Adventures in First Grade

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mrs. Nunley is Missing!

I haven't posted lately because I didn't want it to turn into a pity party.  The behavior in my classroom has not been very, um, how do I say this nicely?  Not good.  It hasn't been good at all. 

Well yesterday was the straw that broke this camel's back.  First of all, what should have been a ten minute writing workshop mini-lesson lasted for twenty-five because of many interruptions:  talking, moving around, getting in other people's desks, etc.  I know because I timed it.  Then, after one station rotation, this was brought to my attention:

If you'll look carefully, you will see that the "play" button is missing, the tape cover is crooked (it won't close), the cassette is cracked in half, and when you shake it, it makes beautiful music from all of the broken pieces rattling around inside.  It's not like this is an ancient CD/tape player.  It's been in my classroom for a month and a half.  A MONTH AND A HALF!!  Plus, it was brand new because I BOUGHT IT!

Last night I got home and decided that I had had it with what had become my circus of a classroom.  I bribed my husband to take my youngest to his mother's for me this morning so I could get to school early and fix a few things.

Ms. Viola Swamp was going to be joining us today.

The first thing that I did was completely rearrange my room.

It used to look something like this:

Now I have them broken up into four groups with shelves for the book boxes.  Here is an example:

I then put away anything "fun."  Puzzles, games, etc.  I wanted the change to be very noticable.

I also brought back something that I used to use, but had forgotten about it.  The Competition.  The competition is very simple.  The four groups work to earn points by using good manners, following our classroom and school rules, etc.  I keep a tally of the points earned during the week, and on Fridays the group with the highest points gets a small prize.  I keep track of the points in a notebook that I keep on the top shelf of a cabinet that I normally rarely go to during the day.  They have already learned that when I go to the cabinet to get the notebook a group is either earning points OR having points subtracted.

You could hear a pin drop in my room today.  They were much improved walking in the halls and were very well behaved in the lunch room.

It didn't hurt that I adopted some of Ms. Viola Swamp's character as well.

Hopefully, we will get ourselves back on the right track soon! 

Happy Friday!!


  1. Love Ms Swamp..she has to come visit every so often! Jennifer

    First Grade Blue SKies

  2. Sorry Ms. Swamp had to visit, but I know what you mean. I have had to do a similar thing. I swear it is just the month of February.

    Apples and Papers

  3. OH, I've SOOOOOOOOO been there. More times than I care to admit. I tell my kiddos "you do NOT want the bear to come out of the cave - but she WILL if she needs to"...

    Sorry the bear had to come out of the cave -but I certainly hope it whips 'em back into shape!

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

  4. I love Ms. Swamp - sorry that she had to come visit, but I hope the turnaround lasts for you! I've been there, too.


  5. I've had to pull this Ms. Swamp before too....they don't like her! My kiddos have been a little uhm....crazy too. I blame it on the weather! :)

    First Grade and Fabulous

  6. Hahahahahahah!!!! I don't mean to laugh, but you really did a number on them! WAY TO GO!

  7. They'll be whipped into shape in no time!!

    Ms. Rachel’s Room

  8. Good luck...hopefully Mrs. Nunley can come back soon!

    The Picture Book Teacher's Edition

  9. You have to do what you have to do! I'm glad today was better and your kids are starting to "get it". :) :) I had a class like that last year -- I was so sad about all of my broken things!!!!! And then I got angry, too. I forgot what I did because I was in a haze but it was something similar!!! Keep us posted!
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  10. You are SO creative!!! Way to go, Mrs. Nunley. I love it! Your room rearrangement reminded me of a trick 2nd grade teachers used to pull . . . they'd remove all of the chairs and tell the kids that budget cuts made us sell the chairs so we'd be standing from now on. It makes for some really funny reactions . . . and a clever April Fools joke.


  11. AHHH! You must be drained...but good for you to keep pushing through. I always started every year with Miss Viola Swamp. One thing that I did with my kiddos was to "practice" my expectations and make a game out of it. It took about one week (10-15 minute mini lessons) for the students to catch on and it became their habit. O would have them practice even getting out of their seat, push in their chairs and line up at the door without talking, pushing, rushing, squeezing, banging (well, you get the idea). If they didn't succeed, I would very nicely say..."oh no, it looks like we all didn't get it. We are a team and a team works together and helps each other make good decisions. On the count of 3, lets go back to our seats and pull out our chairs, sit down and look ready for school & try this again...Sometimes, things take a lot of practice. I wonder if you will be faster than last year's class....The once seated, I had a...
    1 clap...students nicely pushed out their chair...

    2-claps...students stood up

    3 claps...students walked quietly to the door.

    The rest of the year, I never had to say a word (most of the time) & some years I had classes that needed some extra practice around 3rd quarter. I did this "procedure practice" with EVERYTHING...using supplies, talking to partners, getting out and putting back materials (which was a 20-25 minute lesson), and handing in get the point. While teaching 7th grade, I had them practice coming into my classroom many times...Kinder Kids were much quicker at the concept, but middle school was motivated the the fact that they did not want to "practice" and end up with homework...haahaha

    It's the little things that count. Taking some extra time to review & review again...often will help. I am not sure of the dynamics of your classroom, but it would be pretty fun if you could arrange a sub (a Violoa Swamp) to take over your class for a few days...hehehe... and take all the fun out of the room...Good for you to not let this stop you!

    Let us know how things work out...I'll be thinking about you!

    The 3AM Teacher

  12. I hate when the kids trash something that you bought with your money with in months, weeks, days, hours of introducing it. Way to go with 'kicking' them back into shape. Just found your blog and I am now following you!!

  13. I feel your pain. Sounds like you're doing an excellent job getting them back on the right track!

    Grade ONEderful

  14. Thanks for finding my blog and leading me to yours! I hope things start getting back on track for you- we all understand!!

    The Eager Teacher

  15. Hi Megan! I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to leave that very sweet comment on my blog. I've definitely found a new passion :) have a great day!
    Grade ONEderful

  16. Hey!! I just awarded you the Liebster Award!! Come on over to my blog and check it out!! Congrats!!!! Thanks for sharing such great ideas!

  17. We just found you super cute blog! Thank you for sharing about your management and the ideas you incorporated to help your kiddos!

    ~ Katie and Rebecca
    First Grade ABCs

  18. Hi I love your blog and it's okay sometimes we just need to vent and re evaluate. I'm your newest follower! You are sooo close to 100 ;o) Good for you. One year I came in as Miss Viola Swamp as a mystery reader. I had the wig - striped leggins the whole bit. It was hilarious. I read Miss Nelson is missing. I'm so glad I stopped in, come on over and visit me sometime.

    Traditions Laughter and Happily Ever After

  19. I totally LOVE this idea. My kids have been off the wall too. I don't know who Viola Swamp is, but I'm off to google her.

    Turns out I have a snow day today (yay!) so I've got time to plan this out.

    First in Maine

  20. Dear Viola (aka Mrs. Nunley) -

    I'm passing along the One Lovely Blog award so come on by the Corner when you can to grab the graphic. Thanks for your continued willingness to share and inspire!

    The Corner On Character