head of the class

I saw this video on The Today Show
and then again on Facebook...
click here to see the video

It really touched my heart...
every year I have one or two kiddos that struggle to fit in...
they can't find a place in the crowd!!!
This is due to various reasons...
awkward socialization, new kid on the block, boys have cooties, sky high IQ, low functioning, behavior problem, and the list goes on and on!!!

I always try to help the "loners" fit in...
twisting and turning strategies, flip flopping groups, and social skills lessons
BUT it doesn't always work... and that is why I thought this video along with its simple idea
was a wonderful solution...
sooooooo I started doing it over a month ago.

so basically...
the kiddos get an index card
and on the index card they write the names of 3 classmates they would love to partner up with for the upcoming week...
they also draw a star on the card and nominate ONE student for head of the class...
I stress that this Head of the Class nomination needs to be based on who had a great week, who has been working hard, maybe this person had a big improvement from last week, they might have done several good deeds, etc... It really is a pathetic attempt to persuade their votes towards someone that they might not otherwise vote for... I want them to REALLY THINK who deserves it... not which FRIEND or cool kid they should vote for... now if their friend or the cool kid deserves it... then that is A OKAY... the first few weeks the popular kids were winning and now we are on our 3rd week of having a truly deserved Head of the Class and I owe this too....

THEIR PICKS...
yep
each week when they write down their 3 names...
I document their picks and try my hardest to make them happen...


here is my recoding system...
I didn't feel comfortable sharing my kiddos names so hope you can get over the blurry blurry

when they turn in their 3 picks I record their picks next to their name...
then as I group them, pair them up for partner work, or pick their groups for math games or rotations...
I highlight the names.

I use orange to indicate that they sit with each other already... (desk assignments)
we do a lot group work within our seating assignments so this is helpful to me
* I have also changed seating assignments... not a whole bunch maybe 2or 3 here or there for the week
this is HUGE for me because I am a teacher of comfort... I like to find an arrangement and grouping that works well together and leave it be... so changing these one or 2 desks around has me out of my comfort zone ... but I am doing it and the kids are loving it :)

I use pink to indicate they played a game together... it could be any type of game... last week we had a Yahtzee tournament and so there was a lot of pink going on

Yellow is used if they worked together on an academic assignment... maybe partner reading with comprehension questions or math problems... anything they might turn in for a grade.
I try my hardest all week long to grant every single kiddos' request

I look at this list all the time...
I look to see who gets picked a bunch and whose name doesn't show up at all...
it is the kids that don't show up that get the most attention from me...
I make sure I pair them up with their picks and few more...
they are my priority for the week!!!
for some reason the family is not including them or thinking of them...
this is where the vote section comes in handy...
I give 2 tally marks for being voted for head of class and then one tally for every time their name shows up as a request...
this gives me a good idea of who is being missed...
I call on this student more often during the week
I praise them more
I point out good things they do
I am trying to get them noticed...
NO-ONE is going to blend in to the surroundings...
this tends to work...
by looking at your votes each week you can see changes in the dynamics of the class...
cool kids are no longer the leaders... it is always changing... everyone is having a chance to be the
HEAD OF THE CLASS


before I pair up or group... I make sure to reiterate that if they are paired up with someone they didn't pick... their new partner might have picked them... OR I might have paired them up because I thought they would make a great team... THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO ASK which one it is...
I also warned them about reacting to their pair up... if someone requested to work with you and I pair you up and your response was a rolling eyes or a hmmmph... you are not only hurting the feelings of the person that picked you but you are also probably going to lose some requests for the next week...
and sure enough that happened to one of my little girls....
she got attitude when I would pair her or group her with kids that were not on her list...
she really did offend the kids that picked her and then others saw it too...
she is a popular pick... well she use to be... the rest of the kids saw her attitude and guess what no requests for her this week... this led me to a mini lesson about graciousness and selfishness...

this system has changed my classroom...
I always pride myself on having a "family" in my classroom and this has brought us closer...
they are more supportive of one another...
they celebrate triumphs and encourage one another...
they love it when I pull out the clipboard with the list on it because they KNOW they are about to work with someone special!!!

I cannot tell you
in this post
how great it is to see ALL of my kiddos be included...
we are a FAMILY!!!

as a thank you...
I have included blank templates of my list
and the Head of the Class Certificate
Oh I forgot to mention...
Head of the Class gets to give the Spelling Test on Friday... THEY LOVE THIS
and they are the line leader for the week too...
ok now for the freebies



CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THEM FROM DROPBOX

If you have any questions...
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ask in the comments and I will try my hardest to respond....
I seriously have spent about 3 different days writing this...
because although it is simple in its concept it is complex in its use
I hope it makes sense...
if not let me know so I can clarify it!!!

toodles

25 comments:

  1. LOVE this idea! Filing/Pinning for next year…down to the last 30 (sorry if that bums you) so maybe not a great time to implement now:) Thanks for always inspiring us to look out for ALL youngsters!
    SweetSchoolMoments

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    Replies
    1. thanks Amber... I encourage you to do it now... practice for next year :)

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  2. I love this idea! As I was reading, I was TOTALLY singing WE are FAMILY....I've got my sisters with me! :) You are such an inspiration! :)

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  3. I had my students do this the day after I first saw it and it only confirmed what I already knew. I had only one student not picked at all. It broke my heart. I'm doing every thing possible to try to get her included, but it is not working. Ideas?

