Sunday, August 1, 2021

Goal Setting With Students

Do your students set goals for themselves?  

In my classroom, we have weekly class goals. After we had a student trip over a chair that wasn't pushed in, we made our goal, "Let's push our chairs in every time we get up."

By having the whole class involved, this goal was easy to reach. I'd see kids motion for a friend to push in their chair or see them get up and push in a chair when needed.

A small goal but it solved a serious problem.

I find that my kids love these weekly goals as long as I circle back to them daily and they're purposeful. They need that auditory reminder as well as the visual Weekly Class Goal board. When we revisit their goals frequently- just for a minute or two a day, I find the goals tend to be reached. 

Now I have my class make monthly goals for First Grade!  Yep. They can do it! I like to make it into a small "book" and hang up (WITHIN REACH!) so it's a visual reminder and one they can reread and revisit.

Books On Goal Setting

I start off by reading them some books involving goal setting.  Here are a few I like a lot:

Realistic vs. Unrealistic or Not Yet Goals

Next, we talk about REALISTIC goals and what they look like.  I make a chart of goals I set and reached in the past year.  

Then I share some silly UNREALISTIC goals I made in the past.  Often these are silly goals BUT can also be NOT YET goals.

Before we make individual goals, I spend two weeks making class goals.  JUST TWO for each week.  We brainstorm the problems we're having and decide (vote) on the one goal we want to set.

I write it on the board and refer back to it several times throughout the week.  Each day, I reread it with the kids during Morning Meeting.  Then, I refer back to it when I see/notice our class working toward that goal.  "I noticed everyone at this table pushed in their chairs when we lined up for art. I'm so relieved no one tripped over a chair and got hurt. I'm so glad we picked that goal. (Then I'll motion toward the goal ot actually read it)

Making Our Own Goals

Then we make this simple booklet to display in the classroom.  Here's a peek at a sample:

Revisiting Goals Daily

Then, each day, I'll ask the kids to close their eyes and think about their goals they made for the month.
"Are you getting closer to reaching the goal?" "Is there something I can do to help you reach your goal?" "Is there a problem your having that surprises you?" "Did you reach your goal?" 

Then I have the kids share out sometimes with a friend, deskmate, or the whole class.  This takes 3-5 minutes a day but is essential to staying FOCUSED on the goal and keeping it in sight.

This year, I'm making the books a bit more "formal" like above so they can double as a room decoration! Why not?

It's been a goal of mine over the last year! :)

Happy goal making!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Playing Possum Picture Book (Perfect Back-to-School Book)

Each year, I have anxious kids enter my class and can instantly see that, because of their anxiety, they struggle to make friends. 

Often, these children don't even know how to go about it. 

Playing Possum, written and illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhart, is a must-have book for your classroom library that features two very anxious- and adorable- main characters.
Playing Possum Picture Book
I just discovered this on the NEW BOOK shelf at the library.  The cover's illustrations drew me in and I'm so happy I picked up the book.
Playing Possum Picture Book

Playing Possum Picture Book


Playing Possum Picture Book

Playing Possum Picture Book


Playing Possum Picture Book

Another book that deals with anxiety is the magnificent After the Fall. Truly a wonderful book and one that ALL kids can identify with.

For some reason, many of my friends didn't see the anxiety connection.  That's a reminder that sometimes anxiety is so well hidden but it's there.  It may not manifest in obvious ways but in the case of Humpty, he wasn't able to enjoy the things he did in the past.  

It's such a lovely book.  Powerful.  Subtle.  

I simply cannot understand how this did not win the Caldecott Award.  It's that good.  

I created two packets in my store to support the book if interested. 

The first one is smaller (and at $2, cheaper.  BUT it's INCLUDED in the second packet so no need to purchase both if interested.)

Smaller one:

Larger Packet in store:

And I like to add that no one needs ANY materials to go along with a book.  I just make them for my own class from time to time and offer them in case an extension is needed for others as well.

Happy reading!

Monday, July 26, 2021

Don't Hug Doug Picture Book Part 2

A lot of people read my post on Don't Hug Doug and I just updated it with my newest TpT product that supports the book.  Then it dawned on me that I should probably write a new post. 

From Amazon:

Doug doesn't like hugs. He thinks hugs are too squeezy, too squashy, too squooshy, too smooshy. He doesn't like hello hugs or goodbye hugs, game-winning home run hugs or dropped ice cream cone hugs, and he definitely doesn't like birthday hugs. He'd much rather give a high five--or a low five, a side five, a double five, or a spinny five. Yup, some people love hugs; other people don't. So how can you tell if someone likes hugs or not? There's only one way to find out: Ask! Because everybody gets to decide for themselves whether they want a hug or not.


“Don’t Hug Doug can make kids feel better about their own boundaries, and challenge them to understand the comfort of others. But really, it gives grown-ups something to consider, too.” —Boston Globe

“It’s great to see . . . boundaries [of consent and personal autonomy] talked about, and Don’t Hug Doug does it in a way that’s both reinforcing and fun to read.” —The A.V. Club

“A cheerful approach to basic consent . . . An excellent update on the golden rule: treat people how they want to be treated.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“A gently humorous picture book that kindly, effectively highlights the importance of asking others before initiating physical contact.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Simple and effective in showing young viewers how to establish bodily autonomy . . . A great starting point for a conversation about boundaries and how to set them.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“A fun way to deliver the truth of different strokes for different folks.” —Booklist

Here's a prview of the packet:

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Don't Hug Doug

Have you ever struggled with teaching your students to be assertive and wrestled with exactly how to tackle a tough topic like CONSENT on an age-appropriate level? Don't Hug Doug (He Doesn't Like It) is the PERFECT book for you! 

Do we need to be teaching little ones about CONSENT and setting boundaries?  Yep! The younger we introduce and teach them to protect themselves, the safer they are. This book is a natural springboard to follow up conversations involving good touch/bad touch. All children need to know that THEY have control and autonomy of their bodies and Doug, who oozes self-confidence, shows exactly how to do it.

Love the art work! 

Although I didn't show many of the pages, Doug does tell us who he allows to hug him and why.  

Just ask!  So simple. Can easily be practiced right then and there!

I found this book at Barnes & Noble and am so glad I did. It's a really fun book...not preachy at all. The "lesson" doesn't overpower the story. It's presented so matter-of-factly which is appreciated. I hope you love this book and find it as valuable as I do!

EDITED on July 26th, 2021:

Just added a TpT product to support this wonderful book!

I'm so looking forward to sharing this book and these activities with my class in September when I go back.  Here's the preview of all included:

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Picture Book Reviews

A few posts ago, I mentioned I was giving quick picture book reviews in my feed and on my stories over at Instagram.

Here are some examples of books I highlighted over the last few days.  Just click to play here.

First one up: 

Here's a cute free poem, The Bunny Hokey Pokey, that you could use with this book. Click on pic.

Next one is Peter Easter Frog:

Next up, I am the Longest Dog:

Here's a book, Dig In,  that was only one slide so just a picture. I'd love to use this with a guided reading group. Not a new book but one I just discovered.

Finally, a new Harry book!  I was shocked to see it! 

How much do I love Harry?  I actually have a free product in my store.  Click on pic to get it.

I'm about to do a whole bunch on Earth Day/Spring as well as just some books I found that I really enjoyed.  Been playing with the format but, going forward, they'll look like the Bunnies on the Bus and Harry Videos and will cap off between 15-30 seconds.

Any feedback to share?  I'm all ears!

Thanks so much!