Summer Book Study Blog

Summer Book Study Blog

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Day 21 SOL - Spring Slump into Best Days of our Lives!

Spring Slump. This time of the school year can be challenging for teachers and students in terms of classroom management. We are a K-4 building so "top dog" comes in 4th grade. There are some 4th graders that have behavioral challenges that are robbing staff and other students of joy and energy in teaching and learning. Also, these very students struggle with coping with their own behaviors. They aren't happy either. We are also on the cusp of high stakes testing coming to us in a few short weeks. Every minute of learning is critical. So this morning I have been researching some sites that are giving me inspiration on putting us all on the road of goal setting and preparing us as FIT (Fifth Graders in Training).

I found this article from "The Big Fresh Newsletter" (from Choice Literacy) on "Spring Slump" and the article above is about classroom rules and goal setting. Students set independent goals, then they set a goal and share with another student to hold them accountable.

Our school's basic school rules involve the 3 Rs for StaRRR Behaviors: Respectful, Responsible, Ready to Learn. All behaviors and rules fall under these 3 Rs. We challenge students to think of any rule that wouldn't fall under at least one of these Rs.
I felt another step was needed for our students to have some help in goal setting around behaviors that need improvement for ALL of us. (This teacher could improve her desk mess and keeping papers organized!) 
 
Spell out goals to prepare students for 5th grade. Unless students can articulate what it takes, the behaviors we are seeking will not be seen. What is obvious to the adults is not obvious to many students. These goals must have student input and made into a list for them to keep in their "purple folder." Parents should also have a copy to sign and support student at home.
The following goals will fall under our 3 Rs for the StaRRR Tickets (purple tickets are given for positive behaviors seen):
  1. Respectful
  2. Responsible
  3. Ready to Learn 
Examples of goals that should have student input:
1. Homework is completed as assigned and on time. (RRR)
2. Parental forms are completed and returned on time. (R1, R2)
3. Desk is organized so transitions are easy. When you lose your work (-5 purple tickets to replace). R2, R3
4. Treat others with respect: teachers (ALL adults), students, self. R1
5. Focus on work during work time. Not a minute to lose. RRR
6. Hallway behaviors are exemplary. Straight line, no talking, eyes forward, hands to side. Behavior log, book, art box as required. R1, R2
7. Seek help when you don't understand or weren't listening. Look around you for clues as to what you should be doing. Look, Listen, Do. RRR
8. Be the student that you most admire. Model their behaviors. RRR
9. Laptops and computers are a privilege to have and to use in our school. Treat them with respect and be careful with them at all times. Go to only appropriate sites that are school and teacher approved. If you aren't sure, ask. RRR
10. Classroom, playground, hallways, and restrooms should reflect our Bulldog Pride. Make a mess. Clean it up. See trash. Pick it up. R1, R2

Dress for success. One day a week or one day every 2 weeks, let's dress for success.

Check out this classroom's expectations. 4th grade. There are some great ideas here for rewards. Brain Bucks, Chance Tickets, Warm Fuzzies, Teacher of the Day...

Feeling proactive and ready for the challenge of making every day the best day for the last days of 4th grade. 

Bulldog version "Best Day of My Life" by American Authors. YouTube. This is our class song! We sing and dance to a song as needed throughout the day.

D :)

15 comments:

  1. "What is obvious to the adults is not obvious to many children." YES! I know you guys will end the year strong! :)

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    1. Thanks, Sonja! Sometimes we even have to give them the words to say, don't we? D :)

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  2. Good luck! I think one of the hardest job in teaching is motivating the students to WANT to learn. We often have to put on many hats to accomplish this :-)

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  3. I think there is something to springtime slump. So hard. Children with behavioral issues often need the most care, love. How they experience the world can be different. I've found that learning to see and then appreciate these differences is the most rewarding work. Good luck to you and your class)

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    1. I agree. We have so many with tough lives and we do love them. The challenge is always to love and yet hold them accountable in ways that will help them grow and learn to be good citizens so the cycle doesn't continue. Thanks for the comment. D :)

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  4. When I was teaching a slump always hit between January and Easter. There were no breaks to speak of. Snow days messed up the cohesiveness of lessons. The early dark made the nights seem so long. We also had ways to help students classroom and school rules posted for students. When we saw good behavior we issued a "Caught you being good" ticket which students could enter for a weekly drawing.

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    1. That's the way our purple tickets work, too. We are all about the positive behavior plan. Our school offers special activites every month to redeem tickets and it's fun stuff! Also lots of privileges for kids to "buy." One of the favorites in my room is buying a special bungie cord adjustable chair for the day. Hot item! Kids value their tickets! Thanks! D :)

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  5. The connection between classroom expectations and overall school behavior is so important. Thank you for sharing this.....

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    1. Thanks! Everybody wins when we get it right. D :)

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  6. The connection between classroom expectations and overall school behavior is so important. Thank you for sharing this.....

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  7. I love, love, love your third R: Ready to Learn. Do you just love Choice Literacy?

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    1. I do LOVE Choice Literacy. I don't have the subscription but I get so much from the weekly "Big Fresh." Thanks for commenting! D :)

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  8. Yes the springtime slump...it's a good idea to review and refresh for the rest of the year.

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    1. Gotta keep changin' the game. Keeps everyone on their toes. D :)

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