Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Let it Snow!

With winter break only 2 days away, the energy has taken a physical presence in the room! Thus, it was a perfect time to update my brain tools bin by adding some fun new ones and throwing out some of the old dirty, sticky, well-loved ones. :) I went to this neat PD this year where they talked about the importance of brain tools and having a variety to choose from in your classroom since we as individuals all have different preferences. Even something as inexpensive as a pipe cleaner can be quite effective as a brain tool. Today I went shopping with variety in mind, and I was in luck. I stopped at Target and Michael's on my way home tonight and found some really cool ones! I will use the giant green ball and the long caterpillar in box pictured below as rewards for behavior. Students love getting to use the special brain tool.

The key I have found with brain tools being effective is having clear expectations. The instant a "tool" starts becoming a "toy," the privilege of using one is gone. What constitutes a tool becoming a toy? I spell that out very clearly with my students: throwing it, playing with it and completing no work, talking about it with others, etc. That way, students are set up for success right from the beginning. When it is time to write, students are trained to put their brain tools to the side of their desk, and when they are finished, they can pick it right back up. They love their brain tools and so do I. They work!

Another way I combatted all the "winter break is almost here!!! energy" today was by turning on some holiday jams during snack time while students created snowmen for decorations for our song-a-long we will have as a school on Friday. Check out my cutie-pies' snowmen!

Gotta love pig-tails on a snowman or the rainbow colored body. So sweet. :)

As for all you teachers out there, hang on to your hats for the next two days! We got this!

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