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Munchkins: End of the year gifts

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Finally the end of the school year has come….the last week has been the longest so far!  This year Avery has been in two different classes (2 year old  and 3 year old class), so I had a total of 10 people to think about for end of year gifts.  Instead of getting each person an individual gift, I decided to give them a group “Treat”!

I turned to Pinterest for some inspiration and came up with the following label to place on Dunkin Donuts Munchkins.

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Avery was especially excited about delivering the doughnuts on Monday morning.  It took very little money or time to create and the teachers seemed to really enjoy the extra treat.

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When the girls start back to school in the fall, we will be giving their teachers a back to school gift.  I found the following ideas that look fun!

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Searching for Letters

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I was in the dollar store the other day and found a set of pink coins and play money, and I immediately knew this would make a perfect scavenger hunt activity.  So far we have searched for colors, numbers, and shapes.  The next scavenger hunt I wanted to make was letters.  In addition to the play money, I also bought a set of containers that the girls could use to collect their pink coins.  I added letter stickers on all the coins and paper money.  Since Avery has mastered most the uppercase letters, I wanted to create a matching activity that should she could play.  I put lowercase letters on the paper money and uppercase letters on the coins.

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I made labels for each of the girls containers, “Avery’s Pot of Pink/Leslie’s Pot of Pink”.

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It was a very inexpensive and a simple activity to make since I already had the letter stickers.  It did not take more than 15 minutes to label the containers and place on all the stickers.  Since it was a pretty day, we went outside for the scavenger hunt.  I hid the coins throughout the plants and the girls searched for them.

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 After they found all the coins, they dumped them out and we identified each letter. Next, they hid the coins for me to find and then I hid them AGAIN.  They really enjoyed searching and hiding them!

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Avery is consistent with identifying most all her uppercase letters, but needs some work with lowercase letters.  The next part of this activity is to match the lowercase and uppercase letters. The lowercase letters are on the paper money.  I plan on working individually with Avery and having her match five or six uppercase and lowercase letters at a time.

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Getting to know your students: Interest Inventories

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Students that have challenging behaviors are more difficult to bond with and often have fewer adult relationships.  As a teacher, it is important to go out of your way to show your students that you like them and value them.  It can be as simple as standing at the door and greeting each student and asking them questions about sports or hobbies they are interested in which will help foster positive relationships.

One way to help learn about your students and their individual interests is an Interest Inventory.  This can easily be incorporated into the first couple weeks of school when students are learning about classroom expectations.  In addition to having students complete an inventory, you can also send home an inventory for parent to complete in order to give a complete picture of the child.

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The answers on the interest inventories can later be used in a reward menu for students who need an individual behavior plan.  I will have a future post on different ways to incorporate reward menus into a behavior plan.

Here are some other creative ways to get to know your students.

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If you would like to get a copy of the two student interest inventories and one parent inventory, click HERE.

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Appointment Cards: Behavior Intervention

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Many inappropriate behaviors occur because the student is trying to get attention or avoid a task.  This intervention, “Appointment Cards”, helps give students the attention they want but at a more appropriate time that is designated by you.  As the teacher you need to give them the message that they are not in control of your classroom and that there is a more appropriate time to address the issue. If you do not want to stop instruction, then you can use appointment cards to formalize the process.

Let students know that you want to talk about the issue, but not at that moment and they can make an appointment to talk with you at a designated time. You can also use the appointment cards when YOU want to make an appointment with a student to discuss their behavior.

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This can be especially helpful for students who are on an individual behavior point system. Assign a point value for completing the card and they will be reinforced for completing the appointment card instead of continuing the disruptive behavior.  It is important to continue to give students different strategies that they can use and when students use one of these strategies, you should reward or reinforce that choice.

I made a set of that will be added to my behavior intervention toolkit.  You can get a set of them FREE here.

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Shape Hunt-Making a Shape Book

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Continuing with the scavenger hunt series, the next activity I created was a shape hunt which then turned into a shape book for each girl.

I created and cut out shapes (circle, square, triangle, star, oval, and rectangle).  I then placed them in an envelope and marked the top of the envelope with either a pink circle for Leslie or orange rectangle for Avery.  I wanted to make sure they both found the same shapes and that Avery did not find all of the envelopes!

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Next, I hid the envelopes around the room and had the girls come and find them.  They really enjoyed looking for their envelopes and very excited when they found one with their shape.  I gave them each a bag in order to collect the envelopes.

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After all the envelopes were found, they opened them up and we identified the shapes together.  I then gave them a glue stick and they glued the shapes onto the correct page of their shape book.

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 So far we have gone on two “shape hunts” and still have lots more room on the pages to add more shapes, so I believe we will be going on more “hunts” in the coming weeks.  Avery especially loved this activity and she also worked on counting the shapes after she glued them on the pages.

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You can get your FREE copy of the shape book here.

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Statement Cards

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The next addition to my toolkit for next year are Statement Cards.  When students engage in disruptive behavior (talking, out of seat, ect.) during instruction, it typically makes the teacher stop instruction in order to redirect the student.  The purpose of statement cards are to allow the teacher to redirect the student without stopping instruction and possibly becoming entangled in a power struggle.  The teacher simply places the card on the students desk and continues with the lesson.

It is just as important to reinforce positive behavior, especially in students who typically have behavioral issues.  Generally, in order to change negative behaviors, positive behavior must be reinforced at a more frequent rate than correcting negative behaviors, so half the cards have positive statements.

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I made the cards to match with a common color behavior system that some teachers use in their class with green, blue and purple being the positive statements and red, orange, and yellow being the corrective statements.

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These cards can also be used in conjunction with an individual behavior plan that incorporates a point system.  Teachers can give students chances to earn more points if they receive a positive card or use the corrective cards as warnings before points are taken away.

Cards can be kept in the front of the room or on the teachers desk in a filing system such as the one below.  They could also be placed on the teachers lanyard, so they are accessible at all times.

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You can get your FREE copy of 12 statement cards (6 positive and 6 corrective) by clicking on the following link.

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Searching for Starfish

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Thinking about the next activity to add to our summer scavenger hunt idea, I came up with Searching for Starfish.  We love going to the beach and boating, so I thought the girls would like the “summer like” theme…hence the starfish.  I decided to just focus on the numbers 1-9 with and to start with a matching activity.

I made a template with starfish labeled 1-9.  And then I created matching pink starfish with the same numbers.

You can get the printable for this activity HERE.

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I laminated and cut out the pink starfish and then started to think how to make it into a scavenger hunt.  In the past the girls have enjoyed rice bins, so I dyed some rice yellow and hid the starfish in the rice.  You can learn how to dye rice here.  It is very easy!!

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Then I added a couple of shells into the mixture and the girls took turns looking for the starfish.

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Since number recognition is a skill that Avery is currently working on (Leslie is too young), she matched the starfish to the correct number on the corresponding sheet.  I was pretty impressed that she was able to match most of them with little help from me.  When it was Leslie’s turn she gave the starfish to Avery, so she could match them again!

Next time we do this activity, I plan on getting some tweezers so the girls can work on their fine motor skills.

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I decided to make a starfish themed number lesson to accompany this activity since the girls seemed to enjoy it. Included in the mini lesson are flashcards, number matching, individual number sheets, and coloring sheets.  Here is a sample of an activity sheet.

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If you want to check out the entire kit you can find it HERE.