Friday, November 18, 2016

10 Classroom Management Tips

Classroom management tips for the elementary classroom.

1. Hand Signals

Use hand signals to help keep interruptions to a minimum during lessons.
The "I Have Question" sign has since been fixed. 😉
Hand signals have saved my sanity. With hand signals, students can silently let you know what they need. I love that I can easily distinguish between a question, answer, and comment - that way, I can save the comments for later if we're crunched for time. 😉 The picture above is from last year when I taught 6th grade. I didn't need the hand signals for getting a drink, sharpening a pencil, or using the bathroom since students were free to do that whenever I wasn't teaching. I sell these posters in my store and they're editable so you can change them to fit your classroom's needs.

2. Countdown

Using a countdown helps students know how long they have to finish something. No more excuses of, "I didn't know how much time we had left, so I didn't finish". Hold students accountable for monitoring their time.
Use a countdown to help students manage their time.
My school was Kagan trained earlier this year and our principal bought all of the 5th grade classrooms the Kagan Cooperative Learning MegaTimer. It's expensive, but I use it all of the time. The timer also works as a clock, thermometer, random number generator, student number picker, stopwatch, and more.

If you have technology available in your classroom, you can always use apps or websites, such as Online Stopwatch to count down.

During transitions, I count down aloud from 10 to signal to students that I'm ready to begin. This helps students stop the chatter and get themselves situated for our lesson.

3. ClassDojo

ClassDojo helps keep parents involved in the classroom.
Back in July 2015, I wrote a blog post about using ClassDojo in the upper grades. I suggest you read that post, as I included a lot of information on how I set up my positives and negatives, reward system, and more.

I've used ClassDojo now for 3 years now (in grades 4, 5, and 6) and still love it. I can reward students for the positive things they're doing, as well as track things they need work on. Over the summer, ClassDojo added the option to be able to have negatives be neutral. I went that route this year, not wanting to "punish" kids who make mistakes, but track it for interventions and to keep parents informed.

Which brings us to the #1 reason I love ClassDojo so much - parent involvement. I don't have the time to send home notes, email, or call home every day. Life happens. With ClassDojo, parents can check in on their child whenever they want and see what awesome things they did during the day, or what they need to work on. The app also has a messenger feature, which is sometimes much easier than sending an email. A quick reminder from a parent that their child is being picked up early is always appreciated, but I don't really have the time to check my email all day long. Having the app on my phone and iPad, I can award points all day and have the messenger alert me if I have a new message from a parent.

4. Positive Notes

Give students a positive note to let them know how awesome they are!
Students, no matter what the age, appreciate some encouragement from their teacher. I’ve caught students pulling out a past note from their desk to re-read when they’re having a rough day. Totally worth the time to do this!

I made these notes to use in the classroom. I print them on colored paper (such as Astrobrights) and have them on hand to write out for students when I see something worth celebrating. I will stick the note into a student’s desk along with a piece of candy, raffle ticket, or school buck for them to find later. I also take a picture of the note, and send it to the student’s parents on ClassDojo’s messenger, along with a note thanking them for sharing their child with me.

Writing positive notes to students is so powerful. Even writing a quick note on a Post-It will do! Even my most challenging students treasure a positive note from me. It's a nice reminder that they are capable of great things.

5. Practice Procedures

This is one tip that I go back to over and over again all year long. Sometimes it's the whole class that needs to practice a procedure together - such as walking in a line, raising their hands to speak during a lesson, etc. I've had to practice walking through the halls appropriately with my class in the past. Taking 5 minutes during their recess to practice the procedure correctly did the trick and they were on point for the rest of the year.

Other times, it may be one student who needs the practice walking appropriately. I use this "learning opportunity" to connect with the student. We have 30 minute recess and teachers watch their own classes outside. While yes, this is somewhat my "break" time, taking 5 minutes to walk 2 laps around the track with a student who is struggling to act appropriately. I'm able to learn more about students with this one-on-one time and often learn why the student is acting out. Most of the time, they're just looking for attention. Giving them the 5 minutes of one-on-one time usually does the trick!

6. Teamwork Bingo

Use teamwork bingo to earn a reward as a class.
Teamwork Bingo is any easy way to encourage students to work together and do the right thing. As a class, you can decide what is worth of earning numbers and what prizes you earn towards. When students earn numbers, simply draw from a can and mark off the number. I laminated my bingo board and used a wet erase marker on the board to mark numbers.

