Change Your Words, Change Your Mindset

I hope everyone had a great first or second week back to school. I just finished my first week back and let me tell you, I was so tired Friday night...I think I was in bed by 7:30! We had such a busy week but I was so happy to see my students. They really are the best and make my job so much easier!

Today I wanted to share with you something we did this week that I am super proud of! 

Our focus this week was changing our mindset!

First, we had a conversation about the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. We watched this awesome video and talked about it after. 

Next, I showed them a list of words and we had a discussion about their meanings. I don't know about you,  but my students LOVE to talk and this was a perfect opportunity for them:)

I put each word on a poster, and students had about 15 minutes of quiet time to walk around and write what that word meant to them! 

This was not my original idea, I found it from Heidi over at Create, Dream, Explore!

Here's a look at the around the classroom activity!

After students were done, we talked and shared. Their responses were amazing! 

The next day, we had a quick recap of what the differences is between a fixed mindset vs growth mindset. We did this on TodaysMeet! You can view our conversation here!

After we "talked about the differences, I gave them some fixed statements. I would type in the fixed statement and they would type in what they would do to make it a growth statement!

The last part of this activity was an art piece. I have each student a head! I instructed them to draw, doodle, write, color, anything they wanted to show how they were going to change their fixed mindset to a growth mindset in 2017. The results were amazing!

I am so impressed with my students work! I don't think I ever want to change my door!

After many requests, the art piece and "Change your words, Change your mindset" posters are now in my TpT shop for $1! 

How do you get your students to change their mindset? I'd love to hear it!

Have a great week!

Valentine's Day Project

Happy 2017! 

I hope you all are having a great start to your year! So far, the past 6 days have been great and I just know this year is going to be amazing! 

I wanted to share something with you today that is a super amazing idea for Valentine's Day! I have been doing it for 6 years and every year the kids just love it! I begin right away after winter break to give students enough time to get started!

Click HERE to read my blog post from a few years ago. There's also a link in there to another blog post I did awhile back. I am doing things a little different this year so you will want to keep on reading:)

I bring you, the Valentine's Day Compliment Project!

How this project works:

Each student's name is placed in the Valentine envelope!
I will pull a name out each day and write it on the pink chalk board.
This person gets to wear the heart Emoji on their lanyard.

For homework that night, students will write a thoughtful compliment about that person. When they have their own name, I still have students write a compliment about themselves. Most of the time, this is the hardest one to do! 

I used to have students hand write it, but this year I made a Google Doc for my students to use nightly. If students can't get to their Drive for some reason, they can write it on lined paper and type it in their doc first thing in the morning. 

After all students and myself had their name pulled out, I will print out the compliments, organize them by student and we will begin the fun part!

Each student will pull another student's name out of a bucket. So let's say George pulls out Bailey's name. George will take all of Bailey's compliments and create a poster for Bailey. Over the years, I have had parents bring in fun materials to decorate the posters. 
(this was from a few years ago)

I will be sending a note home again the first day back next week asking for all sorts of fun decorating materials. 

BUT, this year instead of a poster, I am going to use the blank books I bought a few years ago (I can't believe I never used them) from Target's Dollar Spot. I am super excited about this change and I think my students will like it too! 

We take almost the whole day to focus on creating these posters! The students really put time, effort, and love into their designs. 

When everyone is done, we have snacks, drinks, and present each other with their posters. So George would get up and present Bailey with her poster. 

Every.single.year this has been a huge hit in my classroom. I apologize to my last years class for not doing it. I really wish I did! IMHO...this is WAY better than getting those paper Valentine Cards!

My super cute second grade girls from 13/14
I have the girl on the left with the green tank top this year again in 5th! I also had her in 3rd;)

My awesome 3rd grade class from 12/13! I sure miss them all!

I promise you, if you do this project, you won't regret it! 
I have made two files for you to download for free!

A PDF with parent notes, student compliment handouts, and examples. I also added an editable PowerPoint so you can make the note fit for your classroom needs! 

Click HERE to download it via Google Drive!

Thanks for sticking around while I haven't been blogging or creating. I really do appreciate and love you all! You are amazing!

My Journey into Flexible Seating

WOW! I can't even believe I haven't blogged a single thing since this summer! Like many teachers, I felt super overwhelmed at the beginning of this year and poured all my focus into my classroom and students. Now that we are half way though the year, I have learned so much about my students, my classroom design and teaching practices. I am really excited to share so many things with you all in 2017! 

One HUGE step I took this year was with Flexible Seating. If you follow me on Instagram, I am sure you have seen many pictures of my classroom. I did a lot of research this summer reading articles, applying for Donor's Choose grants, and going to GoodWill! 

Kayla Delzer, of Top Dog Teaching, was my huge inspiration! Her article on Edutopia is a must read for anyone wanting to start flexible seating. I started pinning stuff on Pinterest and adding it to my Classroom Organization board. 

After all this, I spoke with my principal and told her my plan. I asked her if I could get rid of desks and move my classroom toward flexible seating. My principal gave me the green light which was awesome! I went right into my classroom and got to work! I immediately started getting rid of desks. I can't believe it, but I ended up getting rid of 18 desks and found some tables no one was using!

All I could think about each day was my design and how I was going to make it work. I shopped a lot and tried to not spend every penny I had! After a few weeks, my classroom was perfect! I was super excited to share it with my students and their parents at meet the teacher.

The day had come for meet the teacher and my new students were super excited! The parents, on the other hand, had a lot of questions! "Where is their seat?" "Where do they keep their things?" "How does this work?" I made sure to answer each and every parent question and did my best to assure them that everything was going to be ok! 

Over the first two weeks with the students we spent a lot of time on procedures, expectations, rules, and consequences. Together we moved furniture around to make sure it fit the needs of the classroom. This is one of the best things about flexible seating!

One of the biggest procedures I have is how to select a seat. To me, flexible seating is just that...flexible! My students do not select seats and stay in them the whole day, week, month of whatever time frame other teachers use. They pick a seat every time we move and do a lesson. Whenever I do a whole group lesson, students either sit on the rug in the front or the large rectangle table. When I move into small groups or partner activities they choose wherever they want to sit. For every time I do a whole group lesson we follow these same patterns. My students do not argue, fight, save seats or get mad if someone else is sitting where they want. With a lot of practice and setting expectations, this behavior was easy to set in place! 

Taking a look:)
Since I took these pictures, I have moved a few things around! I also got one more Donor's Choose project funded and we will be getting 6 new chairs! I'll make sure to post another update soon!

 Welcome to my classroom!

Student sign in

 Student sign in area
 Drawer for student homework slips
 My desk area
 My desk area
 Classroom games

 Small group table
 Weekly Focus Wall
 Math Wall

 1:1 Chrome Cart!!!
 Student Cubbies

 Student Cubbies

 Front teacher area

 4 Yoga pads and Yoga mats

 Corner View 1
 Corner View 2
 Corner View 3
Corner View 4

Thanks for stopping by! If you have any questions at all, please feel free to leave a comment!