Tuesday, 30 April 2013

WBT - The Scoreboard

Meet my Scoreboard...Smileys and Frownies!

I LOVE using The Scoreboard with Kindergarten, another fabulous idea from wholebrainteaching.    Although I admit that I was uncertain of its potential success at first.  In fact I was sure it wouldn't work with the Little Learners but could see it being effective in older years  But guess what???  It worked a charm.
(I simply printed my icons, cut them out and Blu Tack them to my chalkboard)

Give it a go - I am so glad I did!

Kinder Cottage Smiley and Frownie Scoreboard

What is this Scoreboard?? I hear you ask. The Scoreboard is a whole class motivational tool.  You simply put two icons on a board, one representing success and the other room for improvement.  Every time your class is achieving your expectations you exclaim, '1 second party!' hold up one finger and add a tally point below the Smiley on the scoreboard.  Now this next part is priceless - Your Little Learners then shout 'Oh Yes/Yeah!'  They raise their arm and punch up into the air. 

If you see or hear something that you want to discourage you simply exclaim, ' Mighty groan! shrug your shoulders, hang your head down and add one tally point below the Frownie on the scoreboard. Now for the priceless part - The Little Learners voice 'Ohhhh!' and sadly sigh loudly. 

It doesn't take long before the children are checking the scoreboard and quietly encouraging each other to do their best to ensure Smiley wins.  You need to maintain a difference of no more than 3 tally points between the Smileys and Frownies all day for optimum motivation and give points frequently.  100 points is suggested for the first few weeks. 

I know, I know, you are thinking doesn't this distract the Little Learners from their work tasks?

NO, NO, NO! 

Quite the opposite which is hilarious.  The Little learners very quickly make their responses then continue with their tasks without prompting to do so.  It really is funny to listen to their responses, watch gestures that accompany the words then to have the Little Learners immediately back on task....all without you saying a word.

The Scoreboard needs to be in a prominent position allowing quick, easy access.

By the way...there isn't any reward at the end of the day, week, month or ever.  Kids just enjoy the challenge.  After about a term you can crank it up/refresh it by telling the kids that they are soooo amazingly good that they have moved to the next level.  Simply write 'Level 2' on the board above the icons and off you go again.  Hilarious...but this genuinely motivates the Little Learners.  Theory suggests that they are so used to playing computer games that progressing to the next level is mental reward.

Give it a go.  I promise it works well.
Mrs Stowe :-)

Monday, 29 April 2013

Thanks Mel from Frog Spot

There is such thing as a free lunch!

Thank you Mel from Frog Spot.

You are a real gem and I appreciate you  so much!
For the last couple of weeks I have been passionately getting my blog up and going with the ultimate vision of creating my own resources to share. I have completely loved the journey but admit it has been frustrating at times too.

Probably nothing unusual,  I hear you say... Well, inundated with so much information on the web and reaching the point of thinking I am just never going to be able to do this, I found your blog,

 Frog Spot

and on it were the most simple, helpful hints, ideas, and how to do... all in one place.  I understood the way you explained everything and it all works.  You have not only taught me how to create resources correctly and inspired me to create resources but you have provided so many free graphics to use as well. 


Now it might take me a while but I will produce something soon!

With Thanks
Mrs Stowe :-)

Sunday, 28 April 2013

'Royal' News!

Our News Week is a display board that prevents many 5 and 6 year olds from talking all day -  everyday!  I cant actually believe how many times a day the children check their names on this chart.   Each child is allocated a day to present a news item to the class for approximately 1-2 minutes.  I have a timer to prevent the talks going longer which the days leader controls. 

Our News Week display board
My 'News' rules are simple.
  • Everyone must take a turn... every week.
  • Children are free to talk about one object of their choice per session or News Talks may be based on the 'question of the week' which is usually theme related.  For example, 'What's you favourite Australian Animal?'
  • Anyone who is speaking during a presentation loses their turn for that week. Very strict on this rule right from Day 1.
  • The presenter may select one question from the audience to answer.
  • If someone is experiencing difficulty they may opt for five questions from the audience rather than presenting news.  Most Little Learners take this option once in term 1.
  • If someone is away they may have their News on the day they return.
Little Learners Kings & Queens

I have a student run the news session as supervisor and I sit with the audience checking eye contact, volume, oral sentence structure progression etc. (I usually jot down any of the little pearls of wisdom the Little Learners reveal too.  Later to be shared with Mum or Dad or a colleague.  You have to admit we hear some hilarious stuff!)
Kids love to Be King or Queen during News because they sit on our class throne and wear their choice of royal cape and crown, of course.  They also have the privilege of selecting 2 students to receive  a gold glitter star sticker on their Super Improver Wall - a huge motivator for my class.  

