Monday, December 23, 2013

2014 Resolutions Link-up!

2013 was a great year! Lots of fun things happened in 2013. I began my fourth year teaching, found out I'm expecting my first niece or nephew, got engaged, finished grad school, and started my blog and TpT. I'm hoping that 2014 has even more fun things in store. I know part of that is up to me!

How do you plan to ring in the New Year? We're hosting a New Year's Resolution blog link-up.

Here are some things I'm going to try to do to improve my 2014.

Okay, now it's your turn!
1. Add your resolutions to the image below.
2. Upload it to your blog. Please include a link back to here.
3. Add a link to your blog post to the linky at the bottom of this page.

Okay, now let's link up!

Thanks so much to Graphics from the Pond for the ADORABLE graphics and fonts used to make the background! Also, thank you to my very awesome TpT Fun Friends for the "fine tuning"-- Danielle at Crayonbox Learning, Susan and Kathy at The Fun Factory, Richi at Ribbons, Recipes, and Rhymes, Viki at Special Teacher for Special Kids, Mel at From the Pond, and Cassie at Create-abilities!

Can't wait to hear about your resolutions!

A Peach for the Teach

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A holiday gift for you-- New Year's Resolution Writing FREEBIE

As a thank you for reading my blog, please accept this New Year's Resolution Writing freebie as a small holiday gift.

Start back to school after the New Year on the right foot. Set a whole class New Year's Resolution, and have students write their own individual New Year's Resolutions. Use this freebie as a behavior management tool, bulletin board, writing center, etc.!

Get it here:

What do you do to start the New Year on the right foot? What big plans do you have for 2014? Please share in the comments below!

A Peach for the Teach

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Eight Human Needs - How to Motivate Students

If you've ever read my blog before, you know that I really love educational speaker Rick Lavoie. In most teacher preparation programs we've been taught that students' basic physiological needs must be met before they can truly learn. This is an example of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs at work.

Once these basic needs are met, we can begin to explore what Lavoie calls, "Secondary Needs." These are eight things that are highly motivating for humans. Learn more about these in this short clip (starting at 3:23), or continue reading below.

Part A:

Part B: 


Part C:

According to Lavoie, these are the eight secondary needs:

"We try to motivate the kids by using what motivates us." - Rick Lavoie

I watched this video and had an a-ha moment. That's why Johnny crawled under his desk every time I tried to congratulate him for awesome work. I had always loved recognition and am highly motivated by it, but Johnny wasn't.

Now that I'm keeping these motivators in mind and developing interventions for homeroom teachers to use that support our behavior challenges, I'm finding that the thing that scares teachers most is students motivated by power. Lavoie hit the nail on the head with that one. Isn't it funny how the students who need power the most are the ones who get it the least? Why not give the students a little power? Let them be involved in developing rules. Let them check classmates' work. Let them point to answers on the board as you teach. Let them choose which assignment to complete from a list. Give him or her two choices for a lesson plan for tomorrow, and teach the lesson chosen. Give them power in positive ways so they don't need to seek it in negative ways.

Apply it to the classroom

Think of your most challenging student. Think of someone you consider your polar opposite. What motivates you, as opposed to what motivates that person? Use this information when developing interventions.

FREEBIE! I came up with a list of some ideas that teachers can use to motivate students. These are all based on Lavoie's ideas above. Get it here:

Do you find that one motivator does not motivate all your students? Do you use varied forms of motivation in your classroom? What are your thoughts on motivation? Share in the comments below!

A Peach for the Teach

Monday, December 9, 2013

Learning Vs. Regurgitation & Emotion-Evoking Questioning

In behavior support classrooms, teachers must work to provide a prime environment for learning. In multi-age classrooms, teachers have to address a wide array of learning needs-- not to mention juggling multiple curricula. This makes it all the more challenging to ensure that students are actually learning. So how do we meet the needs of our learners while setting up situations that elicit deep learning? First, we need to understand the difference between learning and regurgitation.

In college, my favorite professor announced that we would be having a pop quiz. She handed out a quiz on drills and saws. Now, we were education majors. Not many of us had the background knowledge to pass a quiz like that. "You might not know a lot about the topic," she told us, "but you do know how to take a test. Off you go!" To our surprise, we all got a 100% on the quiz. I still can't remember what it was about, and I didn't understand any of it-- but I passed it with flying colors. Our teacher congratulated all of us for demonstrating that we learned a lot about drills and saws, and when we all looked at her with puzzled expressions, she let us know that we had simply "regurgitated" information but hadn't learned it.

Learning Vs. Regurgitation

I created a similar quiz, using all nonsense words. Try it out for yourself.

Sure, you were able to comprehend the text at a surface level and spit back answers. You probably gathered that a schmigglefiggin is some type of creature in the dopplehopper category. They live in the rainforest and have poisonous bites. There are four types of schmigglefiggins. Blah blah blah.

But could you make a presentation about schmigglefiggins without just retelling the passage? Could you apply the information learned to a new situation? Do you think you would be able to teach someone else about schmigglefiggins? How are schmigglefiggins, or at least learning about schmigglefiggins, important to your life? Will you ever use this information? Why is it worth learning? How will it serve you? Do you have any emotional connection to it? Nope!

Our students with behavioral needs don't always feel successful in school. We focus so much on getting them to complete tasks that our focus shifts from learning to reinforcing task completion. I could complete tasks all day long, but how does that serve me? What is it teaching me for my life?

It's so important to start small, with task completion goals, for our students with severe behaviors. It's even more important, though, to make it worth their while. My professor explained to us that the best form of classroom management is an engaging lesson.

