Classroom Management

A lot of new teachers wonder what classroom management system to use and what is most effective. Honestly, it depends on your personality, I think. You’ve gotta find out what works for you and your kiddos. My first year, I changed management systems like it was going out of style. Once I found one that works, things were smooth sailing. Here is my collection of classroom management systems that I am using currently or have used in the past.

Current Systems: These are the things I am using right now in my classroom!

  • Class Dojo
    • I LOVE Class Dojo. I love how it is an app on my phone that I can take wherever. The kiddos can earn and lose points no matter where they are. It works awesome during assemblies, hallway, and recess time! You can customize the positive and negative behaviors. I had positive points for all of our class rules. I also have corrections, negative points, for the class rules. They earn points for following and lose points for not following rules. I also have things with a zero point value as a warning. I like having a warning zero point value because parents can see these points in live time. The parents are able to see that their kiddo was having a hard time following voice levels today and I don’t need to take away points. Teacher Hack: Add a TEST student. Use this TEST student to take points away as a warning for the kiddos. When they hear that sound, it’s usually enough to correct behavior. :]
    • Class Dojo always has a place to share photos and videos. I like to show great things the kiddos are doing in class. I love sharing their projects that can’t necessarily go home on there for the parents to see. I think it’s a fun way to connect with parents!
    • There is also a chat feature. Parents can connect to the account and you can send them messages. They also have a quiet hours feature, parents can send messages but you won’t receive them until after quiet hours.
    • There are SO many other amazing features that are completely free! Check it out!
  • Table Points
    • Table points are great motivators for the kiddos. Something about peer pressure makes these kiddos behave like crazy. They don’t want to be the one that ruins it for their team. I give out team points throughout the week and we reset on Friday’s. The team that wins gets to pick a prize from the prize bin.
  • Scoreboard
    • Whole Brain Teaching has a scoreboard system. There are many different names for the main headers. In my class we use smiley faces and frownie faces. If the kids end with more smileys then frownies they get a star, ten stars means they get a class party! They choose their party or reward via class vote!
  • Brag Tags
    • Brag Tags have been a life saver today. I’m so sad that I didn’t do this last year! I bought all of Angie Olson’s, Lucky Little Learners, brag tag sets. I prepped majority of them during the summer. The kids have a chain they get to wear on Fridays with all their tags, this is also when they put new tags on. They store their tags throughout the week in a pocket on their desk. The kids love earning the different tags. Some of them have picked a favorite tag that they REALLY want to win. When they find out it’s in my pocket, they try their best to earn it. It definitely encourages positive behavior!
  • Green Tickets/ Tokens
    • My school implemented a new school wide behavior policy this year. The kids can earn tickets from any teacher. Once they earn 5, they get to go down to the office and exchange them for a token. The token gets them a prize from the token tower. They can also bypass the 5 tickets and just earn a token. This is for super awesome behavior! The 5 tickets they exchange also go into a drawing for prizes later!

Past Year Management: These are the things I used last year but haven’t had to pull out this year yet. They are in the bag ready to go if needed!

  • Goal setting and Tally Marks
    • I wasn’t sure what to call this one. I learned about this in a college course. The kiddos set a class goal of something they want to improve. For example, they may want to improve on calling out. They decide how many times they will be allowed to call out during the week. They also pick a reward for reaching their goal and a consequence for not getting their goal. During the week, they get a tally mark anytime someone calls out. If they reach the goal at the end of the week, they get a prize, if they don’t the get their chosen consequence.
  • Cash Money
    • I created a class economy system last year to teach the kiddos about how money works. They earned money for their class jobs and could get fines if they weren’t following class rules. I had store twice, I wasn’t very good at that aspect of class money. This is one of the reasons I chose not to use this system this year.

There are SO many different management options out there! Choose what works best for you and stick with it!



Glue Sponges!

I had high hopes of coming on here and telling you all about my magical glue sponges! I was going to post a tutorial and tell you all about them. You were going to fall in love and be inspired to make some on your own!!

Instead of that, I am going to be sharing a glue sponge fail. Buuuuut I found out what I did wrong and I am currently in the process of making them correctly. So stayed tuned for that. In the meantime, here’s what NOT to do!

