Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Things That Are Working...(End of the Year Edition)

It is truly humbling to think about how far I've come since my first year of teaching first grade at this school. A "wise owl" (veteran teacher) once told me the best thing I could do the last weeks of school was to keep to my schedule. That seems like simple advice, but it is not as easy as it sounds. Of course there are all those pop-up assemblies and special activities that are out of your control...but for the most part it is completely up to the classroom teacher to maintain control and expectations in his or her classroom. As much as I would like to stay out and play for an hour, it sends a message to my students that I am relinquishing control, and with this group of students that can be a dangerous signal to send.

Last week we had a few terrible days. By Thursday I couldn't take another negative report upon picking up my children from resource. A light bulb literally went off in my head. I bounded across the room and rummaged through my sticker box until I found a pack of reward cards I had been hanging onto since my first year of teaching. I waved them in front of my kids, who are now looking at me like I'm crazy. I explained that if they wanted to attend the First Grade Parent Appreciation Ice Cream Social then they would have to earn their way...and so became the ICE CREAM TICKET. The greatest invention I've come up with for the end of the year, yet so simple. Every time I say, "take out your ice cream ticket" it instantly calms and quiets my class, even my most challenging students. It's funny how sometimes the most effective solutions are actually quite simple, it just takes commitment and effort to follow through.

Our best friend right now!

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