Dealing with the Difficult Child

If you've been a teacher for more than a day, you've probably had to deal with a difficult child. 
When you're little and dream of becoming a teacher, you never imagine having a behavior problem in your class.  However, then comes the real world and you quickly realize that there's no such thing as a "perfect" class.  You will always have some type of behavior issues to deal with.  I have definitely had my share and some years are worse than others.  Here are some tips that I have found to be successful:
1. Focus on the Positive in Your Classroom
I have found that the best way to get students to behave is to make a HUGE deal about the students that are doing the right thing.  Using the behavior clip chart has been amazing for this.  {Check out the post here.}
A new component to the chart that I have added this year is to put a sticky jewel that I bought at JoAnn Fabric's on a clip when a student has reached purple.  Once they earn 5, I wear their clip around my neck attached to a piece of string for the day, then they get to take it home with them.  At that point, their name goes on the board under Five Jeweled Behavior, and I include their name in the weekly newsletter.  Any student earning this title will get to come to an Eat with the Teacher Celebration at the end of each month.  We will order pizza and eat in the classroom together.
Just having a good system that rewards the good behavior in your class can be enough to get many students to step it up.  Plus, it's a lot more fun to focus on the positive!

2. Always Make Your First Contact with Parents a Positive One
I never make my first note home or first phone call home about something negative. Even if you have the most challenging student in the world, deal with it until you send home at least one positive letter or make a positive phone call.    {Trust me, this can be very difficult to do sometimes.}  You can always find something positive to say about each child and this will let the parents know that you care about their prized possession.  They will be much more willing to help out with poor behavior if they know that you are not always going to give them bad news.
I love sending home Positive Postcards that I order from Vistaprint.

3. Find Something You Have in Common
Discover what your "behavior problem" child likes and learn about it.  If they love sharks, get some shark books and use these as a reward or read them and have a discussion with the child.  If the child has a favorite tv show or movie, watch it and talk about it with him/her.  
4. Recognize EVERY Little Thing that the Child Does Correctly
 For a child that is a behavior issue, you need to take notice of every single thing that they are doing right and make a big deal of it.  For example, if "Johnny" is standing correctly in line, make sure you say, "I love how Johnny is standing.  Wow Johnny!  I am so proud of you!"
It can be a long road for some students, but eventually you will start to see some improvement for a longer period of time.  At this point, I usually present the student with a sticker that they can put on their shirt so everyone in the school can recognize their good behavior.  {I just write a message on a name tag.}

5. Practice, Practice, Practice
 Students need tons and tons of practice and modeling of good behavior.  It seems so repetitive sometimes, but it's totally worth it.  We have tons of discussions about how we should behave the right way, even when no one is watching.  Using our 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we discuss about being proactive.
Click to download
{Graphics by Scrappin Doodles}

7. Show Them You Love Them
 Nothing is more important than showing your students that you love them and truly care for them.  Greet your students every day with a smile and a good morning.  For those students that need some extra support, make sure you remind them numerous times throughout the day that you are glad they are here.  When a "difficult" child comes in late, say something like, "I am so glad you are here today Johnny!  I would have missed you so much if you weren't at school today!"  Just might be the first nice thing that child has heard today. 
I'd love to hear how you deal with behavior issues in your classroom.  Link up below.  If it's a new post on your blog, please place a link back to Fun In First, so everyone can check out your amazing ideas.  Also, be sure to link up your post, not just your blog url or the link will be deleted.  Thanks


More Fun with Our Five Senses

On Wednesday, we discussed our sense of smell.  I had placed items into papersacks for the students to smell and they drew a picture in each box of what they thought was in each bag. {You can find this in the My Five Senses Mini-Unit.}  The students had a lot of fun with this.  There were some easy ones like onions, oranges, and lemons.  However, some of them really got tricked with garlic bread, peanut butter, and vanilla.
On Thursday, the students had a great time because we talked about our sense of taste.  We learned about the different kinds of taste, sweet, sour, salty and bitter.
Next we tried to think of foods for each of these flavors and I added them to our tongue chart.

