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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Managing the Kinder Classroom

Kindergarten, Kindergarten . . . I always admired how kinder teachers kept their sanity, kept organized, and taught successfully. It is not an easy task and even after 11 years of teaching - I feel like a brand new teacher with this being my 1st year in Kinder. There are some things I love and some things that just drive me absolutely I-N-S-A-N-E!  

When something doesn't work, I start tweaking it, adjusting, reflecting, then changing until I find what works:

I found that most of my well oiled 1st grade classroom management tricks weren't working at the beginning of the year and I was finding myself in chaos the first month of school.  I was exhausted from trying to manage student behaviors.  First, I shouldn't be managing their behavior because if you are managing their behavior that means they are NOT.  I really needed something positive and I needed a reward system.  I absolutely DID NOT want to do the whole treasure chest thing with tangible prizes because I have done that in the past and it cost me a small fortune and then there were times I ran out.  I am just done with the whole treasure box thing.

Here is where I merged 2 ideas   

                        Idea 1:  I purchased and used the reward cards from Melony at Seustastic when I taught 1st grade but a lot of time my students would ask me to read what it said to them the 1st half of the year. Though they loved the certificates dearly, I did not have the time to read them to them.  I needed larger pictures, less choices, and less words.  You can check out her blog for a more comprehensive list of reward cards.  I wanted less choices to start and bigger pictures.

               Idea 2: The  kinder teachers at my former school gave out a bear buck at the end of each day for students who had a good day and those students could pick out a prize from a prize drawer/chest when they had 10.  I needed this so students would have an immediate consequence when "misbehaving." They owe me a class buck when they interrupt, restroom break, out of seat, etc.  They get to choose a reward card when they get 10 class bucks.

          Here is what I did

1.   I made class bucks for my class and printed them on blue paper to match our school colors.
2.  I incorporated the pillars of character to help connect the class bucks with the school wide Code of Conduct.
3.  I made simple large picture reward cards based off the list the class came up with.
4.  I showed the children the pictures. We talked about what each one was.
5.  I started handing out a lot of class bucks on purpose especially to the kids who gave me issues with specific classroom procedures and expectations.  I caught them the second I could and verbally praised what they were doing and gave them a class buck.
6.  I needed to get those class bucks in those students hands who were having issues so I could take them back.  I know that doesn't sound good but here is why.  When my frequent flyers asked to go to the restrooms during lessons or right after recess - I told them they owed me a class buck.  When a student blurted out - they owed me a class buck.  When a student was talking in line, they owed me a class buck.  Most behaviors stopped immediately or were curved to less times!
       *You should know I already had implemented handing out stickers and a form of the clip chart (I am not a fan) but had to due to uniformity across kinder classes.


Now I shared this with my new colleagues and they were skeptical.  They had lots of questions.  So I am going to answer some of those questions here.

Question:   It seems like a lot of keeping track.
Answer:  I spend very little time using this system.  The kids keep track.  I just always have to make sure I have class bucks all the time and keep them with me wherever I go.

Question:  Where do the kids keep them.  I can see these class bucks everywhere.
Answer:  I use the poly folders with prongs as homework folders.  I had purchased inexpensive pencil pouches to put in these.  The children place their class bucks in there.

Comment:  I don't want to purchase pencil pouches.  
Responses:  Get clear baggies.  Duct tape the edge.  Hole punch then insert in folder.
(If your students have toolboxes they could put them in there)

Question:  How do they put them away?  Won't they always be up and down and walking around?  
Answer:  My student have seat pouches and they keep their poly folders in them.  We went over the procedure for putting away class bucks when I first start handing them out.

Procedure:  If I am teaching and you receive a class buck you hold on to it until we are done.  When we go back to our tables you put them away then or you put them away on our way to an activity/center/rotation.

Question:  I don't know.  I can just see them fighting and arguing over finding one or losing one.
Answer:  We went over the rules for this.  I am not the keeper of your class bucks.  It is your responsibility to put them away.  If  I find one laying around, I add it back to my pile.  If you find one laying around you can not keep it because class bucks are earned and you did not earn that class buck.  It is not yours you need to give it back.  

Question:  How do they turn them in?
Answer:  You have to have a routine and procedure for this and stick to it.  I told my kids when they have ten they can exchange them for a certificate card during morning circle time. My reasoning for this is it allows for all other kids to see the student count the class bucks and see them pick their certificate card so they are fully aware of their classmates priviledge.  It helps build desire to earn class bucks.

If you think this may help you, click HERE or on the picture below 0 It is FREE!

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