Taming the Wild and Throwback Thursday

So Teacher Week '13 continues and I am happy to be linking up again with the ladies of Blog Hoppin... today is "Taming the Wild." I love that title :) Simply put, classroom management.

I think a common thing we are going to see on everyone's post today is Classroom Dojo. I {heart} it BIG time...

but I have decided that it isn't going to feature in my classroom.... in the fall....

You see, to me it is important to have a combination of stability and routine so the kids are clear of what the expectations are, but then at the same time variety is the spice of life....this is a tricky thing to balance....

So Classroom Dojo will come into play in January (or sooner or later depending on these "wild" ones I have yet to meet!)...as a new and exciting way to "tame" them.

If you are new to Dojo you can click on it above to go the site- they have a fab little video that gives you the low down... there's even a video for the parents to watch. I would explain it to you, but the site is awesome and my friend, Miss Kindergarten, has already done all the work - just click {here} and she will tell you all about how it free to sign up, how the kids love it and it is a great home-school connection because the parents can log in and check out how their little one is doing. Ooh I almost forgot...there are new monster avatars for the kids to choose from this year!

So for the beginning of the year I will be using the clip chart. Not that creative, but it is effective.

 To me, it must have at least  2 "jumps" up and 2 "jumps" down. I want them to be able to have just as much opportunity to rise to the top...as they do to come on down...Many charts have only "one" jump up... but two going down.

I currently use the ocean themed chart shown below. This is available {HERE} in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store:

So like I said... I like them to have many chances to move it on up...so you may see a child's clip on my clothes. Yep, if they make it to the star and are still being excellent then the clip is on me....and even more great behavior and that puppy is going in my hair. {They love this!} The only problem with this plan is that sometimes the clip ends up coming home with me at the end of the day.

Another trick I introduce after a few months of school is I let them paint their clip gold after reaching the TOP of the chart three times...and three more trips to the top and we add a little glitter. After it has been glittered we then "retire the clip" and they start fresh...BUT there is a ribbon with all the retired clips hanging.... just like you see retired jerseys in a sports arena!

I always have my rules posted and we review them often. In primary grades I set the rules, but when I taught 5th we established and wrote the rules {or class compact} together.

My rules are:
*Listen to the Teacher
*Make Good Choices
*Follow Directions
*Raise Your Hand to Speak
*Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Safe
*Be Honest and Kind

I have these for sale on Teachers Pay Teachers in an Ocean Theme, Farm Theme or Jungle/Zoo Theme: {You can click on any of the titles to go check them out}

Here is the Ocean Version:
Last year I posted some pictures of my classroom and if you click {here} you can see how I posted my rules!

Moving on... it is Thursday...so that means it is time for a Throwback Thursday post...somehow I am again combining two posts in one again!

Throwing it back to my teaching abroad experience for the 2004-2005 school year. Just check This Post out if you are stopping by for the first time....but for the month of August I am taking you back to my teaching abroad "memoirs" every Thursday.... And if you are so interested to get caught up on all the Throwbacks just click the "teaching abroad" label at the bottom of this post or on the sidebar. My purpose of doing this is to inspire someone else to have this experience.

Today's entry is from November 2004... it's a little less teaching and a little more traveling. In England most of the schools have half-term breaks which means a full week off in October, another in February and last one in May. {Plus 2 weeks for Christmas and 2...yes, that's right, 2 weeks for Easter} This does mean that you teach until July... but holy moly, did I love those half term breaks. I traveled internationally for each and every single one of them!

For my October half term I visited Italy with two other American teachers also on the Fulbright program. Here is the recap:

Buongiorno everyone!

I have just returned home from Italy and it was absolutely amazing! I won't bore you with all the details but will sum it up with this- I went to many museums and churches where I saw some art by Michelangelo, Leonardo and some other ninja turtles. I ate more pasta than necessary and climbed to the top of the Vatican, not for the
view, but for the exercise due to high levels of carbohydrate consumption.

