I still have a few days before school starts, but I’m prepping myself and my room for the arrival of a full classroom of kindergarteners. Only a kindergarten teacher understands the feeling of those first days and this will be my biggest class ever. I am making physical adjustments to my room and space, but I have to admit, I’m kinda (ok I’m alot) nervous.
Many years ago I fell in LOVE with Love and Logic. I think I only had one infant child at the time, but I was doing a paper on management and came across Love and Logic. I bought the cds and books and even made my husband listen to them. I love that there are choices and logical consequences. It has been a blessing in my own home and in the classroom. Students who refuse to complete work have a choice. I might say, “listen, you can finish your work now with the rest of the class or you can do it during learning centers this afternoon when everyone else is having fun. It really doesn’t matter to me. I’m happy with whichever you choose.” Love and Logic really gives a great foundation for management without making it personal or getting upset with the child. There really is so much to it and I’m no expert, but I encourage you to check them out.
I also use a bit of Whole Brain Teaching as well. That’s right, I can “classity class” with the best of them. I think Whole Brain Teaching is perfect for kindergarten, because it is so responsive and physical. Multiple intelligences and learning profiles aren’t just for learning . . . you also need to consider them with managing kiddos as well. If you have visual, physical and verbal cues . . . you can reach everyone. It’s funny that when I started using Whole Brain Teaching techniques I practiced them on my three boys at home to see how it would work. That was well over a year ago. Last night when there was a bunch of kids at my house and I needed their attention , I wasn’t getting anywhere by saying ‘hey kids’ so I said “class class!!!!” Every single kid stopped what they were doing and listened to me. It worked so well in my class last year that my neighbor teacher had her kids asking to use some of the techniques. I find that by changing it up and making it fun I have the best response. Make sure you give them a gander. There is a ton of resources on their website.
One of the things they talk about is classroom rules. I’ve adapted some of theirs and created my own. I found a cute way to display them from Mrs. Ricca’s blog and I believe she has a set of freebies there as well. They are so cute but I needed my own rules and I wanted some different colors so I made a set of my own.
You can download a copy if you’d like by clicking on the picture above. I have hand motions that go with the rules and much of these ideas and things you can find right back at the Whole Brain Teaching website.
I also have a color system for those little monkeys that need reminders on their behavior. This is my monkey tree. If your monkey is on the green leaves of the tree, you are following directions and behaving as expected in kindergarten. Now if you need a little help, a warning or reminder that your behavior should change, your monkey might land on the yellow bananas. If the behavior continues, your monkey goes to brown and you own me time from learning centers (I never ever take recess away . . . kinders need to move and I totally get that with three boys) and finally, if your behavior continues to decline . . . you’ll fall off the tree and owe me 10 minutes of center time and a note goes home to a parent.
These are the little postcards I had made up through Vista Print for monkeys that fall off the tree. It explains the color behavior system on the back and there is a space where I can write a note explaining what happened to have their child’s monkey fall off the tree. I think I ended up using about 7 of these cards last year. I’m hoping for the same kind of luck this year as well.
Finally, I think that one of the best management tools I use is finding ways for all kids to find success. I’ll post more about this as the year progresses, but what I have found is that when my kinders find ways to be proud, their behavior tends to reflect that. For that reason, I have a Shoe Tiers Club, 100s Club, Mileage Running Club, Ball Word Champs (of course) and even a Quicker Zipper Club. There isn’t always a reward involved with these successes. Usually it’s just the right to put their name on a poster. But they LOVE it. I would love to find even more reasons to give kids a little ‘atta boy’ when they need it. What kinds of things do all of you celebrate and how? I’d love to get some new ideas or hear how your management styles works.
Drop me a line.
I’m linking up with my Freebielicious Pal Mel over at Seusstastic Classroom for Freebielicious Classroom Management linky so make sure you check out everyone else’s posts and ideas too. Just click on the button below to get there.