So to make a glue sponge, you get some airtight containers, sponges, and glue bottles. You pour glue into the container, set the sponge on top, and cover it with glue. Then, let is sit and you’ll have your magical glue sponges! How could I mess that up? I don’t know. But, I did.

Here is what I purchased to make these sponges

Dollar Store containers. $1.00 for 2.

Cellulose Glue Sponges $2.49 for 4 from Harmons.

Up and Up Target School Glue $.50 a bottle.

So I did as I was told and poured glue into the bottom of the container. I took pictures of this because I thought it would be a nice touch to my tutorial. Everyone loves a good picture.

I finished all 6 containers and waited. The tutorial I read said to let them sit for 24 hours. So I took another nice picture and waited. With hopes of coming back to them with a cool glue sponge to show you!

I had a video to show you of what happened. But, I have to pay money to put videos on here. I’m a school teacher. I can’t afford that. So you’ll have to settle for my description. Or hop over to my facebook page (confessionsofarealteacher) I will upload the videos there!

Basically, the glue turned into rubber. The sponge was stuck to the bottom of the container and the glue was rubber. It stretched and bounced back into shape. Instead of creating a glue sponge, I created rubber! Not what I wanted but you win some you lose some.

I went to Facebook to search for answers to my failure. How did I manage to mess up something so simple?! The kind teachers of Facebook told me I should have gotten the sponges wet and to try getting them wet now. They also told me that my containers might not have been airtight enough.

I did that. Most of them are semi salvaged. They are almost usable. There is one that is still completely rubber. I’m hoping my semi-functioning ones will be better next week.

I watched a video tutorial on Monday and bought some new supplies and remade them. This tutorial said to leave the sponges for a week! Such a long time to wait to see if I was successful. But, I will update you and make a real tutorial later on!

Spoiler alert: They look MUCH better now and are actually absorbing the glue!

Stay tuned. Like my Facebook page to see the videos!


Beginning of The Year Thoughts

Last year was my first year. My first REAL experience in a classroom. I interned last year. In my state, this is in place of student teaching. I mean I did spend three weeks in a classroom last semester but, in those three weeks, I only taught a lesson or two. It wasn’t a big deal. This really was the first time I was in charge of 27 kiddos on my own.

Student teaching is a little different because you have another teacher in your room 24/7. They are available to help ya out if you need it. I did not have that. I did have an AMAZING grade level team. I’m sure I drove them crazy with my constant questions. I also had an intern coach who is basically the reason I survived the school year. They were there when I needed to ask a question before or after school but, majority of the day, it was just me and these kids.

On top of having to teach full time, I also had this crazy hard and long project to do called edTPA. If you don’t know what it is, consider yourself lucky. If you do, I’m sorry.

The point of that huge rant was I was in survival mode for much of last year. I had NO clue what I was doing and my plate was beyond full. I don’t remember really anything until about late January early February this last school year. I can’t tell you what I did the first day, week, or really anything.

The new year is coming up very soon, sadly. But, I am feeling 10 times better about this year.

First off, I’ve had the entire summer off to recharge, relax, and get stuff done. Last year I worked up until the last week of July. Then I went right into classroom prep. There wasn’t any me time. This summer is filled with Me time, along with some working.

Next, even though I don’t remember the beginning of the year, I remember the end. I know what works classroom management wise. I had terrible management the first few months. Ask my team, I’m pretty sure I complained almost every day about these kiddos not listening to me and not following directions. That was mostly my fault. I got that figured out though. This year is going to start off SO much better because I know how to manage a classroom.

Third, I know what the heck I’m doing. I don’t have to be in survival mode. I don’t have anything else to do in life really. I can actually focus on teaching the kiddos and being the best teacher I can be. I also have time for ME. Any free time I had last year was spent working on edTPA. I’m sure I was a grumpy teacher multiple times last year because I was exhausted.

I’m excited to start fresh and start a new year. I am sad that summer is doing. Having no adult responsibilities is rather nice. I really can’t wait to be back with a fresh group of littles ready to learn!

But for now, I’m going to enjoy the last little bit of summer!


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It’s Kind of a Funny Story…

This story takes the cake for the, now that I’m looking back on it, the funniest moment that happened this year. It definitely was NOT funny in the moment.