Then we tasted items for each of these types of flavors.  I started off with bitter by passing out a piece of 90% Cocoa Dark Chocolate.  The students were SO excited to be getting chocolate, but I prepared them that this was going to be bitter.  They did not believe me until they tried it.  Hilarious!  They were surprised for sure :)  We had starbursts for sweet, pretzels for salty, and sour gummy bears for sour.  It was a lot of fun.
The last thing we did was make a favorite food graph.  Ice cream won by a landslide.

 We had a fun week learning about our senses.  If you would like to have the graphs, songs, and a full list of activities, you can check it out at TeachersPayTeachers or Teacher's Notebook.


Three for Thursday!

I'm linking up with Blog Hopper again for their Three for Thursday!
1.  My Favorite Font
This is so hard to choose because I love a variety of fonts, but the one I always seem to go back to is:
2.  My Favorite Blog
I love so many blogs!  I am amazed every day at all of the talented teachers there are out there and I get numerous ideas from a variety of them.  But, my must reads are definitely:

3.  My Favorite Online Resource
I find a lot of ideas at Proteacher and AtoZTeacherstuff, but I also am loving Pinterest right now as well!

The Five Senses

This week we have been learning about our five senses.  I introduced all of the senses on Monday and then we discussed our sense of sight.  First, we talked about how our eyes work, why we need our eyes, how to protect our eyees, and a little bit about blindness.  Then, we sang our song about our eyes.  {You can download this below.}  The next thing we did is we played a game using our sight.  I placed about 8 things in each tub and placed one tub on each table. I gave the students about 3 minutes to take a look at the things in the tubs then they had to close their eyes.  I went around and removed one item from each tub.  When I was finished, the students had to try and figure out which item was gone.

 They loved this!
The next thing we did was talk about our eye colors.  I passed out an eye to each student and had them color it in the same as theirs.  Then we made a graph on the board.
At the end of the lesson, I let the students explore some I-Spy books, which are always popular.
You can download the song that I wrote, "My Eyes", and the graphing items by clicking on the picture below.
 Today, we discussed our sense of touch.  We sang our song called, "My Skin," then I passed around bags with items like cotton, pencils, q-tips, glue sticks, ... and the students had to use their sense of touch to figure out what the item was.  They really did a nice job with this.  Tomorrow, we will be discussing our sense of smell. 
You can find the rest of the songs, graphs, worksheets, and a 5 senses wrap up book at Teacher's Notebook or Teachers Pay Teachers. 

 I'll be posting more pictures as we wrap up this week.

Fun Back to School Games

TGIF!  We started school this week and I.AM.EXHAUSTED!  I am in love with my class so that has made it all worth it.  They are just a sweet bunch.  We've had a lot of fun this week while learning all of the rules and procedures.  While striving to make learning fun, we have been playing some learning games this week to review some of the skills that they should have learned in Kindergarten (letter naming, initial sounds, rhyming, ...).  These games are so nice to have on hand because the students can play most of them independently with their partner, which is always a challenge at the beginning of first grade.  This way you can observe the children and quickly assess what they need to work on.  I have uploaded the games to Teacher's Notebook and TpT if you'd like to check them out.
There are 10 games included in the packet. 
You can head on over if you'd like to check them out.


How to add "You might also like:" links to your blog

I have found myself really paying attention to the links under blog post's lately to make sure I haven't missed something great on someone's blog.  If you haven't added a "You might also like:" gadget to your blog like the one below and you want to, it is super easy!!
Go to the website
Enter your email, blog url, platform (blogger, wordpress,...) and chose between 3,4, or 5 links.  Click on "Get Widget."
Now you will see the page above (with your blog instead of mine).  Click on Install Widget and your blog will come up like below.
At this point, click "Add Widget."

It will automatically add it to one of your sidebars, but just click to grab it and move it under "Blog Posts."  Make sure you save it and your done!  As my first graders say, "Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy."

