Saturday, January 10, 2015

5 for Friday (and the easiest, best, and most loved management trick ever)!

Happy Saturday!

I made it through the first crazy basketball week - hooray! 

We made it home at 11:00 last night so forgive me for posting my Five for Friday on Saturday. :-)


This gave me a giggle this week. I did give her full credit, but had her try again so I knew she understood the meaning of the words.


We continued our work on writing lab reports by following one of Lucy Calkins' easy experiments. We built catapults with plastic spoons, rubber bands, and a ruler. Then we launched ping pong balls and cotton balls to determine which went farther. The kids had a great time!


After my latest survey, I was reminded about how much my kids love this easy classroom management tool - the "Following Directions Game." I don't take credit for it--learned it from the best (Kristi - :-)).

Kristi uses her points game for many things throughout the day, such as coming to the carpet quickly and quietly. I don't necessarily do that anymore because I use Class Dojo. Every so often I will give some points during the day, but I definitely use the points for the "Following Directions Game." 

Here's what it looks like on the board:

This is rare - me in the lead! I told the kids I had to take a picture because it never happens!

My students sit in color teams, so there is also a scoreboard for them as a team (Kristi uses boys vs. girls so that is always an option as well).

The game is pretty simple. At the end of the day, I will get their attention and tell them we are starting the Following Directions Game. I then give them a set of directions that I want followed such as:

Pick up your mail.
Pack up your GO Book and library books into your backpack.
Check your floors (for trash).
Clean off your desks.
Push in your chairs.
Line up.

Then I say something like, "If you talk, you're out. If you run, you're out." 

Sometimes to joke around with them, I'll add things like, "If you laugh, you're out. If you sneeze, you're out." Anything to make it fun. Of course, they know I'm kidding on these.

Then I say, "Go," and the magic happens. Complete silence while they are following my directions quickly. They even remind each other to pick up mail, etc. without their voices (of course). I am left with a clean classroom and they think it is the funnest thing ever.

The best part is I leave them in suspense and they have to wait until the next day to see who won the game. The waiting kills them! LOL!

Rewarding points works like this…if I get no one out, the class and all the teams get the points (right now it is worth a million, but we have worked up to that and will continue to go higher). Let's say I get one person from the red team out. Each team other than red gets the points. The class gets 750,000 and I get 250,000.

During the game, I also say things like, "Who's going to talk for me? Oh, I know so-and-so wants to give me points. Make sure to leave your chairs out." Hee hee. It is so much fun.

On Mondays, we read the points and determine who won for the previous week. No prize for the class winning (which is almost a given). They just like to beat me! I will sometimes give the winning color team a sticker, piece of candy, but even that is not necessary to make this game work for you. 

Seriously. Try it.


It was cold this week! Yuck! I am not a fan of winter.


Can you see the #6 sentence? I explained all week what kind of "there, they're, their" this was and they still struggled. How do you teach it??? Ideas?

With my crazy week (four nights of basketball), this is the first time all year I have brought home papers to grade. :-(

Enjoy your weekend! 
I'm resting up for another crazy week ahead!


  1. It sounds like a busy and freezing week. One degree?

    1. I know! Way too cold for me! It has warmed up some...20s. Ha!


  2. Love the "following directions" game! I think my firsties would get a kick out of it as well.

    - Katy

    1. Yes, they would. Kristi does it with 1st graders and I did too before moving to 2nd. Give it a try!


  3. Man, you need a big scoreboard for those points! I like your 'game' idea. I'll have to try it, too. Our week's weather was crazy - 40, 15, 35. Up and down. Have a good weekend! Sara

    1. We always have fun with the game. As they can read the big numbers, we just go higher and higher. I've even had to look things up before to see what comes next. Ha! Talk about a lot of zeros!


  4. It's been cold here in Connecticut, too. That game looks great! It sure beats nagging. :)
    Laughter and Consistency

    1. We have warmed up some...20s. Ha! Still not warm in my book! The game is a lot of fun. Definitely worth a try!



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