Friday, September 26, 2014

Classroom Management: Star Bucks

It's Friday... It's Friday... Do the Friday Dance! 

Since, my last post was about classroom management I thought I would continue down that path. Where my friend is having success using her Three Strike System, I have been using a ticket system that I modified to fit better with my class.


Of course, when I introduced it to my students every single class had someone ask "Are you really going to bring us Starbucks?!" HA... please. I can't afford Starbucks myself. Which is pretty much the beauty of the system. I don't have to buy anything!

I printed out a bunch of these onto green paper and cut them out. I put 21 on a sheet so they come out kind of small. The kids earn Star Bucks and then get to spend them on "prizes". 

The Ways to Earn a Star Buck:
  1. Show excellent behavior/participation- At the beginning of the year I was giving them out like candy for everything- being on time, starting their warm up right away, etc. Now I cut back to only the REALLY good behaviors.
  2. Use Science Vocabulary in class discussions- I walk around during class time and ask questions of students and give away Star Bucks if they use the correct vocabulary.
  3. Ask extraordinary questions (level 3 or 4 DOK or 3 Costas)- This one is my favorite! I give them away for their online discussion board questions as well as if I catch them asking higher level questions of each other. 
Rules on Star Bucks:
  1. Star Bucks are earned, not asked for 
  2. You may not "share" your prizes- if your friend wants it they have to buy it too- I do let them buy things for each other. Hey, if you want to be giving then sure!
  3. Bathroom cannot fall in PrimeTime- We don't let any student go to the bathroom in the first 20 minutes of class.
  4. Do not interrupt Mrs. C to ask to buy something- Oh, is this a life saver. There is nothing worse than having a good light bulb moment with a student and have it ruined by another student asking if they can listen to music. If I am working, you need to wait.
  5. Keep your money safe- I do not replace lost or stolen Star Bucks-I am not a bank, I do not do fraud protection. These kids guard these things more than their lunch badges.
Things Students Can "Buy":

$5.00     Positive phone call home
$5.00     Leave class 3 minutes early
$10.00   Restroom
$15.00   Free WQA
$15.00   Listen to music
$20.00   Snack in class
$20.00   Free 10 minutes computer time
$25.00   Cell phone use
$25.00   Quiz Score 100%
$30.00   Free 100% on INB grade

  • I will call home for something good if you have give me something to work with. I will not call home and lie.
  • They can listen to music but they may not share. Their friend has to buy it too if they want to listen together.
  • Cell phones are okay but no picture taking. 
  • They have to take the quiz first (so I can collect data on their unit mastery level) and then they can pay for the 100%. If they throw it on purpose I won't accept their money (i.e. they can't just click through since they know they are getting a 100%)
If you want to check out the posters I made to go along with this or have the sheets of Star Bucks I have it available on Teachers Pay Teachers for free all you have to do is download it and it is all yours!

Mrs. C

Monday, September 22, 2014

Classroom Management Three Strike Policy

I have a teacher friend who has been having some struggles with student behaviors. You know, calling out, inappropriate language, wandering the room, typical middle school behavior. However, instead of letting the students control the room, she took action and created this ingenious management plan.

Every student has a white piece of paper that has the classroom expectations on it. She said she likes that the students have those reminders right in front of them. If I student breaks one of those expectations she simply, and without a word, moves their paper clip down a notch. "Strike one". She does this until they get to "strike three" and upon that strike the student relocates themselves to the refocus area in the room.

The green card is actually double sided with a green side and a red side. Green side up means the student does not need assistance in the activity. We've noticed that our students just like to yell "Miss" really loudly when they need something and this way the expectation is that they are to flip their card to red to signal help is needed.

Finally, the good kids. Each classes is given a container and at the end of the class period if a student has no strikes they get a piece of macaroni to put into the container. Once the container is filled the students in that class well get a reward. Always remember your all-stars!

Mrs. C

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Donors Choose Project

As I have talked about in couple different posts my students are having to use these kinder-sized junk head phones to watch lectures in class. They break, they don't produce sound and it is miserable for my students who are actually trying to receive content. I created a Donors Choose project to try a get a class set of nice head sets for my students. If anyone would like to help out I would be so extremely grateful and I know my students would be too!