7. Echo Directions

I have my students echo directions back to me before I let them begin on their own. I have them tell me where to turn something in, what to do when they finish, if they only need to do the odds, etc. If they say it back to me, I know they've heard what I've said. Sure, some still won't remember, but then I have them ask 3 before me.

8. Attention Getting Signal

"Give Me 5" signals for students to stop and listen to the teacher.
Having an attention getting signal has been so helpful for me - at all grade levels. I use "Give Me 5" with my students. This allows me to get my class' attention quickly and is both visual and auditory. Students are supposed to stop what they're doing, face me, and put their hand up in the air. Even if someone doesn't hear me, if they see others putting their hand up they know what to do. You can get these free Give Me 5 Posters by signing up for my email newsletter. They're in my freebie archive, along with several other exclusive freebies!

9. Monitor Noise Levels

I'm the type of teacher who appreciates a mostly quiet classroom while students work. Of course, students don't realize the noise level when they're working in groups so they need a way to monitor the noise that's expected.

Too Noisy monitors sound levels in the classroom.
A fun app that's available for both Android and iOS is Too Noisy. It uses the microphone on the tablet or phone to monitor the noise level. (You can change the sensitivity depending on the noise level that's appropriate for the activity.) The class earns stars if they don't "break" the screen (set off the alarm). There's both a free and pay version of the app.

Voice level poster indicate the appropriate sound level for activities in the classroom.
Another way to manage noise is to have voice level posters for students to visually see in the classroom. You can move an arrow or clip along the posters to indicate the expected voice level for the activity. I make it a class job to be in charge of moving the arrow because I always forget to.

10. Brain Breaks

Give your students a quick, energizing brain break throughout the day.
Who doesn't need a brain break every once in a while? Even I do when I'm working at home. Basically, anything to get kids out of their seats is a great brain break. But even better? Getting their wiggles out with GoNoodle.

GoNoodle is completely free for teachers. Grades 4, 5, and 6 love it - and my 6th graders were the biggest fans of all. It's evolved over the years and is definitely at its best now. You can search by energy level, category, duration, and even mark favorites to quickly visit when you log in. Doing a calming meditation before a test helps kids get their mind right. Stretching before recess gets students pumped up to play. Starting the day off with a guided dance gets students' blood pumping and brains turned on.

Mind Yeti can help refocus students with quick meditations.
Another (free!) website that I've recently found, but haven't tried in my classroom yet, is called Mind Yeti. This is a website that focuses more on de-stressing, relaxing, and calming down. I plan to try it with my kids before we test and see how they do with it.

I hope these 10 classroom management tips have given you an idea or two that you can try in your own classroom!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

50+ Multiplication Resources

Over 50 resources for teaching multiplication in upper elementary.

Each year, the struggle is real with multiplication. It doesn't matter if I'm teaching 4th, 5th, or 6th - my students seem to need more practice, new ways of learning, resources for repetition, etc. After 5 years in the upper grades, I've complied a list of resources for multiplication. I've used all of the following resources, videos, books, etc. in my own classroom.

All resources are free, unless otherwise noted.

Blog Posts:
Videos:
Books: {Amazon affiliate links}
Worksheets:
Instructional Resources:
Student Practice Online:
My Resources via TpT:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

2 for Tuesday - July 26


Each week throughout the summer, participating sellers will put two of their amazing resources on sale and all you have to do is visit Chalk One Up for the Teacher, check them out, and grab some great deals. You can also find the products directly on Teachers Pay Teachers by searching #2forTuesday.



The following two items are 50% off for one day only.

#1 - Apple Mummification Science Experiment :: on-sale for $1.75

#2 - Rock Labs: A Hands-On Science Investigation :: on-sale for $1.87

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

2 for Tuesday - July 19


Each week throughout the summer, participating sellers will put two of their amazing resources on sale and all you have to do is visit Chalk One Up for the Teacher, check them out, and grab some great deals. You can also find the products directly on Teachers Pay Teachers by searching #2forTuesday.



The following two items are 50% off for one day only.

#1 - Late Homework Passes {Editable} :: on-sale for $1.00

#2 - Student Reward Punch Cards {Editable} :: on-sale for $1.25

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

2 for Tuesday - July 5


Each week throughout the summer, participating sellers will put two of their amazing resources on sale and all you have to do is visit Chalk One Up for the Teacher, check them out, and grab some great deals. You can also find the products directly on Teachers Pay Teachers by searching #2forTuesday.



