Sunday, September 20, 2015

Shhhh! NOISE Letters in Action

It's hard to believe, but this year marks my 9th year of teaching.

It's crazy how fast the years have flown by and even crazier to think about ALL the different classroom management techniques I have tried over the years.  Some have stood the test of time and some have worked for a moment in time, but they are all part of my toolbox when I get a new crop of kiddos.  

One of my favorite and simplest classroom management strategies involves 5 little letters... NOISE.

It all started with this clever pin a few years ago.

The caption read, "Take away a letter each time the noise level gets too high and when there are no letters left, there is NO talking."  Um.... BRILLIANT! And, oh so simple! I pinned it and then... I promptly forgot about it.

Last year one of the amazingly brilliant woman that I work with used this strategy in her classroom, but I still didn't implement it. Silly, silly me. I didn't realize how much I was missing out until one fateful day.

That day my students came back from a math rotation raving about this super cool thing Mrs. Nash did called NOISE. They wanted to know why we didn't use NOISE and could we start using NOISE and kept saying how awesome Mrs. Nash was for using it. They were hilarious and absolutely right. She is awesome!

So, we started by just writing NOISE out on the white board. You know... just to see how things would go. I had students erase a letter whenever it got too loud.  They LOVED it. I think they felt in control of the situation. While playing games they would remind each other to keep it at a reasonable volume so that the class wouldn't loose a letter. 

It held us all accountable. If I had to ask them to lower their voices, they lost a letter. Clear, plain, and simple. If we lost three letters, no more noise. Depending on the activity no more noise could mean no more activity, no more partner, or just no more talking. It worked like a charm. 

This year, I decided to get fancy, well...fancier. I made my own letters for back to school - Happy Apple Style!

My new crop of kiddos love this technique too.  They have set a goal to never get down to NO.  LOL, I hope they make it. So good. 

Making the NOISE letters was so much fun, I just kept creating. I now have several different sets which are available in my store.

I firmly believe that sometimes the simplest strategies are the very best.  NOISE has been a great addition to my classroom management repertoire and I hope yours too.  Feel free to start trying it out tomorrow and then come back and tell me how it goes!

Happy Teaching,

Note: I have tried to find the original owner of the NOISE letters photo, but the pin links to a BuzzFeed article that just sites Pinterest. Boo! So, if you this is your great idea, please tell me who you are so I can personally thank you for this terrific technique and give credit where credit is due.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Loving My Classroom This Year {15-16 Reveal}

Hello bloggy world!

It's hard to believe that I just finished up my third week with my new crop of kiddos. They are a great group and yet completely different from my class last year. Nothing like a teaching to keep you on your toes, right? :)

Anyway, three weeks in and I am loving the way my classroom was set up this year. Second year in the room was so much easier. Thank goodness!! I think I used my wall space so much better and found ways to create the learning spaces I wanted. Yes!

Let's take a tour.

Our room from the door. 
I love only have 4 table groups this year.  
We end up with so much more space to work around the room. 

You gotta use every little bit of space possible, right?
The back of our door has our Bingo Rewards, Class Goal, Transportation info, 
and Leadership Chart Rewards.

I love having my chart paper hanging all the time. Why did I wait so long to do this? LOVE.
I use the giant red pocket chart for student unfinished work, that way we all know what needs to be completed and hopefully papers don't get lost in desks.

Just a little inspiration at the water fountain...

I'm most proud of my teal and black drawers that I spray painted this summer. Those old drawers look almost brand new this year. And the color hides everything that has been stuffed inside, lol. 

Scrabble Rewards is new to me this year, but so far it has been a hit! We draw a letter whenever our class earns a compliment. It's neat to see what they try to cover up first.

Always have to have my favorite quote. 

The Writing Wall is waiting to be covered with writing tips and tools. 
My tree is ready for vocabulary...fingers crossed I get this rolled out soon.  :)

My library makes me happy!

