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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!


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