The best night was probably in Venice when myself, the 2 girls I was traveling with and 3 recent American college grads from the east coast were given free reign of a Venetian restaurant once the owner went home. Marco, the bartender, says, "You can have whatever you want, just don't make too much confusion." When the owner called an hour later to make sure Marco was about finished with his work he whispers "shh!!! No confusion" and once the phone was hung up he announces "It's OK!"

I am voting Florence as most favorite location and Venice my least favorite, despite Marco's hospitality.  A big plus for Florence was the shopping- each of us bought a fine Italian leather coat- photographic proof of this provided (of course!)- I would be the one who still has the tag attached - in case you have forgotten me:(
{2013 note: I keep in touch with so many people from this whole shin-dig, but these 2 lovely ladies I don't keep in contact with. I didn't want to post their picture without permission... so you just get to see me}

Let's briefly discuss the Rome metro system, where some guy got behind the three of us and literally leaned to the side in some football-like position to push us on the train… we actually thanked him for this, or we would have never got on. It was pure insanity. We visited a pharmacy in Rome where Heather just wanted some lotion to put on insect bites and the guy says, "Do you trust me?" There seemed to be slight pressure to say yes, so we shrugged our shoulders and he sells us some super strong, not over the counter, hydrocortisone. So these stories may not make you dream of visiting Rome... but you already know how amazing it is!

The problem with Venice was the flooding that occurs daily during late October, November, and March.  People  lucky enough to come during this time get to walk in varying depths of water all over town.  The current cure to this is to set up tables for people to walk on. These, like the water, vary in height.  It is the most unsafe thing I have ever seen and allows you to go only a few places. I had to buy the temporary boots being sold to gullible tourists- it just looked like too much fun!
Let's briefly address this photo- it's main purpose is to give you a laugh at my expense! First off, it appears there is no water and that is because by the time I was calm enough to think a picture would be a fun idea the daily flood was almost over. Second of all, please notice how my sweater is buttoned wrong and I am wearing a scarf purchased the day before that I had intended as a gift- so one of you may see it again. If I am confessing- the same is true of a scarf in another photo.  And dear fashionista cousin- don't be mad about my hair- I was traveling!

A waiter in Venice refused to remove my plate until I ate everything- he then was upset with me for ordering a cafe latte with dessert (whether we ordered dessert or not was not an option).  Apparently a latte is only for breakfast- I asked if the restaurant was open for breakfast and when he said no- I then asked why is a latte on the menu.  Needless to say he did not like me, but I did get my latte. Also funny was when Heather ordered "a latte" and got a glass of milk- oh yeah, this isn't Starbucks. Stupid..I mean, Silly Americans. 

Being back at work is not so great. Today S#1 (as shared previously this is an anonymous name for one special student) told me his name is no longer "S#1," but instead is Malfroy (some distorted version of a Harry Potter character, I think).  He yelled at me and his classmates about six times for calling him S#1….after being very loud for very long the principal (I mean, headmaster) came by and he was removed from my classroom.  Arrivederci Malfroy!

That's all from Europe- now back to you in America
(Didn't I say I wasn't going to bore you with all the details - oops!)

P.S. What about I don't send one picture of me at the Coliseum or anything like that?

 {This quote I love...and yes, this is my 2nd time posting it... is anonymous and this image was uploaded to Pinterest by Kakai B}

I need to stop with this double posting business... it just seems that I can't help it lately. Sorry... and thanks for hanging in there if you are still reading.

See Edition Five of Throwback Thursday: Teaching Abroad HERE


  1. I love Class Dojo and used it with my kinders last year.

    I also love your blog and nominated you for the Liebster Award!! (More info is on my blog)

    The Cozy Classroom

  2. I keep hearing about Dojo. I might really need to check it out. I am your newest follower and can't wait to read more post. I am pretty new to blogging as well. If you get a chance I would love for you to stop by and check out my blog.


  3. Oh Christy I am laughing. I had a comment relating to the top of your post but by the time I got through I am lost in the travelling you fun and I forget. It would have been something lovely though!! Thanks for sharing and please don't stop. Happy Friday to you.
    Julie :-)
    Mrs Stowe's Kinder Cottage

  4. Oh I have the travel bug! I just got back from OS and have no money, but every time I read your posts the urge to hop on a plane hits me again! :)

    Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep!