Management, Crayons, and some Freebies!

31 August 2013

Our second week in first grade has come and gone and I have to tell you I cannot be more thankful that it has ended with a 3 day weekend!  Labor Day always has good timing.

This week we practiced, reinforced, and practiced a bit more all of the good habits that we learned in our first week.  In my class I present my expectations not as rules, but as "good habits".  We chat about good habits (saying please and thank you!) versus bad habits (picking your nose...) and what kinds of habits we should form in the first grade.  Our habits include hallway behavior, carpet behavior, following the attention signal, and moderating voice levels.  

Together we do a looks like/sounds like chart for each habit (I taught one each of the first 4 days of school).  I model the habit, then I have a small group of students model the habit, and then I have the entire class try it out, all the while I am praising and reinforcing like crazy.  If I feel like they can handle it we even model a non-example, which they always think is wildly funny.  We hang up our charts by the door and reference them often!

This has worked like a charm for me and I know my students know exactly what I expect of them throughout the day!  Hurray for a beautiful management start to our year!  That is certainly an answer to many prayers!

In other news, I made these cute little crayon cans to help with the crazy crayon chaos that is first grade.  Starting day one there were lost crayons on the floor, someone couldn't find their pink (and was pretty sure it was a life and death situation!), etc. So, I decided to end all of our suffering.  I put these little crayon cans up next to my pencil buckets and student supply area and it has been such a beautiful thing!

And super easy.  Grab a bunch of 8 oz. cans of tomato sauce and some pretty papers and you are good to go.  I just cut the paper to size, and wrapped/glued it around the can.  I pasted on my own little labels, which you can grab here if you like.  Also, wanting them to be especially sturdy, I wrapped my cans with packing tape to give them that protective laminated effect.  These have worked out great!

Another little bright spot of my week was when this baby was delivered to my classroom.  

It came in a big mysterious bag during our math workshop and the kids, for whatever reason, were so excited.  But not as excited as teacher!  This is the best pencil sharpener of my life.  It sharpens so very quickly (like 2.8 seconds) and it is so so quiet.  It also has a little light that comes on when the pencil is satisfactorily sharpened, which is very handy for when I let a few students sharpen pencils at the end of the day.  You know how they always seem to jam and crank the pencils into the little hole like there is no tomorrow?  Problem solved!  My pencil sharpener came from office depot, {here}.

To go with our fancy new pencil sharpener I created these little sharp/dull labels.  I just slapped them on some of those little buckets you can find anywhere (like Target of course) and we are good to go!  Click on the picture below or right here for these little labels!

Life in first grade is good.  This weekend I have been working hard to take a mental break from things and I feel better equipped to tackle next week and this next month!  I love September and I'm really counting on it to be a beautiful month!  Here is my September Currently.

Have an amazing Labor Day!


  1. I am in LOVE with your crayon cans. So bright and organized! Glad you've had a great start to your year!

    The Imaginary Classroom

    1. Thank you so much! Good luck with your new students!

  2. I love your idea of hanging the charts by the door. I'm going to try that this year. Thanks!
    Polka Dot Kinders

  3. The cans are adorable! The sharp/dulls cans are brilliant too! Best of luck with your sister. I was so terribly sick (for 7 months) with my first pregnancy, but luckily never that sick with other pregnancies.
    Kids Math Teacher

  4. Hi Bethany! Your blog is so peaceful, first of all. Love your color scheme! Your photos are also beautiful! And so colorful!

    I loved reading your September Currently! I was just listening to thunder here in New England yesterday too!

    Your personal goals are great, too! I'm working on worrying less too!

    Keep smiling!!
    The Rungs of Reading

  5. Beth, you are obviously a great teacher. Jacob and I are blown away.

  6. The idea of using cans so your students can grab their crayons is fabulous! I am currently working on doing this right now and cannot wait to use it in September. Awesome idea!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. Love those crayon cans! Where did you get those bright colored paper sheets for them? Hope all is well with you as I noticed this is a two year post.

  8. Enjoying your blog. Also wondering where you bought the bright color paper for your tomato cans. Hope you keep posting.

  9. How much is that pencil sharpener costing, it looks pro.

  10. Wow, this is really interesting reading. I am glad I found this and got to read it. Great job on this content. I like it. Aegean College


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