This week I'm going to deviate from the usual reading and math strategies that I usually post about. This year we've been really working on growth mindset. As part of their growth mindset work we've worked really hard on owning our behavior. It's so hard for any behavior to change or grow when the behavior isn't acknowledged!
To help my students take charge of their own behavior we are using 2 important strategies!
The first is a Chill Zone. Some younger grade teachers might call this a time out spot, but I've found that naming it something more grown up works better for upper elementary.
A chill zone works slightly different than time out. I usually give students a warning (my warnings are very specfic and I give the reason why). "Cam'ron please stop humming while I am speaking. It is considered rude by many people, and it makes it hard for me to think and speak at the same time". I think it's vital to do this part for students when we want them to grow from a correction. How will they know to change something if they don't understand what to change?
How does a time out help a student grow? In the Chill Zone I ask the students to think about their behavior and reflect on it using a behavior sheet! It helps them take ownership because they aren't just getting a time-out and stewing while sitting there. They actually need to reflect and think about the reason an adult corrected their behavior.
Now, I'm not going to lie, often times they are not happy about taking a chill, and some do forget or not realize why they are there. So, sometimes we need to have a conversation about the initial redirection I gave them. Or, they need to realize that no matter how much they whine or argue about having a chill they will need to fill it out before joining the group again.
The newest addition to our classroom is a Peace Corner (for lack of a better name I'm using the Montessori name for it, but I'm totally open to name ideas). I'm so excited about this! This is the chance for students to really take control of their own behavior! Students place themselves in the peace corner, for 2 minutes, if they feel like they need a break. On the first day we spend a lot of time around situations that would require a break (being upset, feeling depressed, feeling out of control), and how they would give themselves this time-out.
We also talk about what you do in the peace corner. They can read books (I have a pile of books geared towards behavior), draw, write, play with a stress toy, or even shred paper if they are really angry or upset!
Unfortunately we have a young lady that tragically lost her little brother earlier this year and she has spent a lot of time in the peace corner shredding paper.
Interested in starting a peace corner in your classroom? Click HERE or on the pictures to download the posters placed in our peace corner. The Chill Zone pictures and behavior sheets can be found at my Teachers Pay Teachers store, or by clicking HERE.
I know many of you may already be back, but I wanted to share some fun and simple getting to know you activities that I have been getting ready to use with my students. I use these in my small groups, but they would work great for whole class too!
In reading groups we always complete a reading survey! It's so important to see what their habits and attitudes towards reading are! It can also give you some great clues into their personalities! I had one student last year answer everything with soccer and let me tell you EVERYTHING in his life did revolve around soccer! Click on the picture if you are interested in
In math we start groups with Numbers That Make Up ME! It's a super fun way for the students to interact with numbers and tell me a little bit about themselves. In each box they tell a fact about themselves that relates to a number (and they can draw a picture or add some details to the fact). I've written a number 3 on mine because I have 3 children and a 1 because we have 1 dog at our house! It can take them a minute or two to start thinking about the numbers in their lives, but once they do they really enjoy looking at their life through numbers. Click on the picture if you are interested in finding out numbers about your students!
Since I see a lot of the same students in groups I try and change up some of the activities I do with them. As a general get to know you activities we've also completed the pieces of me sheet and the facebook post on the cell phone (that one is a BIG hit with upper elmentary students!!!).
I'm a mom, wife, and teacher that loves to read, hang out with my family, and learn. I love to use our blog to share ideas with others and to help keep me learning!