Simple stuff.  Lots of fun!
Mrs Stowe :-)

Friday, 26 April 2013

Super Improvers Wall

Well this is it!  Here is my first ever Super Improvers Wall.  Another brilliant WBT idea.  I wasn't sure how the Kindergartners would respond to it but it has been a huge encouragement for the Little Learners. When I took the photos below it was January, the day before my new class started therefore, all of the stars are the same colour.  After just one term our wall has three different coloured stars and my Little Learners are striving for the next level constantly.  Motivation Maximum I can assure you. 

Super Improvers Wall at start of 2013
 As you can see the display board has a bright background with cute little letter flags making up the title.  Underneath the title each Little Learner has their own star with their name on it.  I made up stars in 10 different colours for each student because each colour represents progressive improvement.  I made these up before I started the year so that all was ready to go before I began using the reward system.  You know how busy things get during the term and we need instant follow through to maintain motivation for this age group. I keep each set of coloured stars in a separate snap lock bag for quick access and efficient storage. Before a student can move to the next level/colour they earn 10 stickers on their star.  Stickers are awarded for individual improvement in absolutely anything.  For example; lining up without touching others, good manners, neat colouring, clever thinking, fact recall, waiting turn, helping others etc  I now have a chart which  is on the wall next to the Super Improver Board in place of the birthday cake.  This shows the Little Learners what the name and colour of the next level is so it adds to the whole motivation. I will photograph this after holiday break and add a link to that post to share with you.

Kinder Cottage
Super Improvers Wall Title

Super Improvers Wall
The Little Learners spontaneously applaud when a classmate achieves a new level.  It's very cute and honestly required no prompting whatsoever.  I take down the star which has 10 stickers on it, hand it to it's owner and immediately replace it with the new coloured star.  Usually the Little Learner keeps the sticker filled star on their desk for the day then takes it home to share with their family.  Absolutely gorgeous, motivational system and simple to implement I promise.

Until tomorrow...goodbye!
Mrs Stowe :-)

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

What's on the Wall?

These photo's were taken in January the day before the Little Learners descended for Day 1 of Kindergarten so they really are the bare bones of my room.  However, they give you the general idea of the room set up.

First lets look at my Class Rules.  I use, standby and love many Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) techniques.  After watching a few free video's at  I downloaded these cute rule posters for free from Pinterest then added some gingham backing paper, a little red card stock and laminated them.  I have a small A4 sized set in my class nook area that we run through every morning as a reminder of our rules.  The Little Learner's take turns in leading the class in rule gestures as they all chant them.  This definitely helps to reinforce the rules and the kids just love using gestures. Throughout the day I sometimes just perform a gesture relating to one of our rules and instantaneously the child is bought back into line without a spoken word.  Alternatively. I call out rule 3 or rule 2 and the Little learners all recite the rule aloud, continue working and the rule offender is brought back into the cohort without being singled out by name.  I plan to write a blog solely about these basic rules and how effective they really are in the future.  If you haven't tried are going to love it!!!

Class Rule reminder

Next its the Birthday Wall.  Simple... yes.  Bright and cheery...yes.  The kids love to see their names on display and are always checking to see how many months until their birthday and who is having a birthday.  We have also used this information display to graph birthdays in our class.  We have used it to name the various colours, count the months, say the months in order, story spelling and of course it keeps me on red alert as to who has a special day coming up.  This too was a free download from Sparklebox. 

Birthday Balloons - months of the year chart

Special  Five Sound Houses. I have a sound house for each alphabetic letter.  The humming House, The Royal House, The Quiet House, The Noisy House and The Vowel House.  The divisions were not my idea but I did make up the roof tops and cards.  Eventually I will provide a link to these for anyone interested. I run through these each morning with the Little Learners and they seriously LOVE vocalising them in the appropriate tone.

