Monday, September 5, 2011

All ready for Day 1

Tomorrow is the first day of school...Yikes!  Here is what I have ready for my 3rd graders!  I will have the volume meter by the end of the day.  I also forgot to take a picture of my Houghton Mifflin focus wall so I'll post that tomorrow.

Do it "write" is my writing bulletin board. I went through the LA power pix and pulled out the writing ones and will post them here.  Also I will post the writing process.

The board says "do it write" so before the kids even come in I have the homophones power pic and will teach them  the gesture tomorrow. 

Add caption

Because I anticipate adults and kids asking me about this wall  I added these.

Cute baby helping mom!

We all love Duck on a Bike!

Not WBT related but it's my Number Corner for Bridges Math

My scoreboard. Taylor happy and Taylor sad.  Can you tell I will miss her?

WBT rules. I left out raise your hand for permission to leave your seat. We are constantly on the move and I just won't remember to put the green sticky up. 

Open your books to page.... as well as a poster I made up "Ask 3 before me" Kids should ask 3 friends to remind them of the directions before asking me. 

sideways but it's my genius ladder. 

if you can't tell, it's a rubber band!

Goes with Bridges curriculum, but as I intro math vocab I will use power pix  in a binder because I've  run out of room. I will display them on the wall for a week then change to a binder.

Not WBT but love my outside bulletin. Ingredients are the kids and directions are add one cup homework, 1/2 cup books, etc. add 1 cup love, stir well and enjoy 3rd grade!

How I take attendance.  They put their magnets in a bowl.  One job for my kids is to put the magnets back up at the end of the day. 

Our district goals, state testing goals, "100% participation" and the kids will make their own goals to post up here"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Preparing my class

In service week begins next week.  I'm hoping to have my entire room, minus my new math manipulatives for the new math curriculum, in order!  I am SO close.  I have a few things left to do.  Pictures will be coming next week for sure!
I have my rules and power pix up.  I'm going to do my scoreboard this week and I have my mom making the volume meter.  Hoping to do the genius ladder and super improver wall next week during inservice.  If I don't have them completed by next Wednesday, I'll stick take pics and show what I have so far.

For the scoreboard I am thinking I might take a picture of my baby when she's really happy and one when she's really sad and use that for the Oh yeah and Mighty groan.

Looking forward to teaching heaven in a new grade level.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer School and the fall!

Well - summer school is over!  16 days of reading, reading, reading.  I did use several WBT strategies, but in 16 days there was no way to implement ALL of it.  I used most of the big 7.  I used gestures when I remembered.  I realize that will be my biggest challenge this school year.  That, and teaching in shorter amount of chunks.  I'm planning on showing my kids some of the WBT videos - if THEY don't know what it looks like in action, how can I expect them to produce what I'm thinking about?

I began setting up my class yesterday.  I only spent an hour so I just really decided on the room layout.  With 30 kids it's a challenge to find a seating arrangement that works.  I tried rows but they didn't fit and I didn't want to do groups (everyone does groups, I want to be a little different, plus, I do think it's distracting for kids who have a difficult time focusing always being with a group!)  I tried a U but there are too many desks.  I ended up looking in my Tools for Teaching book by Fred Jones and found "the double E" which works well with double desks like I have.  It's like a square U with desks in between, with the desks being the 'arms' on the E.  

I'm still trying to figure out which bulletin boards will be my power pix. I want them to be a board I can easily access since I will be adding to it frequently.  I have one HUGE bulletin board but it's on top of the cubbies so I'd have to climb on the counter.  It's a possibility though...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 1 of summer school

Summer school is only a total of 16 days and only 3.5 hours of instruction each day.  Today was spent assessing for most of the time.  I did find time at the end of the day to go over the rules, scoreboard, class/yes, and hands and eyes.  It will take them a little bit to get into the routine.  They were doing pretty well with Class/Yes though.  I think they were a bit shy - poor kids have not been in school for a month and they return to a crazy teacher yelling "OH YEAH" and hopping around the classroom.  I did have them teach a partner the rules too. I didn't use the term "mirror" but I did use gestures as I taught much more naturally than I did when I was first starting WBT.  I can't think of a better way to maximize the small amount of instruction time than using WBT.  The first day is usually so chaotic but today was a breeze!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer School

