Filing Teaching Ideas- To keep all my lesson ideas and worksheets in order, I have a 3 drawer file cabinet. The top drawer contains "Month" folders. The middle drawer contains "Subject" folders such as Reading, Math, and Science. The bottom drawer contains "Theme" folders. I organize the folders further by storing information in each in this order: Circle Time, Literature, Writing, Fine Motor, Math, Science, Art, Songs, Games, Dramatic Play, and Blocks. If I need an idea for a fine motor idea while teaching a transportation unit, I simply take out my transportation folder and look in the fine motor section. If I need a Halloween writing idea, I simply take out my October folder and look in the writing section.
Organizing Weekly Lesson Plans- Laminate 5 manilla folders, labeled Monday thru Friday. Place books, worksheets, and projects needed for a specific day in its corresponding folder. Store folders horizontally in a file holder or milkcrate.
Center Time Management-Create a picture/word card for each center and laminate. Laminate each child's name on an index card. (I use colored index cards so children have an easier time locating their names.) Each child places his/her card in the center he/she wants to go in. I allow 4 children in each center so they rotate and it doesn't get too crowded, which might lead to bickering. The only exception is Computer Center, which 2 children are allowed at.
Speaking of pocketcharts, Wal-mart and Staples carry pocketcharts that are the same quality as the ones found in teacher stores, but are cheaper.
Theme Storage- I store props, etc. for thematic units in storage boxes labeled with the theme name. The boxes can be purchased from dollar stores, Wal-mart, or Target. For example, my farm unit box contains small plastic farm animals, farm books and tapes, a toy tractor, etc. I keep my holiday items such as a mini scarecrow, plastic pumpkins, plastic Easter eggs, window clings, and wreaths, in a large Rubbermaid box. I label the front of the boxes so I know what is in each.
Community Supply Tubs- The only individual supply boxes I give my students are small plastic boxes for their crayons that are labeled with their names. Each box contains a complete set of colors so a specific color is available if needed. Each of my work tables has a community supply tub (a 3-compartment container with a handle) on it. One compartment is for pencils, one is for markers, and one holds scissors. This prevents lost supplies and cuts back on the "gimme that!" arguments. This year I have two tables so I am using one blue tub and one red tub. The blue tub belongs to the "Blue Table" and the red tub belongs to the "Red Table". Tubs are clearly marked blue and red, which also helps the children identify color words. The community tubs can also be transferred to the carpet or other areas of the room where I might be working with the children. Tubs can be purchased from Wal-mart, etc. I do keep extra crayons, glue sticks, and glue bottles in labeled boxes in the Art Center in case more supplies are needed.
Chart Storage- I keep charts and bulletin board displays in a large cardboard storage box purchased from Hammetts. It came with dividers so I could separate posters according to subject matter. Hammetts went out of business where I live, but I have seen the same boxes at Lakeshore Learning Center,Beckers, and A.C Moore. I have a similar bulletin board border box. Some teachers hang posters from clothes hangers that have clips on portable garment racks.
Pocket Chart Stand- Instead of using an expensive pocket chart stand, you can purchase a garment rack from Wal-mart and hang a pocket chart on that. I also hang my pocketchart on the wall using nails, hooks, and/or pushpins.
Bulletin Boards- Bulletin boards can be covered with butcher paper, newspaper, wrapping paper, or fabric. Borders can be bought from teaching supplies stores. I have known some teachers that have used Ellison die-cut patterns for borders, but this can be very time-consuming. I like to use "real" objects for borders and effects such as silk flowers, vines, or leis (many purchased from Dollar Stores). I also like to make then 3-D such as crinkling green tissue paper to be tree leaves. The internet site http://schooldiscovery.com/shrockguide/bulletin/index.html. contains links to bulletin board sites.
Reusing Decorations-I can reuse decorations such as student door names by laminating the them. I write the students' names using a Sharpie pen and the erase it with nail polish remover at the end of the school year.
Library Center Books- I don't place any of my personal books that I don't consider "disposable" in the Library Center because there's always a chance books can get ruined, even when good book care habits are taught. Places to purchase cheap books include Ebay, dollar stores, garage sales, thrift stores, and Scholastic book/orders/warehouse sales. If your class particpates in Scholastic's monthly book orders you can earn bonus points for free class books and educational items. The Scholastic site lists when and where each state holds its warehouse sale. When we are doing a special theme, I place related books in a special labeled box for the students to enjoy. For example, during our celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday, I place Dr. Seuss books and a Cat in the Hat doll in a labeled box. Label printables can be found at http://www.kellyskindergarten.com/Classroom%20Organization/classroom_organization.htm
Smocks- Instead of purchasing smocks for my students, I use old shirt. If the sleeves are adult size I simply cut the sleeves in half and viola! I have also found inexpensive smock "aprons" from Dollar Stores.
