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Positive Points (Literally Saved My Guided Reading Group)

Having trouble with small group management? I sure was. Due to hiring issues at work, I had to tutor a small group of students four days a week. Just coming back from maternity leave, it was a jarring return. When I first got to my group, I have to admit it was absolute chaos. I wasn't prepared for the wide variance of reading levels and behavior issues. Even more basic, I hadn't established any sort of group culture/value system to guide our actions, work, and achievement. The first day, I literally had children under the table, being rude to each other, and disengaged from the reading materials.

This situation WOULD NOT work for me and it wouldn't work for the students. I went home and came up with a simple tool to improve my small group instruction. I had to find a way to encourage students and have them associate their positive achievement with growth.

 There was a large amount of negative in the group. Students would taunt and disrespect each other, snatch things from each other, and engage in other disrupting behaviors. To combat this, I came up with Positive Points as a way to track when the students engaged in positive group behavior.  

Positive Points
-For every positive action, students record 1 tally. When they have 10 tally marks, they receive one sticker. 
-When they have 5 stickers (50 tally marks), they receive one small item 9 (ex. pencils and stickers)
-So simple but it works


1. At first, I was in control of the points. That was a mistake. Keeping up with the points while providing instruction was too distracting. Students were only interested in what points I was putting in their boxes.

What I had to do was give up control. I made the sheets for the students to keep track of their own points. Their investment went up immediately. I had quieter tables, straight lines to the bathroom, and complete engagement during the guided reading portion.

2. I always highlight the positive comment and the connection to the positive points. I have students discuss the things that earn their positive points. 

3. I only award points for tangible items. Helping someone pick up their papers, kind words and compliments, and jobs completed above and beyond receive points. 

4. I emphasize the acts and not the prize. I'm not big on external motivation, but these students CRAVE positive recognition and praise. In time, I hope to end the positive praise sheets, but for now, it is helping my students recognize the behaviors that lead to achievement.

5. Designate one color or specific pen to use for points. This helps curb students' gratuitous distribution of points.

While every day is different, I take this small positive change as encouragement. When my group runs more smoothly, I know students can learn more.  I hope this small change can be a benefit to your groups as well!


What's a Flash Freebie?

I honestly don't know. Do you know what it is? Have you tried it yet?

I was on Teacher's Notebook and I saw the new promotion offer. Apparently, it allows to you give away a paid product for a certain number of days in order to drive traffic to your site.

I think it might be a neat promotional feature and I'm interested to see what the reception will be. For all those teachers who love free items, I submitted my Fry Words Game Bundle. It consists of 10 interactive games using Fry Words 751-1000. The images below give you an idea of the bundle. Over 80 pages of print and cut games that students love.

If you liked what you saw, 
head on over to the link to download it!

The free downloads begin Monday, October 13 and runs through Friday, October 17th.

As always, download, rate and follow.  Hope you find it incredibly useful!


It's October!!! Let the Multiplication Games Begin!

I am so excited that it is October. It is my favorite month of the year, not only because it's my birth month (Go Scorpios) but, also because the slight chill in the air, the smell of smoke from burning leaves, the feel of my favorite boots, and the snugglly forgiveness that comes from big sweaters.

I am happy to add one more reason to love this month. I also love October because of the cute games and materials I was able to create for all my teacher friends!

The teachers I work with are working on 3.OA.1-5, which focus on multiplication and division skills. These games have students replacing missing dividends and divisors, solving arrays, matching multiplication facts, and other skills to improve their fluency in multiplication and division. I have created this cute set of games to encourage students to practice these skills.

Take a peek at the covers as the games will be uploaded  in my store tomorrow!
These will definitely be treats for your students! No tricks, I promise ;)

A sneak peek of Bats in the Belfry
Your kids will love these tricks
The Mummy is on the loose and needs your division skills to return to the pyramid. 
Can you be the first one to the belfry?

There are 6 games total. I hope they will be a useful addition to your classroom this month!
As always, let me know what you think!

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