Classroom preparation (part one of what I think will be many!)

So the Christmas rush is over, my partner and I have secured a rental apartment for 2013 and we move in just under two weeks! I’ve packed just about everything that needs to be packed and am now onto arranging resources for our classroom next year.

I have had lots of ‘First day of school’ anxiety and questions that have popped up all of a sudden so have tried to be really proactive.

On K-3 Teacher Resources I have found so many useful resources. I paid about $25 for a year’s membership and it’s come in handy a whole lot. I downloaded a huge puzzle with 30 pieces in it. They are blank pieces for the children and I to decorate to put together as a whole-class puzzle. I will have 23 in my class, and I’ll make 24. Ideally, I’d like the children to think of 6 things we need to do so that the class can work together well. I’ll group the children to work on the last six pieces together so that they’re decorated. I think that will make a great first day activity for us to work on.

I’ve also seen on Pinterest, a treasure hunt to work through for all of the school supplies. I like the idea of that as it makes it a bit of a game and the children can collect ‘treasure’. I’m working on the list I’ve been given that they’ll have and how we can make it a fun experience!

How do you work your first day of school?

Regards
Jemma

Warm Fuzzies

Like I posted not long ago, I’ve been thinking lots about behaviour management and how ‘good’ behaviour should and could be rewarded. One idea I saw on Pinterest was a ‘Warm Fuzzies’ idea.

 

Warm andFuzzy

 

Like I said I was taking into consideration the idea from Harry K Wong that rather than having rules, where children are rewarded for following, I planned to have more procedures. Ideally procedures do not have consequences should children not follow them. The only thing the teacher should have to say is, ‘What is the procedure?’. If children choose to not follow the procedure consistently, the procecdure then has a rule, which has positive and negative consequences if not followed.

I really thought about this, and I figured children always need positive reinforement to keep them motivated as a group to learn together, take responsibility of their learning and to be kind to one-another. Harry K Wong also says that children should not be rewarded for following a procedure (and I don’t think they should be rewarded for following a rule, as it is an expectation, not something they should do just to get a reward).

It’s for these reasons, that I like the idea of the ‘Warm and Fuzzies’ Jar. Each time I see a child trying their hardest, being kind to another person or following the values of the school where I am at, I’ll ask them to put a pom pom in the jar.

The reward of this jar is also something that follows the thoughts of Harry K Wong, who states that children shouldn’t be given a tangible ‘thing’ for doing something ‘good’, rather they should have ‘time’ to celebrate. He suggests that they should be given free time to complete unfinished work. I quite like the idea of this, but wouldn’t mind having a prize jar, with different rewards in it that can be drawn out when the jar is full.

Some ideas for this prize jar include:

  • Free play outside in a different playground that they’re used to
  • Ball game outside
  • Free time inside to complete unfinished work
  • Board game afternoon

I like these ideas because they still ensure children’s learning in a different way.

What are your thoughts?

Jemma

Photos from my graduation December 2012

DSCN0359 Receiving my  Diploma from the Chancellor of QUT

DSCN0360 My Grandmother and I

DSCN0377  This is me!

DSCN0375 As per tradition.

DSCN0372 My Mum and I

DSCN0364 I love to laugh.

DSCN0362 My beloved and I. He is very special to me.

Six years of study all went into this moment. So pleased to have finished and received the piece of paper to say I am a qualified teacher! One of the happiest days of my life.

Placemats

The school where I am teaching at next year has provided a fair few things for me already. One thing that can be quite expensive (or if you make your own, very time consuming), are placemats or name places for each child’s desk.

The school where I am teaching at has made them, specific to my requirements. All that I am required to do is to write the children’s names on and send them back to the school to be laminated.

While I am battling the heat and a head cold, I am bunkered in the air conditioning writing the children’s names on the placemats. I am working so slowly and carefully to get the hand writing correct for my Year Ones next year!

How are you preparing for your classroom next year?

Jemma

Graduation today

After six years of completing my degree, a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood), I finally get to gown up and receive that diploma! I am dressed and ready to go, by beloved is shaving ready to suit up for the occasion!

