Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mega Management: Lining Up

Oh my gosh, I have been MIA since my camping trip the first weekend of August! And this would be why....
I was planning and prepping and pinkifying for my daughters 5th birthday party....a PRINCESS TEA PARTY!!

And yes, as my husband would say, I totally lived out my childhood dreams through her. It was way, way FAB and I loved every minute of it. 

But now back to reality and time for the next post in my Mega Management Series.

How many time have you stood at your door patiently waiting while the students in line are chit-chatting, wiggling around, turning to talk to the person behind them, or some other off task behavior? I know I have done that a time or two. 

It's important to dicuss expectations for lining up. I have a few guidelines that we discuss at the beginning of the year.
  • Face forward at all times
  • Keep hands to yourself...that means no tapping on windows we walk by or scraping the stucco off the walls while waiting in line. 
  • No talking while walking...I like this rhyming little ditty
To ensure that these guidelines are reinforced throughout the year I use a system that my mentor teacher heard about and started using. It's call the Mystery Walker. Any time we line up I pick a student's number from the Mystery Walker cup. I don't tell them who it is...hence the mystery part. If the Mystery Walker follows these guidelines I award the class a point, a marble in the jar, or whatever whole group incentive I'm using at the time. 

Here are a few tips for using the Mystery Walker system:
  •  Keep a toilet paper roll in the center of the cup. This way you can separate those students that you want to pick again from the ones you don't. I usually put students in the center of the roll once they've earned a point. The nice thing is students don't know I'm doing this so as far as they're concerned, they might be the Mystery Walker every time. Maybe even announce someone twice in a row so students see that in can happen!

  • Don't reveal the Mystery Walker unless he or she earned the class a point. We want to keep this system positive.

  • Feel free to make a switcheroo mid "walk" if you notice that a student who usually struggles in line is doing really well. For example, if Johnny (what is with that name and just sounding like a mischievous little one?! hahaha) has a hard time walking in line and I actually picked Lucy to be the Mystery Walker, nobody will know if I announce Johnny as the one who earned the class point. It's a nice confidence booster for Johnny too and his classmates now see him in a positive light. 

Catch up on past posts with these links:

Friday, August 2, 2013


I'd like to ignore the fact that it's August, but I couldn't possibly do that with my whole blog feed full of Currentlys.

And Farley's little self plug at the bottom of her post totally worked because I'm getting her classroom edition. Yay!

Click the image to get yourself a set too!
 Less fun is what I'm currently up to, but hey, what can I say....

Listening...ok, so I waited until the last minute to do my laundry before camping. This will make sense when we get to "thinking".

Side Note: I'm actually typing this the night before it posts so hopefully my laundry will be done and we'll be on the road shortly after you see this!

Loving...I've been in my class all week and it's almost ready. Next week my baby girl turns 5 and my Mom and Grandma are coming to visit so I don't want to have to go in to school a bunch. Then the following week it's back to work for me. Yikes!

Thinking...okay, you know you're a bad procrastinator when you're procrastinating by idly thinking about how you procrastinate. I actually went to a school conference and attended a seminar about procrastinating. Don't ask....

Wanting...this is totally irrelevant to anything, but gals I'm really hungry. It's past 11 and all I had was about 5 Mickey Mouse chicken nuggets...eew...And you all know about Maslow's hierarchy so I don't wanna hear anything about it...hmmm, I think my hubby has a Kit Kat chilling in the freezer and he's not home...hmmmm.....

Needing...I already bought about 4 storage/cart/container type items for the class, not including the 24 shoebox size containers I bought for the students extra supplies but's a sick addiction. I really can't help it. 

Back to school must haves. The fun part.

1. New pens- this should really say new writing tools because I LOVE buying anything I can write with. Here are my current faves:

I love these Sharpie pens. They're not quite like the original black fine tip ones, which in my opinion have a little thicker stroke which I like, but these are fun too!

I'm a pencil snob and only like the Ticonderoga ones as far as pencils that you have to sharpen, but I do like a cheapie mechanical one every once in a while. Got these the other day...

Ok, I'll be totally honest. I bought them because they match my class colors. I know you won't judge me because if you're a teacher reading this you've probably done it too.

And I'm also very particular about highlighters. For the longest time I would only use these by Sharpie. It's because they're a normal yellow, not neon.
For some reason I get irritated by neon yellow highlighters. I'm getting better though and can use some other colors like blue, purple, or orange...but the real neon types bug me.

2. Laminating pouches for my Scotch Laminator. I got a pack of 200 pouches so it's pretty safe to say I'm set for quite a while.   

3. And of course with all that laminating I must have cardstock. I hoard it everywhere possible.

Now that you all think I'm weird, I hope you enjoy your weekend. 

I'm off camping so I'll see y'all Monday!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mega Management: Transitions

Coming at ya with the 4th post in my series:

Today we're talking about transitions. I love using a bell (the kind you ding, not shake) to signal a transition is coming, but my favorite transitions tool is Word of the Day.

Here's how it works:

Each morning I introduce the Word of the Day. We discuss the meaning of the word and how it can be used in different sentences.

The students know that when it's time to transition they're not allowed to move until they hear the Word of the Day. For example, when changing from Math to Language, and if the Word of the Day were voyage, I might say something like this:

"I'm looking for whole body listeners.
(Proceed when you have everyone's attention)
When (emphasize when in the beginning)
you hear the Word of the Day
I'd like you to clean up your math practice
and have your language books open to page 125. 
The word of the day is voyage."

Later I might ask for the definition of the Word of the Day prior to saying the word. Or I might say, "Today's word of the day means a long trip or journey. The word is____." The students will fill in the word when I pause. 

Here is a FABULOUS video from Teaching Channel where Ms. Noonan shares how she uses the Word of the Day and some other cool ways to manage transitions.