My summer school job is a dream job!  It's a Literacy Academy; it's a grant funded program for struggling readers, specifically our "bubble" kids.  It's a 4 week program, M-Th, 9 am - 1pm.  As the name suggests we teach literacy; and that's it!  We do have a chunk of time carved out that we may teach literacy across the content areas if we choose.  I have chosen to do a little of the science/social studies connections in our Houghton Mifflin guides that we don't usually get to during the school year, but I am also including a community service project that we will work on a couple of days a week and journal about once a week.  I'm super excited to see where the kids will take this project.

As I mentioned in my last post I am only planning on doing the "first steps" to WBT.  I might add some brain toys in here and there but I am still new to braintoys so it will be pretty basic.  Our summer school (which is only 2nd and 3rd graders) will be using a school wide Positive Behavior Instructional Support system (PBIS) to increase student engagement as well as an incentive for school wide behavior in the shared common spaces such as the hallway, cafeteria and playground. 

I will be sad to be leaving my baby girl after spending a month with her at home watching her grow and develop (she is 9.5 months and started crawling a couple of weeks ago) but I am super excited to watch a group of struggling readers transform in the period of just four weeks! 

I will have the parents sign a media release and hopefully post a video within the new few weeks.  One great thing about summer school is how much more importance is placed on  professional learning communities; there is a teacher who was hired for the sole purpose of being a floater teacher so classroom teachers can observe others in action.  What a great way for me to spread WBT and to absorb new strategies from my colleagues.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

And I'm Back!

School ended in mid June here in Oregon.  My parents went out of town, thus leaving me to dog, house, and grandma-sit for nine days.  During this time I wasn’t able to get back into my school because I was TOO busy!  Now, I have been visiting my new 3rd grade classroom an hour or so a day, unpacking boxes.
For those of you who may remember, I taught kindergarten the past two years and I’m MOVIN’ ON UP…to third grade!  I’ve been trying to figure out how to decorate my class.  Well, I figured it out.  It will be like HOME!  I’m going for an Americana type atmosphere so kids feel comfortable in their learning environment.
I haven’t made any real progress with WBT, other than THINKING about my bulletin boards, my timers, the power pix, and so forth, but I’m just happy my new room is no longer stacked sky high in boxes.
The school year will start in early September.  However, I will teach 1st grade for a month during summer school starting in a couple of weeks.  I will definitely use the 1st steps of WBT during summer school, and the routines and procedures.  I look forward to next week when I can sit down and really plan and prep how WBT will look for a month of summer school as well as how I will begin my year as a 3rd grade teacher.  Busy summer ahead….

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Buh-bye Kindergarten - HELLO 3rd grade!

We found out our teaching assignments for next year.  I have been asking to get out of kindergarten and it happened!  There will be a lot of changes at my school and I'm so excited to be with a group of 3rd graders when I begin implementing WBT from day 1.  I know they will THRIVE on it.  I have a LOT to do this summer to prepare.  Can't wait!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The countdown begins

And so it begins - 10.5 days left of school.  My school's population is such that the anxiousness of summer has less to do with excitement of being out of school and free from reading, math, and writing, but more to do with the scariness of not having a daily routine, not having someone to fix them lunch (if there is enough food at home for lunch), somewhere safe to play, or electricity to run their appliances.  I am really working on positive reinforcement these next 10 days and when a kid breaks a rule being really mindful of having them practice a rule to help themselves, not because they're "in trouble". 

On another note, I've started my summer "WBT to do" list.  I'm sure as the summer goes on my list will grow as I read more and more.

Happy end of the year my WBT friends!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I received some encouraging and supportive responses to my last post.  It is so nice to feel part of a team.  THANK YOU!

