After a couple of restless days with my class, I decided I needed to take a little action. We started a new, simple management idea called the Star Table. Here were the problems I was trying to address when we got started:
1. noisy transitions
2. school supplies everywhere (crayons all over the desks, scraps on the floor)
3. lack of cooperation
Here's how it works...Every morning the star hangs on the board or on my lanyard. I keep my star on a clothespin so I can move it around easily. As soon as one table is unpacked and quietly working or reading, I hang the star on their table sign. The table signs hang low enough that I can reach them without having to stand on anything.
This is totally off topic...but...each table in my room is named after a vowel instead of a number. It's a great way to practice your vowel sounds, especially at the beginning of the year! "Please line up table /e/ and table /u/!" If you need more than 5 tables, try adding digraphs! It's a super easy way to add extra daily phonics practice into your day!....now back to our star...
The star moves throughout the day to the quietest table. When we are out of our seats, the star only stays at tables where the chairs are pushed in, the floor is neat, and the desks are clear. If none of the tables are up to par, I hang the star back on the board or clip it to my lanyard. At the very end of the day, the table who has the star gets to spin the star wheel. It has made packing up super quick and quiet!
I got this picture wheel from Target years ago. I used to use it as my center rotation sign, but my kiddos LOVE spinning it for a prize. It's like the Price is Right comes to my classroom every afternoon! Whatever they spin, they win! The whole table gets the same prize so we only spin once.
The star table works beautifully for several reasons. It builds a sense of community among the children at each table. They push in each other's chairs, and they pick up any paper on the floor even if it belongs to someone else. The learn to communicate quietly and respectfully. (I LOVE seeing them point to the star to remind someone to get back on task).
It helps me too! I am always looking for who is doing the right thing. That kind of positive thinking makes the day go more smoothly! It has added a little fun into our day too! I can dance around with the star while I am looking for a star table- my kids call it the "star ballet." I can stick the star on my clothes in a silly spot. (I have gone home with the star still on my clothes-oops!) Making it fun makes it memorable and effective!
Happy Teaching Friends!