Monday, August 26

Are you frustrated with assertive discipline?

Being the "fresh apple" I have come across things that will and will not work in my classroom. My suggestion today works well for me and for countless other teachers, however, every child/teacher/classroom is different and what works for me may not work for you. Being a new teacher, I was advised by my principal to have an assertive discipline plan. You can read all about my WONDERFUL assertive discipline plan here. However, hind sight is 20/20 and I can see that it was more work for me and more trouble than it was worth. If you have been in the teaching field for more than 30 minutes, you know how short we all run on time. I need things in my daily schedule to make my life easier, not harder. After my assertive discipline fail (the guitar one), I decided to change it up a bit and make it more user friendly. Instead of having 9 (THAT'S RIGHT N.I.N.E.) categories, or levels of success, I decided to down grade and have 3. The students started off "Ready to Learn" and either ended their day on "Bad Behavior" or on "Outstanding Behavior"....Let's be real for a minute, that was time consuming too, so often the kids ended their day on "Ready to Learn". About 2 months in to that assertive discipline plan I decided to ditch it and just "wing" it. That worked well for the time being, but I know my students need to know how/where they stand on a daily basis. I knew that this year I HAD to find something that actually worked. I knew I had to find something interactive, I knew I had to find something to get the students' buy in, I knew I had to find SoMeThInG!!! Surfing Pinterest one day, I stumbled across Class Dojo. This is my topic of discussion today! So, without further ado...
Let me ask you to watch the quick "student video" about class dojo. I showed this video to my students and they quickly got excited about it! Simply click on the group dojo picture to be taken to for the video...don't forget to come back here and finish reading this blog!!!

I have been using class dojo for 2 weeks now (I know, not a LONG time, but still), and I love using it and the students love that I use it!!! If you skipped the video, let me take a moment to tell you what class dojo is...
Class dojo is an ABSOLUTELY FREE tool for teachers that helps improve classroom behavior quickly and efficiently! It allows the teacher to record REAL TIME behaviors both positive and negative. Class dojo is 100% customizable, so it can easily be tweaked to work in ANY classroom. Also, class dojo will send your students' parents an e-mail on a weekly basis. Class dojo has an app that you can use on your cell phone, tablet, or via computer.
I struggled with parents catching me after school and asking how their son "Bradley Pitt" did in class today, since I had 24 students last year, I would say (for the best of my memory) how they did. Sometimes I gave GLOWING reports to the parents, when that was actually not the case. Class dojo helps take that pain away. I show the kids on a daily basis how they have done. I simply click "end class" and a circle graph or a bar graph pops up and shows the students how they have done. I find students asking me in the middle of the day, "Mr. Schulz, how many points do I have?" The students are in a constant competition to see who can end the day with the most points.
I use class dojo in every subject I teach. I am lucky and have an iPad in my classroom for me to utilize, so I can carry it around with me even during bathroom breaks! Class dojo also has a great tool to "randomly" pick a student. I use this when asking questions during instruction. I hit random and simply say "Dojo Says...Tina Fey" and continue with whatever question I was asking. It helps get everyone involved and alert because they never know who "Dojo" will pick. I know I'm sounding like a class dojo representative so I will try to hurry along with my points.
The POSITIVE aspects that I look for on a daily basis (again, these are 100% customizable for what you would like to look for) are as follows:
Teamwork, Helping Others, Persistence, Participating, On Task, Working Hard, & Answered Question Correctly---Most of these are self explanatory, but let me explain the "Answered Question Correctly" point. Since I use class dojo to randomly call on students, if I ask them a question and they answer it correctly, I give them a point for answering it correctly...however, sometimes they try to answer it but it is not exactly correct...then I give them a point for participating.
The NEGATIVE aspects that I take into account are as follows:
Cheating, Refused to Answer Question, No Homework, Unprepared, Off Task, Disruptive, Disrespectful to Students, & Disrespectful to Teacher.
To continue the students' buy in, I give them rewards for weekly points. That chart is as follows below.
10 points: Sit with a friend
20 points: FREE homework pass
30 points: 15 extra minutes of iPad use
40 points: Customize your own avatar
50+ points: Lunch with Mr. Schulz
I hope you have gotten excited about classroom management. If you have ANY questions about class dojo feel free to use the "Contact Me" section at the top right of the blog or simply check out
Parents are already going crazy over it as is one post from a parent that took the time to comment on my personal Facebook page.