To update - things went UP hill after that post.  I went to school with a postive mind set and gave my kids a hug as they walked into the room.  Instead of having time outs where the class puts their head on their desks for a minute in complete silence, I had the class repeat just ONE rule, whichever the class as a whole was breaking, and I had them practice it perfectly - no half hearted hand raising or mumbling.  I really think it worked.

My scoreboard reward was sitting with the kids at lunch.  Normally I eat in the staff room and we have lunch room monitors.  I sat in the cafeteria with the kids and they LOVED it - and of course, so did I.  Next week I will play at recess with them if they win.  Can't wait for them to win so I can play with them. =)

Thanks again, WBT friends!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lost it!

If I'm going to be completely honest in this blog I have to admit that I screamed at my class yesterday.  Of course I'm embarrassed and ashamed.  Part of it is due to how the classroom is structured with our ELMO (like an overhead projector).  It's by the door, NOT in front of the class.  I often work from the whiteboard with our worksheet or whatever displayed onto the board.  However, when I want to show my class something and manipulate objects like I did during the math lesson I have to stand at the corner of the room which does not help at all.  Mind you, math is at the END of the day, after lunch, specials, language and snack.  AND yesterday was one of the first warm days in Oregon in a long time!  All day long, and especially through math, kids just kept talking and talking and talking when I was talking.
During 1st recess at 9:30 I was cool, calm, and matter of fact about it.  SEVEN of my 28 kids spent 2 - 3 minutes practicing a rule.  I told them not to worry about it they would remember next time.  I had SEVERAL of those same kids during different parts of the day who were reciting rules again...and again!

To make matters worse I have three kids with a communication disorder and the aid who is in charge of two of them was out sick and her position didn't fill!  These kids are pulled out for about 75% of the day to have 1:2 instruction.

During a brief 'time out' while the kids had their heads down a LOT of the kids were playing with the velcro from their name tags.  Next thing I know I'm taking all of their name tags off and throwing them in the garbage.

I just WISH I had started WBT so much earlier than the last week of March.  I plan to use this summer to plan, prepare, and study WBT as much as I can!!!

Not ot mention, as the year closes, the kindergarten assessment packet is HUGE, so there are plenty of unstructured times while I'm trying to assess.

Will hope, pray, and PREPARE better for today. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A weekend at the beach....

11 teachers took a mini-vacation and headed to the Oregon coast on Friday the 13th!  It was a fun filled weekend full of pizza, margaritas, and lots of talking!  We went to "get away" but what did we do??  Talked about work of course!  And I'm so glad we did...

I got to share WBT with these guys and a couple of them shared some strategies that they use (okay, just one, and she's a stellar teacher).  Our district is reading Teach Like a Champion and this teacher uses those strategies a lot.  Teach Like a Champion reminds me a LOT of WBT only they are more strategies and less of a program type like I picture WBT.  Of course, from both, you pick and choose what works for you and your class. 

I still struggle with transitions and I've been using "seats" lately and that helps a LOT, especially with a timer added in.  However, "lines" isn't working as nice BECAUSE they have to get their jackets from their cubbies every time they line up to leave the room (It IS Oregon, ya know!).  We use PBIS at our school and my teacher friend said she simply has 5 positives (pieces of paper rewarding good behavior which as a school can be traded for something later) and the first 5 in line with jackets on quietly standing facing forward earn a positive.  Will try Monday.

The other is name on their paper.  Oh my - this is awful in my class and such a waste of instruction time.  In the Ebook Biff has papers being handed out by students.  Now, remember, I'm still fairly new at WBT, but that strategy didn't work in my class.  I probably didn't practice enough with them.  As we close the year I am not going to spend the time training them and maybe try next year.  Now, I just pass to each table and the kid at the table passes them to the others at their table.  My thing has always been "Name on your paper then head down"  But let me tell you -  rarely does that happen!  What I learned from m teacher friend is because -- THEY DONT WANT TO!  She has them do "Name on your paper, stand up and put the paper over your head"  This is great for 3 reasons - I can look around the class and clearly see who is ready to begin, OTHER kids can do the same and they'll want to stand up so they'll get their names written quickly, AND it is in line with WBT - the more active they are the more they're learing.

