Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Specialty Containers



"What do you like to use specialty (seasonal) containers for in your classroom?"

Share your ideas with me by leaving a comment below.... :)








Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bright Ideas: Behavior Management Using Activity Boxes


Hi Friends!

Welcome to the Bright Ideas Link Up for APRIL!    I'm teamed up with 150 fellow Bloggers, to bring you some of the best and brightest ideas!!!   You'll be able to click through to read everyone's ideas in the linky at the bottom of this post.  

My "bright idea" is a technique that I have used when working with students with behavioral issues such as Bipolar, ADD/ADHD. This is a simple technique, using activity boxes to redirect behavioral issues that become disruptive to the classroom routine.

I began using this technique when I was assigned a student that had ADHD with severe behavioral issues. The objective is to redirect the negative behavior before it escalates.  I have used activity boxes with students that could become aggressive, and violent not only to themselves but also toward other individuals. It also is helpful for children that may not fully understand why they are behaving inappropriately.

Setting up activity boxes is simple.  Sometimes the simplest idea can be the one thing that helps you connect with a student!

There are a few guidelines I like to follow when setting up activity boxes for individual students for the first time.

1.  Include the student in the process.   This is important because the box is intended to help that student re-direct their negative behaviors.  It isn't going to have the degree of success if the student isn't engaged in the materials included in it.  

2. The container should be the size of a shoe box.  My first activity boxes were actual shoe boxes.  I love the Nike shoe boxes that have the flip flap lid. I would go to the Mall and ask for the empty boxes.   Students can pick their box, and help decorate it.  Shoe boxes are compact, and will stack easily in a storage closet.

(Yep, all of you out there that are OCD that would want the boxes to match might want to re-think that for good reason.  Students will develop a sense of pride in their activity box. They are more apt to utilize it and work toward positive behavior if it represents them!)

3.  The contents of the activity box should have an educational value.   Using activity boxes is not intended for a student to get out of doing work, or to play after disrupting class. This is a tool to use to defuse negative (escalating) behaviors.

(Note:  One of the successes I had using this technique was with a student with Bipolar.  He would have violent outbursts including throwing furniture,or objects.  He would throw himself into walls and bang his head on the walls, etc. When he was in a rage, you could not reach him verbally. When I introduced the activity boxes to him,  we sat down together and chose items that would go into it.  He liked dinosaurs and books.  So his box included books about dinosaurs, drawing paper, pens, informational cards, and a card game.  I bought him a "how to draw" book that he could look at to learn how to draw animals.  When he would feel himself losing control, he would have permission to work independently using his activity box. He'd spend anywhere from 15 minutes to a half hour or so working with activities in his box and then he would be able to rejoin the activities with the other students.)

4.  Go over the ground rules for using the activity boxes.  This would include proper way to use and take care of the materials in the box, appropriate time to use them, etc.  Remember to focus on the positive as much as possible!


The box I chose for this demo is pretty cool.   It is a little bigger than a standard shoe box.  It's technically a plastic tackle box.   I chose this particular box because it has a tray that sets inside which is perfect to hold pens, and other art supplies.  The space under the tray could then hold small books and activities.


The items I chose for this demo are small 5 x7 softbound books, a word search book, a super cool frog magnifying glass for exploring, a half size composition book (they had these at Walmart during back to school, they look just like standard composition books just cut in half).   


This is a better view of the cute magnifying glass.  (I found these at Walmart in the Easter section. They had ladybug style too! They are adorable).   The booklets have text as well as questions in them to test comprehension.


This is a picture of the tray.  I put my new Scentos Markers (love!!!) in there.  You can see there is lots of room in this box.


This picture shows how nice the books fit into the bottom of the box.  The tray fits on top and the lid clasps.  The box is compact enough that it can fit in a student desk or 



I had to post a picture of this cute little paint can container I found.  It's just slightly smaller than a standard paint can.  I found it in the Easter isle at Walmart.   Not as big as a shoe box but there is enough room to hold some art supplies, small books, and some drawing paper.  

