Writing on Windows - Behavior Management Strategy

Are your students as squirrely as mine are getting?! Between snow days, rainy days, and cold days, there hasn't been a lot of opportunity for my kiddos to get outside very often the last 2 weeks. I've had to pull a few rabbits out of my hat to keep them quiet and still in the hallways - especially while waiting in line for the restroom. Inevitably, while I'm watching the kids in the hallway, the ones in the bathroom start playing. When I go in to hurry those kids along, the ones in the hallway start talking. It was a vicious circle and I was the only one not having fun. You know you gotta change it up when you start dreading a routine part of your day!

So, I brought along a box of our Expo dry erase markers and those little magnetic dry erase marker erasers that you find at Target's $ Spot. The kids were of course curious about why I had markers with me. The first time, I just got out a marker and started to write letters and words. Then I showed them the little eraser (they generally have to erase their dry erase boards with a sock) and how it could erase the marker right off the window so that our custodians never know that we're writing on the windows! (I did test the markers on an inconspicuous area first - and I've only tried Expo brand, so make sure yours erase cleanly off glass before doing this!)

My kids were enthralled! Next, I invited the two kids with the best line procedure to come and write on the window with me. You guessed it, next thing I knew that line was as silent as tomb and you'd think all of my students were standing guard duty in front of Buckingham Palace!

Now, each time we go down the hallway, I bring along the box of markers! I choose 4 students - 2 girls and 2 boys - and then call out letters, sounds, numbers or words. The great thing is that I can differentiate so that I can focus on what each group needs to practice as they come up to the window. Generally, since they ALL want a chance at the window, I can call homogenous groups, and have my lower kiddos practice writing their letters while my higher kiddos might write word families on their turn. If you're not lucky enough to have huge windows, try taking along a dry erase board or two any time you're in the hallway for an extended length of time. Its amazing how novelty will totally engage your kiddos and prevent those behavior problems!

Inside the classroom, I've brought out our magnets. This summer, when my district was purchasing items for my new pre-k classroom, they had me make a wishlist. Then they started to cut things from the list. Finally it was down to "Here's what we bought you, we know there's still stuff on your list but the money's almost gone. Is there anything left on the list that you really can't live without?"

And I fought for my magnets! In the end I got the entire set of Magnet Discovery Centers from Lakeshore Learning. I also got the Magnet Cars and a set of 12 Magnet Wands. If I had to go back and choose again, I'd make the same decision! My kiddos love them, and are making so many great connections!
I have to tell you, my first inclination was to set out 4 wands at the Science Center and put the other 8 up. I only let 4 kids go to the center at once, so why have more wands out that that? Well, I'm so glad I put the extra wands out! The kids have discovered that putting the wands together creates a stronger magnetic force and that's led to all kinds of interesting experiments. This little guy was using 3 wands put together to "push" the purple wand across the table!

Finally, have to show you what happened last Friday! We had snow. Lots of it (well at least for Oklahoma). But of course it began snowing AFTER school had started, so we still had a full day. Parents were coming by the droves to pick up their kids early and by 3pm I only had 2 little girls left. The 1st grade teacher down the hall was down to one lonely kiddo, so she asked if her student could come in and play in my room.

For the first few minutes our new friend wandered the room, trying to take it all in. Then she spotted the Castle Blocks and her eyes got big. "Can I play with THOSE?" she asked. Of course I said yes, and she spent the next 20 or so minutes building. In fact, when they called down from the office to say that her mom was there to pick her up, she refused to leave until she had used the very last block. I just loved how creative she was and loved the proof that these blocks are engaging for bigger girls too!

I'm off to create some St. Patrick's Day magic! Have a great week!

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