So excited to try on Monday!! 
So..WBT transition can be found in the ebooks

Monday, May 9, 2011


I know the scoreboard is supposed to make it "fun" when the kids are rowdy and redirect negative behavior, but I have to say I just lost it today.  I am quite dissapointed in myself and it's just the nature of the best.  I was trying to do one on one assessments while kids did independent work.  There is the problem - kindergarteners have a hard time with independent work.  So many kids were breaking rule #3 and I don't have the cards yet, I just have the green, blue, yellow, red behavior cards. Okay, here is my vow to start off tomorrow better.  Fingers crossed that WBT will prevail and evil teacher scary voice w/ stink eye will NOT.  =)

Friday, May 6, 2011

A day off!

We get one personal day a year and if we don't use it, we lose it!  I am taking today off and starting my day off with looking through some WBT blogs and trying not to worry about how my class is doing.  My kids have a LOT of energy and WBT has helped to channel the energy and deal with the behavior issues.  However, I AM a bit concerned how they will do when they lose the structure.  I mean, even with me, WITH the structure, come the end of the day things can sometimes spiral.  I have promised them extra points on our scoreboard if they do well and gave the sub permission to send home weekend homework if they do not do well.  I left her my class/yes instructions but who knows if she'll use them.  All of my regular subs were booked so I have no idea who I'll be getting.

Well - off to clean the house!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Uh-oh - WBT overwhelmed!

As I'm digging more and more into WBT I realize how many aspects there are to WBT.  This week I chose to implement the sock less hand puppets after participating in last Saturday's webinar.  I realize I have NOT been doing MIRROR and Teach/Okay.  Yikes!  I do love the sock less hand puppets though.  My kids did character and setting.  I have their right hand be the 'asking' puppet and the left hand is their 'answer' puppet. I'm excited to begin using more brain toys, I just hope I remember to continue the first steps. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Music and songs

I have been thinking a lot lately about how to keep the kids engaged. I came across WBT expert, Deb W's video for doubles. The video is great to watch for class rules too. My kids are all engaged when we do the days of the week song and our alphabet song. Adding more songs can help keep kids more engaged AND retain what they learn. We also do a money song and that's how the kids remember the value of the coins. When I assess they inevitably end up singing me that song when I ask them the value of any given coin.
I found a website that offers free mp3 downloads. I have not tried accessing it from school - I'm hoping it's not a blocked site! You can create playlists and everything. I have created an instrumental play list of several popular songs - this way I can enjoy music I like, the kids can listen to it (not having to worry about lyrics) and they are hearing different instruments. I plan on playing these songs when they come in first thing in the morning. I am also going to create a pop playlist and they can earn a song as a scoreboard reward. The mp3 site is

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Love/hate relationship with WBT some days

Okay...most days it's a love relationship, but on the nights I go to bed at 11pm because I am perusing the forums or deciding what aspects of WBT I will implement next...that's when my love for wbt can take a turn...actually the turn for the worst is taken at 5:30 am when my alarm goes off. I suppose I am LUCKY that I am EXCITED enough to be infatuated with teaching and teaching strategies as well as LUCKY enough that my 7 month old even lets me sleep at all. =)

