The first few weeks of Prep (or Kindergarten if you're not from 'round these parts!) are always tough as the kidlets get used to the routines and rules of school. Throw in a handful of boys with 'tricky' behaviour and you've got yourself a recipe for days that feel like they go on forever... during which you use your 'cranky voice' more than once. This week I found myself using a few behaviour management ideas that are truly 'magic' in a slightly desperate attempt to get things in my classroom back on track.
Day-to-day I use the famous 'clip chart', known in my room as the 'peg chart', for kidlets to monitor their behaviours. I use the Monster Manners pack from Growing Kinders as a springboard for moving up (to the pink card - Super Kid!) or down the chart. Seriously, you need this pack! So cute and so effective (also helps that it's free)! I refer to my display daily and the kids get it. Within a day, one of my precious treasures said "You sit criss cross, and that's the bottom of the line!" (If you use this pack, you'll understand!)
This year, the clip chart was working for about 90% of the kidlets... and those remaining 10% sure were giving me the run around. Bring in the magic tricks! Trick number 1 is a life lesson, as well as a magic cure for some tricky classroom behaviours.
All you need are some dollar store bubbles, and you have some 'Self Control Bubbles'! Take your class outside and sit them in a circle. Explain that you are going to blow some bubbles in their direction, and the first time you do they can pop away as much as they want. Go ahead and let them go wild (within reason... I always tell my kidlets their bottoms must stay on the ground). Make sure everyone gets a heap of bubbles to pop. The second time, explain that you are going to blow more bubbles, but this time they MUST NOT pop a single one... even if it lands right on their nose! Explain that the feeling of really, really wanting to do something, but holding back, is called self control. Ask for a volunteer to go first and choose someone you know will resist the bubbles. Praise them for using self control. Then go around the circle and blow more bubbles at each kidlet (I make sure to get right 'up in their face' so they really, really have to control themselves!) - making sure to encourage all of them to think about how it feels to have self control. As the weeks go on refer back to this activity any time one of your kidlets is struggling with those behaviours that require them to practice more self control. They will be able to recall the feeling, trust me! You might like to repeat the bubble activity a few times during the year - my kidlets LOVE knowing that they are pros at something... and self control ain't a bad thing to be pro at! :)
Grab this free pack from my TpT store that will help you use this activity in your classroom. It contains an explanation of how to complete the Self Control Bubbles activity, a label for your bubble bottle, and 3 simple recording sheets.
And for my second trick... Quiet Spray! All you need for this is an empty spray bottle. I bought mine from Kmart for less than $2. Fill it with water. My spray bottle wasn't clear, but if it was I would have added a drop of food colouring or some glitter to make it look more 'magic'. I also would have taken time to make sure my label was size-appropriate for my bottle... but you live and learn! :)
I added a few drops of rosewater to my Quiet Spray... mostly because I wanted lavender, couldn't find it at the grocery store, but wanted my Quiet Spray to smell calming. Here's how it works: Any time you want your kidlets to work quietly (I used mine today before group work), explain that you will use the Quiet Spray to help them work the best that they can. I ask my class to take a deep breath in through their noses and out through their mouths as I mist Quiet Spray over their heads. MAGIC! You could even use Quiet Spray at the beginning of each day along with some relaxation techniques, or for individual students who need some extra magic in their day. :)
There you have it folks, some new magic tricks for you to try with your tricky kidlets. :) Please let me know if they work for you!
Hope you're having a wonderful weekend! :)