But realistically, in a multi-age classroom, it's very time-consuming to create elaborately exciting lessons for everything. In a behavior support classroom, sometimes more elaborate lessons can be overstimulating. How do we win?

Emotion-Evoking Questioning

Emotions play a great role in learning. Think about the feeling of guilt. It's such a strong, awful feeling that keeps us from repeating behaviors. Strong, negative feelings can stick with us for a while. That's why we can remember sad childhood incidents like they happened yesterday. Same thing goes for our happiest memories. Ask me what I had for breakfast last Tuesday, though, and I might have to stop and think. The human brain is programmed to hold onto things that are relevant to us. Such things are usually tied to strong feelings of emotion.

That's why it's so important for teachers to work to evoke emotion in the classroom. Emotions leave a much stronger impression than facts for regurgitation. I studied World War II by reading a factual textbook. It was this-side versus that-side, and they were fighting over this and that, and it happened from this year to this year, and there were however-many casualties. Then, I was asked to interview a man who served in the war. My great-grandfather told me stories with emotion, and they stuck with me forever. I had a teacher who told us how history wasn't just something we learned about in social studies; it was real life for real people who had families, fears, desires, and everything just like us. Imagine how they must have felt.

As the teacher taught about September 11, 2001, the student yawned and said, "I'm bored. How much longer til recess?"

When I was a student observer, I watched a student say this to his teacher. I was completely and utterly shocked, but then I remembered... this is ancient history to these kids. I currently teach in an elementary school, and a colleague mentioned to me that not a single student in our K-5 school was alive when 9/11 happened.

I was, though. I was actually in history class. My teacher, who was the one who taught with such emotion, turned to us as we watched the news and said, "You are living history right now. This will be in a social studies book one day that eighth graders like you will read." That stuck with me forever. That's how I teach now.

Teach with emotion-- happy, sad, scared, excited, amused, laughing hysterically, the list is endless. Take students into events, and have them explore. Challenge their thinking, and have them challenge the author and even events in history. You can bring alive a boring text by connecting it to the student and letting them see how it serves them. Use Bloom's Taxonomy verbs to help.

Students won't regurgitate facts on a test when they learn this way. Their answers will contain evidence of higher-order thinking.

I made a list of emotion-evoking questions that can be used with just about any reading. You can grab that freebie here!

Do you use emotion in your teaching? What kinds of results do you find with this technique? How do you feel about learning and regurgitation? Please share in the comments below!

A Peach for the Teach

Monday, December 2, 2013

Currently... and a big sale!

Farley over at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade... has a super fun linky going on for December called "Currently..." Check out her blog to see all the fun things fellow teachers are currently doing!

Here's what I'm currently up to!

Listening: I'm mentally listening to "Celebration" by Cool & the Gang, because I passed my PRAXIS and am OFFICIALLY certified to be a Reading Specialist! Now I'm certified for Special Ed N-12, Elem Ed K-6, and Reading Ed K-12. Woo hoo!

Loving: My brother and sister-in-law are expecting their first baby in April! I'll be a first-time aunt. I'm so excited! I bought some pretty cool accessories to annoy my brother, hehehe...

Thinking: I'm so excited to buy a bunch of great products during today's TpT Cyber Monday Sale! Time to tackle my wish list!

Wanting: I made really tasty homemade Chipwich sandwiches.

4 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
2 small (3.4 oz) packages of vanilla instant pudding mix
2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. softened butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

You'll also need 1 bag of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips for the finishing touch!

Roll into balls and flatten, because these cookies don't spread out much in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool completely (at least an hour). I usually stick them in the fridge so they're more solid.

Scoop small ice cream balls into the center (melon ballers work well for this), and press two cookies together. Roll the cookies in the mini chocolate chips, so they coat the ice cream.

As you finish each sandwich, immediately wrap it in plastic wrap, and stick it in the freezer. They melt quickly!

Enjoy! I got this cookie recipe from All Recipes. Regular chocolate chip cookies don't really work well, because when they freeze, they get hard and almost glass-like. This recipe is perfect, because the cookies are chewy and cakey-- so when the freeze, they taste just like a Chipwich.

Needing: To go to the gym, since I ate a few too many Chipwiches last night and had one for breakfast. Breakfast of champions! lol. I think I'll go to yoga later. That really keeps me centered, which is so helpful in a behavior support classroom!

Favorite Tradition: This year we are going to start the Elf on the Shelf. I wish they had those when I was little! Our former go-to tradition was a wrapping paper tube war with my brother. Imagine American Gladiators with wrapping paper tubes. Oh, the joys of being a little sister. We did have some fun holiday traditions that were a little more... peaceful! We'll keep those.

Haha, oh man... Gotta love the 90s.

Be sure to check out my sale over at TpT today! All my items are 20% off, and if you use the promo code CYBER, you'll get an additional 8% off! While you're there, grab some of my freebies.

Here are some of my best sellers and new products, if you're interested. It's always fun to go back from break with a new bag of behavior tricks-- and for 28% off, why not?!

Classroom Routines & Procedures: 
 Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence (ABC) Chart with Intensity and Duration Data Tracker
Behavior Data Tracking Excel Spreadsheet that automatically calculates biweekly frequency and averages
Picture Schedule Bundle (Illustrated, Digital, and Analog Clock Options)

 Common Core Badges for K-3 ELA and Math. Here's one example:

 Math Fishing Bundle: 

Printable Score Board Flip Chart -- a fun way to keep score in classroom games 

How to Help Your Child Become a Better Reader and Writer Parent Packet

So that's what I'm up to! What are you doing today? What do you think about my "Currently...?" Please share in the comments below!

A Peach for the Teach