Classroom Photos

I have pretty much finished setting up my classroom.  I have a couple of things to drop off today, but then I don't plan on going back in until our teacher work day on Monday.  Our school theme is "Knowledge Island...Where Leaders Thrive," but I kind of went with the jungle aspect of this.  Our professional development book for the summer was The Leader in Me by Stephen Covey.  It was a great book and I really recommend reading it.
Anyways, here are some classroom photos.
Bulletin board outside of my classroom "Mrs. Southard's Wild Bunch"
 This is what you see as you enter my classroom.  If you remember from previous posts, 90% of our classrooms do not have doors.  The 3 first grade classrooms are down a hallway, so we really don't have many distractions except for when another 1st grader may walk by.  I guess you just get used to it because I don't even think about not having a door anymore.  I do like to make the entrance fun and inviting though :) 

 Here is a view of my room while standing in the middle area.  This picture makes it look much bigger than it really is.  It's a very odd shaped room.
Calendar area

Job Chart
 Click on the picture above to download.

Focus Wall
Click on the picture above to download.
 Bulletin Boards that are on each side of my dry erase board.

7 Habits Posters
Click on the picture above to download.
This is the palm tree that I made thanks to the directions on Mrs. Jump's blog.  I LOVE it!!
Student's desks ready for Meet the Teacher Night with Magic Confetti and a gift bag.  I had downloaded this poem off of Proteacher last year.  I attach it to a bag of confetti.
I hope you enjoyed the class tour!


1st and 2nd Day of School

I officially have one more week of summer break.  Teachers meet next Monday for meetings all day, then we have our Open House/Meet the Teacher Night that evening.  Student's first day is Tuesday.  Summer sure went fast!  I still have some work to do in my classroom, but as soon as it's done I'll post some pictures.  For now, I have finished my lesson plans for the first week and I'm sharing Day 1 and 2 with you along with many activities I will be doing.
One of the activities for the first day is Magic Playdoh.  I make this the weekend before by mixing 1 cup salt and 2 cups flour and 2 tablespoons cream of tartar into a saucepan.    Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and 2 cups water and cook over medium heat while stirring constantly.  It will start to harden within a couple of minutes and will start to form a ball.  At this point, remove it onto a floured surface and kneed until nice and smooth.  Put it in a ziplock bag and place it in the refrigerator overnight.  The next day, roll this into individual balls.  Make an indention and put 1-2 drops of food coloring into the indention.  Close up the indention and place the ball into a Ziplock baggie.  Repeat for the number of students in your class, including extras for those that register on the first day of school. {This sounds time consuming, but it actually is pretty easy.}
Then I attach the following poem to each baggie. (I did not write this poem.)
Click on picture to download
You can read about the Gingerbread activity that I will be completing by clicking HERE.
The next activity is reading this book.
and completing this paper.

I use these to make our first class book.
You can find The First Day of School Book HERE.
The Find a Friend Activity and the Jitter Juice activity is from Abby's Fun with Firsties unit that I purchased from TpT.
For the All About Me bags, I share mine first and explain each item. (I usually include a blue crayon, a picture of my family, a book, a picture of a runner, and maybe something from a summer vacation.)  Afterwards, I give everyone their own bag with this paper attached.
Click to download
The next thing we do is make a "How do I get home? Graph."  I pass out the paper and have each student cut out the picture that shows how they get home.

Click on picture to download
 I call students to come up and place their picture on the graph that I make on the board with bulletin board paper.  We discuss which one is the most and which is the least. 
The first day is so hectic, but so much fun!  My students seem to remember the activities from the first day for the rest of the year.

Day 2

I love Diane deGroat books and this is one of my favorites for back to school.
After we read this, the students complete this page about their favorite school supply they brought to school.

  The "My School Book" and "Whooo's Rule?" booklets are ones that I had gotten from Teacher's Helper a couple of years ago.  The second day I do a lot of review of the rules.  Practice, practice, practice.  I try to spend a lot of time on rules and procedures during the first week of school.  It definitely saves time later in the school year.
Hopefully, I'll get a chance to post pictures of our first days of school and I promise to post some classroom photos this week.
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