I hope that you have found this post to be helpful.  If you have any questions about putting together activity boxes, feel free to email me at crayonboxlearning@gmail.com   or you're welcome to leave a comment with your email address and I will contact you.  

Below, you'll find a link up of the other Bloggers participating in this event.  I hope that you'll take some time out of your busy schedule to read through the posts.  Be sure to share the Bright Ideas with your friends and colleagues!











Monday, March 31, 2014

April Currently.... here we go....!!!







Listening:   Normally I am listening to Netflix.  But I was engrossed in looking at photographs, and so the only sound is Jake whining.  He's whining because he just woke up abruptly. He snored himself awake! :)


Loving:  Springtime.  Need I say more?   Well ok.    The last few weeks it's been kidding season, and it's been really rough.  Though I LOVE the sights, sounds, and colors of spring.  Love the newness of the season, budding flowers, grass coming up, and baby animals.   Lucky to have 5 healthy, happy baby goats so far.  (One tiny one left for his new home on Saturday. :)  Love Springtime!


(The picture is of one of my baby goats.  He was born 10 days premature, weighed 1/2 lb at birth.)

Thinking:  I've been thinking about the victims of the devistating landslide in Oso, WA  on Saturday the 22nd.  640 acres of debris (including homes, trees, cars, trucks, contents of homes and farms, and well.. people too swept down the mountainside without any warning.  This place is located not too far from where I grew up in WA.  I know people that are up there helping with the search, volunteering and donating.   My heart goes out to all of these people, as well as those that are working tirelessly to find those that were swept away.  KIRO TV (Seattle)  

Wanting:  I need to get back to creating.  Being busy with farm detail has kept me from design work.  Though I have been working on a Blog design for a friend.  I work a lot, but it doesn't hurt to take some time off to do other things.  I miss creating though...  I bought some new Scentos markers today so I think that will make it better.  And chocolate.  :)

Needing:  Sleep.  I've not really had a good night sleep in about 3 weeks.  I should be in bed now, but Cassie told me that Currently was up and well... who can resist CURRENTLY?  I can't. :)

Time/Last Day:   I get up around 7 or so and I generally am working until 12:00 am or so.  I work from my home office and not a classroom so I build my day around my To Do List (and goats having babies. :)

Thank you for stopping by.  Be sure to click on the image above to visit Farley's page.  She rocks!   



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

National Poetry Month - April

Coming up:  April is National Poetry Month!


I fell in love with poetry at an early age when one of my teachers began reading "Where the Sidewalk Ends" by Shel Silverstein.  I loved his usage of words, and the nonsensical world that he created. {My favorite Shel Silverstein book though has to be The Giving Tree!}  There was always a waiting list in the school library to check out his books.



My other favorite poet is Dr. Seuss.  {I know, I know... I dared to write the name in text.} I truly believe that Dr. Seuss was somewhat of a genius.  I'm in awe of his ability to make up words and put them into rhythmic verse. I bet there are few people that can read a Dr. Seuss book without picking up the rhythm and tempo.

I have been writing my own poetry/verses since I was in high school.  Some of which have been published. I tend to write rhymes all the time.  Here is a short that I wrote last year.

 Midnight serenade

Beginning with cricket's song, 
Twenty-five bullfrogs croaking along,
Flapping wings of bats on the prowl,
Mournful hoots from a hunting owl.

Coyotes echoing across the holler,
Jingling bells on the goat's collar,
Dreamy whinnies from sleeping foals,
Flinging dirt from the crazy moles.

Swaying branches of the weeping willow,
Grunting bug hunter, a friendly armadillo,
Midnight serenade ends on a good note,
Good thing, 'cause that's all she wrote!


Activities to celebrate National Poetry Month:

Words in a Hat:   A fun activity I like to implement is putting words in a hat (or other container),  and have the students try to create their own rhymes using the word or words that they selected.  For older students you can also put in the hat or write on the slips of paper what type of poem or pattern they have to come up with.  To add even more excitement, put students in small teams using a timer to see which teams can come up with the best or funniest poem in the period of time.

