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Calm Down Kits in the Classroom

Do you have a Calm Down Kit in your classroom? I love mine.  It is a great way to teach your students self regulation by providing them the tools they need to calm down.

self management, sel

Should You Try Flexible Seating? Why I Think It Worked for Me

Flexible seating is just that FLEXIBLE! It has so many benefits for children.  A few years ago, I added flexible seating options in my classroom but the students still sat at tables, in chairs.  Two years ago, I made a VIP {Very Important People} table with balance balls.  My students were super motivated to get picked for the VIP table.  It worked really well but I wanted everyone to have that benefit.  So, last year, I took the plunge and got rid of my chairs.  I was super nervous and wasn’t sure how it would go, but decided to step out of my comfort zone and give it a try.
flexible seating first grade

Make the Time for SEL {Social Emotional Learning}

It is summer and it is time to reflect and make decisions for next year. I just completed my 24th year of teaching.  A lot has changed since I began.  There are new, rigorous standards.  School shootings are becoming more common.  Parents and children seem less connected due to the increase in technology.  Atypical behaviors in the general education classroom are becoming more typical. 

What I believe has not changed.  I believe in teaching the whole child.  I think relationships are the most important part of teaching.  I know that children learn best and are willing to take risks when they feel cared for and loved.  Students need to feel like they belong to the classroom community.  I believe that no learning will take place if a child’s social emotional needs are met.  That is why I think that SEL {Social Emotional Learning} is imperative.

growth mindset, self awareness for kids, self management teaching ideas


Tips for Closing Out the School Year



Closing up the school year can be stressful.  Doing a few things several weeks in advance can help.  Here are five tips to help you maintain your sanity at the end of the year.

Note: It’s incredibly important to keep your classroom intact as much as possible until the very last days of the school year. It’s tempting to start removing items earlier, but keeping your room intact benefits students.  If you begin to shut down, your students will think it’s time to shut down.  Therefore, try to keep things as normal and routine as possible till the very end.
tips for the end of the school year


Glow Day Room Transformation



Classroom transformations are such a powerful way to get our students excited about learning.  Glow Day is no exception to this!  Let me tell you all about this AMAZING day!



10 Effective Strategies for a Chatty Class


Spring is here and we all have spring fever! Energy levels are higher.  Students seem restless.  Behaviors that have never been seen before appear.  And your once quiet class becomes chatty.
Every year I remind myself that this is normal. And to be expected
But that doesn’t mean we can’t remedy the situation.

In this blog post, I will share effective classroom management strategies for taming the talkative class.

Here is my golden rule when it comes to this:  Do not begin teaching until the class is quiet.  If you teach while students are talking, you are telling them that it is acceptable to talk. So stop.  Wait. Don’t continue until they are ready to learn.  Do not worry about the time.  If they take your time, take theirs.  You will only have to do this once or twice and they will get the message.



Fostering Relationships in the Classroom


We all know that research says students need to feel included, loved, and safe in the classroom to learn.  They also need to move.  Team Builders are the best way to incorporate both of these!
Positive relationships with teachers are important in supporting higher levels of self-esteem, higher academic self-efficacy, and more confidence in future employment outcomes (Ryan et al., 1994)
morning meeting activities, team builders classroom

Hosting a Reading Restaurant


The Reading Restaurant was open this week and it was a hit! I served up some fabulous books and my first graders were totally engaged.
If you haven’t tried a book tasting yet, I highly recommend you give it a try! It’s easy to do and an inexpensive room transformation. 
All you need is great books, a serving tray, and if you want, a chef’s hat and apron, and tablecloths.

culturally responsive teaching

Early Number Sense


Number sense is an absolutely critical math skill.  Without number sense, computing and understanding relationships within numbers is difficult.  We all know students that know algorithms but have little understanding of the math involved. These students don’t know what to do if an algorithm goes wrong.  Some of them can’t even tell if the answer they got makes sense or not. This is why early number sense is critical.
number sense activities, subitizing games, number sense games