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Friday, August 4, 2017

QR Codes 101: Creating a QR Code and Using Chromebooks to Scan Them

How to make a QR code

Many teachers have been asking me how to create a QR code and many more teachers have been asking can you use QR codes with Chromebooks.   In this short video, I will show you how to create a QR code and remove adds and how to scan a QR code using a Chromebook.  There may be other ways but here I am showing you what I use and know.  
If you want the interactive professional growth resource and you have no idea what or how you would use a QR code with and need ideas and inspiration along with editable templates, transcripts for the videos, and are left with more questions after the video above - make sure to follow me for when that resource is available. It will be available soon! Along with creating images, audio, and PowerPoint videos to link to QR codes.  

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The 1 BIG Mistake Teachers Make with Back to School Routines and Procedures

Don't let that be you! I think it is probably more common with NEW teachers and sometimes we just plain forget what and how we do things at the start of each new year.  

Which essentially means you are doing all the talking and the kids are doing all the listening which means you lost them a LONG time ago.

I always have to remind myself to take things slow at first and with each routine and procedure build in a task or activity that enables me to teach that routine and task.  The first day of Kindergarten can be rather tricky trying to decide the order in which you want to teach routines and procedures because . . . 

1).  Getting parents off and out the door and easing crying students into their new environment can take some time.

2).  You want to teach about  lining up because before you can go anywhere you need to teach how we line up.

3).  You want to teach restroom expectations by taking a trip to the restroom but have to teach lining up and walking in the halls expectations on your way but will want to do this before your 1st student says, I NEED to GO!  because shortly after the whole herd has to go too!

4).  By this time it is probably getting close to snack time and wait - you didn't do a single activity or task!  But more importantly you have to get back to class and have the kids go through the routine and procedures for getting their snack (You did set up a routine and procedure for separating snack and lunch - right? If not - you are going to have kids eating their lunch at snack time).  

5).  Back to class and now hopefully you had all those sweet parents help you get your student badges on so you don't have to worry about getting them on your kids yourself.  

6).  Now it's time to go through the routine and procedure for lining up again and getting your snack, and walking in the halls.  Lots of STICKERS Folks - LOTS OF STICKERS!  LOTS of PRAISE!

7) HMMMM . . .tricky part here because hopefully you have enough time to have the children set their snack down and have them practice the playground expectations and procedures for sliding, swinging, and what to do when that bell rings and where to go!

8) Do a head count and have your list of names before you head back.

9) On your way back to class now you need to go over hallway expectations, get drinks, and bathroom break again.  

10).  We are back to the class and now we go over how we enter the room and go ?????? where are they going? Hopefully the carpet.  Here you might have time for a read aloud and now is the time to go over carpet rules and whole body listening.   

11).  Guess what - It is time for lunch already!  One more time for lining up and walking in the halls and getting lunches routine and procedures.   Go early so you can show children where to put their lunchboxes after they are done eating.   I always ate with my students for a while until they got it down.

12).  Recess is over.  They'll want to go home!   Is it time yet? When do we go home?  You walk in the halls again, restroom break again, and lunchbox put away routine and procedure.  Enter the classroom routine and procedure again.  

13).  Do your kids rest after lunch?  Routine, procedure, and expectations for resting.

14).  Chances are - Dismissal might be about an hour away and you will need that time to get the kids ready to go home and have them go through the  routine and procedures for bus riders, parent pick up, and after school care at school such as AMPM.  Here is a good time to give them all a picture of a car/person/school and play a game by holding up the picture when you call bus rider, parent pick up, etc.   Play a game lining up in the order you need.   

15).  Be packed up early.  You can always sit in a circle (which you will need to teach) on the carpet and take turns (which you will need to teach) for what they liked about school or read another story.

16).  AHHHH!  You made it.  Now reflect and prepare for the next day and you can hopefully get in an activity or 2 that teaches more routines and procedures!  

And you had all those cute activities planned . . .if you didn't get a single activity done - that's okay! Go slow and teach routines and procedures as you go and as they come up - NOT ALL AT ONCE! You'll be less stressed and so will your kids.

