Acorn to Tree LLC was created by NYS certified teacher and mother Patrice Badami.
Patrice Badami has a Masters in Elementary Education and Special Education. She has advocated for families of special needs children as well as for her own children with special needs.
Acorn to Tree Learn and Grow was created to help all children and their families have access to free educational and recreational resources.
Patrice Badami 0:02
Hi, this is Patrice Badami, with Acorn to Tree Family podcast. Today, I have Jenna Evarts and she’s here to discuss classroom management. She has an Instagram called that strong teacher. Good morning, Jenna.
Jenna Evarts 0:15
Good morning Patrice, I’m so happy to be here. Thank you so much. I’m glad to see everyone and to talk to everyone
Patrice Badami 0:22
rate, we’re gonna jump right in. Because there’s a lot of stuff I want to cover. What are some ideas you have for new teachers to gain confidence and establish a behavior management system.
Jenna Evarts 0:33
So the first thing that I usually would love for new teachers to do, and what I usually did when I was a new teacher was to establish rules for your classroom. So classroom rules are so extremely important. And I think sometimes that we forget that they are so important. And at the start of the year, I really have, I established really good classroom rules, I have four classroom rules. They basically cover anything that could happen potentially within your classroom. So I have to listen and follow directions the first time, keep your hands and feet to yourself, and also objects to yourself, be respectful to your classmates, your teachers and supplies, and then raise your hand before speaking or leaving your seat. These are actually adapted from Michael Winston’s book, called the classroom management secret. It’s an amazing book for new teachers, if you want to read it, I developed a lot of my practices based on his books, Michael Jensen. And it’s just really great for new teachers. And these rules, they can either be some, some teachers tend to ask, they say, Can I establish them with my class, or should I have them in advance, and the thing is that you could either present these to your students, or you could create them with your students. But I would definitely have an idea in mind of what you want your rules to be, and have rules for your classroom in general, along with the rules, I also suggest including a set sequence of consequences that you can use that go with the rule. So for example, in my classroom, I have I give, I have two warnings that I give, and I do these very clear, very direct, I just say, that’s a warning, and then we move on to the next thing. And then also I develop a it’s called a stop thinking reflect sheets. This is also in my Teachers Pay Teachers and with the stop thinking reflect sheet, they have the chance to problem solve with me. And then the last stage is parent contact. Usually after the problem solving step, kids tend to do really well and you develop a plan together. So that helps a lot.
Patrice Badami 2:32
Yeah, I was gonna say I like the fact that the things you mentioned is you can you’re establishing a classroom community, where you’re validating the children by mentioning that they need to respect each other, that they need to respect each of their peers and their teacher, you’re letting them get involved in the stop sign idea is great. I actually have a craft on the website, and I used it with my daughter very successfully. It’s a stop sign. And it has a yellow, red and green with a happy face for green, neutral face for yellow and sad face. So I would say to her even as a toddler, where do you want to go? Do you want to go to the green, and then we can do this fun activity? If you don’t, then we have to sit quietly. And she would make that choice. And I like to add that you’re incorporating that in your classroom management, because stop signs are a great tool to use. And that’s just amazing, um, what are some items that you have created for your classroom that are helpful tools for behavior management.
Jenna Evarts 3:25
So the first thing that I suggest for teachers and also that I loved using is right is really in the morning. They’re called Morning slides. And right when the kids come in, it really sets everyone up on and off on the right track for the day. And they basically have a section for getting prepared, how they can get organized and get prepared right from the start. And these are different, I changed them up per month. So these are monthly slides, the format is still the same, but they have a different design for kids. There’s also a section where there’s morning work, and there’s also a section for the expectations for the day. So these really set kids up on the right track. I like my classroom to be very common focused, every teacher is different. They like their classroom to feel a certain way. And I want you know, also teachers, to think about how you want your classroom to feel. And that’s what you want to go into the morning slides. So this is something that I use daily that I’ve also created for teachers through my Teachers Pay pay teachers. In addition, I always have the sets of rules that I said. And those are those that are hanging up in my classroom so that they are clear, I’m clear with the students on what I expect of them. In addition to going with the classroom rules. I had a huge discussion with my students at the start of the year on why rules are really important and rules that we have in every single day in everyday life. And it really helps set teachers up like on the right on the right track in general. In addition, I have a procedure I call procedure slides and then also routine posters so they can put their own routines, and then simply just laminate hanging the posters this way, they are referring to their routines and keeping their expectations the same throughout the year. One last thing I want to mention is transition sides. There are seven types of transitions that we can do in the classroom. And it basically leads teachers through the process of creating a transition, and then how they’re going to model teaching their kids how to transition. We, you know, sometimes we just expect kids to know how to transition. But this is something that teachers have to actually teach.
