Brag tags are a simple and fun way to reward and motivate students to meet academic, character and behavior goals! Brag tags give me the opportunity to help my kids to feel proud rather than rewarding them with junk from a treasure box. I use them to focus on improvement rather than grades in our classroom. My students must earn the tags. They are not just given out (with the exception of the first day of school tag). I started by deciding which tags I wanted to offer. I chose some brag tags that students would know exactly what they must do in order to earn the tag such as math facts, reading hours and sight words. I also like to have some character trait and positive behavior tags on hand. I award these based on observations. There is no one magic way to earn it. Even my strugglers can earn these tags because I base them on improvement.  The first thing that we do on Friday mornings is our brag tag ceremony. Any child who has earned a tag during that week...
Chapter four of Learn Like a Pirate tackles one of my favorite subjects to preach about. Seriously, I was just telling my husband (who really doesn't care but pretends to when necessary) a week ago, that teachers spend WAY too much time grading! I don't take grading home. EVER. There are far better ways to assess your students' skills and comprehension that grading  stacks of worksheets. And frankly, I have far better things to do with my time than grade those stacks of papers. (Like eat tacos in front of the TV.) I always aim to create a classroom culture where every student is growing and feels successful. They won't all start at the same place and they won't all end at the same place. But as long as they are improving, I am one happy teacher! I think that when teachers focus on grades, there are a couple of negative consequences. First, students (and parents) need the grade to validate the work. Students don't just feel proud because they know th...
Welcome back for chapter three of our book study . This book is quickly becoming one of my favorite professional books! I am not a wimpy teacher. When I tell my teammates what I am doing in the classroom, they usually think I am crazy and wish me luck. But this book is certainly stretching me to consider new ideas and strategies! This chapter is no exception. Let's talk about collaboration... I won't lie. This is the section of the book (so far) that scared me the most! I actually put the book down for a day just so I could really think and reflect about this one. Solarz empowers his students to lead by giving them permission to use the class attention getter. When the student uses the attention getter, even the teacher freezes and gives the student their attention. YIKES! I instantly started envisioning an entire day of students trying to overpower one another with "Class! Class!" How will we get through any learning? Seemed too crazy for me. But then I...
Welcome back for chapter 3 of the Teaching with Intention book study! This chapter was about one of my very favorite teacher topics- setting up your classroom! Miller writes about setting up a classroom that reflects your values in the classroom rather than a classroom that looks like a model home that is not lived in. This is a sensitive topic for me. I adore creating cute classrooms. I have been told repeatedly by coworkers and parents that my classroom looks like it came from the pages of a magazine. What they sometimes don't realize is how much thought went into every piece. Every decision I made while setting up my classroom was intentional. It's cute...but more importantly my classroom is functional and a comfortable and happy place for my students to learn. Miller suggests that teachers step outside of their classroom and and look back in. What do you see? Make a list of the things that you like and a list of things that you want to change. Ask a colleague to lo...