I’ve received a beautiful Fossil watch from him, with the words ‘About time. 14-12-12. Love Corey’ engraved on the back. It’s been a bit of a running joke in my family about the length of time it’s taken me to complete this degree.

While studying I’ve explored so many ventures (managing a shoe shop being one of my favourites), along with a few health battles along the way. 

I’ve made it and I am so proud of myself! I’ve been awarded Second Class Honours (Division A), along with the Lil Gwyther Scholarship prize. Lil Gwyther lead a life based around Early Childhood and the award honours her work and passion. I hope I will continue her legacy, somewhat. I have big shoes to fill! I hope my passion comes out in a similar way.

http://www.ecta.org.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=536

I shall post photos later on of the ceremony! 

Jemma 

More Behaviour Management Brainstorms…

I also feel that with young children, it is important to avoid saying things like ‘Quieten down please’ or ‘That is too loud’ because it isn’t constructive enough.

I believe that the noise level needs to be put into a context that the children understand, so they have prior knowledge to work with that informs the noise level that is acceptable.

I found this idea on Pinterest.

Noise level

This indicator is fantastic because it provides exactly what children need to guage the noise level that is acceptable.

About to make this!!

Jemma

Behaviour Management Brainstorming

So I have been thinking/brainstorming/researching ideas that would work best for Year One.

Some of the ideas I have are all based on what I have used while on field experience throughout uni. Other ideas are from Pinterest. You can see my boards via this link https://pinterest.com/jems890/ .

One idea I do like this pictured

Behaviour Management Picture

I like this, and would ideally have each child take their peg off at the end of each day and repin it on ‘Ready to Learn’. I like the idea because

  • It forces children to reflect and think about their choices and behaviour at the beginning of each day. Additionally, it also expects that each child can and should have a great day at school.
  • The school I am going to teach at doesn’t have a School Wide Behaviour Plan, unlike many of the schools where I have worked. I think this approach will ensure that the approach I use is consistent, but still allows for the child to have a fresh start each day regardless of the day before (this is why I think it is important that each child takes their name off at the end of the day so it’s not there as a reminder for the next day).
  • I can ask the children to draw their pictures of themselves for easy identification of their pegs. It gives them ownership of the process too.

In my mind, I would have the following tiers for the poster

Parent contact

Outstanding job

Great job

Good job

Ready to learn

Warning one

Warning two

Sit at the door

Visit another class

Parent contact

I think these tiers in the ‘negative area’ give children a chance to really stop and think about their actions and reconsider the choices they are making. In addition to this, I also think that having parent contact at either end of the tiers recognises that I will not only contact parents for a negative reason. Parents should be contacted for good reasons as well as areas where the child needs to improve.

I have read Harry K Wong’s The First Days of School: How to be an effective teacher which outlines the approaches that are, in his opinion, the best way to approach behaviour management is through procedures in the classroom. His ideology is basically, that if students are aware of procedures and the associated expectations, behaviour management is obsolete. The idea is that when students know procedures, should they choose not to follow it, all a teacher should have to say is, “What is the procedure?”

In addition to Harry K Wong’s procedure approach, ideally, ‘rules’ shouldn’t be required. If children do not follow procedures, they are turned into a rule, which has consequences if they are not followed. I like this idea, however, as a new teacher, this worries me and I think I will work between outlining procedures and maintaining class rules.

I am planning on, at this stage, outling class rules, that will be minimal. They might include

  • Hand up to speak
  • Be safe
  • Be kind
  • Be ready to learn

While these may be perceived as vague, I feel my outlining of procedures with children in my class will cover the rest.

At a conference held by my university, it was suggested to me that we discuss procedures with children and make a looks like/sounds like poster for each procedure. These posters can be clipped onto coat hangers that have the clips on them, and carried wherever the procedure takes place. I loved that idea and intend on carrying that out.

Please, tell me what you are thinking of these ideas, I’d love your input!

Regards

Jemma

Previous Older Entries