This week in our classrooms: Settling In

I am just starting my second week of school, and Morgan is on her third. The amount of changes that have happened in our classrooms is a bit wild. As any teacher knows, the ‘settling in’ can take all of September but by October, everyone tends to find their rhythm and the room and routine take on their shape.

Kelsey:

I decided this year that I wanted to give my students A LOT of ownership over our room – decisions that we made, what it looks like and even (to an extent) our routine. We came up with some class jobs and what they would be responsible for. It has been a big hit with them, and I’ve had to take a deep breath and release some of my controlling nature. I have students asking if there is anything their job needs to do, I have my IT team checking that everything is plugged in and charging at the end of the day, and I have students helping other teams because they have less work right now.

Here are some of my students – who even asked to stay in at recess to work on their jobs!

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Construction Crew building a workbench to store our tools
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Librarians sorting and deciding how to order our books. They chose by author’s first name (which would not have been my choice, but hey – giving them ownership, right?)

Morgan:

This year I have decided to try a classroom economy. Kids can earn money anytime they’re caught doing what they should be. Once they’ve earned a certain amount of ‘rose dough’ they can purchase privileges.

I decided to go with privileges rather than prizes because:

1. I didn’t want to have to spend any more of my own money than necessary

2. I think privileges are more valuable and desirable if you pick the right ones

3. They are much more visible to the kids who haven’t earned them and thus encourage others to work for them.

Here’s a shot of what our chart looks like

Right now I am giving the kids actual, physical money. So far I have only had one student steal, and in return he lost all the money he’d earned so far. I don’t think he’ll risk it again.

They keep their money in a big pocket chart right at the front of the room where it is in full view of the class at all times and let me tell you they watch it like hawks. I try to ensure that I am last out of the room when we leave and always lock the door.

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It’s working pretty well so far so hopefully it will help keep things running smoothly in the class!

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