Monday, December 10, 2012

The Seven Days of Christmas

We are only 7 days away from winter break (if you count today).  As always around this time of year, my learners were starting to get a little restless and to treat each other not so nicely all the time.  While I tried to stress again and again global citizenship and with freedom comes responsibility I decided it was time to break out a behavior chart in order to earn some holiday classroom cheer.

After scouring Pinterest, I realized there was nothing quite what I needed, so I decided to create something of my own. Here is our '5C Christmas Tree of Goodness and Kindness':

Each morning we talk about how our actions impact others.  Sometimes it's reflecting on a short reading, other times its sharing something positive we have done for others.  Starting our day off thinking about our actions has really helped guide my learners in making better choices.

Our christmas tree has 5 main layers (the top is for the star that we are going to make as a class) and we will use the two sides of the door as decoration space as well.  Each day, the students have the opportunity to earn an ornament for completing their homework on time, helping their classmates, and practicing goodness and kindness.  At the end of the day, the students are given an ornament which they take home to color and then add to our tree the next day.

Our goal is that each student will have at least 5 ornaments on the tree (out of 7 possible days) which will earn them a movie morning of 'Elf' and hot chocolate. The students who haven't earned that right are going to work with another teacher either tutoring younger students or helping around the schools o they can practice goodness and kindness.

So far the kids love it!  Our classroom is getting decorated, spirits are lifting, and it feels great to work towards a common goal.

I've hung this sign by the tree, please feel free to use it in your own classroom.

Happy Holidays!

~Michelle Louise

Book of Inspiration

Sometimes teaching is an overwhelming job. I truly feel that most teachers hold themselves to the highest expectations and stretch themselves very thin.  We love our students, our colleagues, our families, and our friends, and sometimes its hard to find the right balance, especially when our kids start push our buttons.

This past month we had 2 straight weeks of indoor morning and lunch recess... The kids were cranky. I was crabby. I lost my focus on the joy in my classroom and needed a reminder of why I do what I do.
That is where this little gem came in and saved the day:

My aunt was a fantastic teacher and she told me when I first started student teaching to keep a box or book of all the good things that happen in class--emails, letters, student quotes, random thoughts about teaching--and that whenever I felt down, I should pull out those tokens of joy and look at them.

This notebook was bought in a stationary shop when we first moved overseas. The cover says: "Wrote Down Something That Make You Happy Every Day."  That alone makes me smile every time I read it!

This little book has expanded and grown so much that it has a HUGE binder clip on it and I think I'll need to make a new one next year.

Here are a few of my treasured pieces that will hopefully make you smile as well:

A book is easy to keep in your desk but any box or container will do. A little bit of happiness is always right at your fingertips. Enjoy!

~Michelle Louise