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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Day 4: New Ideas


I'm back for Day 4 of Blog Hoppin's fun linky. Today I'm talking about NEW IDEAS. Here are some things that I've recently begun doing that are making my life a little better! 


1. My students FREAK OUT when I color the staples in my stapler! 


2 minutes, a handful of sharpies, and BOOM! You've got something that will make you & your students smile every time you see them. So cheerful! They're fun to make, too!
 When I staple spelling lists into their agendas each week, they can't WAIT to see what color staple they'll get! I haven't yet unveiled my diagonal-striped staples, which will give a multi-color design. 
Something little like this is a really big deal to my kiddos- and I love that!
I'm looking forward to the mayhem on Monday morning! 


2. Class Dojo! This is a new thing in my room this year and so far, I'm getting great results!
Each student has their own "account" and avatar (that they can customize themselves at home). Throughout the day they're rewarded (or deducted) "dojo points" that are tabulated, then reset, each week. I offer dojo points for arriving on time, leadership, behavior, effort, kindness, and honesty.
Conversely, dojo points are also deducted for negative behavior in these areas. 
Each Friday, parents who have provided me an e-mail address are sent a behavior report. It shows points received and deducted and any comments I might have made. I usually enter comments at the end of the day. I received a lot of good feedback from parents at conferences. Students are proud to go home & ask their parents to check their Dojo account & tell them about their day.
I use the computer, iPad, or my iPhone for this program. That's another reason it's so handy...it can be with e in my room, or really, wherever we are, at all times. When I'm working with small groups, I give points to students who are on-task. The Stamina King or Queen (from the Daily Five) gets extra points, too.
What's funny is that we really don't do a lot with these points. They're not converted into prizes, or rewards. I"ve found various ideas but, to be honest, I know I'd NEVER keep up with a system!
(High-fives to those who pull this off...you amaze me!)
Somehow, the students still care how many points they have each day. It's kind of wacky, but it's working.
PLUS...the data is saved for each student and can be excellent evidence for behavioral intervention meetings/plans. Knock on wood, I've not had to use it for that, yet. I really get to use the system for rewarding great behavior. 


3. This isn't really a school idea, but its what's motivated me to get up this week, so I guess it kind of is!
Gevalia Kaffe (I crack myself UP saying that) has made a 2-step coffee drink that gets two thumbs up from me!
My best friend (hey, Cass!) brought these to my attention last week and then I came across them at the grocery store. Basically you put the "froth" packet in your cup first, then you brew the K-cup of espresso on top of it. It foams! It smells amazing! It's frothy goodness in under a minute! 
Like I said, it's been my motivation to get up & shuffle downstairs in the morning!
They have other flavors too, I think, but this was the only one I could find. I'm excited to see what else they've got. Have you tried them? What do you think?


4. To know me is to know that I'm KIND OF an Erin Condren fan...hehe. 
I started with my first Life Planner last spring & have since become a fan of her Lesson Planner, lunchbox kit, and even her PENS! I'm now on my 2nd Life Planner & have to say, it's one of my favorite things! 
I'll admit though, when I saw the lesson planner pages, I was wondering HOW I was ever going to organize everything I needed into those tiny spaces?!? Luckily, a smarty-smart teacher (Mrs. Magee from First Grade Brain) created a lesson-planner template that makes lesson planning SO much quicker & organized! It's FREE on Teachers Pay Teachers...if you have an EC Lesson Planner, you'll want to check it out! 

I'm excited to read about the new ideas you all have to share!