What I determined is that after about 5 weeks of WBT I am ready to change the scoreboard for the month of May. I'm thinking roses and weeds. Not exactly sure what I'll have them say instead of 'oh yea' and "aaaawwww". Any suggestions? Maybe "smells nice" and "pee-u!"?
Right now I carry a happy and sad face around my neck on a necklace with a timer. I gotta say - I'd be lost without this necklace - I use it for hallway behavior, I time the class for the scoreboard, and I even time individuals who take long in the bathroom. I think a sandtimer would be a good idea too. I bet there is even an online sand timer I could project onto our elmo...
I think you guys just witnessed a teacher megan thought path there! That's how I think. =) Now I'm off to google 'sand timer'.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I had a para professional in my room yesterday. She pulled me aside as kids were packing up to go home and told me that she would never want to teach kindergarten, but if she could teach it the way I teach it she would definitely teach the little ones. She remarked on how much FUN they were having. That's what I LOVE about WBT, is the fun that is built in to the management and structure of the class.
The challenges I'm facing this week include assistants who I adore and I'm so thankful for, but I feel like there are "too many cooks in the kitchen". And the grownups are telling on each OTHER! Yikes. I'll have to implement WBT with them too. :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

WBT with a new student

I take attendance at 8am. I got a phone call from the office at 7:50 a.m. saying I had a new student. I didn't have anything prepared for this kiddo. It was so nice, with my WBT procedures and routines, he caught on to everything SO quickly. He walked into a classroom where the expectations were clear which set him up for success. I can't tell you what a difference this has made. Before using WBT, when I got an unannounced new student, I would be SO stressed. Yesterday I was HAPPY to have another kiddo join my class, especially since he makes 28 which makes it possible for everyone to have a teaching partner during teach/okay However, teach/okay still works with an odd number of kids, as I usually have someone absent, I make a triad, or the kid does talking hand puppets.

By the way, my writing lesson went very well. I LOVE seeing these kids write. I am devastated my school will be going back to half day next year which basically means no writing instruction. But I'll find a way to build it in!
Off to teach now...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

WBT inspired writing lesson

On the WBT forum I discovered some people use Nancy Fitzer to guide their writing instruction. I had never heard of her but I did some quick research. The main component of her writing instruction is kids orally compose a sentence and practice it BEFORE putting pencil to paper. Tomorrow my class will be writing a thank you letter to our chaperones for our fieldtrip last week. We will begin on Monday by doing a shared class letter and tuesday they may choose to copy print from the letter we wrote together OR to use their own ideas to write their own. While coming up with the oral sentences I will have them count their words by hopping one time for each word AND by counting on their finger the amount of words. They will also have to teach their partner the sentence to make sure every kid knows what the sentence is. Looking forward to work tomorrow!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

To be or not to be (...yet)

Last week I found out that there is such a thing as WBT interns. If I wasn't giddy enough about WBT, I find out this juicy piece of news! Within seconds, I emailed WBT founder, Chris Biffle and he tells me to record myself. THe next day I'm talking to our reading coach, trying to figure out about permission to upload videos as well as private video sites I can upload a video to so that Mr. Biffle could view my work without sharing it with the world.
A few days later I am still excited but I have calmed myself down and come to a conclusion. I have only been WBT for ONE month. I am not ready to be an intern. I'd like experience starting WBT at the start of a school year. I'd like to become more of an expert. In the mean time I will blog, surf the WBT website, and hopefully make it to a conference this summer, depending on dates and locations. I will be teaching summer school either 4 or 8 weeks so I will be very busy! One of the MANY things my dad has taught me is PATIENCE. If I were to rush into being a WBT intern I may end up being stressed rather than enjoying it as much as I know I will in a year. Looking forward to ending this school year and studying all summer long to prepare for an entire school year of WBT.

WBT warning:

WBT side effects: Loss of sleep from giddyness, extra smiling from you and students, shock and awe among colleagues and parents, higher test scores, curious glances, jealousy among colleagues, your OWN shock and awe as your students you previously thought were terrors turn into little learning machines and possible more!