Magnet Poems:  You may have seen magnet words in magazines or in a store.  Before they became all fancy, you could print off your own words onto magnet paper.  {If you've never used magnet paper before, it is very cool.  Avery brand has it.  The 8 x 11 sheets of magnet have paper on one side that can be printed on, and magnet on the other side which sticks to metal surfaces.  It's pretty inexpensive and is a lot of fun. Give student teams a cookie sheet with some magnet words and have them build their own poetry.  

Poetry can be FUN!


To celebrate National Poetry Month,  I wanted to celebrate and share with you a couple poetry packets authored by a couple Blogging friends. {They do not know that I selected their packets to highlight!}  I've long believed that subjects that are taught in a fun manner are the ones that seem to maintain interest!  Poetry can be fun too!

Poetry Party!  A Poetry Unit for Kids written by Ms. Christina DeCarbo.  You may know her from 2nd Grade Sugar and Spice. This packet is really cute.  Some of the items included in this packet are poetry posters, and planning and thinking pages for students to write their own poems.  This is geared toward younger students.   If you have not taught poetry before, or would like to learn more about the different styles of poetry this packet is a good starting point!

Click the image to visit Ms. DeCarbo's TPT Store!



Pocketful of Poetry by Danielle Knight {Study All Knight} is a Flip Flap Book (Interactive Notebooking) that creates a "denim pocket."  This Unit is good for older students 6th-12th grade.  I chose this particular packet because a lot of classrooms are using Interactive Notebooks  to encourage writing, especially with their older students.  This packet includes poetry terms and definitions, various writing activities.  This packet comes with full instructions which is also a huge plus!   

Click the image to visit Danielle Knight's TPT Store!


April is National Poetry Month - Helpful Links



National Poetry Month on Pinterest 


I have created a new board on Pinterest to add cool links to celebrate National Poetry Month.  Check it out here.  I will be adding onto it throughout the month of April.


Link up your Poetry Product or Blog post below: 



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Tech with Dani - Forwarding your Domain Name to another URL.

Hi Folks,

I have decided to start a new series on my Blog called Tech with Dani. I know, I know... how original? :) In the past, I have written tutorials on Woo Box, Adding Custom Tabs on Facebook, etc. Who knew that they would be helpful to so many people? I decided to take what I know, and share it! :)

This week "Tech with Dani" will talk about how to forward your own domain name to your Blogger (or another) URL. It's a pretty simple process.  I will walk you through it using the screen shots from my own account.

Are you ready?

Here we go!

Forwarding a domain name is a way to either brand, or shorten your URL. Blogs such as Blogger based have lengthy URL's.  Example:  www.crayonboxlearning.blogspot.com.   I have my domain name www.crayonboxlearning.com forwarded to my Blog address to make it easier to remember, and a bit shorter.  Some people choose to forward their domain name for other reasons such as changing grade levels or the theme of the Blog without losing your following.  It's a lot "cheaper" to pay for a URL that will remain constant (key word domains are my favorite), than going through the stress of having to re-create a following with a new Blog.

It takes just a few easy peasy steps to forward a domain name via Godaddy.com

Step 1.  Purchase your Godaddy.com domain name.   I have used a few different companies to purchase my domain names over the years. {I've been designing websites for over 20 years, and now Blogs}. Even if a site sells them cheaper,  I find that Godaddy's service, and ability to forward/transfer domains is so much better. Other companies may sell cheap, but it is a pain in the rump to do anything with them afterwards. Complete the purchase process before attempting to forward your domain.


Step 2.  Click on the menu on the main Godaddy.com and select Domains, and Manage My Domains.



Step 3.  You will be prompted for your Customer Number and Password.  This was created when you purchased your domain, OR if you had an existing account prior to purchasing your new domain name.


