Sunday, February 28, 2016

Establishing a Classroom Community with the Help of your Whiteboard

Hi, friends! I've had quite a few people ask me about my whiteboard messages that I use in my classroom, so I thought, "Why not make a blog post about it?" Here we go!

WHY do I do these messages in my classroom?
*I pride myself on creating a classroom that genuinely feels like a family. A place where students love to be and love the people that they're with. A place where students set goals and encourage other students on their journey of meeting their own goals. I want my students to feel like they are in a safe, judgement-free zone where they are respected by not just me, but by their peers as well. Each time I complete one of these boards, I feel like my class is getting that much closer to being a true family.

Students need daily reminders about the importance of friendship and community. They need you to give them opportunities to see how just simple actions can truly make someone's day. and they need you to make them feel loved and appreciated. If you can get your students all supporting and fighting for each other, they're going to carry that with them for the rest of their lives. These simple messages are so meaningful to my students, and I hope they have the same impact on your students, too.

How do I come up with my board ideas?
My messages are focused around two main components: goal-setting and kindness. The main questions that I ask myself when thinking of a new message are:
What do I want my students to be thinking about?
What are my students needing to hear?

After sharing my whiteboards on Instagram, a new hashtag was started: #miss5thswhiteboard. I get a lot of inspiration for new ideas by browsing through the feed. It's an amazing feeling being able to see so many different teachers and classrooms utilizing these messages in their classrooms. I encourage you to check out the hashtag on Instagram for whiteboard ideas- you'll find plenty! :) I also have a list of prompts available for download here.

How often do I write a message on my board?
*On average, I complete 2-3 boards a week. I write the messages so that students see them first thing that morning. Sometimes I repeat the boards we've already done, but the wonderful thing is that each day is different. You could do the same board over and over and you would get different responses each time!

When do my students respond to the message?
*My students know that if there's a message on the board when they walk in that morning, they can answer it any time between 7:40-8:20 (our morning work time). I usually only like 2-3 students at the board at one time, so my students know they need to wait their turn. I also have students who come in at 7:40 and then others that come in at 8:05, so the staggered arrivals kind of eliminate the "crowd."

What markers do I use?
*Expo, folks. Plain, old Expo markers. :)

Happy boards, happy students, happy teachers!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Random Acts of Kindness TEACHER CHALLENGE

HELLO, FRIENDS! With tomorrow being Random Acts of Kindness Day, I was inspired to create a challenge for myself and my fellow teachers!

I bring you.....

The Random Acts of Kindness Teacher Challenge

I preach CONSTANTLY to my students the importance of being kind and how one small act can make someone's why not go all out and complete ten simple, kind acts that will make my students' and coworkers' days just a little bit brighter?!

I've generated a list for myself and any other willing educators to complete at their schools and in their own classrooms. Do you have to do all of them in one day?! No, ma'am/sir! Spread them throughout the week if you'd like.

All I know is that it sure does feel good to make others feel good. Happy challenge to you! Make sure to #kindness4teachers AND #teachkind!! :)

Monday, February 8, 2016

This Week's Lesson Plans

Hi, friends. I'm not sure about you, but February is always the month where I feel like things just FFFLLLLYYYY by. I mean, seriously?! How is the Valentine's Day party this Friday? There are so many great resources that I always want to make sure I incorporate into my lesson plans this month. From Presidents' Day to Valentine's Day, there's just not enough time to fit it all in. If I could cancel the early outs right now, I probably would.

Don't tell anyone I said that.

This week I'm giving you a look at my lesson plans. I know, I know; they're short. The great thing about our school is that we don't have to turn in our lesson plans, so I can really make them the way I want them. PLUS, I don't need a ton of details going into my plans. A few words and phrases is plenty for me. Now, my sub plans on the other hand?? Yeah, those babies are a MINIMUM of 3 pages. :)

Alrighty. Take a look at my plans for the week by clicking the link below. Each picture will take you to a resource that I am actually using. If there isn't a picture, that means that I've created something to go with my lessons. If you have any questions, please let me know!