket for the blurt box. Students will drop their tickets in the blurt box. At the end of the week, tally the tickets and help students make a goal to improve their blurting. You can reward students who didn't blurt out at all. Students who beat their goal each week can earn a certificate or a note home.

I would use our data notebooks to help keep track of our weekly blurts because our school is big on Data Notebooks. This would be an easy way to help students keep track of their weekly blurts and it would be great to pull out during parent conferences so that students can show their parents their improvement.

Here are a couple ideas for a Blurt Box or a Blurt Bucket. Click on each image for the original post or link to the product.

Teacher mail, or T-mail, is a way to help keep your students from constantly blurting out to tell you things that have nothing to do with what you are teaching. You know the kids I'm talkin' about, right? These are special kinds of blurters! With T-mail, students fill out a little piece of paper and put it in your mail box. Instead of blurting, they are able to share with you appropriately and then you can respond to the student at a later time. If you don't have a mailbox, you can use a shoe box or some other container for collecting your T-mail. You can download this freebie from Upper Elementary Adventures by clicking the image below! 

I have not used Talkin' Tokens, but this strategy is great for all students. Each students gets a few tokens. If you don't have the printable ones pictured below, you can use something like counters. Each time they contribute to the conversation or answer a question they give you a token. If they blurt, they lose a token. This is a great way to help students be conscious of their talking out and remember to raise their hands because they are tangible. You can read more about The Pinspired Teacher's post HERE.

I kind of love this idea because it is similar to the Quiet Manager that I mentioned in Part 1 of the series. A student is chosen to be the Blurt Patrol. The best part is you want to choose one of your special blurters for the job! You place the blurt patrol charts on a clipboard. You will want to discuss the voice level chart and the expectations at each level with your class when you introduce it. Before the lesson, set a goal for how many blurts you will make and try to stay under that goal. The blurt patrol then sits where they can see the whole class and the teacher. If the student sees someone blurt out for not raising their hand, having their eye on the speaker, or not having a level 0 voice, the blurt patrol gives them a silent warning by pointing to the part of the chart they need to fix on the back of the clipboard. If that student needs to be reminded again, the blurt patrol puts an x on the chart.The goal is to stay in the green with blurts. You can purchase this for only $1.50 by clicking the image below! I am definitely going to be trying this one out this school year!

Another simple idea you do for your blurters is to give them a punch card. This is one of those strategies like the Blurt Cubes that may lose its magic touch after a time. I personally think it is important to let students determine what reward they want or else they won't want to work towards changing their behavior. Every time the students get through a predetermined amount of time without blurting, they earn a punch on their blurt card. 

You can download these reward punch cards free by clicking the image below.

The Pinspired Teacher also includes some Blurt Punch Cards in her Blurt Pack on TPT. You can head to her store by clicking the image below.

The Blurt Board is similar to the Chit Chat Chart I described in Part 1. I really like this blurt board below. Student's names would be listed along the side. Then they have several velcro circles next to their names. Each time they blurt, they would remove a circle. Yellow is a warning. The first red circle and after, you would determine how to handle those in your classroom. We aren't allowed to take recess so we enforce silent lunch instead. Losing all 6 would most definitely result in a phone call home if it were me, but certainly you could determine how the chart would work in your class. I would definitely reward students who had all of their circles at the end of the week. I could not find the source for this photo for credit so if you know where this originated, please share.

In this one from Angela Watson, students get three pieces of bubble gum on the board a week. Each time they blurt, one piece goes back into the class gum bowl. For every piece they have left at the end of the week, they keep. If they have none, you determine a consequence. 

I certainly hope you were able to learn some new tips for dealing with those pesky blurters! I would love for you to share your favorite way to handle them in your classroom in the comment section!

Don't forget to join me for the next part in the series, Tattling! You can also read last week's post below. 

Part 6 {Classroom Organization} 8/16