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 www.mp3bear.com