Friday, July 27, 2018

4 for Friday: Growth Mindset

Just one more week to go and summer school will be finished and I can finally REST... I'm just going to pretend my principal didn't email me yesterday and tell me my room was ready whenever I wanted to come in, get unpacked and set up!

Back in June I had the honor of attending a professional development in which my good friend Adrienne was presenting how she cultivates a Growth Mindset in her first grade classroom. Which got me to thinking about what I've done and can do in my own classroom. This week I want to focus on developing a Growth Mindset in the classroom.

Growth Mindset in the Classroom

1. Learning Environment- My go to resource for teaching this is the Mindsets in the Classroom book and their Resource book. Here's what it says about the learning environment:
  • Teacher believes that all students can achieve at high levels.
  • Deliberate instruction of perseverance, resiliency, grit and persistence. 
  • Teacher feedback/praise is based on effort, process and strategies used. 
  • Students are given opportunities to safely struggle. 
  • Failure is looked at in a positive light. 
  • Grades and scores are not emphasized. 
  • Students are saying "I don't understand this yet. I'm am not going to give up. If I practice, I will get it."
  • Teacher is saying "Let's think of a new strategy. Yet. I can see the effort you have put into this. Keep Trying."
2. Parent Communication- It is very important to communicate growth mindset to parents so that they understand and support this mindset at home as well. I give out this newsletter to my parents at Back to School Night. I also cover it in my presentation. This can be downloaded for free from Teachers Pay Teachers
3. Literature- There are so many books that can be aligned to growth mindset. I like to read them during morning meeting. A few of my favorites are:

4. Activities- There are tons of resources available for teaching growth mindset, some free... some paid. Here are the links to my favorites:
Do you think you could implement any of these ideas in your classroom? Have an idea to help cultivate a growth mindset in your students? Leave a comment here or hop on over to our Facebook page and leave a comment.

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Great Pencil Challenge

Ladybug's Teacher Files Great Pencil Challenge
So I'm implementing Ladybug's Teacher Files "Great Pencil Challenge" in my 2nd grade classroom next year. I wanted a way to teach responsibility and also conserve the pencils that my students bring in. In the past my students have had unlimited access to brand new pencils and we were always out of them by March or April and they brought in 8 packs each! It's my first year doing it so after doing some research, here's what I came up with....

At the beginning of each month, students will get a brand new sharpened pencil with their number on it. The challenge is to have that same pencil by the end of the month. Any student who has their challenge pencil by the end of the month will get a brag tag.
  • I intend to have a cup of "emergency pencils" in case theirs breaks during the day.
  • If their pencil is dull at the end of the day, they have the option to put it in the "to be sharpened" cup.
  • Once their pencil gets too small to sharpen, I'll replace it with a new challenge pencil and it won't count against them. 
What do you do in your classroom to manage pencils? Do you think this is an idea that you could implement?

Friday, July 20, 2018

4 for Friday: Leadership in the Classroom

Week 2 of summer school is in the books and my husband and I are headed to the Lakeshore Learning Store today! I was able to visit when I vacationed in Ohio earlier this month but they weren't having their annual sale yet so I only purchased a few items. 

This week I want to focus on how to incorporate leadership into your classroom. I base my classroom leadership around the 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey.

Leadership in the Classroom

1. I first like to start out with the 7 Habits of Happy Kids children's book. Whether you focus on the habit for a week, month or day. I always start with this book. It has a cute story that goes with the habit along with follow up questions on how the characters used the habit and suggestions/ "baby steps" for children to implement it. Whenever I see a child demonstrating a habit they earn a brag tag for it. They can earn them more than once. 
7 Habits Posters
2. On the day that I read the story about the habit we are focusing on, I like to send home a flyer to the parents so that they can reinforce the characteristics of that habit as well. 
Parent Flyers
3. Last year was the first year I implemented tried to implement Leadership Teams in the classroom. As I said before, I had a rough crew last year and was never really able to implement them. But next year is a new year and I'm looking forward to trying again! They can be found in the Resources folder of the Teaching Oasis. 

4. Another way to encourage leadership in the classroom is to have students create a Leadership Binder/Notebook. You can do as little or as much as you want with these notebooks. You can use it for journaling (my favorites are found here), to track student data, or as a portfolio. I created some covers and dividers if you would like to implement them in your own classroom, you can download them here.
Do you think you could implement any of these ideas in your classroom? Have an idea to help grow your students into positive leaders for their peers? Leave a comment here or hop on over to our Facebook page and leave a comment.

Friday, July 13, 2018

4 for Friday: Positive Classroom Environment

After a long and arduous school year, I am thrilled to be on summer vacation...even though I've taught a week of Camp Invention and I'm currently teaching summer school. I'm excited to have time to get back to blogging and I'm super excited about this new blog series, so let's jump right into it!

Positive Classroom Enviornment

1. The main component of creating a positive classroom environment starts with you. I know... I know... easier said than done. But when I start to get ready in the morning and can't find the energy to have a positive attitude, when my stomach starts to hurt the moment I get in the car, and those times, though rare, when I actually cry all the way to school...I walk into my classroom and I'm immediately uplifted. I've tried my best to make my classroom a welcoming, motivating environment. It doesn't take much, there are many resources out there for you and some great printable posters on Teachers Pay Teachers. I especially like these Positive Posters and posters from Digital Divide and Conquer. So with the bright and inspirational decor {and the smell of my essential oils} I can usually turn my frown, upside down.

2. I implemented the Super Improver Wall from Whole Brain Teaching years ago. My student teacher this past year loved it so much that she's implementing it with her first graders next year. With the SIW, students can earn stickers to level up the wall for anything you want. So pass out those stickers, the students love them! If you want to read more about it, check out my blog post here

3. I implemented Brag Tags {SMART Tags} in my classroom two years ago. Students can earn them for a variety of reasons but I especially like to give out the tags that relate to positive choices and character traits. Check out my blog post here to learn more about out I implement them and how you can get them... for FREE!

4. I bought this Positive Notes bundle last summer and I LOVED writing my students notes daily to encourage and celebrate them. I got great feedback from the parents of students who were absolutely excited to receive these notes. I used the square size and just purchased the clear sticker pocket sleeves from Target to put on students desks so I can slide the notes in them at the end of the day for students to read in the morning. You can download a free set of Fun Pun Notes here. Are you and your student's into Emoji's... she's got a set for that too!

Do you think you could implement any of these ideas in your classroom? Have an idea to create a positive learning environment? Leave a comment here or hop on over to our Facebook page and leave a comment.