Wednesday, July 5, 2017

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Classroom Routines and Procedures

Classroom Routines and Procedures
Below are some routines and procedures I use in my classroom. I’ll keep adding to this list as I think of more. They are explained if you keep scrolling.  These are just suggestions. Remember to have high expectations, a student-centered classroom, and to be consistent in your expectations. Above all else, respect your students. Please comment if you see a typo or think of something I missed. Thanks!

  • Entering the classroom at the beginning of the day
  • Beginning the school day
  • Building Relationships
  • Ending the school day
  • Leaving the classroom
  • Returning to the classroom
  • Moving to the carpet
  • Moving into small groups
  • Partner reading
  • Supplies
  • Getting help
  • Giving help
  • Moving around the room
  • Classroom jobs
  • Classroom library
  • Visitors in the classroom
  • Drills
  • Quiet signals
  • Wise choice time
  • Author’s chair
  • Brain breaks
  • Teacher’s Helper Basket

Classroom Procedures Explained

  • Entering the classroom at the beginning of the day
    • Greet students individually by name and give high fives, fist bumps, or your own special handshake to greet them.
    • Students unpack their backpacks.
    • Students do their lunch count.
      • Once a choice is made and turned into the office, it cannot be changed. Unless, of course, a parent or special friend shows up to eat with the child. :)
    • Students open their folder on their desk. One side says keep at home; one side says return to school.
      • Return to school
        • Students place notes from parents/guardians on the tray on the teacher’s desk.
        • Teacher checks monthly reading calendar. I always check on Mondays because that’s the day we eat in the room. I try to check a couple of other days to offer support/encouragement.
          • If students read for at least 15 minutes, five days a week, he/she earns lunch in the room on Mondays. There is NO PENALTY if a student chooses not to read. I ask that parents initial the calendar each day the child reads. If parents generally sign the calendar but forget, I generally take the child’s word for it. I also jot a quick note in SeeSaw (online portfolio) so parents know. Students are generally honest. If you notice a child never has a signature, invite that child to read with you at some point during the day/before school. I generally have a small group read with whisper phones in the classroom before school. Then, I initial their calendars. :)

  • Beginning the school day
    • Check with your school for pledge procedures. We do Pledge of Allegiance, student pledge, and teacher pledge in the gymnasium before entering the classroom.
    • After the above procedures are done, students have wise-choice time. This can be alone or with a partner. Students must choose something from the Wise-Choice Chart. This chart starts with just a few items. You add to it as the year progresses. If a child makes a poor choice and is not on task, the child forfeits free choice, and the teacher chooses for that child instead. This is a great time for the teacher to pull a small group for differentiation (once lunch count is finished).
    • Wise Choice Time (10-20 minutes)
      • Making 10s Card Game
      • Number Bond Practice
      • 9 Square Puzzle
      • Pattern Blocks (create something symmetrical)
      • Button Cards
      • Read a Book
      • Write in Journal
      • Work on Independent Research Assignment
      • Choose from Symbaloo
      • Create Guess the Covered Word in Google Slides
        • Must have excerpt from: (Include title and author)

  • Building Relationships
    • Do an interest inventory. Find out students likes/dislikes.
    • Share weekly highs/lows.
      • I do this on Monday mornings. Each student is allowed about a minute, so it can take up to 25 minutes. Students circle up and share one high and one low. Oftentimes, they choose to share two highs instead.  At the beginning of the year, about 25 percent of students pass. Once they feel safe, passing is rare. Model appropriate sharing. I generally tell them to share something their parents wouldn’t mind them sharing since it’s a public share time. They know they can talk to the school counselor or me as needed.
  • Ending the school day
    • Choose a clean-up song. When the students hear this song, they immediately begin packing up, stacking chairs, and cleaning the room.
    • Play Who Can Find the Misplaced Item I Noticed? After the song ends, play this game. Students scramble to place the finishing touches on the room. Sometimes it’s a pencil. Sometimes it’s an unstacked chair. Remind students to just throw trash away, place supplies where they go, etc. There is no need to show you the items they find because you are watching. I generally give a sticker or coupon to pick the next Go Noodle brain break. Emalie Lindsey shared this game with me. I love it!

  • Leaving the classroom
    • Restroom Break:  I have passes hanging on the door. If a child needs to use the restroom (and it’s not direct instruction time), he/she takes a pass, signs out, and leaves. You could have them write the time left and time returned to keep better track of how long students are out of the room.
      • I generally do several whole-class restroom breaks. Students can go before recess, before lunch, and before enrichment time. Since we have two recesses, that’s four class restroom breaks a day. That means students rarely use the restroom during class. If a child seems to be abusing the pass, I ask him/her if it’s worth five minutes of recess. That usually curtails any bathroom playing.
    • Nurse Pass:  What will this look like in your classroom? I keep crackers, peppermints, and bandaids in my desk. I go through A LOT of bandaids. Parents will generally send in a box if you ask.
    • Lining Up:  What does lining up look like in your classroom? I like two lines. Unless parents/admin tell me that students must not be together, they choose where they stand. This choice is forfeited if they are not making good choices. What does whispering look like/sound like? When should be they be totally silent? What’s the difference in quiet and silent? What does short, straight, silent lines look like when walking down the hall? Is whispering okay in the bathroom line? Find out the norm for your school.

  • Returning to the Classroom:
    • Waste little time. Once your students know the schedule, they’ll know what to do when you return to the classroom from recess, lunch, enrichment class, or assemblies. If it’s whole-class mini-lesson time, mine meet on the carpet. If it’s read aloud time, mine meet on the carpet. If it’s math center time, they go directly to their math center. Set a timer and time students to see how long it takes them to get back to work.

