The buzz on bee-havior

I have written in the past about our very intentional efforts at my school to work on civility and behavior.  Things really became simpler for me, though, after spending a half day in a colleague’s school where I saw posted around the building some clear, concise rules.  (Thank you, Judy F.!)  So, inspired by them, for the past couple of years in the library, I’ve had 3 basic rules:

1.  Be safe.   (with self, others, and materials)

2. Be kind.  (to others and library materials)

3. Do your best.  (listen, participate)

Initially when I created posters for our little ones I used a clip-art bee to replace the word “be.”  Couple this with the fact that our local high school teams are the Hornets and this thing has taken on a life of its own!  I now have:

*a ceramic bee I bought at a yard sale that I use in our “Hickety Pickety bumblebee” game with our K’s and 1’s at the beginning of the year;  I also use it as a container from which to draw names when necessary

*”Bee a reader” stickers and bulletin board materials from Upstart

*A rotating “beekeeper” as a helper in every class.  This child wears a special badge and helps keep us all on track.  They “buzz” around near the end of our time together making sure that everyone pitches in to clean up, etc.  They report out to the rest of us as we gather back at the rug before dismissal.  Each class earns a total of 1,2, or 3 bees for the period related to our 3 rules.

*Once a trimester I will have a special plan to acknowledge classes that are doing a great job earning bees for their bee-havior and civility.  (This is new this year–I’m thinking maybe a shortened lesson and some board game time.)  I won’t be making any grandiose announcements because I don’t want to foster competition, but I do think it’s important to let the students know that I appreciate when they work together to follow the rules.

*a beehive cookie cutter which I might use to make the occasional batch of cookies instead of a Game Day

This whole thing with the bees has spread all around the school.  I think people really just like the simplicity of:  Be safe.  Be kind.  Be your best.  It encompasses so many things and is more real to kids than words like “respect” and “responsible” and “accountable.”  This hive is now in one of our hallways and all staff have a supply of paper bees which they can give out to students who are doing their job.  We don’t put names on the bees.  It’s simply an acknowlegement of the work that the school community as a whole is doing with our 3 rules.

What do you do at your school?  Your thoughts?

First 6 weeks: Dare to differentiate

Last year in this post I told you about a goldmine of a wiki I came across through someone in my PLN.  While perusing it again this summer  I found a link to another goldmine–daretodifferentiate.wikispaces.com.

This wiki has a ton of resources that teachers and teacher librarians can use in their daily practice.  Big topics such as Supportive Learning Environments and Continuous Assessment are explored, and many links to relevant strategies such as scaffolding, flexible grouping, Webquests and centers are included.

Templates and rubrics in PDF form are available including tools for formative assessment (like exit slips).  There is A LOT to explore on this wiki;  I was lost in it for quite a while!

Try some of these out for yourself, then share with people in your building who would be interested.

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