Patrice Badami 5:31
Right. And I think that’s important. I’ve worked with children with special needs, and having transitioning plans in place are vital. It helps the children to feel secure to know that there’s a certain and in addition to the transitioning the routine, it makes them feel secure, safe, they know what to expect, they know what to do, it really is very important. And it keeps an inner peace within that students, whether they’re typically developing or if they’re neurotypical. Um, how do you arrange your students desks to encourage community and avoid behavior problems.
Jenna Evarts 6:05
So I’ve been in the situation where I’ve had desks before, I’ve also had tables, both they’re both you can incorporate classroom community and arrange them so that it best fits your personality and your also your kids. I love having my desks in groups. Right now I do have tables, which naturally you’re in a group. But either way both work. I like to put kids with certain personalities together. So there are a few ways that I arrange my tables, and then also how I arrange students. So I do it based on their personalities, where they’re going to focus best, I look for kids who are going to be good role models for each other. And I let those students together. And and yeah, look at those, I look at those different qualities, but also I think about I do tell the parents at the start of the year, I say it’s okay that I change, I’m going to change your chat, your your seats, your child seats, and that’s a very normal practice for teachers to happen. This is what we do. Because some parents get really nervous and say, Oh, my, no, my child was moved out, you know, why did this happen? And I say it’s a very normal practice for teachers to do this. Because it really sometimes it’s a good change in scenery for them. Also, where we’re putting, you know, placing children where we feel like their needs are met better. And also, and yeah, it’s just, they sometimes like the change in scenery also. So those different qualities are super important to think about. And you just have to think, where will this child’s best word go? definitely a word of advice for teachers. Sometimes I’ve changed all of their seats at once. And this was really overwhelming for me as a teacher, because there was too much change at once. So really just change who needs to be changed, who needs to maybe have that change of scenery, and keep other students where you think they’re doing really, really well.
Patrice Badami 7:53
Right? I was just gonna say something you mentioned, it’s very important for parents to understand pure models. The purpose of that is for a child who might be having a little difficulty having a peer model in an integrated classroom, for example, which it’s very common now to have integrated, integrated and integrated classrooms are typically developing children, as well as children with special needs. And when you have a pure model that is really very, very helpful for a child. Also, resiliency is, that’s what happens when you have your child’s shift. They know that things aren’t so rigid, it’s more fluid, switching them around is good for them that way as well as socialization skills. So what is an example of how your behavior management worked really well.
Jenna Evarts 8:38
So for example, as soon as I started to focus all my practices based on social emotional learning, I saw a huge shift in my classroom, and then they’re changing their behavior as well. So at the start of the year, I really set the foundation and this is how our classroom, our classroom is going to function. We are a class family, and this is what we do. And then I teach different social emotional skills throughout the entire year. Now, this looks, this could be thought of really, as just an easy thing. It’s basically teaching kids how to be really good humans and teaching them the skills they need in order to thrive. So something that I do every single year that I would say is the best thing that I’ve seen via you know, the thing that I’ve seen be a game changer is teaching my students how to problem solve. Now, when we come back from recess and recess and lunch, it’s a really hard time for second graders particularly and for these middle graders that are just learning to develop friendships in elementary school. So something that I teach my students is how to speak to each other to work out different problems. I have two books that I really love using within my classroom. One is called a bug and I wish they say it bugs me when they tell another student what’s bothering them. I wish you would, and now parents at home can use this also with their son. So I’ve had kids go home and say I use this with my sister and it worked great. So that to me is a huge success. I’ve had parents reach out to me also saying, guess what they said, Guess what Miss ever, it’s we’ve been using that strategy at home and it’s been working at home. So the best thing that I feel like I can do, and the biggest compliment for me is that they’re using the skills in school, but they’re also using them outside of school. And then also with problem solving and stating how they feel too. So I say either they can use a bug in a wish or state how they feel. So I feel a statement, I feel they know their emotions, they state the emotion. And then they say, because along with that, I teach them how to apologize. And I say it’s okay to make mistakes. But we do need to, we do need to learn how to apologize. So I teach them that as well. And that has been a game changer. And parents love it. And the kids really love it too.
