|Make sure to check out all the great classroom management tips!|
This week talks about classroom management, something that is great in every class but is a complete NECESSITY in Pre-K unless you want to completely lose your mind after the first week! I always say "If you get them started early, it makes the rest of the year go by much smoother". So here are just a few of the many classroom management tools we use with our little ones.
I found this great behavior clip chart over at A Cupcake for Teacher's page and I am very excited to give it a try. The kiddos will all start on green and move up and down depending on their choices throughout the day. If they make it all the way up to Super Student they get a little jewel on their clip and, once they have 3 jewels, their clip gets retired to the Hall of Fame and they get a new one! Plus, because there's a lot of parent communication involved in Pre-K, I have a communication log that I use that goes with the colors on the chart. This way, their parents can see how they did for the day without me having 20 parents wanting my attention at the end of the day. And as if that weren't enough, I also made a little certificate that will go hope each time one of the kiddos makes it to the top of the chart! Lots and LOTS of positive reinforcement for individual behavior.
Now, once they do something that I feel like the whole class needs a reward for, we will use the Scrabble tile words to the left of the color chart. I got the idea from An Educator's Life. They say things like "Ice Cream Party" and "Pajama Day". Everytime they do something great, the star student of the week will draw a letter from the letter bag and choose where they want it to go. If they pick an A, they could put it on Ice Cream Party or Pajama Party depending on which reward they want to work towards first!
Then, because a lot of my little ones start the year not being able to read, I made the helper chart below. In addition to having the helper title, there is also a picture that they are clipped to so they can see what their job is without having to read it. For example, I put a picture of a train engine for Line Leader and a light bulb for Lights Helper. Each picture has stars on the bottom so they know how many helpers there are for each job. Plus there are enough spaces for each child in the class so no one is left out!
This next idea was one that we didn't implement until towards the end of the year but I'm wishing we would have done it MUCH sooner! What Happens In First Grade shared the Mystery Walker idea and it works like a charm, even for my little ones! You basically put all their names on little tokens or chips and, before leaving the classroom say something like "Ok, it's time to pick our mystery walker." Then, all dramatic-like, pull a name from the box, peek at it, and say, "Ok, remember, I'm going to be watching this person very carefully to see how they walk in the hall!" Because they all think it's them, they all walk perfectly down the hall! I also like to add in a little extra incentive sometimes when it seems like they're losing interest like maybe offering an extra letter to the Scrabble words. Of course, if the Mystery Walker isn't the greatest walker, I usually don't say who the walker was. Instead I say something like "Well, our Mystery Walker wasn't really following our hallway rules today. Hopefully we'll have a better line/quieter friends next time".
Now, out of all the items I have purchased over the past few years, my absolute best investment has got to be my teacher bell! We use it all day long. When it's time to come in off the playground, my bell ringer helper gets to ring the bell to have everyone line up. When I need everyone's attention, I ring it and the kiddos know to stop what their doing and wait for instructions. When we switch our small group centers, they know they can't switch until I ring the bell. You might think "Wait, small group centers in Pre-K?" Why yes, we do have small group centers. And yes, they do rotate just like the big kids. It just takes (a lot) of practice for them to get used to it. We have 4 different groups and each group has a group sign (thanks to the rainbow classroom pack from Hands On Teacher in First!) Once I'm finished with my group, I rotate their group signs as a signal for them to clean up and be ready to switch. Then, when it looks like they are all ready, I ring my trusty bell and they're set to go!
One thing I didn't have last year that I plan to make for the upcoming year (no, it's not made yet... it is summer break after all, lol) is a talking stick. I plan to use it during large group time, especially when we do sharing activities where the kiddos need to practice taking turns with talking and not interrupting. It's definitely not a new idea and I didn't really get it from one specific place. I just know that I'm going to give it a shot and see how well it works!
Hope to see you all next week for The Applicious Teacher's 3rd week: Whole Group Instruction