Saturday, September 27, 2014

From Candy Treats to GoNoodle Beats: How to Enhance Your Reward System!

If you’re like me, you’ve been a loyal GoNoodle user for a while now. You love it. Your kids love it. You’re even singing “Run Like a Kitty Kitty” while you fold the laundry.

But what if I told you you could take it a step further and even use it to enhance your classroom behavior system?!

In my classroom it looks like this: we usually take at least two brain breaks per day REGARDLESS OF BEHAVIOR – one in the morning and one in the afternoon because, as we all know, KIDS NEED TO MOVE! 

But recently I started letting a student who has been demonstrating my classroom expectations CHOOSE the brain break. People, you’d think I gave them $100.

I use ClassDojo to award my students points when they demonstrate positive behavior. These behaviors include working quietly, staying on task, helping others, participating, etc. When they earn a certain number of points, they get to choose a reward in class. The most popular reward is “Choose a Brain Break!” They live for that reward, and it costs me NOTHING.

I use the cards that I found on this post on the GoNoodle Blog: Brain Break Tickets.

My “Show & Tell” cards are wrinkled. The “Choose Your Seat for the Day” cards have kids names written all over them.

But my “Choose a Brain Break” cards are so popular they are disappearing. I’ve had to print more at least three times, and we’ve only been in school for seven weeks!! They LOVE them!

And the best part: no more running to the store at lunch because I forgot to pick up a bag of candy the night before. No more worrying about having a behavior reward everyone likes, won’t affect their allergies, or that fits in with my corporation’s health initiative.

The same applies for those of you who have a treasure box in your classroom. Save your time, money, and space, and try letting them choose a brain break instead.

Give your kids the gift of GoNoodle. And then let them CHOOSE. You’ll be glad you did.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Five for Friday!

I'm linking up again with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday! I'm a little late, but hey, I'm here. 

We are finally up and running with Daily Five! I still have to introduce Work on Writing (I didn't go in order this year), so I guess we were doing Daily Four this week, but they did an awesome job! 

A few years ago, I convinced my principal to buy a site license for TumbleBooks for us to use for Listen to Reading, and I'm so glad she did! My kids love it! If you're not familiar with the site, click on the link to check it out. The books are leveled, and the kids can access it from home, too. 

These Read to Someone pairs are making and confirming predictions (from Deanna Jump's Interactive Reading Notebook pack) and Tuning into Interesting Words (from the CD included with The Cafe Book

Engagement. LOVE it. 

 Just like everyone else on the planet I think, we spent some time on apples this week. They got to taste red, yellow, and green apples. They chose their favorite and wrote an opinion about why that was their favorite. And then we painted some apples to accompany the writing. 

We broke out the math mat this week, too, to learn about the 100 chart to reinforce place value concepts and prep for comparing numbers next week. We stepped on numbers that were 10 more, 10 less, 1 more, and 1 less than a given number. Who needs hands-on when you can have feet-on? :) 

On Thursday, my PBIS team and I led a faculty meeting/PD to refresh everyone on our school-wide and classroom expectations and acknowledge them for all of their hard work. We have had A LOT of changes this year, and we all know how hard that can be. Part of our PD was on using GoNoodle brain breaks to help with behavior, and I was so grateful that the fabulous GoNoodle folks donated some goodies for my staff. Thank you, GoNoodle!!

My final thought for the week…my kids love Wonderopolis! If you've never tried it, check it out. I use it most often for morning work. There is a "Wonder of the Day" that always asks a question. I have my kids answer the question in their writing notebooks and draw a picture to go with it. The best part is that you can "explore wonders" and choose the one that is most relevant to your class. Then we watch the video and read about the answer. They like listening to the automated voice! It's an awesome way to build in a little curiosity and creativity into your day! 

Hope you all have a great week! :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently!

Today is the first day of September, so I'm linking up with Farley at 


Here's a peek at what I'm up to right now: 

Listening: My four year old LOVES books, and she's recently started "reading" them. This makes my teacher heart cup runneth over to see her use the pictures (and what she remembers) to tell the story. 

Loving: I don't really know who came up with this whole five days of work and two days off schedule, but I'm not a fan. Four and three seems like a MUCH better balance. I love being at home with my babies! 

Thinking: My plans for the next four days are definitely not done. We have a new evaluation tool in my district this year, which will be tied to our pay, so my lesson plans have become a lot more detailed. I started using this year to plan lessons, and I love it, but it takes me FOREVER to plan. 

Wanting: We were under a heat advisory for a week. Temps in the 90's but felt like 105 with humidity like you wouldn't believe. It felt like bus duty on the Equator. We had to have indoor recess every day, and the air conditioning went out at least twice. Not fun. I'm really hoping September brings cooler temps our way! 

Needing: I think my baby redhead may have an ear infection again. But of course, it's Labor Day, so her pediatrician's office is closed. I thought the After Hours clinic was open tonight, but it was actually open during the day, so by the time I called, they were booked. And all of the Urgent Care centers have two hour waits. It would be more torturous to make my baby girl wait in a germ-infested room for two hours than to just treat her at home until I can get her into her doctor in the morning. Darn back to school germs! 

3 Trips: I need a teleporter. I HATE traveling. It takes forever, and something always goes wrong. On the way back from Vegas this summer, I set off the scanner thing, and the TSA employee yelled, "I NEED A FEMALE SUPERVISOR!" You'd think they'd have walkie talkies or something, but nope. After waiting an eternity for a female supervisor to show up, I was escorted to a private room for a lovely pat down. Not the way I like to start my day. I love visiting new places and actually being on vacation, but getting there sucks. So who knows if I'll ever actually GO to these places, but I'd love to see them eventually. 

Hope you all have had a fabulous long weekend!!