Here is a video about teaching routines and procedures with activities if you need ideas or are looking for simple non stressful activities that teach routines and procedures as students are learning.  Did I mention it has clickable links to songs and links to how-to videos to  help implement some of the routines and procedures?  It will help get you off to a great start!

If you like the activities in the unit you can find it below by clicking on the picture.

Here is a 1st grade back to school unit that will enable you to teach a lot of routines and procedures while reviewing Kindergarten skills.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Putting Stuffed Animals in TIME OUT - and how it worked to mold behaviors

Molding student Behaviors

I always think I have nothing to say or teach or share that is important enough or that you haven't heard it already.  I am finally starting to let  my guard down and share more freely as a way to help others.  Sometimes the solutions are great, sometimes they are okay, and sometimes they don't even work at all.  They might not work in my or your current situation but in another situation they may.  In this post I am sharing a tool or strategy I tried to get the hardest to control kids to do some thinking.  Were they cured - of course not! It takes time.  But they listened and they started recognizing their own behaviors.   The first step in fixing a behavior is realizing you're doing it (I think so anyways).

Here's the background.  Last year toward the end of the year I agreed to do an after school social skills class with students from different classes in kindergarten.  These kids were chosen by their teachers and essentially it meant they were the hardest behaviors in kindergarten.   Imagine that! Yea, the first day I was ready to send half back to the after school program they were in but then I quickly reminded myself that was the reason they were there.  I could hardly get them in the door or let alone to be quiet for 1 second so I could instruct them on what they were going to be doing.   There is a lot more behind this entire program we did but I am just focusing on one thing here.

I quickly learned to get their attention we would have snack and a drink while they watched a Wiggle Bottoms videos that had the same lesson we were focusing on for that day.  After the video we went to the carpet and (I got this idea from the kids - they are so smart)! They were getting into the stuffed animal bin and touching each other, laying on the carpet, wouldn't stop talking, and on and on.  So we turned the stuffed animals into a game which ended up being their favorite part of our time together.

Here is how it worked:
1) Each of the 14 students picked a stuffed animal
2) Each student had to hold their animal in their lap until the end of the story/activity
3) Any time the student did follow the rule (touching, not criss cross, laying down, throwing the animal up in the air, shouting out, making noises, not raising hand, etc.) I took their animal away and it sat out on a time-out.
4) The only way they could get it back was to tell the stuffed animal the right thing to do or the opposite of the rule they were not following.  
Example:  You need to crisscross applesauce and put your hands in your lap.
5). With this group, I did have them do it immediately and I would take multiple animals away at a time and they would have to tell their stuffed animal what to do right then and there.
6).  I did have the student who kept their stuffed animal the entire time earn a prize for their self control.
7). Stay consistent with putting the stuffed animal on time-out and having them repeat the behavior.  
8).  Choose 1 or 2 students to focus on using the stuffed animal.

This is the one thing that worked for keeping behaviors together on the carpet when nothing else worked.  If you try it, leave a comment and let us know how it worked - or didn't. 

I suggested to the teachers who had these children in their class to let them bring a special stuffed animal to class to hold and repeat the activity.  They were concerned about all the children wanting a stuffed animal.  This is where you discuss fair is not always equal.  It would be impossible to teach or have every student have a stuffed animal.

Social Stories QR Codes

This year I did make QR Codes for the Wiggle Bottoms Lessons so that way if I needed a student to review a certain lesson they could scan it and listen to it.  HERE is a booklet you can download. They are great to send home too!

If you need more classroom management help, check out these posts:  Classroom Management!

Classroom Behaviors

Setting Classroom Goals

Happy Teaching!
Tonya Leslie

Saturday, November 12, 2016

I am THANKFUL and We've Stabilized!

So this difficult situation of a classroom has stabilized or I have adjusted.  Let's just say we have met in the middle. I want to come back to address the rocky start of the year with an update.  I still have 3 Adults in the class and have learned to utilize the help I have when I can.  I have put more trust into my parent helpers and enlisted their help with Interventions.  We have worked extra hard to get kiddos up to speed due to a rocky start and over the last month I have learned to have fun with the kids! Hooray! 

I took a step back and through much reflection, I am Thankful to have been able to meet the two aides who help with 2 students. They go out of their way to help with others when they can.  I have learned to deal with the room arrangement and switched out some tables so I can have one of the aides sit at a table and help with other students  - if possible at that time.  This is how we are catching up! It all good - I GOT THIS!

I am back to finding what my kids need and addressing their needs. I ended up adding beginning sounds, same and different, and more games to a Thanksgiving unit from last year because I have a lot of English Language Learners this year and they need support in these areas as well as vocabulary building.

If you need vocabulary support but are short on time for integrated thematic type units and foundational skills these activities may help you get that accomplished.

Thanksgiving activities for Kindergarteners

I usually do Daily 3 or 4 or 5 but like I said - I have enlisted the help of parents so this coming up week I have a different parent come in every day for an hour at the same time so I will be having them help with the build a graph activities, and with the games. They wlll do 3 different graphs over 3 days. 

Same and Different

I'll be able to address the students who still need same and different and beginning sounds  with the same and different cards.  The kids will then go and show what they know on the independent activity sheets.  I think I'll have the children take turns putting clothespins on the cards for same and for different.   I am doing same one day and different on another day.  There are 10 cards total.  I can always add this to a center later.
Fall Beginning sounds

I will be using the beginning sounds cards and letters for a "Mix and Mingle" activity each day after we say each name for each picture.  Children will walk around and find the matching beginning sound. I will use the independent sheet as an assessment at the end of the week.

thanksgiving Vocabulary
After using post-its on a simple Thanksgiving read aloud to model cross checking, children will complete one of the cross checking activity sheets.  Here they will work on sight words is and are and singular and plural.  They understand it more after you bring their attention to the fact that these are pattern sentences.  Then draw their attention to the word that is different.  Highlight the beginning sound with a yellow crayon to help find the vocabulary word.  They then cut and glue the matching picture next to the sentence.

Children also practice cross checking with 2 student readers and count how many letters are in each vocabulary word. 
Thanksgiving Games

I don't have pictures of the games yet but there are 6 games to help meet the different ability levels.  I need all 6 but you may not.  My parents will also play the games with the students and then they can play them independently.  They are set up to be played independently or with a partner.  I prefer the kids to play with a partner so they can learn from each other.   The card covers are pictured above but I'll post pictures of the games when I can.

We will be busy, busy, busy, but the children will have fun while learning important skills with hands on activities, games, and lessons.  If you think these activities will help you and your students you can find them HERE or you can click on the pictures.

My classroom will be changing again soon. Once I am updated on the situation and changes are made -I will update.  Happy WEEK before Thanksgiving break!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Truths: It's not all Roses

Well, after a stiff drink I am on round 19. I mean day 19 of school. It has been a tough year from the start and it is just one of those years where you wonder what the hell you did last year to have Karma come and kick you in the A?? like this?

So, don't get me wrong - I love kids and I'm always up for a good challenge.  I love every single one of the kids in my class and I would do anything to help each and every one in anyway I could.  I do the best I can even at the expense of my own family which is not healthy by the way or even fair to them (my family that is).  But the truth is . . .

this year, by day three I swear if I had money I would have flat out resigned.  By day 5, I was crying in my car after school.  I held it together in spite of everything that happened but it was the sweet note and new purse my husband left in my car that had me burst into tears after such a difficult day.  He couldn't have had better timing.   By day 5, the school psychologist, sped teacher, counselor, principal and assistant principal had all been in my class (all at once and multiple times) and 2 Emergency SST's were put in place.

So by day 8 I was fully mentally exhausted and sick with bronchitis.  It took 8 days this year to completely take everything out of me. A RECORD.   So, to bring you up to speed, by day 10, regular visits by the principal and assistant principal along with a 1 on 1 aid,a walkie, several parent meeting with separate parents, behavior specialists and another 1 on 1 aid request - let me just say, I have never had more difficult situation(s) in 1 year. I have definitely had my share of difficult students, autistic students special need students but this year - no modification is working and wrong placements with 60 day wait periods is beyond torture!  The support has been more than I could possibly ask for but it doesn't change the extreme amount of stress, hours, and  guilt of being unable to teach my students due to the situation(s) in my class.  Things have been ripped off walls, furniture broken, things thrown, and lessons untaught. It is a constant struggle with issues beyond your normal/typical hard behavior kids.