The following two items are 50% off for one day only.

#1 - Monster Math - Addition & Subtraction Bundle :: on-sale for $3.00

#2 - Monster Math - Multiplication & Division Bundle :: on-sale for $3.00

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

2 for Tuesday - June 28


Each week throughout the summer, participating sellers will put two of their amazing resources on sale and all you have to do is visit Chalk One Up for the Teacher, check them out, and grab some great deals. You can also find the products directly on Teachers Pay Teachers by searching #2forTuesday.



The following two items are 50% off for one day only.

#1 - Back to School Forms {Editable} :: on-sale for $1.75

#2 - Class Hand Signals :: on-sale for $1.25



Friday, June 24, 2016

New Monthly Newsletter


Last night I created a newsletter for The Learning Effect! I have so many random ideas and files that I'd love to share with ya'll (for free, of course) and figured a monthly newsletter would be the perfect way to do that. 

Why subscribe?

When you subscribe to my email list, you'll receive shop updates, monthly freebies, blog highlights, and more! I've created a password-protected Dropbox folder for subscribers that I'll be filling with free classroom and teaching resources. These resources are only available to subscribers and aren't available anywhere else. I've already added 3 resources to the folder to get you started. Plus, when you confirm your email, you'll be sent another exclusive freebie right to your inbox!

What information is collected and how do you use it?

Don't worry - I won't be "selling" your information at all. (I wouldn't even know how to do that. Ha!) I just need your first name and email. It's optional to tell me what grade you teach - and that's just simply out of curiosity so I know what grade levels to gear my freebies around.

How often will you send out newsletters?

Newsletters will only go out 1-3 times a month. So no worries - I won't be overloading your inbox. Expect the monthly newsletter around the middle of the month (15th-ish). Occasionally there will be additional emails if I have something exciting to tell you about - such as a sitewide TpT sale, promotions, an exclusive freebie I'm too excited to wait a whole month to send to you, etc.


How can I sign up?

There's a sign up form located to the right on the sidebar. Or, you can click here to be taken directly to the sign up form. Just be sure to confirm your email by going to your inbox and finding the confirmation email. It may go in your spam folder if you have strong spam filters. Though, I haven't personally had any email newsletter confirmations go into my spam filter with Gmail.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

2 for Tuesday - June 21


Each week throughout the summer, participating sellers will put two of their amazing resources on sale and all you have to do is visit Chalk One Up for the Teacher, check them out, and grab some great deals. You can also find the products directly on Teachers Pay Teachers by searching #2forTuesday.



The following two items are 50% off for one day only.

#1 - Classroom Organization Labels - Chevron {Editable} :: on-sale for $4.00

#2 - Area & Perimeter Formulas :: on-sale for $1.50


Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday Made It - June 20


Last week I created and uploaded a new freebie to my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I created planner bookmarks with cute Melonheadz clip art and inspirational quotes.







Visit my store to download this new freebie!

In other news...I moved from Utah to North Carolina at the beginning of June. I will be teaching 5th grade in a year round school and have Meet the Teacher night on June 28th! I got a jump on my planner updates early this year (thank goodness) and finished them mid-April this year. Due to school starting soon for me, I printed my planner last week.

I have been using the Staples Arc binding system for 4 years now and absolutely love it. I chose to go with this rather than having my files bound because I can add/remove pages at any time, and reuse this notebook base every year.

The cover is from Staples. It's called M by Staples Arc and is purple leather. {I did have to purchase the Arc punch, but it's so worth it.}

did print all of the pages myself. I purchased 32 lb. paper to print on. It holds and prints better. I don't have to worry about bleed through with this paper - for printer ink or pens. I also found that when writing on 32 lb. paper with a pencil, it erases a lot better than on regular paper.







My teacher planners are editable and come in 5 different designs. Each year you can redownload the updates for free! Check them out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!



Over the last 4 years, more lunch boxes went missing than I had time to search for. At my previous school, each classroom had a "lunch bin" for which students would place their lunch bags after they finished eating before going out to recess. Lunch helpers would go grab the bin after recess and bring it back to class. Being a charter, we didn't have a "working lunch room" - all paid lunches were catered in from fast food restaurants. Therefore, 90% of my students brought a home lunch each day. Lunch boxes went missing all of the time. My 3rd year teaching at this school Lunch Bag Tags were born. I had to have a way for students' lunches to be returned to my classroom if they ended up in someone else's lunch bin. And let me tell you, it worked like a charm.