Patrice Badami 10:54
Um, yeah, so I’ve experienced that too. I have three children. So what I’ve always done is I always I remember growing up, there was always broccoli and string beans around. I mean, I don’t know my was just always there. So I mean, I’m one of those people that when I eat the broccoli, it tastes sweet. Some people eat broccoli and it tastes better. That’s an actual thing. It’s just how you are. What I was gonna say is for me with my daughter, and all three of them, actually two daughters and a son, I always put the different vegetables on the plate. And then I make sure that one thing that’s really important is a child’s stomach is the size of their fist. So have your child make a fist and look at that fist and say, Okay, two peas, a little bite of chicken, like two pieces of chicken and a little bit of fruit and look at that it’s full. They know when they’re satiated. They know so we have to follow with you know where they’re going with that journey. Another idea that I did was I had a little Passbook, I made like a passport with foods. So I would get stickers of foods, when they would taste it, they got a sticker and they moved on or they would get a stamp something like that. So you have to make it fun for them. The grazing boards are amazing. That’s definitely what I do with my daughter and they like that you’re giving them the option of picking and choosing. You’re empowering them and you’re having them understand that these are foods that are just available to them they can choose. That’s a very big deal for a toddler. Yeah, so let me ask you this moving forward with that belief feeding the family. What are some important tips when it comes to planning out your daily and weekly meals? How does planning help to encourage healthier food choices?
Jenna Evarts 11:34
So at the start of the year, this is one of the skills that I do teach because one of our classroom rules is to be respectful to your teacher, to your classmates, to your supplies. So through, I use the little spot series, Diane Alber week, she has an amazing author, you assign a little spot, yes, so I use a lot of her books. And there’s a book called A little respectful spot. So in my class we have respect right now. He’s, you know, an animal that goes along with being respectful. And in general, we learn what respect looks like and sounds like I use her Diane Albers book as really just a framework and a way to, you know, to jumpstart our discussion based on respecting others. But then I have a whole big discussion with my students on what respect looks like what it sounds like. And of course, it’s our classroom role throughout the entire year. So So yeah, so that’s, those are some ways that we incorporate respect, but it is so important,
Patrice Badami 12:32
right? And we touched on it, but let’s go a little more in depth. What are some ways you can help students to look at their classroom as a community?
Jenna Evarts 12:40
So one of my favorite ways is definitely by reading different books with students. I read to my students, I read so many different readings alouds. And they’re just so great for kids, especially picture books when it comes to teaching social emotional skills. And I love reading books. It’s by Shannon Olson on Instagram, she is life between summers, and she wrote a book called our classes a family. And if you at the start of the year, I usually read our family classes. And it’s a framework for the entire school year. So we talked about what a family is, what does our family look like, versus your family at home? And we talk about how we stick together and how we help each other and how we’re respectful to each other. And we even talk about, you know, the bad. Sometimes you argue, but then you problem solve. So around breaks, I’ll say we’re getting to that point where, you know, we’re starting to argue because we’re with each other all the time. But that’s what families do, we might argue, but then we problem solve, and we work things out and we communicate with each other. So I love that book. It’s a great starting point. And then we continue to refer to ourselves as a class family throughout the rest of the year.
Patrice Badami 13:46
Right. Yeah, that’s really important. And that leads right into another way of getting to know the students is icebreaker activities. And I know you have a few ideas on that.