My classroom is getting messier and the set-up is no longer working now that I have 3 adult bodies and 25 K students in 1 regular ED classroom.  I now need to rearrange the room.   I am not whining I am simply stating it is is not always ROSES and teachers are not always in a utopian atmosphere where they can decorate their rooms, teach as planned, and go to work every day happy because they have a job.  I try every day to do the best I can but I have broken down several times already (I am not an emotional person) because I cannot help the student(s) that were entrusted to me and they are only 5.  Everyday I feel like we are falling further behind where we should be academically.  I am tired. I am exhausted. and you know what really urks - when your fellow teachers walk by with their kids all in a line, all quiet and listening.

No Pinterest room or Grand TPT unit Behavior Plan/Charts or goals will change what is happening in my room.  Pure patience, love, understanding, and time is the only thing that will help at this time.  I try to remember what I was once told, "If you had a hard day then the child had an even more difficult day."  The fact is, is that no matter what the student(s) do, once I can sit with them and look them face to face, my heart melts and feels for them.  I want to cry due to the mere fact that life has been so difficult for them up to this point that they act out in such a way.  I want to just hug, hold, and talk with them for a while but I can't because I have other littles looking at me waiting for guidance. Hopefully this will be all sorted out soon and like I said, the support staff is great and I have an awesome principal so I trust this will be resolved soon.So, here's to day 19 and any teacher facing difficult situations this year.
Gotta go! Can you watch my class? I have a runner!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Back to School Tips, Routines, and Procedures

Kindergarten Routines and Procedures

I go back on the 17th with kids so I am in full swing of thinking about everything related to back to school!

In the midst of all that thinking I made a video. It's my first face to face video.   I talk about some activities I plan on using to help teach routine and procedures.  I'll just show you and stop talking now.  You can also download a clickable linked file below with routine and procedure tips.  The file is useful even if you don't want the activities.

I will be adding more detailing my planning and back to school activities in hopes of helping others.  I don't know about you but I love reading other teachers "Back to School Plans and Activities."      
Back to school routines and procedures

HERE is a file you can download with clickable links for the routines an procedures mentioned in the video. It will take you to Google Docs. 

HERE is the unit in that video if you are wanting it to begin your school year.

On Monday I will be going into my classroom for the first time this summer. This is the absolute latest I have ever went in.  Wish me luck! 

Warm regards,
Tonya Leslie

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Project and Go Center?

The first thing I did for school this summer was make some activities for the beginning of the school year. You can read about them HERE.  

With that being said, I was making some centers that came to mind and got stuck.  I realized I need a microphone.  I am at a learning curve with what I have in my head to do and am working out the kinks.  I think you will love the centers I have in my head but they are just not ready yet.  They are easier then print and go (easier on the teacher as far as time that is) and engaging for kids. Any suggestions on a good inexpensive microphone? I do hope to have them ready before school starts.

A little about the centers I create:
I am finding that when I go to make a center it isn't a center to go with a theme necessarily (though it might), and I don't make it for the sake of teaching a skill (though it will), but I design them to address some issue I have run across with the implementation, engagement, differentiation, or issue I personally run across with my students in my class.  I hope that the centers I create not only help children focus on a skill but that your students get the most from the time spent on the activity whether it be academic, social, or constructive use of their time.

Here is yet another center that gives you so many options for using it.  Instead of making each one of those words little cards kids had to read and color I put the words all on one sheet.  Again - No little cards or pieces to lose! Plus kids can scan and check their answers and you can use it as a mini-lesson on patterns.
Project and Go Centers

It is as easy as "PROJECT and GO!"  Can I say that?  I am so used to seeing Print and Go I figured "Project and Go" will work.  If you are in a bind you literally can project the activity card and children complete the recording sheet.  Great for subs and 10 minute time fillers but you can also use it as a traditional center.  My plan is to get the entire phonics collection up soon in this format because I can see myself using this - a lot. 

Project and Go Center

You can download one of the short a activities to try HERE for FREE. Tell me what you think.  I'd love to here your thoughts on this activity or the way you plan on using it. 

You can also get the Unit HERE .


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