Keeping track of those pencils

What do you do to keep track of pencils in your classroom!?  For me this year, it has been a struggle! I had the cups that were for sharpened and unsharpened pencils.  I had pencil punches for each kid and each kid had their own pencils.  I would fill the cups every few weeks with new pencils, brand new pencils, but they would never be returned to the pencil pouch!!  It was DRIVING ME CRAZY!!

Is your pencil cup full, or empty!?  I would fill mine every other week and then all of the pencils would disappear!!  I couldn't figure out where they were going! I found a way to survive the last two weeks with only giving each student TWO pencils!

That is why I brought out the magic pencils!!  I gave each student ONE pencil!  This pencil had their number on it.  Since we have two classes we also put our teacher initials on the pencils so that way we could tell them apart.  We told them they had to keep track of this pencil, and that we would be doing random checks to make sure that they still had their pencil!

Numbering pencils with a permanent marker is a great way for students to know which pencil is there and for you to keep track of which ones you find!

This has worked like a charm!  I no longer have students asking for a pencil every five minutes!  They all have a pencil when it is time to get to work!  I LOVE it!!  We rewarded them randomly with erasers, fun pencils or other little candies!  I plan on starting the school year like this next year!  What a great way to keep students accountable for their pencils!  You could give them a pencil every month, and then by the end of the year they won't ever lose their pencil!

The Blurt Box: Keeping Blurters at Bay!

Hi everyone!  It's Kim again from Elementary Antics and I am so excited to share about The Blurt Box!

The Blurt Box is a great classroom management strategy to help those caller outers and blurters in your class! This simple strategy really works!

A couple of years ago I had a pretty tough class.  I had some amazing kiddos, but a few of them just loved to talk, push each other's buttons and were extremely impulsive.  I tried proximity control to help these students' behaviors- they sat next to my desk or table when working independently, in the very front row at the carpet, etc.  I tried partnering them with another student that modeled good behaviors, partnering them with a student that they could "help", praising good behavior, sticker charts- I basically felt like I tried everything I knew.  At that point I wasn't a new teacher and I had always had excellent classroom management, but I felt like I was failing.  I was constantly having to stop during lessons to redirect someone's attention, remind someone to stop talking or stop calling out despite going over the expectations beforehand each time.  It was driving me nuts and I felt badly for the kids who were always paying attention and following the rules.  After some reflection, I determined that the main behavior that I needed to target was the blurting or calling out in class and during whole group lessons.  I had a handful of kiddos that were doing this consistently and it was disruptive.  

The Blurt Box- This classroom management strategy can help stop those blurters and caller outers in your classroom!

So, I turned to Google and started searching for an idea that might help me since everything I had tried before just wasn't cutting it.  That's when I found The Blurt Box, well it wasn't called The Blurt Box per se, but that's what we called it in my classroom.  The idea was basically this: Use nonverbal signals to stop the blurting- red paper squares.

The first thing I did was call my kiddos to our carpet (class meeting area) and explained to them again exactly what blurting was and why we were not doing it.  I made a sign on a 8x11 piece of paper that said "NO BLURTING" and taped it to my easel and onto my whiteboard.  I told them that anytime someone blurted out when it was inappropriate to do so I would not be reminding them of our rules again.  I would simply point to the sign and hand them a red square.  That's it.  At the end of the lesson, or when it was appropriate, they would write their name and date on the square and put it in the "Blurt Box".

The Blurt Box- This classroom management strategy can help stop those blurters and caller outers in your classroom!

At the end of the first day, I dumped out all of the red squares and tallied up the squares for each student.  The students with red squares had them stapled to a behavior sheet which was sent home and signed by a parent.  This was just to show the parent that their student needed to start showing a little bit more self control and reign in the impulsive behaviors.

The Blurt Box is a great classroom management strategy to help those caller outers and blurters in your class! This simple strategy really works!

Any students that did not receive any red squares that day got a green square. And any student that had a green square that day got a special treat (I was implementing this around Halloween so my treats consisted of little erasers {Target Dollar Deals section}, cool googily eyed stickers, pencils, etc.) and a behavior sheet with their green square stapled to it to be signed by a parent and returned.  Every time a green square behavior sheet was turned it it was put in a special basket and I would draw a couple of names throughout the day to get a special something as extra incentive- usually a small candy like Starburst or Smarties.

The Blurt Box is a great classroom management strategy to help those caller outers and blurters in your class! This simple strategy really works!

