Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Kindness Shakers

I got to visit the Ron Clark Academy in February. 

Yup, I know. L.U.C.K.Y.

It was one of the absolute best days of my life. I will say it was also very overwhelming. There was so much to look at, so much to listen to and so much to take in! 
I feel like I need to go back. 
I have other things I want to see and more questions to ask.

I have already changed a zillion things about my teaching and my classroom. I cannot even explain to you the difference in my student's effort, attitude and learning! Honestly, mine too.

I want to share one idea I implemented. {This is just one. There are lots more. I will share more soon, I promise!}

While visiting the Ron Clark Academy I kept seeing students hit a drum during lessons. 
Turns out the drums are actually used as a focusing strategy! 
Students are to listen for important words. When they hear that word they hit the drum.

Well, I thought this was fabulous and was totally into this. 
I couldn't really afford one of the fancy drums. They are for sale on the RCA website.
Also I wasn't so sure about drums in a first grade classroom, especially expensive ones.

So I came up with my own version.
Kindness Shakers! 

Here is the low down.
  1.  I bought two maracas. Maracas are very cheap. Party City had some for $1. NOT KIDDING, $1! Mine came in a two pack for around $5 from the Fiesta section. 
  2.  Students are chosen by me to be in charge of the Kindness Shaker. They are called the Kindness Captain. I started out with one. The same student was the Kindness Captain every single day. It really helped him listen and focus on instruction and it helped him notice all of the kind things the other students were saying and doing. Let's just say these were two areas he really needed help with. Guess What?  It worked! After a couple of weeks, we added a second Kindness Captain (and Shaker). 
  3. When the Kindness Captain hears or sees another student doing something kind, they give the Kindness Shaker one quick shake! If I randomly hear the shaker throughout the day, they lose their job. If they shake it too long, they lose their job. If they play with it, they lose their job.This is a big deal. They take their job as the Kindness Captain very seriously and do NOT want it to lose it!
  4. The Kindness Shaker does not leave our classroom. It does not go to Special Area, lunch or recess with us. {Super cute side note: The Kindness Captain will usually say, "Oh that would earn a shake if I had the Kindness Shaker with me!"}

Do you do anything similar?

Have you been to RCA?

What ideas have you implemented since your visit?