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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Solo Cups

Is it just me or does it seem like this year is going by so fast! I know it's only 15 days of school for my district, but it's already been 15 days!

I have 26 first graders this year. (That is alot. But some of my friends in a nearby district are at 30 firsties, so I'm not complaining.) I'm also a first time resident teacher and so I have an eager and enthusiastic student teacher to mentor this year as well.

With the new Common Core State Standards, my district is diving right into it. That means there are ALOT of new things happening this year. We have a new writing program, a new Data System, new report cards, and new "benchmarks" testing, just to name a few in my district.

In my classroom, I'm also trying alot of new things. One of them involves solo cups. I saw this video from the organized classroom blog (found through teaching blog addict) and loved the idea. I'm using it during workshop. I tested it out today and it worked wonderfully! The kids were on task, working quietly, etc.

I knew I had to think of a way so that I wouldn't have to be the one getting up from my small group to switch the cups. I already had a workshop patrol student. (I don't remember where I got that idea from. If you're the wonderful person who gave me that idea, please let me know so I can give you credit.) I took that idea from a great teacher and changed it up a bit this year.

Since I have 6 groups in my classroom, I have 2 students who will be the workshop patrol team. I trained them today, telling them that before workshop begins, they would need to get their tub that held the cups and pass out the cups to the groups they were in charge of. (I wrote numbers on the cups to correlate to the groups.) Then I explained to the class that only these two students (and me of course) are allowed to switch the cups to a different color.

The rules (for now, since I'm testing to see what will work.) are that if they stay on the green cup during the whole workshop time, they will get group points (the group with the most points at the end of the week gets a prize.) If they are the only group that stayed on green, they will get group points AND signatures on our principal's passport. (These get filled up and then they take them to the office to redeem for a prize.)

If their group had their cups turn to yellow, that means warning. They better start following the workshop rules or else their cups will be switched to red. Red means that they will owe 5 mins of recess or "free choice" time.

Now, as a student I hated getting in trouble for the other students in my group. So, I explained to the students that if it's just one or two students in their group that just can't follow directions, that student will be the one to owe the 5 mins.

This system (just like in the video shows) also allows the students to be able to go back a color. So, if they got to yellow, they can go back to green.

So, when a group isn't following directions, I call on my workshop patrol who is in charge of that group to walk over and turn the cup to to the next color. Now, I wanted to keep track of who had to turn their cups and who didn't. I created this form to keep track of that. I printed it onto cardstock and had it laminated.
So, when my workshop patrol team have to switch a certain group's cups, they will switch the cups then walk over to this sheet and put a tally mark under that table's name. That way I don't have to worry about keeping track during my small group time, and I will have a way to track who stayed on the green cup and who didn't. Now, I may change this idea. It all depends on how well it works. I didn't test it out today because since we're still practicing the routine for workshop, I didn't pull a small group. So, I was able to keep track on who stayed on green and who didn't myself.

Anyway, hope that wasn't too confusing. :) Happy Wednesday everyone!

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