Mastery Club has proven to be a huge hit! My kids love it and I love that it gives them a purpose for using technology daily in the classroom and there is ALWAYS something to do.

Finally found a bookshelf that fits perfectly under my Smart Board.  It stores books and give me a place to lay out all my paperwork for the next day.

Class jobs are easy to change since everything is magnetic this year. 

Here is my little teacher nook. 

Does anyone else feel like they could always use another giant white board?  

This year I sectioned my white board off for schedule and objectives. 
I love they way it turned out.

I made my own NOISE letters this year. My class last year loved this management technique, even when I just wrote the letters on the board. We have upgraded to cute apples and magnets.

The IKEA book boxes are a staple in my room every year. 
They never fail me and the kids love being able to take them home at the end of the year.

There we have it... my 2015-2016 classroom. I love the way everything came together this year.
Thanks so much for stopping by and checking things out. 

Now it's time to have a great school year!! Hope you do too!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Keeping Meet the Teacher Night Fun, Simple, & Successful

Happy Sunday y'all! I wanted to pop in today to share a bit about Meet the Teacher night. 

Meet the Teacher is always an exciting night. The kids are so excited to see their friends and visit their new classrooms. And although we teachers spend the whole day running around the school like chickens with our head's cut off pulling every last minute thing together, it is sooo worth it to see the excitement on the faces of your new students! Not to mention all the hugs you get from former students (which may actually be my favorite part).

Our Meet the Teacher is only an hour so things go by quick! I have to be super organized to get everything done in the small amount of time I have and I MUST prioritize.

First, I make sure my room is clean, organized, and inviting

I have been working very hard this year to make sure I don't have stacks of anything anywhere. Nothing on top of my book shelves or storage cabinets. No extra stuff out or stored on top/out of the way. My goal is to make sure everything has a place.  #organizationaldream

I always set up desks with the most important information and a post-it with the student's name. One of the first things I ask my parents to do, is check that name post-it and make any name/spelling changes on the post-it before I start labeling things all over the room.

Another goal this year was to downsize all the paperwork I burdened parents with on this night. I kept the absolute essentials. Everything on the left is what I asked parents to complete before leaving and I got it down to 5 papers!  Yes! 

My essentials include a transportation form, Parent 3-2-1 (student info), correspondence report, Edmodo permission slip, and *new this year* a class Instagram account information page. I'm absolutely LOVING the class Instagram account. You can get the same great resources for setting up your own classroom Instagram here

The folder on the right had all the goods and forms from the office. And on top of that was... the ultimate 4th grade Handbook Flipbook filled with great information and most frequently asked questions in 4th grade. I'm totally obsessed with it!  

It was super easy to modify and put together. I put a magnet on the back and asked my parents to keep it on the fridge so it would be handy all year. I addressed everything from homework expectations to our 4th grade grading policy on those pages.  I'm hoping it is a great resource for my parents.  You can find the one I used here

I do talk for a few minutes but mostly to introduce myself, explain the paperwork and give quick instructions. Then I mingle with parents and students and let my rotating PowerPoint do the rest. Easy peasy!

I try to keep everything easy for parents from the beginning. I always have my contact information posted and I always make sure there are enough pens on the desk for everyone and their younger sibling to use one.

Meet the Teacher is also a great night to get volunteers! Our amazing PTA puts together sign-up forms for us and delivers them to our room before the big event.  Aren't they awesome?  I also put out a Fall Conference Sign-Up sheet. 

Finally, I always include The Giving Tree.  I got smart this year and printed my apples on red paper. For things that are really specific, I just print pictures off and put those directly on the board. So easy! I include things like baby wipes, colored pencils, index cards, ziplocs (all sizes), books, expo markers, glitter, and lunch bags. I'm always amazed and grateful to how much gets donated to our classroom.

Meet the Teacher night is always a whirlwind of excitement and fun for students and teachers! I enjoy spending my time meeting my new parents, getting to know my new students, and reconnecting with families from the past.

What do you do to keep Meet the Teacher night fun, simple, and successful?