Having a bad day? Go to Australia. An Easy Clasroom Management Tool

Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
This idea goes along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and comes from one of my college professors.  In his room, he had a table reserved as "Australia".  If one of his students was having a bad day they could go work at the Australia table for a few minutes until they were feeling better.
Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
I've never quite had room to make a whole Australia table (in fact last year I didn't even have counter space and ended up putting them on my whiteboard), so I use little Australian flags.  We always read the Alexander book on the first week of school and then I talk to my students about the flags.  We brainstorm reasons to use the flags, how to put it on their desks, when to put it back, etc. (We do not live in Australia we discuss, so constant flag usage is not an option).  They know that they are having a bad morning/recess/feeling sad/having some sort of other undisclosed mental emergency, they can go get an Australian flag and put it on their desk.  They may NOT give fiendish stares to another student who may be causing their Australia emergency, they may just put the flag on their desk, take a few deep breaths, and know that I know something is up.
Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
This gives them an immediate way to show me they're upset, and is a great reminder for me to check in with them when I have a chance.  Two seconds after recess ends is NEVER the best time for mental check-ins, so this gives them the power to show me they might need a little extra love while not needing to wave their cute little arms in my face while I usher 29 other little kidlets in from the playground.

I've also found this to be a great tool to tell parents about at conferences.  If a parent happens to mention that their child is feeling upset or frustrated with a classmate and feels as if I should be noticing said frustration, I tell them all about the flags and ask their child if they've been using them.  I'm not a mind reader, but I can see a flag if you slap one on your desk.      
Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
This simple strategy has always worked really well in my classroom, although there have been a few times I've had some fiendish stare-ers who needed a reminder or two on appropriate flag usage. These work especially well for shy students who might not want to talk about exactly what is bothering them immediately, or for students who need time to process before talking about something that is bothering them.

If you are short on time and don't want to make your own flags/poster, check out my TpT product that includes 8 different posters and 3 different styles of flags.  Just print and go!
Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
I hope you can use this idea in your classroom.  Let me know if you give it a try!






If you would like to have Super Teacher ideas delivered right to your inbox, please sign up for my newsletter to get exclusive freebies, and practical classroom tips and tricks to save you time and make learning fun!

 
*If you like my blog please consider using the affiliate links above for your online shopping. This means when you click on these links I earn a small percentage of any purchases you make, but the prices stay the same for you. Thanks for helping to support my blog!*
15

TpT Back to School Gift Card Giveaway Bloghop

It's Back to School time!  I know many of you went back this week (or even weeks ago!), but I'm one of those "Start with kids after Labor Day" teachers (I'll pay my dues mid-June while you are all out sipping yummy summer drinks), so I've been on the enjoying-summer-until-the-very-last-minute train.

Now it's time to get serious though.  I go back next Friday, so the TpT ONE DAY BONUS SALE is perfectly timed for me.  I didn't even know which grade I'd be teaching at the beginning of August, so I couldn't really take advantage of the last sale days.  Thankfully we have one more day!!!

If you're just finding my blog for the first time through this awesome BLOG HOP, thanks for stopping by!  Please follow me on Bloglovin' so you can be notified of my new posts.  I've been working on updating tons of freebies and items in my store this summer.  Here's a few items I've updated or finished this summer. (Freebies too!)
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Third-Grade-Homework-September-20-NO-PREP-Printables-Editable-Homework-Menu-834099
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Word-Work-Center-Activities-for-Grades-2-3-220-Pages-of-Print-and-Go-Resources-178758

 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Math-Challenges-Brainteasers-Perfect-Fast-Finishers-Homework-Extensions-1287275
There's only 24 hours to enter this $10 TpT Giftcard Giveaway.  It starts at 12am Eastern time on Sunday and runs until 12am Eastern time on Monday.  I'll notify the winner as soon as possible on Monday morning so you can spend the moolah from the gift card at the TpT sale.  Exciting!

All you need to do to enter is follow my TpT Store, my Blog, my IG or mix and match. 
When you finish entering here,  
go to the next stop on the hop by clicking the button below.
Good luck and Happy Back to School Super Teachers!
 
5

Back to School Writing Activity - Stones in the River

Stones in the River writing activity - perfect for the first week of school in the elementary classroom!  This post explains how to create "Rivers" with your students where they can keep their ideas for writing throughout the year!
Writing!  I love it so.
This activity is called Stones in the River.  It's perfect for the beginning of the year because it's all about brainstorming ideas, even though the kids don't know that yet.  It's a resource we come back to over and over again when we're stuck for writing ideas, or to add to as we think of more.  If I ever hear "I don't have anything to write about.", my automatic response is "Go to your river.", and then "Have you gone to your river?", and then "Why don't you add some things to your river?"  

