Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Blog Series: Morning Meeting Greetings

Hi, friends!  Today I am posting all about "The Greeting" portion of Morning Meeting.  In case you missed my Morning Meeting overview last week, you can click here to read all about it.  
The greeting portion of Morning Meeting is the first thing you do to begin your Morning Meeting.  It doesn't usually last more than a few minutes.  This is a time when students practice social skills such as eye contact and hospitality.  It also sets a positive tone for the day, helps students learn and use one another's names, and provides a sense of belonging.  Children love hearing their name each day!  Just watch the expression on their faces when their name is called during the greeting time! 

At the start of the year, modeling is KEY during the greeting portion.  Choose a student to help you model correct behavior for greeting time.  Explicitly show what you want students to do, like make eye contact with their peers, give gentle handshakes or fist-bumps, speak in a friendly tone, speak clearly and loudly, etc...Without this repeated modeling and practice, the greeting is meaningless.

You'll want to keep the greetings simple at the beginning of the year.  Teach your kids basic "Good Morning" and add a handshake.  As the year progresses, add in more movements and props like matching cards, a ball, yarn, etc...

I've compiled my favorite greetings into a little pack for you.  Included are 22 of my most frequently used greetings as well as an editable page for you to add your own.  Also included are my "Emoji Partner Match Cards," which I use about once a week for matching kids up during the greeting time of Morning Meeting.  Click the cover below to see more.

Be sure to check back soon for part 3 or this series:  The Activity/Game!  


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Blog Series: What is Morning Meeting?

My district doesn't offer professional development, so we have to seek it out and pay for it ourselves.  While I'd love to attend lots of fancy workshops, it's just not in my budget.  One thing I do in lieu of attending workshops is make my own PD!  Each summer, I choose something to focus area that I'd like to learn more about or improve in.  During this past summer, I decided to focus on Morning Meeting.  I used to do it many years ago, but it wasn't as structured as it should have been, and like anything else, as time went on, I did away with it.  However, in recent years, I've noticed that most of my students are not taught manners or citizenship at home and that it is my duty to teach those things to them.  Morning Meeting also helps build classroom community and teaches empathy, which is MUCH needed in today's world.  During my "self-taught PD" this summer, I read an outstanding book, The Morning Meeting Book by Roxann Kriete & Carol Davis.  I've linked it below for you.  If you're thinking of starting (or wanting to improve your current) Morning Meeting, this books is a MUST!  Such a quick read full of great information.


I'm going to be doing a series of posts about Morning Meeting and its components.  Today's post is to explain the rationale behind Morning Meeting as well as its four components.

What is Morning Meeting?  Morning Meeting is a structured 20-30 minute gathering each morning.  Students and teacher interact with one another in a purposeful way.  It's a wonderful way to start the day!  It helps build a solid community in the classroom and sets kids up for social and academic success.  It meets a plethora of learning standards, particularly the "Speaking and Listening" ones.

The four components of Morning Meeting are:

1.  Greeting-During the greeting, students and teacher practice greeting one another.  This is a great way to teach and practice eye contact and hospitality.

2.  Share-This is where students share important information from their lives.  The share can be done whole group (particularly at the beginning of the year) or several students can sit in a "share chair" and share on a specific topic each day.  As time goes on, students can do a free share, where they share anything they'd like with the class.  The share is a great way to practice speaking in front of a group.  It also helps children learn how to respond appropriately and be empathetic towards others.  Questioning by others is also done during the share.

3.  Activity or Book-This is when you can either read a book or do a game or activity.  The activity is usually quick, but very exciting for kids!  It can be academic or just for fun.

4.  Morning Message-The teacher writes the class a message each day.  It gives the kids a snapshot of the day.  The students can interact by sharing the pen with the teacher.  This is a great time to review virtually any Phonics skills as well as spiral any other content area.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for part 2: the greeting!


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Classroom Management Fun

I don't know about you, but I love a little novelty when it comes to classroom management.  We are a PBIS school and we also use a program called PAX.  In addition to both systems, which are awesome, BTW, I add in a few of my own fun things!  Today's post is all about a few little "extras" that I do!

First up are these Quiet Critters from Oriental Trading.  I get them out occasionally and tell the kids if I see them working quietly, I might put one on their desk.  Suddenly, the room is SILENT!  Everyone loves having a little "friend" close by while they work, right?!  The kids do not keep these.  They just get to keep it on their desk during the activity.  The box of critters was $19.99 for a set of 36.

Be sure to check out all the Learn365 Goodies for Teachers that Oriental Trading has by clicking HERE

The second "extra" that I do to help reinforce positive behavior is send home "POSITIVE NOTES."  I try to do this as often as possible.  It really only takes a second to fill one out and send it home.  I try to choose 1-2 students a day to receive positive notes.  The pack includes notes for specific behaviors as well as general "Good Day" notes.  Click below to check them out!  You'd be surprised at what a difference sending these home makes!!

Another thing that I do to encourage teamwork and build commaradirie in the classroom are these "WHOLE GROUP CLASSROOM REWARDS."  I select 2-3 and have the kids vote on which one we should work on.  I display the reward on a bulletin board and the class works towards earning letters.  The letters can be earned for a variety of things...hallway behavior, substitute behavior, you name it!  Possibilities are endless!  The class LOVES these so much! 

Click below to check this pack out! 