Sound Houses

The Behaviour Clip Chart.  I down loaded this from Pinterest then mounted it on matching card stock and laminated each for durability.  I soaked some wooden pegs in yellow food dye and used a black marker to write each Little Learner's name on a peg.  The idea is to move the pegs up and down over the course of the day, week, term.  All pegs were in the starting position to start the year and now...well they are all over the place.

Behaviour Clip Chart & Colour words on Cats

The Coloured Cats surrounding the chart were a freebie from Sparklebox.  Having the names of each colour on the cat means the Little Learners can refer to them when writing as well as practise their colour word reading anytime.

Okay I admit there are quite a few more bits and pieces that we'll stumble across in due course but for now, if you have read my first few blogs, you will have a little understanding of where I teach and how I like things.

May our journey continue!
Mrs Stowe :-) 

Sunday, 21 April 2013

My Classroom

My classroom is not very big so organisation is the key. I can hear my colleagues laughing and whispering..."She's a little OCD."  Perhaps I am but hey, what's not to like about neatness and organisation!

Let's take a look around together. This is the main area with my brand new 2013 Smartboard...yay!

And this is my teaching nook. It's little, cosy and the kids love it...especially Big Ted and Snowy Bear.

Winnie the Pooh features as my class theme/mascot. I was never a huge fan of the Winnie the Pooh stories. However, the theme stuck after a dear colleague, Ruth, many years ago, gave me a pair of Winnie socks that she bought for me.  Thanks Ruth!!

From there my collection has grown incredibly and I now have to disclaim to all new families that I am not some weirdo collector and it really is safe to leave their littlies with me!!!

Actually I love it when kids bring me their beloved Winnie the Pooh items because they sincerely want to share with me. It was really cute ...until the kids started calling my room Kinder Pooh!

Tomorrow I will share with you my wall displays which were inspired by many.
Mrs Stowe :-)

Saturday, 20 April 2013

A New Blog Look and 1000 Possibilities...

I cannot believe how long it took me today to run through blogger tutorials then try to upload free blog templates!  I say templates because I'm not sure how I managed to upload and remove them... then reload etc... but I did.  I am determined to learn this stuff. However, I concede that it might take me a while.  Mental note to self...Should wait for the teens to come home from camp and I'm sure I'd be up and running in no time!

I decided to start with a free template from LeeLou Blog Design that I liked rather than hit the custom made templates straight up.  This I figure will give me time to learn the craft and decide if it's really for me.  I'm a little concerned with my understanding of the COU for the free template and I have given up trying to attach the HTML for the link back to the site today.  Think I'll give it a go tomorrow. I am certain that I'm not breaching anything yet as I am the only one reading this blog.

I really have educational issues that I'd like to share so I will be back tomorrow.  :)

Friday, 19 April 2013

PD ~ a la carte

Well lucky me.  I had the best PD EVER!!!  Get ready those green with envy eyes...  I was priveledged to have several hours of one on one time, which is invaluable to a newbie,  with established blogger Mrs Whary the Teaching Fairy, formally Musings of Me.  I'm not quite sure what I learned but one thing is for sure...I know nothing about blogging.  Mrs Whary was patient and kind and encouraging.  The perfect teacher really.  She has offered ongoing support and even set me realistic targets to ensure my journey continues.  Continue it will... in more acheivable leaps and bounds!  So without pictures embedded yet and self imposed deadlines blog will continue.  Now Step One... off to find a blog designer!

Thanks Mrs Whary the Teaching Fairy.  You are a legend!  :-)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Still no images!!

Well....I added and deleted clipart and images for at least a couple of hours, reading blogposts for dummies and numerous other advice from other bloggers.  The blog looks the same as I couldn't make the images small enough to fit properly.  Ho-hum.  I will try again tonight and hopefully very soon Kinder Cottage will have pics then I can really begin sharing the things that have been happening here.  I don't want to start without images as without images to support the WBT ideas it would be counter to WBT itself.  See you later. :-)

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Loading graphics and photos

Today's task is to find someone at work with the patience to teach me how to upload photos and clipart to my blog.  It is hardly a Kindy blog without pictures! So off I set along the road to learn...see you tonight. :-)