OH YEAH! Don't forget to leave me a comment to let me know you've stopped by, feel free to share this blog with your friends or fellow educators. It's readers like you that keep me blogging! 

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Sunday, August 11

Ready to start a new school year!

So maybe this is your first time visiting, or maybe you come here often. For all of my friends who keep coming back, thank you...if you're a first time visitor, I suggest you follow the blog to get great ideas and possibly learn something! My regular readers, I'm sure you've noticed the new layout and awesome new graphics...if you like my changes be sure to leave me a comment letting me know what you think! Today's blog is going to be dedicated to showing off my hard work over the summer...I love how my room has turned out and I hope you'd agree!

Before you continue reading, take a moment to refresh your memory on how my room looked. Click here to read my earlier blog that has before pictures!!!

Without further ado, here are the "after" pictures of my classroom!

Here is the first thing that my students will see when they come into my room! I used some netting fabric that I purchased from Hobby Lobby to make striped panels. I love the orange, blue, and green you step into my room you will see that the theme and color scheme remain the same...frogs, frogs, and more frogs, and you can't forget the bright colors!

This is what you see when you step into Mr. Schulz's pad!
I even made my own curtains (with a little help of course)...but this dude had his fair share of time behind the sewing machine!!! I used orange sheets from Walmart and cut them down to my desired size...then I simply added some ribbon on the bottom!
And last but not least, I hope you're still with me... My newest addition to my frog themed classroom was to add some REAL frogs! 

Meet Dobie and Gunk!!!!! They are fire-bellied toads. I'm sure the kids will get a kick out of having some frogs to keep them entertained! You may be asking yourself...why Dobie, and what is a Gunk??? Good questions, lol. When Heather (my oldest daughter) was much younger, she had two imaginary friends Dobie and Gunk. She talked about them like they were real people, at times I almost wondered if she went to Head Start with them because she gave such great detail about them. Either way, when I got these frogs, I went to Heather and asked what I should name them....Bert and Ernie just weren't doing it for me (that's the best I could come up with). When she immediately rattled off Dobie and Gunk, my heart smiled and I KNEW that was the name for these frogs!!!
Dobie and Gunk are both hanging out by the drift wood.
Okay dear friends, I have lots of ideas to keep this blog rolling this year, make sure to follow the blog, repost the blog, and/or comment so that I know I'm not doing this all for nothing! See you all very soon! To all of my fellow teachers, I hope you have an amazing school doubt I will!

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Tuesday, July 23

A fresh start from a new perspective...

Okay, so I'm pretty bad at updating this blog thing. When I first started it, I imagined I would use it as a reflection page for how I can better myself as a teacher AND I thought I would use it to share ideas that I've had and projects that I've come up with. Well, life had another journey for me over the past year. Here is a quick update about my life and what you can expect from the blog...

During the last school year (my first full teaching year--I actually survived it) I have went through the ups and downs of actually being a first year teacher, also, I have went through the difficult task of going through a divorce. Needless to say, dealing with all of that kind of set this blog on the back burner. I have redeemed some sort of stability back in my life and I now have a clear picture of what I would like to see with this blog, and I hope you keep coming back to see it develop into something AMAZING and RESOURCEFUL!

Going forward, I am still going to use this blog as a reflection page about what I would like to do better for my students and what I can do to better myself as a teacher. I will also utilize this blog to share ideas and projects....basically, the blog idea hasn't changed one bit, I'm just going to be better about updating it. Please continue to come back and check it out and see what is HOPPING in Mr. Schulz's 2nd grade class.

I am finishing up getting my classroom in order and like the last post said (yes...the one from a year ago) I will post my finished classroom pictures as well as some organizational ideas that I have come up with because everything that I THOUGHT I had figured out being a "know it all just out of college teacher" have seemed to blow up in my face. I hope to see you all again very soon... Please leave me a comment to let me know what YOU as a reader would like to see, or to offer words of encouragement or anything like that, don't forget to click the "follow" button so you have instant access to my newest blog entries.... CHEERIO!!! 

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