Jenna Evarts 13:56
Yeah. So at the start of the year, one thing that I’ve done before, and it is, especially when we were virtual was I did a Flipgrid activity where I actually read a letter from your teacher on the first day of school. This is also by Shannon Olson. And then I introduce myself to my students, and then they introduce themselves and something that they want to tell us about themselves at the very start of the year. So that’s on Flipgrid. I send that to parents over the summer. They respond. I’ve done that, and it’s been amazing. Another thing that I’ve done is I read chrysanthemum at the start of the year, this by Kevin hankies, and I have this large pink heart, and we basically pass it around, and every single time that chrysanthemum is called a mean name, we have we crinkle the heart and then we flatten the heart too. So this is a good way to talk about kindness and how we can be kind to each other. And how compliments really matter and saying unkind things about people matter versus the mean things and we never want to leave anyone with a wrinkled heart. And a lot of times we put the heart on the board and we keep it on the board as a reminder or, and it usually says, you know, basically it says, Think before you speak, you want to be smart because you never want to leave anybody with a wrinkled heart. And that stays up on the board. And it’s a good reminder of how we could be kind to one another and be a good class family.
Patrice Badami 15:17
Right. You know what’s interesting, as you said that Think before you speak that concept. Yeah, there’s a book by Madonna called Mr. Peabody’s apples. And it’s a wonderful book, all about the same concept as chrysanthemum and the heart that gets wrinkled. It’s never quite the same again, it’s the same idea, but a different story. And it’s something you should definitely take a look at Mr. Peabody Zappos by Madonna mazing book, it’s actually something I’ve read to even adults, because I think it’s such a beautiful book. Wow, that’s something I wanted to share that with you. Yeah. Yeah. So what are some classroom activities that you’ve done to enhance? We talked about the sense of community did talk about chrysanthemum, but what are some great resources you have created and curated to help other teachers and families established the behavior management system at home and in class, you mentioned a few in Tulsa, again, a couple of the things you’ve created.
Jenna Evarts 16:10
So um, I think that so I’m in the process of really creating a social emotional framework and program basically. So I create slides. Great, I love to create sides. I think that’s really my thing, because it’s a great way for students to gain information visually, and I just love creating them myself, but they’re going to be for each social emotional skill. And these could help parents as well teach their children different social emotional skills. They are really catchy. They go with catchy animals, so respectful Rhino. Giraffe. In my classroom, we call them positive pals. So it’s going to be called the positive hell project. But I read books that also go along with the different pals. And then at the end of the week, I usually choose a student that goes with that character trait. Now here’s the thing, every student in my class earns one, I feel like that’s really important. So because it also goes throughout the whole entire year, we have a lot of weeks within the school year, so each kid earns one. Some kids might even choose to team up with the Tiger I did the other day. But basically, every single student, I say you earn the trait that fits you. So don’t be it’s not about who wins it first, or who wins it last, it’s really about finding the trait that fits, that fits you. And we talk about how people have strengths in certain areas, like you might be really good with teamwork, but you might have more trouble with patients. So patient pans out might be harder for you versus teamwork, Tiger might be a good, you know, a strength for you. So these go along with the different traits. And they’re going to explain what the trait is. So what teamwork is, for example, and what that looks like, what that sounds like. And then it gives a book, accompanied with it. And here’s the thing, sometimes teachers and parents think social emotional, so hard, it’s something extra we have to fit in. But really, once you teach all the social emotional skills, everything else comes easier, because yes, you’re teaching kids how to be really good, good humans in general, and teaching them really great life skills that they’ll use, you know, for the rest of their life.
Patrice Badami 18:36
So I’m so over at at that strong teacher on Instagram. And that’s, that’s really where I hang out. You could DM DM me? Connect with me at any point, you could also find my Teachers Pay teacher’s store where all the resources will be. That’s also that strong teacher. And then, and then yeah, I’m in the process of, of, you know, creating other platforms and developing myself as well. So I’d love for you to connect with me over at Instagram or find me on Teachers Pay Teachers as well.
Jenna Evarts 19:08
Excellent, excellent. I’m so glad we had you here today. Because a lot of what you said is really very helpful. And I took notes, I actually wrote down a whole bunch of things that I want to know about the author’s you mentioned, I want to get all that and we’re gonna have that in the show notes. The author’s you mentioned, even if they have Instagrams people you’ve collaborated with because that’s very, very helpful. So again, Jen Ebert’s from that strong teacher. You’ll find her on Instagram. She was a great guest. And thank you for listening to ACORN to tree family podcast. We’ll have a lot more information. And we’ll have this online very soon on Spotify and all your favorite podcast platforms. Thanks a lot. Jenna.
Patrice Badami 19:46
Thank you so much, for sure. Okay, bye.