Thursday, September 26, 2013

How I motivate and reward my kindergartener’s good behavior at school…

Batman's KG classroom has a color coded behavior chart.

Pink – seriously awesome super duper job!
Blue – above expectations
Green - everyone starts their day here (if they come home with this color, it is all good!)

Red – big no no!

So green is good. Anything above green is better! The problem is keeping him there with consistency, and  motivate him to stay there.
He is the proverbial Curious George. He needs to know everything about everyone! So one of his challenge is not talking "too much". The other is the normal energy level of an active kindergartener, which is not conducive to sitting down for long  any period of time quietly. The third is being ahead of the curve. He finishes his work early, but does not necessarily think it is a fun or complimentary to him if he is given challenge work. His point - why do I have to do it when no one else has to do it? 

Strategies that I  have come up with:
  • Humor - works great with boys - so what happened? Your butt got too fidgety, and would not stay put on the carpet? Tomorrow if it happens again, we will have to come up with a special booty dance, and we get to do it only if you manage to keep it parked in place correctly :)
  • Save your words at school, and you can use it all up on someone in the family when you come home - which pretty much means he gets to talk UN-interrupted for 10 minutes!
  • Little reminder notes in the lunch box and snack packs (write it out the night before)
  • Loss of one privilege if it is yellow, two if it is orange etc. 
  • If he stays on green, he always gets to choose his snack (from a selection) for the next day. 
  • Now to the motivation part. It is his job to stay at green. But if he does better than expected, we have decided to go on a date (on his half day at school, when Spiderman will still be in preschool). He needs 15 points for a date. Blue counts as 1 point, purple as 2, and pink as 3. He can choose to go on a date every 5 days if he gets all pinks :) I might have to make it 20 points as we progress through the school year. 
  • Small treats from a special "treasure box" if he gets pink, purple, or blue in a row 2 or more times.
 Suggestions are very very welcome. What has worked for you, and what does not work from experience from our collective mommy wisdom please :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Indoor Fairy Play Invitation

I made some furniture for the fairy garden outdoors. But the kids decided they wanted a chance to play with them first, inside.

They wanted me to "surprise" them. We went though the house together looking for some of the components together. And  I set it up for them to play with some new things for the surprise element. Unfortunately, I could not resist playing with it myself, so there is no picture of just the components of the play invitation separately :)

This is what my two super-heroes came up with - an enchanted schoolroom in the middle of a magical forest. A moss sheet from Michaels, loose moss, fake flowers help set up the forest. The ceramic houses are candle holders. There's one for Spiderman, one for Batman, and one for me (my felted toadstool house)


The whole place is in a party mood. Batman told me we are having an "open-house" at the schoolroom. (Hmm, wonder where he learned it from). We have plenty of benches and wooden blocks for seating if you don't fancy the grass.

We are having a tea party. For seating, the super-heroes provided the guest with mushroom buttons, upside down flower pot, barrel, butterfly stones, and some low stools made of shiny smooth glass with small pebbles on the bottom. Batman made the stool with me.

If you don't like it picnic style on the ground, there is always the seating area. The chairs are the latest in style -  smooth shiny glass pebbles hot glued on corks, with polished shell for back support. 
(A tiny disclosure for others who are thinking of branching into fairy furniture: I made a few chairs with shells for both the seat and the back. Batman and Spiderman told me those look like "potty chairs". So use them for the fairy bathroom!)

There is a tiny book basket (a shell) with fragrant books made out of orange peel.
The table seen here is smooth polished river stone mounted on cork. Someone left some food on the table. There is a gazing ball near the seating area as well.

There is also a dance floor. The small tiles are glued together to make the dance floor. We have some lanterns for later in the night, and of course, some string light bulbs hanging from the branches.

As you can see, lots going on. Tinker Bell is visiting us, along with Bambi. There is a rose trellis (upside down, I think). We are still cleaning up, and getting everything ready.

Do join us for the party. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fall Cutting Strips

Happy Tuesday!

Does it feel like Fall where you are? Still feels like Summer in Southern California...

To get in the mood, I created some Fall cutting strips.

Spiderman wasn't sure what months are in Fall. He knows that Fall comes after Summer, but not the months. And the answer of course depends on where you live. But for the U.S., there isn't much confusion. So, some fine motor control, some learning about seasons and months, and lots of fun! These clip arts are great conversation starters, or writing prompts.
Spiderman told me it would be "awesome" to jump on a pile of leaves. He thinks he would like to gather them the first time. But after gathering, jumping etc, he would be "too tired", so I would have to gather the leaves the second time :)

The one for September is free. Get it here.
Please Note: This is for personal use only. Teachers, please see my TpT store.

The pictures inspired him to hunt down Pumpkin Soup , and Delicious , followed by Leaves (a wonderful book meant for a somewhat younger crowd. In my house, Batman reads it, and Spiderman turns the pages), and Big Pumpkin , with more books being gathered. 

Spider-man's list (for right now):
1. From Seed to Pumpkin

2. Curious George Goes to a Costume Party
3. Quite a few Dora and Diego Halloween themed books
4. Spooky Bunny Tales (Max and Ruby)

Batman's list looks more like this:
1. Calender Mystery #10 - October Ogre 
2. Flat Stanley and the Haunted House  
3. Ready Freddy! #11: Pumpkin Elf Mystery 

We are still adding to the list...

I had made Halloween themed A to Z Cards. After cutting the clip-arts, and taking a look at the cards, the two super-heroes were happily (read no fighting, screaming and whining)  engaged in creating fall themed cards of their own...

For the other two months, take a look here. These are great to associate events with months. Halloween is in October, Thanksgiving in November etc. I will add more as the seasons change.

Find my post and other awesome ideas here.