Quiet Line-To keep the children organized and quiet when we are lining up, I only move a few children at a time by saying things such as "If you are wearing (color) line up...If your name starts with (letter) line up...If your birthday is in (month) line up". Once everyone is on line, we put one hand on our hip and one finger over our lips and sing:
Everybody lips and hips.
Everybody lips and hips.
We are gonna take a trip,
We are gonna take a trip.
Sound off, 1-2.
Sound off, 3-4.
Sound off, 3-4.
Bring it on down.
Out the door!
Cooperative Clean Up:
During the first week of school I talk to the children about how everyone is responsible for keeping the room clean. Labeling clear boxes with pictures and the word of the toy that belongs in them helps children know where things go. To signal when it is time to
clean up, I turn of the lights and sing:
The lights are off and what does that mean?
Time to put the toys away.
I then turn the lights back on and everyone sings:
Clean up, clean up,
Clean up, clean up.
Everybody do your share.
Getting Student's Attention/Rule Reminders:
1. "Tootsie Roll, Lollipop"
Tootsie Roll, (roll arms)
Lollipop, (pretend to lick a pop)
We were talking. (make hand "talk")
Now we stop! (arms making "end now" sign)
2. "If You're Ready to Listen"
(Frere Jacques tune)
I hear talking, I hear talking.
Is it you? Is it you?
Time to get busy, time to get busy.
Shh, shh, shh!
Shh, shh, shh!
3. "Are You Ready?"
(Frere Jacques tune)
Are you ready? Are you ready?
Please sit down, please sit down.
Time to sit and listen, time to sit and listen.
Eyes up front, eyes up front.
4."Freddy Frog"- Freddy is a puppet I purchased at an Appelbaum Training Institute workshop. He ribbits, which catches the students' attention. For example, if I see a child not following a rule during Circle Time I hold Freddy to my ear, make him ribbit, and say,"What's that, Freddy? We are supposed to sit criss-cross-applesauce and quietly during Circle Time so we can hear each other?" You can purchase him or a duck puppet at ttp://lintel.atiseminars.org/shop/sunshop/index.php?action=search.
Strategies to Deal With Inappropriate Behavior:
1. Tattling-When I child comes to me to tattle on another child, I direct the child to tell "Mr. Tattle Tell". I also might say, "O.k" and nothing else. However, if the child is reporting that another child is hurt or doing something unsafe, I do not cut the child off.
2. Hitting/Kicking- First,I try to find out if there is a pattern for when a child hits and then deal with it. Next, I have the hitter make amends (apologizing, handing the other child a Kleenax or giving him/her a hug). Finally, I talk the child through the problem. ("I understand you were angry, but we use words.I understand you wanted that toy. Let's go back and say, "I would like to have a turn.")
3. Tantrums-Again, I look to see if there is a pattern to when the tantrums are occurring. I empathize with the child ("I see you are angry because..."), however, I do not give in to the child. I also do not try to reason with the child during the tantrum. If the child needs to calm down, I have him/her sit on the mad-away mat, which is a frog pillow. When the child has calmed down, I will then talk with the child about what was upsetting him/her and how he/she could have dealt with the situation.
4.Whining- First, I make sure there is really nothing wrong with the child.I calmly tell the child, "I can't listen to you when you use that voice. Can you ask me again in your regular voice so I can help you?" If the child continues to whine, I ignore it and do not give in to it.
5. Inappropriate Language- I tell the child, "I do not want use to use that word."
Encouraging Positive Behavior- My classroom has a Caring Tree hanging in it. When I spot a child doing something good, such as helping a friend clean up, I write his/her name and what he/she did on a paper heart and have the child hang it on the tree.
Verbal encouragement I use include saying
"(Child) gets a compliment", pointing
out the good behavior ("Look how Tobi is cleaning up the markers."), and telling the child to "kiss your brain", a method from Dr. Jean.
Direction Cards- Laminate and attach magnets to the back of these cards and place on chalkboard. After giving directions, put the cards in the sequential order the students need to complete the task. This way if students ask what they are supposed to do, you point to the board instead of having to repeat the directions numerous times.
Sub CD- Create a CD of daily routine songs used during Circle Time for a substitute teacher who may not be familar with the tunes.
Reading Rollercoaster- For a change of pace during independent reading time, I line student chairs up in the same direction, place a book on each seat, and explain to the class it's a reading rollarcoaster. Each student reads the book on his/her seat until I give a signal (i.e. ring a bell). The students then move to the seat in front of them and read that book. Continue the process until reading time is over.
Song Bag Time Filler-Program index cards with song titles and illustrations and laminate. Place in "Song Bag". When you have some free time, have students sit in a circle and take turns picking a card out of the bag to sing.