Sunday, September 27, 2015

Anecdotal Note Taking

I blogged! Many- I stink at September blogging. But, you'll have to visit iTeach Third to get one of my quick assessment tool tips! Here's a little sneak peak below. When you are ready to read the whole thing, click the picture!

Why you should use anecdotal notes:
  • They help me track things in a variety of subjects including behaviors
  • They help me be responsive to my students' needs
  • They help me to notice patterns for a particular student or groups of students
  • They provide explicit examples for discussions with my team, service members, and families
  • They help teachers stay on top of each student and not just those who are struggling for the feedback that all students (and families) crave.
See my ideas over at the collaborative blog!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Check Out My Home Away From Home

I spend a lot of time at school. Each year, I cut back a little bit more and hopefully this year is no exception. Still, I spend 9+ hours here 5 days straight so I want it to feel cozy and comfortable and orderly.

Additionally, I like to be creative and make my own things. So this summer I had some fun! And I finished it all in time to now switch my focus to decorating my first house with my husband! So my classroom should be staying like this for a while now, which I'm ok with because I love this space.

I'm linking up with amazing Ashley and Angie for their:

I've already shared a few snippets that you can see here. Here's a peek around!

My door and what you see when you walk in! I'm finishing up the door today before our Open House tomorrow. I'm waiting until as late as possible (without feeling rushed) just in case there are any changes to my roster. 

Next to my door is my "control center." Student attendance and lunch is done here, jobs are posted, and our graffiti wall. I'll be adding our morning and end of the day routines here too. My quotes from Miss Maple's Seeds are posted above this board (you can get them here to download). 

If you've been around this blog for awhile, you'll know of my hate-hate relationship with this accordion folding wall. I do get to easily talk to my teammate though as we leave a little crack in between the rooms. However, I think I figured out how to make it functional this year! I made these boards from the Dollar Tree, some left over borders, and my computer and clothespins. They'll hang our many charts.

Always a favorite part of my room- the library! No more books are allowed... I have no room!!!

This is the only bulletin board with something on it- otherwise they are empty. I like to keep them that way when we begin and build them with the students.

This is a new space this year that I'm trying. We'll see how it goes. I love anything that is a magnetic surface so I'm excited for the possibilities (but I'm not sure completely what they are).

This is my corner. I have my computer cart and then I have tables where I pull small groups.

Right next to my corner are things I use DAILY for morning meeting and instruction. You can get the response protocols here.

More blank boards ready for our learning! And homework pockets!

The last wall in my room is full of cupboards and counters. Again, it's a space that I always try to improve but am rarely successful. Maybe this year! Our math manipulatives are in those drawers. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Bystanders to Upstanders: Resources to Help in your Classroom

Back to school time means lots of thinking on how to make your classroom the best for your students.  Supporting their social development is just as important as their academic development. 

Bullying has been a hot topic in schools for quite a few years now and with that has come a different message than when I was in elementary school: SPEAK UP!

Of course we want students to do what is right, but I don't remember ever having open discussions on empowering those who see bullying happen and how to help stop it when I was a kid. Now, it is an expectation (especially with the program we use), but how can we get students to do this?? It's asking quite a lot of them to defend those who are getting bullied, knowing there is risk and even danger if you try to step up for others.

As always, children's literature comes to my rescue. They are great conversation starters and reminders when we need them. I've used these books to teach students about standing up for others and have implemented some things to help translate it to our classroom.

The first book we read during the first weeks of school is the book, One by Kathryn Otoshi. It is cleverly written using numbers and shapes and has a super powerful message. This author has come out with other books called, Zero and Two. I have read Zero and it also has neat message (haven't read Two yet, but would like to).

We've done this water color activity in years past to go with the water color look in the book. Plus, it's our first project with water colors after we do our guided discovery on how to use them properly.

It made a great display and students wrote ways they could help someone out as they learned, "It only takes one."

The book Say Something is similar in the way that it shows lots of different students getting bullied and the main girl seeing and hearing it happening, but not participating in it. The tables turn when it is her that is being picked on and she wishes that at least 1 person would help her out. However, that makes her realize that she could help those that are being bullied by befriending them and learning the importance of getting to know others.

The Juice Box Bully is also a great read. Now, I will say that it is a pretty "ideal" scenario- which makes it a great example of how powerful it can be when we stick together to help others. But I also like stories sometimes that don't end happy, as this is often times our reality. Anywho, this book is a great one for showing the power of standing together and to hold each other accountable. After we read this book, we initiate our Bully Box, which I have renamed:

I allow students to submit notes or messages about bullying behavior they may see by placing it in this box (I've used a cardboard box before too- this is a new addition this year). We create a reporting form together and I run copies and put them in that little pocket about the defender drop box. We do a lot of talking about the difference between tattling and reporting, but I also let students know that if they don't know if it's tattling or reporting, they can put it in the box and we can discuss it. You might think I get floods of small tattles, but surprisingly, I haven't. And it can be very insightful. This is also a 'safe' way we discuss on how to be an UPSTANDER and stand up for others. If you don't feel safe enough to say something in the moment you see bullying happening, if you report it, it's better than nothing! And this system has allowed me to track common/repeated behaviors, hot spots, those who exhibit bullying behaviors, those who are supporters of that behavior, etc.

When we create our form, we try to keep it as quick as possible, by adding little check boxes. In years past we included the following information on the reporting form:

Reporter's name, victim, person showing bullying behavior, supports, and bystanders

List of common places bullying occurs

Type of behavior
List of possible behaviors such as physically hurting, teasing, name calling, threatening, gossiping, etc.

We also include a space to check if this is the first time it's happened, or if it happens often

Which adults were around/who have you told

Note Section
They can elaborate here

It sounds like a lot, but it takes students less than 3 minutes to fill them out because a lot of it is just checking a box.

I know I want to empower my students to stand up for what is right- but I also know how hard that is to do. Giving them tools and chances to do this in a safe way is a great place to start.

What books do you use for teaching students about bullying?