I should begin by saying, I survived! But it was definitely not a walk in the park! I hadn't felt the way I felt this school year since my first year of teaching. However my "newbie" team and I made it through and we learned a lot along the way.
Lesson #1: Too much change is NOT fun! Change can be good when done in moderation...too much leads to mass amounts of stress. Like all professionals in the field of education, we understand that change is just a part of the job. Nothing is ever the same, something is always different. But, as teachers we are planners and when you take our plans and throw them out the window, well you have just created a very ineffective teacher. This year changing grades, administration, new crop of kids, I expected a certain amount of readjustment. Then you throw in a few new computer programs, AND a relocation of your family into the mix, what you have is a perfect storm. As a result of that storm, I managed to work extremely hard to give my kiddos a terrific year and come out the other side looking forward to a change of pace in a new place to call home.
Back to my lesson...too much change is bad...but just enough can be great! I changed my behavior management system this year to a technology based program known as DoJo. This added an additional element of communication between home and school with weekly emails going to parents on student's classroom performance. Parents are also able to access their students account 24/7 using a parent code and the internet.
In the classroom, DoJo points were exchanged for all sorts of rewards. The list for rewards is exhaustive, but my favorite this year was "beach bum". I decided to bring in my beach umbrella to really play it up. Students would pay 30 points for the chance to do their daily activities under the shade of the colorful beach umbrella! I allowed only one student per day. Not only did I have a hard working "beach bum" in the room, but I also added color and fun to my entire classroom environment! Definitely a GOOD change!