I brought a few gifts for my students from Arizona.
They were a little hesitant about trying Prickly Pear cactus licorice, but they all loved it. I brought the scorpion lollipop just for fun. They were a bit disappointed they didn't each get one!
I spent the first few days slowly getting back into our routine and we reviewed our rules and procedures for the classroom.
Over the break I had been thinking about a few things I wanted to focus on more in my classroom and for me it was working on KINDNESS and being more POSITIVE in the classroom. I had noticed a few rude remarks from students and some not so nice behavior. I plan to really focus more on those students that are showing kind behavior and reward them positively using my clip chart.
I know some teachers have done away with their Behavior Clip Charts and I have read a few blog posts from others who don't feel it is a good tool to use in the classroom.
For myself and my style of teaching it is one of the best tools I have ever used. The one I created for my class is fun and the kids absolutely love "Surfing Up".
I don't use my chart to focus on the negative behaviors, I use it to focus on the positive. When I am teaching a lesson and I notice some students are not focused, I zero in on someone near them and mention how wonderful their behavior is and ask them to "Surf Up". Immediately the whole class is on track and focusing on what we are doing.
When a student helps me if I drop something or shows kindness to another student I thank them for their help and ask them to "Surf Up".
Don't get me wrong, I use it if someone just cannot stop talking or get back on track and ask them to "Surf Down". But for the most part it is for rewarding that good behavior. The student who surfed down to yellow surfed right back up for finishing his work and then helping another student.
My focus for the rest of the year is to really catch those kids being good, and to make sure I catch EVERYONE for the littlest things. I had a student yesterday who was so focused and working so hard (who normally doesn't even get his name on his paper) and I asked him to move up the chart. He ended up on Cowabunga and he was so thrilled!
Students who end the day on Cowabunga earn a bead for their Award necklace. Once they earn five beads they can trade them in for a new tag. I have a few students who are saving their beads.
It's easy to forget about these little things as you trudge through the mounds of curriculum, but just a few minutes here and there can make a huge difference in the self-esteem of your students.
What do you use in your classroom to foster kindness?
Do you have anything that you are focusing on for the remainder of the year?
Always love to hear your thoughts!