Step. 4   You will see a list of your domain names.  If you only have 1 domain name, you will just see the one listed.  As you can see by my screen shot, I have several domain names. Some of them are for the farm, and some are domains I have not developed yet.



Step 5.  Click small box to the left of the domain name you would like to forward.


Step 6.  You will see a Forwarding and Masking Box pop up.  Click on Add Forwarding.


Step 7.  You will type in the exact URL for the Blog or website that you wish to forward your domain to.  Make sure that the URL is correct, and then click ADD.


Step 8.  The Forwarding and Masking page will change to reflect the Forwarding URL that you added.  This is your chance to double check it before clicking SAVE.

That's it.    Now,  you may receive a small notice that says that it can take up to 48 hours for the forwarding to update.  This is standard with ALL domains.  In most instances it will not actually take that long, but it's good to make a note of it.

When the domain forwarding has completed the updating process, you can type in your new URL and within a few seconds the site will open up to the Blog or site that you redirected it to.  

As with all of my tutorials, if you have a question, feel free to email me directly at crayonboxlearning@gmail.com. I am happy to help when I can.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bright Ideas: Adding to Your Classroom Library by Reviewing Children's Books


Welcome!

I'd like to share with you my newest "Bright Idea" ~ Adding to your Class Library by Reviewing Children's Books.  Reviewing Children's books can be a super fun adventure!   I've been able to look through award winning books, many of which were "hot off the presses!"  How cool is that to be able to put your hands on books that even the libraries haven't received yet?


The picture above shows a small selection of children's books that I have been sent by the publishers to review this season. {Many of the books that I receive are donated to libraries or classrooms since I am not currently working in a classroom. It's one way to pay it forward}

Many authors and publishing companies are finding it harder to sell hard copy books because of all of the different electronic options for reading. Many of these companies have resorted to seeking out Bloggers and Social Media contacts to spread the word about their publications.  Some of you may already occasionally receive requests to review books or products from your Blogs or Facebook.  Teachers that I have talked to didn't realize that they could contact a publisher or author to request a review copy!  

Connecting with publishers and authors can be done via email, or through social media.  You can submit your requests for specific books, or put out a general request to be added to their reviewer list.  Publishers will generally want to know what your target audience is.  When you make your official request, you will want to be professional, explaining that you will post your review to your audience.  You won't want to write a letter saying you just want the free books. Publishers are looking to make connections so that ultimately they sell books. {Some publishing companies have request forms on their Blogs/Websites too, so be sure to take a look before emailing a request.} 

When I began reviewing several years ago,  I had posted an advertisement on a Children's Book Forum. The response was overwhelming.  At one time I was reviewing books for over 100+ publishers. Yep!  That's a LOT of books!  {I donated most of the books to Head Start and the local Libraries!}  My poor mailman didn't know what to think!  The UPS Guy... {yea, you know the one that looks really cute in those brown shorts.} we're now on a first name basis.  :) 

While I love reading through all of the books, I found that it was becoming more time consuming than I wanted to devote so I narrowed it down to a few publishers that I really liked.  I currently review for 2 companies and am sent a catalog seasonally to choose the books I wish to review.  The books pictured above were the selections I chose for this season.  

An author/publisher may choose to send books in galley form (complete book, unbound), or as a review copy.  They are brand new books, and in some instances they are labeled as review copies. This prevents people from trying to sell the books.  The galleys are cool and after review can be made into class books! 

Most publishers that I have worked with will send ad slicks/brochures with the review copies.  Some will include a press release or two. I like receiving these because it gives an idea what other books may be published in the future, as well as how the books were reviewed by others.  {I generally do not read the press releases or ad slicks until I have reviewed the book so that I remain impartial.}

If you've never written a review before, it's pretty simple.  You are basically giving your opinion of the book as a whole. Including the cover art, artwork, and story/plot  For children's books, the reviews are a paragraph or two. Chapter books {Which I don't review too many of } will require a lengthier review. It takes a short block of time to write a good review, and in return you get to keep a nice new book for your class library.