To relieve these symptoms: Spread the word!! Tell others about WBT. BEGIN using WBT if you haven't done so. Massage your cheeks from all that smiling. =)

Friday, April 22, 2011

First days using WBT

4/ 2/ 11

Week 1: Implemented class/yes and the scoreboard. For this week they won the scoreboard. I made sure of it. At the end of each day we count the tally marks - whichever has the most then gets a star. At the end of the week, whichever has more stars, the happy or sad face, wins. This week they "won" a movie. I actually was going to show it to them anyway, as it was about plants, but when time came for me to count the stars and they won I told them that was their prize. It worked. =)


Week 2 Have implemented: Class/Yes, scoreboard, rules 1 – 5, hands & eyes

Seems like it is all working. Sometimes/often I have to say “class” a few times before getting their full attention. Haven’t done “mirror” yet, but I am working on teaching with my hands more and having them copy me. Just haven’t added in the word “mirror”. Same with Teach/Okay. I have set them up with assigned seats on the carpets and partners. They can turn to their partner, talk and turn back when I say class.

Difficulties: Most kids have bought in; just 2 – 5 kids who don’t follow all of the directions. Also, difficult to remember to review the rules. I like how it is made into a quick chant though, it makes reviewing quick and easy. I have done a lot of modeling about smart and foolish. Timer works OKAY but they haven’t beat a record in a long time. Usually because of one kid. Maybe I can tell the class if they beat a record they’ll get TWO points or if A*** gets to his seat he can earn two points for the class, but they still get one if Alex doesn’t make it and everyone else does.


Week 3 - Began mirror and teach/okay this week. Both are going well. I have added the words "mirror done" and use the sign language for all done. I did this because I continued to have kids mirroring me when it was over. Teach/okay is going well. The talking puppets to themselves when they don't have a partner is a little tricky so I also allow them to join a group. We have only really done it for one day but I already see how powerful it is. We discussed how to be a great listener and a great speaker.

Other things I have done on my own this week that's WBT inspired: Work Quiet - when kids begin independent work I say "Work Quiet" and they say "work quiet" and it keeps the volume level down a lot lower. I also introduced the "A team". Three students whose name begin with A have a tough time following directions quickly so they can't contribute to sad face points but they can double our happy face points.


Week 4: Haven't implemented anything new. Just perfecting rules, class/yes, mirror, teach/okay

I have received compliments from paraprofessionals that work in my room as well as an admin who was observing. They DID lose the scoreboard last week so they got homework over the weekend which they never get. We also went on a fieldtrip this week. The parents were amazed at how the kids all responded when I said class. I have started LOOKING into some of the more academic aspects of WBT. With such a challenging class I really wanted to dive into classroom management but now that we're settling down a bit I have checked into Biffytoons to teach my kids some extra HFW. I probably won't teach them to all of my kids, just my higher level readers - at least at first as a 'test'. OR...I may not even use them at all this year, with only X amount of weeks left (I should be counting down but I'm not!) and then I can really take time over the summer to read over more than just the basics.

Here are the links to all WBT methods mentioned in this post: This links to WBT first steps: Mirror, hands and eyes, class/yes, scoreboard, teach/okay and switch and class rules. When searching the site go to downloads. you must be a member(which is free) to download ebooks but if you go to downloads you can download more info about each step. I have enjoyed SLOWLY implementing different parts of WBT into my day. I look forward to watching my class continue to grow. My only regret is I didn't find WBT sooner!

Back tracking

A few days before spring break I had one of my worst teaching days ever. I had the kids put their heads down multiple times, I lectured them non stop. I honestly don't remember what EXACTLY was so horrible, but I do remember coming home, hugging my husband, and breaking down into tears! I thought it was supposed to be easier than this. The next morning, while feeding my baby before work, I googled "kindergarten classroom management" and found a video on youtube. This teacher had the kids reciting rules and had everyone engaged. I was hooked! At the time I didn't really spend any time looking through information that went with the video. A few days later during spring break I watched the video again and realized it is from Long story short, I spent a good chunk of my time on this website during the break and implemented some great strategies when I came back. I have done some journaling over the past few weeks as I've implemented WBT a few steps at a time. I will be back later to post them. I just can't believe how HAPPY I am, EVEN with my group of craaaaazy boys! =)