I did this every day for one week.  I know it sounds like a lot of work- and it was.  I had to plan to leave an extra 10 minutes at the end of my day every day that week to tally the squares and hand out behavior sheets and treats.  But, IT WAS WORTH IT!  The first day we had over 60 red squares and by the end of the week we had 10!  Even my paraprofessional who would come in about an hour a day was commenting on how amazing the students were doing- especially my couple who were the extreme cases.  Most students went from a red day to a green day by the end of the week.  And those who didn't made huge improvements in the amount of times they were calling out and I made sure to celebrate those accomplishments with them and make sure their parent knew about them too.

I obviously could not keep up the daily tallying forever, so after the first week I still gave out red square each time someone blurted or called out at an inappropriate time, but I only gave out a green square if they had no red squares after 2 days, then 4 days, then each week.  After a few weeks, I just would point to my sign and that was it.  This method was a huge success for me and I hope it can help you the year you find yourself with a class full of blurters! 

Follow my Classroom Management board on Pinterest for more great ideas!

The Question Chair

How many times has a student interrupted your small group with a question?
Usually it's a simple question with a quick answer, but now your train of thought is lost.
This was happening to me quite a bit.
I tried several other ideas like the light or wearing a hat.
But it still didn't solve the problem completely.
I was visiting with a coworker one afternoon and saw a chair with a question mark on it.
I asked her what it was and she said that's our question chair!
How I stopped my students from interrupting my small group...The Question Chair
So how does it work?
Basically, if a student has a question that they can't get answered from the kids in their center, they sit in the question chair and wait.
Once your small group is doing something independently, you answer their question.
They go on their merrier way and you're back to your group!
It was worked fabulously in our room!!
We did a lot of modeling at the beginning of the year to help students understand what kinds of questions they should ask, how they should wait, etc.
There are many times, a student sits in the chair and before I get to a stopping point, they've figured out the answer and they are gone!
How do you manage questions while you're teaching in small groups?

Three teachers tips for a PRODUCTIVE summer!

Hey everyone!  It's me, Kami B., from Teaching With APPitude!  I hope everyone is having a great end of the year.  I have 5 and half days left and I am looking forward to a power-punched summer.  In July, I will be traveling to Orlando for the TPT conference and I can't wait to meet my TPT friends in real LIFE!  So excited!

Next year, I will start my 21st year in third grade.  I have never taught another grade.  I have my early childhood degree as well as my master's as a reading specialist.  My niche' is using iPads in my classroom.  I have a 1:1 iPad classroom and LOVE every second of it.

Since this is my FIRST major blog post, I am just going to give you my top THREE tips for a PRODUCTIVE summer. 

Learn something new...
BLOGGING...this is NEW to me!  Completely new! Totally out of my comfort zone.... I can periscope, do Facebook Live, speak in front of large crowds, sing in a musical or at a WEDDING but I have NO clue how to blog.  Luckily, I am in a super group of amazing third grade teachers who are willing to help me. Thank you ladies of ALL ABOUT THIRD GRADE for being SUPER patient with this newbie at BLOGGING! 

Here is MY list of things as a veteran 3rd grade teacher for you to try this summer...

  • Learn a new APP a week on your iPad. (EPIC!, SeeSaw, ClassKick...)
  • Create TPT products for your third grade classroom
  • Offer to do professional development for your school
  • Take an art class
  • Sit in Starbucks and take in the atmosphere
  • Go to conference where you know NO ONE!
Get some professional development from the comfort of your home...
 I can't believe as someone who offers tech PD in the summer to teachers that I am actually typing it but I am because there are so many great teachers out there who have things to offer, all on your laptop or phone!  

Have you heard about the app, PERISCOPE? If not, you need to learn more about it.  You can watch scopers live and add comments to their videos.  It is a great way to make connections with teachers all over the world. 

The iteachTVnetwork periscope channel has over 24 teacher scopers on their live streaming network.  Each teacher scopes either on a weekly basis or once a month basis on their classroom speciality.  From classroom management to teacher style, this website has it all.  Each scope is no longer than 15 minutes and most districts are allowing teachers to turn in watching these videos for professional development points.   Click on the APPLE below to check it out!  This site also has links to PREVIOUS scopes so you can watch at your convenience.  You won't be disappointed!

Read a book and relax...
Not gonna lie, I LOVE BOOKS.  I am a HOARDER of books in fact.  I love reading books on my iPad and I love a good page-turner.   This summer, I have one book that I plan on diving deeper into and would love to share it with all my third grade peeps. My friend, Jenny from Link2Teach uses this book for all her struggling readers.  She is a reading specialist from Illinois and recommends this book to anyone who has emergent to FLUENT readers.  The illustrations in the book are so easy for teachers/students to understand!

 Hope you all have a wonderful rest of the year and a RELAXING summer!