The Children's Books that I really enjoyed reviewing,  I will post my review on social media.  This is just one extra step I like to take to further build the relationship with the publisher. The books that I didn't particularly like as well, I will downplay the review, and only send it to the publisher/author if requested.  Maintaining a good relationship with an author/publisher is helpful when seeking donations for giveaways or other events.

Side Note:   After I wrote this article, I got to thinking about those of you who may have Amazon Affiliate accounts. Reviewing children's books may open up an opportunity for you to promote the books on your Blog, while earning affiliate revenue.  Here in Arkansas, due to some legislative mumbo jumbo, Amazon doesn't allow AR residents to participate so I am not an affiliate.  Though there are teachers in other states that do participate in the affiliate program, so it wouldn't be too hard to implement once you started reviewing.

Thank you so much for stopping by!  Next up... Mrs. Richardson's First Grade Classroom....Amanda will be sharing with you Sight Word Table  Bins!  {Click the image below!}

 Mrs. Richardson's Clas - Sight Word Table Bins










Saturday, March 1, 2014

A little bit of luck....March Currently!


I look forward to the "Currently" every month.  I was sitting here with anticipation if the new post would be up before I went to bed or not.  As LUCK would have it... Farley updated her Blog just a few minutes ago. Yay!   If you haven't had a chance to link up, click on the cute graphic above and make your way to her page.  She is funny, sweet, and it's a lot of fun to link up.  




Listening:  I am currently watching The Next Great Baker on Netflix. I like watching this show because I pick up on a few different techniques for cake decorating.  Not that I have actually attempted it. HAHA!  I still have horrible visions of being 12 years old trying to make frosting for my friend's Mom's baby shower.  I used Koolaid instead of sugar because I forgot that it required powdered sugar.  I like to bake, but I don't think I would cut it as a professional baker.  

Loving:  Every season, I wind up with some sort of creativity block. It's a lot like writer's block.  I find that when I am stressed or over tired I have this issue.  So I have been trying to take breaks, and de-stressify (is that a word?) so that I can get back to creating.  I think it's working. 

Thinking:  I have a few new projects that I am working on.  One big thing is a new series of materials, which I have been working on for some time now.  I'm just about THERE where I can start posting some of it.  Have you ever gotten a really great idea and when you go to implement it things get in the way?  That's kind of where I am at. I have all my outlines, and a lot of sketches..but.. I need to MAKE the time to get the ball rolling.  I also am soooooooooooo over winter!  :)   I am happier when I can look out my window and see green grass, birds flitting around, and baby goats roaming around in the pasture.

Wanting:  I really want to break out the spring decor.  I am going to be buying some new rugs for the dining room and living room.  I want to change out the blinds too.  Plus.. I think it's time that the Christmas stuff I left on the table needs to be put away.   Hey, don't laugh.. I just took my Christmas lights down last weekend. :)

Needing:  I need to get over this cold.  I've not had one for over 4 years.  BUT...  even with all of the Airborne and good intentions I wound up catching what my parents have had.  I took my Mom to the Dr. the other day and within a couple days I caught cold.  GGRR!!!  I also have a dislocated shoulder, so that makes it real fun.   I still consider myself pretty lucky though.  I am pretty happy despite I am sneeze coughing every few minutes. :)

?????:  (3rd time's a charm.. I didn't know what to write here so I thought I'd make something up.  Then I re-read it and figured out that I was supposed to give an answer to a question and you have to guess what the question is. HA!  Nice one, Farley!   So can you guess?

Until then.. I have about 3 1/2 weeks until the baby goats start being born.  It'll be here before I know it.  I'm looking forward to seeing the sweet little furry faces.  I'll post a few pictures when they are born!!  

If you've made it this far....Bless your hearts!  It's been a long week, I am sooo looking forward to the weekend.  Does anyone have a suggestion for a good book or  a book series to read? I'd love to hear from you!