  • Moving to the carpet
    • Sometimes students sit where they want. Practice how long it takes to move to the carpet from their seats.
    • Sometimes students sit by specified partners.. These partners are created by the teacher with learning needs in mind. The students do not need to know this. Link to download Partner PowerPoint:

  • Moving into small groups
    • Have designated areas established so groups know where to meet. I have a kidney-shaped table, a low, rectangular-shaped table, back carpet, and front carpet area. You can color code groups and color code signs to make this transition easier.

  • Partner reading
    • Practice moving seats for flip-flop reading. One chair faces one way, the other chair faces the other way. The sides of the chairs are almost touching, so faces are looking at each other. One student reads; one student summarizes/connects/visualizes. Then, they switch roles. Practice! Practice! Practice! Time students to see how quickly they can find their spots.

  • Supplies
    • Are you doing individual or community supplies?
    • Where will they be located?
    • Table baskets for reading baggies and writing journals
    • Gallon-sized baggies for guided reading:
      • Leveled books
      • Composition notebook
      • Pencil

  • Getting help
    • Don’t interrupt the teacher during small-group time unless it’s an emergency.
    • Ask three before me (teacher) if it involves technology.
    • Use anchor charts to help you.
    • Try to solve the problem yourself.
    • Ask your partner or someone in your small group for help.

  • Giving help
    • Become a tech expert
    • What does help look like? Model for your students. Teach and reteach this expectation.

  • Moving around the room
    • I don’t have set rules on this except students can’t use the restroom, get a drink, or sharpen pencils if I’m teaching. Since direct instruction is minimal, it’s not a problem. You’ll have to figure out what works for you.
      • Restroom:  When is a good time to use the restroom pass?
      • Drinking Fountain:  When is a good time to get a drink from the classroom drinking fountain? Students have water bottles (with lids) in my classroom. They should be taken home each night to be washed.
      • Pencil Sharpener:  When is a good time to sharpen pencils?

  • Classroom library
    • How will students check out books from your library? How will they return them?
    • I have my library books in genre/author baskets. I try to place a label on the back of each book with the reading level on it. Parent volunteers can do this. This is the site I use to level my books:
    • Students are encouraged to pick just right books. If there are five words on a page that a student can’t read, the book is generally too hard for him/her. If a student is unable to summarize what’s been read at the end of a page, the book may be too hard for him/her.
    • I also put colorful dots on the baskets with matching dots on the books. This makes returning the books EASY. Parent volunteers are great for this too.
    • If students do not know where to return a book, it should be placed on the table next to the library.

  • Visitors in the classroom
    • I ask my students to ignore visitors and do business as usual because I don’t want learning disrupted every time the door opens. We have a lot of visitors. Some teachers assign a student to quietly tell the teacher when a visitor enters the room.
  • Drills
    • Post fire evacuation route by the door.
    • Talk to your administrator about drill procedures and practice, practice, practice. I keep a class list by the door so I can grab it on the way out the door in the event of an emergency.

  • Wise choice time
  • Learning never stops in the classroom. If a student finishes an assignment, he/she is to immediately choose a wise choice. These anchor activities anchor learning.
  • Since students have their own Chrome Books, sometimes they can choose one from our Symbaloo page. You can use mine, or make your own. It’s easy to do!

  • Author’s chair
    • Three students a day may read ONE page of their writing to the class
    • Three-four students may give a compliment or ask the author a question about the writing piece.
    • I have names on cute cut-outs and place them on a ring. One student’s job is Author’s Chair. They turn the cut-out to call the next students. Students may pass three times a year. If a student passes, the student with the job of author’s chair writes a P on the back of the card. If a child passes more than 3 times, I confer with the student to see how I can assist.

  • Brain breaks
    • We generally use the free GoNoodle website for this. If a student doesn’t want to participate, he/she may move to the back of the room and do jumping jacks or walk in place instead. I give out coupons so students can choose the next GoNoodle break.

  • Teacher’s helper basket
    • Need someone to walk something to the office? Simply draw a popsicle stick with a student’s name on it. That person is your helper. If a child continually makes poor choices, his/her name may be removed from the basket until better choices are made. It’s important to treat all students fairly. Having a basket or can of names takes a lot of pressure off of the teacher. This eliminates having a “teacher’s pet.”


Friday, June 23, 2017

Super Hands-On Science

Science Picture Books:

Friday, June 16, 2017

Small-Group Math [Teacher CPR]

Increase Math Achievement with Teacher CPR! After the whole-group mini-lesson, the students meet with their FLEXIBLE readiness groups. The groups are:

  • Teacher:  Tier instruction to offer support or use this time to teach students with advanced readiness different skills. Last year, many of my 2nd graders were doing 3rd grade work.
  • Computation:  Making 10s Card Game, Fast Fact Practice, Number Bonds - Once a week, students were given a sheet with 100 computation fluency problems. Once they finished the paper, they could do puzzles or pattern blocks. They were motivated to finish! :)
  • Problem Solving: Model Drawing -- Button Cards and Bean Cards work well! They're self-checking. You can purchase them through Crystal Springs Books, I've seen them on Amazon too.

  • Review: I use technology for this station. Front is one of my favorite educational sites because it differentiates based on readiness. Plus, it gives teachers data! 

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Writing Mini-Lessons for IL

Writing Mini-Lessons for 2nd Grade:

Writing Mini-Lessons for 3rd-5th Grades:

Writing PowerPoints: 

Parts of Speech Lessons: (These are meant to be layered. Start with SN/V PowerPoint. Spend five minutes a day (or less). After students are used to this question/answer rhythm, use the Adverb PowerPoint. It still revisits SN/V. :) )