Sunday, January 20, 2013

Candy Heart Graphing & Report Cards

So right about now I should be working on report cards and updating my students progress on the common core skills... but that just doesn't sound like much fun on a lazy Sunday during a 3 day weekend.

Instead of real work, I picked up conversation hearts at Target and made a new version of the heart graphing activity I do with the kids every year. I give each kid a box of conversation hearts and they have to graph how many of each color were in their box. You can also buy a big bag of hearts and pour some in little dixie cups for each kid (The boxes were $2.50 for 8 boxes at Target this week).

Then we compare our graphs to see if we all had the same or different results (it's always different). Then we combine our graph totals to make a whole class graph to see which was the most popular color.

You can grab a graph for your class too! Just click on the image for my TPT store, or HERE for a GoogleDoc.


My most bouncy (and attention demanding) little guys was out sick with a cold/flu this week. While I'd never wish illness on any kid, it made it a much quieter class this week and I used it to my advantage. I did a ton of one-on-one testing to monitor my kids' progress this quarter. I was amazed by how much a couple of them had grown. My kinder kids couldn't even write the whole alphabet in capital letters in October, and this week they were able to write almost every letter in both upper and lowercase! Also, they could only write numbers to 6 before and one kid made it to 100 now! (I'm counting number reversals of course, but still!)

I've also done a bunch of cumulative review math assessments for all of the kids, but I haven't scored them yet. I'm procrastinating until later this weekend :)

One little guy has been really struggling lately! He's having huge confidence issues and not finishing first has become a major trigger. At one point another student finished an assignment 3 seconds before him and he kicked, screamed, and tried to run away. It took a very long time to calm him down and resulted in me laying on the dirty ground hugging him in the hallway of our school for 15 minutes until he stopped crying. This kid loves super tight, squishy hugs and it turned out it's the only thing that will calm him down when he gets into his irrational tantrum mode. Do any of you have any great strategies to use with kids who insist on always being first?

This week I started rewarding him every time he wasn't first and didn't complain/cry about it. I also intentionally made him dead last in line and gave him a prize when he didn't get upset. During work time I switched up the assignment order for him and his learning partner so he never knew he was ahead/behind. Ironically, when he wasn't freaking out about his classmate getting ahead, he actually finished quite early. When I gave him free time he actually asked me if he could stop and come back to the table to learn some more! I about died of shock because usually this kid tells me how much he hates working! I told him he just asked the a teacher's favorite question: Can I learn some more? and the answer is always YES!!!

So now comes the real question... Do I keep mixing things up so he works harder and without tantrums because he never competes for first? Or do I force him to learn it's okay to not be first by praises and prizes for accepting second/last appropriately? I discovered this week it's become so bad that it's affecting his learning. He hasn't been able to learn our most recent sight words because of all the tantrums. So which is more important? The life skill of not being first all the time? Or the learning? Should I do 50/50?? Keep the work order mixed, but make him learn he can't always be first in line, games, and other activities?

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

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