During the first week of school I do this activity step-by-step with the kids.  I show them rivers I've created in the past and let them know that if they are dying to put color on their river, they can when we finish making as many stones as possible.
Stones in the River writing activity - perfect for the first week of school in the elementary classroom!  This post explains how to create "Rivers" with your students where they can keep their ideas for writing throughout the year!
Stones in the River Step by Step:
1. Get a long piece of art paper
2. Draw your river with 2 lines (straight, curvy, jagged, whatever) as far apart on the paper as possible.
3. Think of any people that you know who are important to you.  Every one of these people will be a stone in your river.  For every person you can think of write their name and then draw a circle or oval around it. These are now the first stones in your river.
Stones in the River writing activity - perfect for the first week of school in the elementary classroom!  This post explains how to create "Rivers" with your students where they can keep their ideas for writing throughout the year!
4. Think of any places where you've spent a lot of time, places you have visited or want to visit.  Every place you can think of will be a stone in your river.  These don't have to be theme parks or vacation destinations; they can be your bedroom or the playground.  You definitely spend a lot of time there! Write the place and put any kind of circle around it you want.  These are now stones in your river.
Stones in the River writing activity - perfect for the first week of school in the elementary classroom!  This post explains how to create "Rivers" with your students where they can keep their ideas for writing throughout the year!
5. Think of any things or events that are important to you.  Things can be animals, foods, or even colors.  Events can be holidays, special occasions, or memories.  These are now stones in your river too!  Look how crazy full your river is getting!
Stones in the River writing activity - perfect for the first week of school in the elementary classroom!  This post explains how to create "Rivers" with your students where they can keep their ideas for writing throughout the year!
6. Write your name on your river!  That way when we find it on the floor, we can bring it right back to you. We wouldn't want you to lose something so special.  :)

Students can color their rivers or continue adding to them.  I always remind them to keep extra space in their river because they will definitely want to add people, places, things, and events as our year together continues.  They fold these up, put them in their writer's notebook, and use them whenever they're stuck for ideas.

Follow-up mini lessons with our rivers include:
How you can use your river to spark an idea for writing
Genre switch - using a river idea to write pieces in multiple genres (a poem AND a narrative about your cat)
Adding on to your river when you think of new ideas

Happy back to school!  Enjoy the rest of August!
*If you like my blog please consider using the affiliate links above for your online shopping. This means when you click on these links I earn a small percentage of any purchases you make, but the prices stay the same for you. Thanks for helping to support my blog!*
2

One of My Favorites! The C.H.I.P. Trophy

Step by step instructions for making C.H.I.P. (Caring helpful independent polite) Awards.  Great for elementary school students - From I Want to be a Super Teacher
I wish I could take credit for this idea, but "The C.H.I.P Trophy" was introduced to me after my first year of teaching by Kris Thurgood and Kim Christopherson, two teachers and sisters who started ilovethatteachingidea.com.

The CHIP (stands for Caring, Helpful, Independent, Polite, Person) trophy is a shrunken chip bag glued atop a red Solo cup with a label taped to the front.  Every year as I burn my knuckles smacking down shrinking chip bags in the oven, my husband wonders aloud, "Is that really worth it?"  The answer -- ABSOLUTELY!  For nine years I used the CHIP trophy and I can attest to its power.
Step by step instructions for making C.H.I.P. (Caring helpful independent polite) Awards.  Great for elementary school students - From I Want to be a Super Teacher
After the success of the CHIP trophy, I decided to see if wearing a shrunken chip bag would also entice my students.  Yep!  Thus, the CHIP necklace was born.  This is simply a shrunken chip bag with a hole punched in it, tied with yarn. I love that third graders find these irresistible and will do almost anything to get one - including always saying please and thank you.
Step by step instructions for making C.H.I.P. (Caring helpful independent polite) Awards.  Great for elementary school students!
When I was going to "teacher" school I remember thinking badly upon extrinsic rewards and promising myself when I was a teacher, I would help my students to be motivated just for the sake of knowing they did the right thing.  Of course, this is always a goal, but after 10 years, I've learned that chip bags work much better than feelings of moral superiority.  CHIP trophies and necklaces are here to stay.
Step by step instructions for making C.H.I.P. (Caring helpful independent polite) Awards.  Great for elementary school students - From I Want to be a Super Teacher
At a parent conference a few years ago a grandmother related how excited her grandson was to bring home his CHIP trophy, saying he was so thrilled they decided to use it as the star on their Christmas tree.  Siblings of past students relate how their brothers/sisters/friends won the trophy when they were in third grade and how the dog ate/mutilated/stepped on it and made their brother/sister/friend cry.  I often hear from parents of trying to throw away their now 14 year old child's dusty CHIP trophy, but it had to be put in the "special things" box because their teenager refused to part with it.  Thus, I will continue to burn my hands every summer as I spend  a few days using my oven as a chip bag shrinking machine. 

Try it!
1. Put a chip bag (must have a foil inside) in your oven at 250-300 degrees (you can try shrinking more than one but I suggest one to start)
2. Watch it.
3. Keep watching it.
Nothing will happen.
Then . . .
All of a sudden . . .
The corners will start to curl!
4. Get your spatula and smack the bag flat
5. Flip the bag
6.  Repeat steps 4&5 until the bag is as small as you'd like it.
7.  Let it cool, hot glue it to a SOLO cup, smack on a label (Mine say CHIP Trophy Mrs. Smith's Third Grade Class) and start rewarding caring, helpful, independent, polite people!

If anyone tries this let me know.  I swear by CHIP trophies and I hope someone else can use this great idea!
 





If you would like to have Super Teacher ideas delivered right to your inbox, please sign up for my newsletter to get exclusive freebies, and practical classroom tips and tricks to save you time and make learning fun!

 
*If you like my blog please consider using the affiliate links above for your online shopping. This means when you click on these links I earn a small percentage of any purchases you make, but the prices stay the same for you. Thanks for helping to support my blog!*
10