And Now We Have Sound

Check it out, pretty please!

Mrs. C

Update: I wanted to share a picture of the headphones they have to work with and tell you a story... I had a student who wanted to watch another video on our new topic of the rock cycle, so like a good teacher I went online to find another video that might help. I had left my own ear phones at home so grabbed one of the students headsets and they were AWFUL!! I couldn't hear anything but muffled noise and they volume was turned all the way up. Embarrassed, I had to borrow a student's ear buds and they laughed asking about the class set. 

We need help!

Flipping Feedback Unit One

The first unit is complete! (Finally). I feel like it took way longer than it should have but we have finished, nonetheless. I gave my students a survey about how they felt the "flipped classroom" is going.

As a reminder, I don't MAKE my students take notes. I do grade if they write and answer a WQA. It makes me smile thought that a large majority of them are taking notes anyways. It also makes me smile that 3 students say they most definitely do NOT work in my class and they are most definitely the students who don't take notes, don't use anything to write questions and are not doing well in my class...sooooooo...correlation? 

This is the part that makes me reflect on how the classroom is set up. I have quite a few students telling me they don't even go onto Schoology outside of class. As a reflection question to myself, I am wondering how to structure the class so 1) they are responsible for logging on at night for "homework" while 2) maintaining the self paced classroom. I am struggling with this one. 

This data chart really does make me feel like my students are getting something out of the class. I was afraid the WQAs were going to be a flop but it seems like a large majority of the students are finding them helpful. I also am EXTREMELY torn about the students being able to sit where they want. I really REALLY REALLY want them to be able to have discussions with whoever they see fit to help them solve the problem instead of me dictating. I am trying to get them to be self-sufficient. And yet, with them sitting where they want they can get a little off track. It is a classroom management thing, I know, but I need a solution. They enjoy it and most of them do work wherever. I am torn.

I did have some open responses for them
Favorite things about the class:
"Being able to have other resources rather than just Ms. Callahan. I also liked not having to carry around a lot of papers." 
"Moving at your own pace"
"My favorite part about the "flipped classroom is that I can learn the things we have to learn at my own pace instead of learning with classroom and moving on when I don't understand something."
"Taking responsibility"
"Being able to use technology to do work at home or at school."
"My favorite part of the flipped classroom is that we are able to stop and replay the lessons/videos."

What part of the "flipped classroom" would you like to see changed?
"More videos."
"The ear phones are really bad quality"
"Check on us every once in a while"
"To eliminate the whole "flipped classroom" thing. I want to work as a class or at least a group with a helper or teacher."

Now, if I only had a week to digest the information and try again. Unfortunately, I have until tomorrow. 

Mrs. C

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Flipping the Classroom Series: What Does It Look Like?

Where, I do NOT have everything figured out nor do I claim to be an expert on "flipping", I do want to talk about the awesome going on during the class periods. I absolutely love that everyone has something to work on. (I know my friend in the foreground of the picture looks like he's causing mischief, but he actually is extremely far in the unit and has been doing a really good job). 

I encourage the students to work with each other, even if they aren't on the same assignment. These boys are of different folders and where the one taking notes is a couple folders behind notebook boy, he spent the period asking notebook boy about what he was watching on the video and what compared notes to make sure he didn't miss anything important. Side note: both of these gentlemen have had behavior issues in the past and since starting self-paced curriculum I actually am getting work out of them and way less behavior issues since they are constantly engaged. 

This group of students had moved on to the lab portion of the unit. It is so cool to watch which students become leaders and want to help others. The girl standing had already done the lab but the other students asked for her help. She then grabbed the slinkys, grabbed a textbook and led the lab herself. It was so fun to watch!

I LOVE the technology use in the class. I have been so fortunate to be able to have laptops and a few IPads and they both have really helped the students be successful. The technology, coupled with their Interactive Notebooks, has made them more self-sufficient learners. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Reason Why I Go To Work Early

This year I have been trying extremely hard to get to work early so that I can leave right after meetings in the afternoon. Normally, I am not a morning person but I'm working on it.

Happy Tuesday!

Mrs. C