*This post is sponsored by Oriental Trading.  I was sent the items mentioned in exchange for a review.  The review is based on my experience with the product.*

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Pen Tips, Giveaway, and Freebie

Let's face it: Colorful pens are up there on every teacher's list. We use them for grading, note-taking, lists, and more!  We have a stash in our desk, one in our bag, and let's not forget a stash at home!! We can never have too many, right?  My personal favorite pens are Paper Mate Flair Pens.  I love how smooth they write.  I also love a thicker pen, and these do the trick for that! I enjoy the variety of colors and the "special edition" sets that Paper Mate makes.  

While using colorful pens is fun for us as teachers, they can also be EXTRA fun for kids!  Here are a few ideas of how you can use colorful pens in your classroom:

Set up a Writing Center with colored containers and writing tools sorted by colors.  You can use empty soup cans covered with construction paper for a budget-friendly set up.  Click here for the source of this image. 

Colorful pens would be a great addition to a classroom V.I.P. area!  When do kids ever get to use pens in elementary school!?! Here's a picture of mine in action below.  The kids LOVE being the V.I.P.!  Click here to read more about V.I.P.

Allow students to use pens for in-class work "every now and then."  Weekly Spelling practice is a great way to work this in. Can we say "Rainbow Writing?!"  Using pens for Kindness/Friendship notes is another simple way to add some fun!  

**Click the Rainbow Spelling page below to snag it!**

Let's just take a moment to enjoy these photographs of pens in all their glory!!! Sources listed below each image.


(And if you feel like giving a fun gift to a teammate or teacher friend, check out this freebie!)  Click here to grab the tag!

I am joining some of my friends with a WE LOVE SUPPLIES Giveaway. 
  • Visit each blog and enter each rafflecopter.
  • A different winner will be chosen from each rafflecopter.
  • Enter between October 1-5, 2017.
  • Each of my friends will choose a winner.
  • Winners will be emailed.
  • Winners will also be announced on our FB pages.  Make sure you follow our FB pages.
PLEASE NOTE: Winners will have 48 hours to respond to our email.  If no response, we will choose a new winner.
You can win the following:

To enter my giveaway, simply complete the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Happy Fall!

September 22 can only mean one thing:  FALL!  It's hard to believe that it's Fall over here in Ohio.  Last week, we had 90 degree days almost every day.  We are wayy warmer now than we should be!  Hoping it will cool down soon so I can break out the boots and sweaters! 

On the first day of Fall, I like to do a few things with my kids to celebrate!  First off, we watch Brain Pop Jr.'s "Fall" video clip.  If you don't have Brain Pop Jr., I highly recommend it!!  Such a great resource to have on hand.  The kids love them!  PS: They have many free videos on their site, and I *think* the "Fall" video is free!  Click HERE to check it out. 

Next, we colored a Fall mini-book.  We also looked for sight words to color in.  We read the mini book a few times (choral read and echo read).

We made a T-chart of things that remind us of Summer and things that remind us of Fall. 

We started an art project (a directed drawing of a scarecrow), but haven't finished yet so I don't have a photo for you.  The project we did is shown below and you can read more about it HERE

We played "I Have, Who Has" together!  Always so much fun!  Grab this game by clicking the cover below!!


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Literacy Centers: Back to School

I kicked off literacy centers in my classroom two weeks ago.  This is our fifth week of school...I don't like to start them right away because I need to get the class managed and well behaved.  This post is dedicated to showing you how I set up and manage the centers.

The first thing I do is decide how many centers I want.  This varies by year/class size.  This year I went with 5.  Next, I take a photo of each student.  I group the kids using their pictures, being mindful of possible behavior problems.  I also group heterogeneously to mix ability levels.  Finally, I place the photos on my mini pocket chart (Target Dollar Spot) with different numbers or clip art next to each.  I place an additional set of coordinating numbers/clip art on buckets.  I use the white ones shown below from Target.  I've also used the Sterilite Large Latch Boxes for many years prior (shown below).  Click HERE to get a set from Target.  Open a Red Card by clicking below and save 5% every day, plus get the totes shipped to you free!



Each group visits ONE, yes just ONE center per day.  I do not do Daily 5.  Bless you if you do it with first grade.  I've tried and it's just too confusing for my little ones.  Every 5 days I change the centers, so each Monday, the kids have a new set of centers for the week.  It works really well and has for many years.  The kids spend 20 minutes or so in their center for the day.  After school, I rotate the numbers/clip art images down on my pocket chart.  It's such an easy system!

Each week, I have a listening center.  I have this every week, all year.  I've collected books from Scholastic over my 14 year career.  It's great!  The kids listen to a story and complete a response sheet (found for free HERE).  I also have some sort of sight word center.  The other 3 centers are Phonics-based.  I have two desktop computers in my room.  Sometimes I will have the kids go to that for a center, but they have to take turns, which is annoying and can sometimes cause problems.

Below are pictures of my first centers of the year.  They are simple and can be completed without much assistance.  My role during the first few weeks of centers is to float and assist/manage behavior. Eventually, I'll pull a Guided Reading group during center time.  Each center has a link below the photos below in case you want to grab them!!




The next several pictures are pictures of centers in action from my "Back to School BBQ Set" found HERE.

You can also find all of my literacy and math centers in a BIG BUNDLE to save you $$$.  Click below to see them!