    Lindsey
    The Journey of a Beginning Teacher

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  4. I truly <3 this concept. This is the first year that the kiddos really haven't pulled together as a family nor even seem to understand the idea behind that. I have struggled with it all year. They started off with a rough beginning to the year - our classroom was filled to the rafters while the other classes in our grade level had 4 to 5 empty desks each, our roster included 9 documented "behavior" students (students who had been discipline/behavior problems for the past 2 to 3 years with no improvement, oppositional/defiant folks, etc.) while the other classrooms has 0 to 2 of those, our babies were not feeling the love from our new principal (they still aren't), and more issues beyond that...and they SEE these things and notice the imbalances despite the fact that I never remarked upon them or acted in the least bit impacted by them. In the past (I very often get the majority of the behavior kids each year), similar situations have helped the majority of the class quickly form a bond and work to pull those other kids in with them and lift them up, but I have not been able to get them there this year for the life of me. Anyway, long story slightly shorter, I will do anything at this point to help them pull together as we slowly make our way towards wrapping up this year because it breaks my heart to think that for the first time I will have a class that is not a true community. Will I do it before STAAR Round 2? Maybe, hopefully, possibly... but if not, they will fall even more apart after STAAR and could use this more then. Thanks for the idea and the lovely freebies!

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  5. I really am in love with this idea! I needed to read your explanation twice, but you did a great job explaining everything! My kids always love to choose their partner and this is a great way to make sure no one gets left out. Thanks for the ideas!
    Erin
    Short and Sassy Teacher

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  6. How again is the Head of the Class voted?? 2 tallies for the * but 1 for being requested to be their partner?? Is this correct?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Hollie...
      I started out just counting the original star votes... BUT many times there was a tie and I ended up breaking the tie by counting the number of times each was asked for as a partner. To just bypass the whole tie breaking...I started giving the 2 points credit for the star request and tallying all the partner requests as one point and I liked it a lot better... I could easily see by the amount of tallies who was being passed over and who wins Head of the Class.... it really is up to you and what works for you. thanks for the question :)

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    2. I was wondering if there is anyway to change the cells in the recording document. I have 25 students.

      Also, what if the same student gets nominated for Head of the Class 2wks in a row or close together from week to week?

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  7. Wonderful idea! I can see so many different ways to use it throughout the year.

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  8. Thank you for creating the printables to go with this great activity. I just downloaded them and hope to use them in the next month.

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  9. I LOVE this.... we have a drama filled grade level right now with some issues getting along... this gives me a plan. Thank you!!!

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  10. This is fantastic. What day did you start this? Just curious if it was a Monday, Friday, or a totally different day. Just wondering how to get this up and running! :)

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    Replies
    1. BELIEVE it or not... they vote on Thursday afternoons... that way it gives me time to collect and record their votes and requests... and I present the certificate on Friday mornings... so they immediately get to give the Spelling Test... it is the talk of the hallway... who is Head of the Class???

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  11. I love this idea!!! What a great way to keep up with who needs that little extra TLC!!!

    Jamie

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  12. I received an email from my sister in law about this, but couldn't quite see how to make it work in my classroom. Your post did that for me! It is awesome! What will you do to ensure that everyone gets picked for Head of the Class, or will you just make sure that happens…
    Great post!

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    Replies
    1. so far so good... my kids are very aware of who has already won this and that seems to be evident in their voting... BUT... if it comes down to it... I might have to throw in my own votes... to make sure everyone is a winner... great question... THANKS

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  13. I also love this idea! I've seen it floating around on Facebook, and have wanted to start... I just didn't know how. You've inspired me to just try it. First thing tomorrow morning.

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing this idea. I can't wait to start it tomorrow.

    Jennifer

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  15. Thank you soooo much for EXPLAINING how it works! I guess I'm a little dense, because I read about this on FB a while back, did the card thing, and then wasn't quite sure what to do with it! My kiddos even asked about it a few times and I was like, "uh...later!" ;-) Going to try this next week after our spring break this week. We've got about 2 months left, and we'll need it!

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  16. Love love love this idea, Farley! I do something similar when I have students give me suggestions for who they would like to sit by in class-- in fact, I brought their index cards home to go through this weekend! I love the "head of the class" twist. Have you heard of sociograms? Basically, that's what you are doing when you look at all of your data! Here's a quick article that explains the concept: http://www.6seconds.org/2012/05/08/sociograms-mapping-the-emotional-dynamics-of-a-classroom/ Thanks for keeping your students' social/emotional needs in mind!

    Kate
    EduKate and Inspire

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  17. Thank you so much for this blog post and the freebies! We did this for the first time last week and I will be doing it from the start next year for sure! It was so worthwhile. Thank you again, I appreciate you!

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  18. Farley -
    Oh my goodness. This is INCREDIBLE! I wish I'd read this last year! And they year before that and the year before that! I am going to use this this year! Is it cool if I blog about it when that happens and link it to this post from you?
    Since I'm moving to 4th grade, I know I'm going to have to focus more on their social interactions than ever before. They are getting to that tender age where self-consciousness begins setting in. Wow. I seriously love this.
    Mindy Thomas
    Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments

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~ I {PuFFy} HeArT comments!!!! THANK YOU!!!