Sunday, July 28, 2013

Classroom Housekeeping

Hi Sweet Friends!

With the school year nearing SO close, I thought I'd share a little bit about my classroom "housekeeping".  By classroom "housekeeping", I mean guidelines and methods I use in my classroom to try and keep things running smoothly.

I remember my very first classroom and stressing out over the best way to manage those day to day things such as students sharpening pencils, asking to use the bathroom, and classroom behavior. I hope this helps some of you embarking on your very first year of teaching.  Good luck and enjoy your first year!!!  

1.  Sharpening Pencils
First of all these two words bring the word " UGH" to mind.  Seriously!!!  I can think of  a long line  of students trying to sharpen their pencil and complaining because the pencil sharpener is not working correctly or the constant sound of a mechanical pencil sharpener.  Can anyone relate?  
I try to prevent this very image from happening by establishing a routine at the start of the school year.

First, when I go over classroom routines, I bring up sharpening a pencil.  My  rule about sharpening a pencil is that  if the teacher is talking or a lesson is taking place, students are to remain in their seats.  No one is to sharpen their pencil.  These materials should be ready at the beginning of each subject." Students know that when they are working independently or group work that it's okay to sharpen a pencil.

To manage this procedure even better, I have an area with sharpened pencils.  If students need a sharpened pencil, they can quickly trade in their dull pencil for a better one.   ( I have students who during job time at the end of the day, sharpen the pencils for the next day.)
I don't have a close up photo, but you can see our sharpened pencils in the acrylic container next to the writing center.  This is actually an acrylic straw dispenser.  It works really well to hold pencils.  Not shown in the picture is a small bucket, where students place the pencils that need to be sharpened.

2. Bathroom routines

This is one of the hardest things to decide, does a student really need to go. I mean we just had a classroom bathroom break.   I have found myself to be more and more lenient about bathroom breaks over my 16 years of teaching.  I don't want anyone to have an accident in class ,and there are some students who do need a "break" even if that is to simply walk to the water fountain or bathroom for a minute.

I generally give 2 classroom bathroom breaks before lunch.  One break is given first thing in the morning and the second one is given halfway through the morning right before our snack break.  Students also have 2 in the afternoon.   Any other time, students must raise their hand and ask to go to the restroom.  For the most part, students do not abuse this privilege.  I also give them the "3" minute rule. Sounds fast, I know but the bathrooms are just across from our classroom.  Students know they need to be back in 3 minutes.  Of course, the time can vary a bit.

To keep track of students that are in the bathroom, I use this little method below.   If students need to go to the bathroom aside from our classroom bathroom breaks, each student must sign the bathroom sign out clipboard.  We have had bathroom issues in the past in our building and our administration looks at these bathroom sign out sheets if a problem arises to try and determine who might have been in the bathroom at the time of the issue.
The clipboard shown below has the bathroom sign out sheets.  It is simply numbered with a "time in" and "time out".  Students find their assigned number and write the approximate time out and time that they signed back in.  Also shown are  "boys" and "girls" tags with a book ring.  Behind these tags are numbers.  Once students sign the clipbaoar, they flip to their number and hang it on the hook.  This way I can easily see who is at the bathroom.  Often times, a student will ask me to use the bathroom as I am helping a group or working individually with a student.  I easily forget who had asked me to go to the bathroom. This is a great reminder for me to check the bathroom sign out area.  My general rule is that only 1 student at a time can take a bathroom break.    The bathroom sign in sheets and the tags come from Clutter Free Classroom.  Click HERE to check out the bathroom cards from Clutter Free Classroom. 

3.  The "Notebook"
I use a "notebook" system in my classroom for students who may have problems with excessive talking and etc on a particular school day.  I give each student a warning and then after that students are asked to sign the book.  Students must write their name and why he/she had to sign the book.  If a student has signed the book 3 times in one day, I send home a behavior note that must be brought back signed by the parent the next day.  Students also miss out on "Fun Friday".  This is a 15 minute period of time on computers, ipads, and board games for students who completed their homework for the week and had a great week.  Here's my notebook:
I laminated this front cover and then copy and use the spiral bound machine to attach the log sheets.  This comes from " The Notebook" Classroom Behavior Management Printables that I have on TPT.  You can click on the picture below to check this out.
I like the "notebook" because it does help me keep track of any issues that might be taking place in the classroom or at recess.  I like that the students must write " why" they are signing the notebook.  This has been a great resource when parents have contacted me about something that may have happened at recess or in the classroom. 

I also use a variety of positive/motivational management techniques in my classroom also.  We have "Fun Fridays".  Students also have brag tags.  I also use the clip chart and award coupons.  Here's a picture of some of these things below.  Just click on the picture to go to the link of the product that may be included.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I would love to hear how you manage things such as sharpening pencils and bathroom breaks in your classroom.


Dallas said...

I like the idea of using The Notebook to record class infractions, too. I am using one this year for incomplete classwork/homework, but I think I'm going to use this idea too!


Miss Nelson said...

I can't stand it when my students sharpen their pencils. Usually it's the boys who just want to get up. I have a dull and sharp cup. Like all of your ideas.

Lisa Bee (Grade 4 Buzz) said...

I like your Notebook! I just put it on my wish list. :)
Grade 4 Buzz

Debbie K said...

I put a little sharpener in each of my groups' supply tote trays (they share tables) that they may use during independent work time. No noise!