One of my kiddos REALLY wanted to be in another teacher’s class. She made sure to tell me this often. She wanted to be in his class SO bad that she decided to make my classroom look like his classroom.

We had a pretty cold winter so indoor recess was quite frequent. During indoor recess, aids watch our class during indoor recess, she would draw the other teachers class mission statement on scratch paper and hang it up ALL over my classroom with tape. EVERYWHERE! I came back after lunch the first day and was so annoyed. I took them down, she threw a fit. I asked her not to do it again and waste tape.

During indoor recess the next day, same thing happened. They were everywhere, again. She got in trouble again, I took them down, she threw a fit.

The next time we had indoor recess, I put the tape away in my desk. Knowing that the other kids would tattle if she went behind there and got it. Came back to no signs anywhere. I thought I had solved this problem. But alas, it doesn’t end this easily.

We had indoor recess a few more times. It wasn’t until like 5 or 6 indoor recesses after the last incident that I came back to MORE signs everywhere. She brought her own tape from home because of course she did. I cleaned it up and let her know that if it happened again, she would have to spend indoor recesses in the office because she can’t hang up anything she wants on the walls.

It stopped after this. I thought.

Flash forward to last week when I was cleaning up my classroom, taking down posters for the end of the year and reorganizing the cabinets. Guess what I found under all of my posters?

If you guessed her posters of his class mission statement, you are correct. Under every single poster in the room. Some of them had multiple signs under them. They were also slid under things we don’t use regularly in the cabinets. They were stuffed inside my boxes of notebooks as well. There was at least 30-40 signs hidden in my classroom.

She was sneaky enough to only remove one staple from the wall and slide them under there with her tape from home. I never even noticed a difference.

I still wonder why the other children weren’t quick to tattle on her. They are 7 and 8, tattling is still a big deal. Though they also never told me that a child had her pet worm on her desk all day, but that is a story for another day.

One Word

I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon of setting a one word goal for the following school year. I think this makes a goal more manageable and easier to reach, hopefully.

My one word next year is going to be Organization.

I spent my entire year last year being a hot mess express. I didn’t file things, just placed them in a pile to be filed. I would clean off my desk only to have it become a disaster 15 minutes later.

I started the year with nothing so, beginning year organization didn’t really follow through once I started to accumulate stuff. It all needed to be redone, but there isn’t time when you’ve got 22 second graders running around. They take the priority and things become a disaster.

I spent my extra day during the summer organizing the cupboards and making sure everything has a place. When I can get into my desk and shelves again, our furniture needs to be pushed to one side of the classroom during the summer for cleaning, that is the next step. Getting those to work.

I also have a better idea of how I want my class to run and where I want things to go. I’ve bought some bins to help with that idea.

I also got the cutest planner! It is an Erin Condren Teacher Planner. I’m hoping the look of it makes me more inclined to actually use it. I suck at keeping a planner, more on that later. I am jumping at the bit to start using it next year already! Check out my Facebook page for a live video inside peak of that planner later this week. Here’s the link if you aren’t following me yet!

Also, if you’d like an Erin Condren planner, here is my referral link for $10 off! She has more then just teacher planners. Check it out!

Hopefully, this one word goal is successful. Maybe my life will be slightly less of a mess.

April Fools

Today was our last day before April fools day. Have Have you seen that video going around of that fake spelling test? I gave it to my kiddos today.

I told them they had to pass this test to go to third grade. They had three chances to pass and this was there first chance. The test is made up words with silent letters. It’s amazing.

When I said April fools, they weren’t sure if it was a joke or not.

They didn’t think it was funny. I however, thought it was hilarious.

Today I Don’t Want To Write

Today I didn’t want to write.

Today I had a hard day.

Today I got some pretty upsetting news.

But I did write.

I wrote an entire post, that I later deleted. It didn’t need to be published.

I wrote about my frustrations and about how sad I was.

Instead of laying on my couch crying until morning, I wrote.

It is such a relieving feeling to get everything off your chest and get it out somewhere.

It was still terrible news and I am still really upset. I do feel a little better now that it has been released.

Write even when you don’t feel like it.