How do they work? Type in the student's first and last name, along with your name and room number. Print, cut apart, laminate, cut again. Why cut before laminating? Lunch bags get wet sometimes, and I like the edges to be sealed with lamination so they don't get ruined from liquid. Loop the tag around a handle on the student's lunch bag and staple. Parents love it because it doesn't damage the lunch bag or add permanent info that will change the following year...and it ensures the lunch bag is returned to students if misplaced!

I've created an editable file to share with you - which is currently only available on my blog! There are 5 options for design, and you can change the fonts to your favorite font, if you'd like. Last year I used the plain ones and printed on colored paper.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

2 for Tuesday - June 14


Each week throughout the summer, participating sellers will put two of their amazing resources on sale and all you have to do is visit Chalk One Up for the Teacher, check them out, and grab some great deals. You can also find the products directly on Teachers Pay Teachers by searching #2forTuesday.


The following two items are 50% off for one day only.

#1 - Fraction & Decimal Pack :: on-sale for $1.50

#2 - Classroom Principles: Print Edition :: on-sale for $1.50

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

2 for Tuesday - June 7


I'm so glad 2 for Tuesday is back! Two summers ago I participated in this link up and there were always such great deals to snag.


The following two items are 50% off for one day only.

#1 - Menu Mania: Serving Up Adjectives :: on-sale for $1.25

#2 - Classroom Economy Starter Set :: on-sale for $2.25

Each week throughout the summer, participating sellers will put two of their amazing resources on sale and all you have to do is visit Chalk One Up for the Teacher, check them out, and grab some great deals. You can also find the products directly on Teachers Pay Teachers by searching #2forTuesday.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Annual Teacher Planner Sale


Last night I finished my final planner update. All 5 designs have now been updated for the 2016-2017 school year. If you've purchased one of my planners in the past, please redownload!

All 5 designs are 20% off April 23rd - 25th. Remember: each year you get to download the updates for FREE! All material is the same in each set, just with different themes and fonts. The planners are also editable so you can change the content to fit your needs!

A little background on my planners... Back in 2011 when I started teaching I bought an Erin Condren teacher planner as a gift to myself for working so hard to get my teaching degree. I absolutely loved the colors, fun quotes, beautiful design, etc. But after using the planner my first year teaching, I quickly realized that I truly only liked half of what the planner really offered. I didn't use a lot of the extra pages included, but wanted different pages in my planner instead. I wanted to be able to customize different parts, didn't care for writing in my own dates, etc. And the biggest turn off -- the price on a teacher's salary. I couldn't imagine spending $50 a year on something I was only visually in love with. 

That next summer I created my own planner and haven't looked back. I took what I loved about the EC planner and made it my own. For a fraction of the cost I print the planner myself and put it together with the Arc discbound binder system from Staples. I like being able to add in pages throughout the year, only include the pages I need for my calendar, and being able to type in my vacation dates, PTCs, and more. I see other teachers ordering stickers for their EC to customize it and give it a cohesive look (rather than handwriting dates and to change section titles) and that just kills me. I can't even imagine spending that extra money on top of what it already costs for the planner itself. But hey, that's me. ;)

Here is what some customers say about my teacher planners:
"Absolutely love this set! I teach Middle School, so I spent a few hours editing the "Weekly Planning Template" into pages for my needs (Monday - Friday, Periods 1 - 5). I am SO thankful to have such an adorable EDITABLE template AND matching covers, calendars, notes sheets... everything I need in one place. I will be printing all pages then binding together in a spiral. My co-workers will be SO jealous! I've already sent your link to several of them! Thanks again for a great product." - Kelli S.

"I love this... it's like having an Erin Condren planner for a fraction of the cost." - Janita S.

"Absolutely wonderful planner! I had everything that I wanted and even things that I didn't realize I needed. I love that this has everything an elementary teacher needs but also is easily tailored to a secondary teacher. I also love that she added matching spines! Great product and great seller." - Anonymous Buyer

"After 4 hours of going through different lesson planners I am so pleased to have your chosen yours! It looks amazing and with a 7 day a week calendar it is perfect for my summer lessons which i do seven days a week with my kids to prevent the summer slide. Thank you!" - NVW

"This is a well thought out, fantastic product. I'm so glad I bought it now so I can play with it and edit it while I'm at school. I really appreciate that you update it. That is such a money saver. This product is worth every penny, and it's not expensive when compared to other planners." - Mrs. Morganelli