Countdown

Discussion in 'General Education' started by mariecurie, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    Jun 24, 2013

    I'm reading Lemov's Teach Like A Champion, and he talks about using countdowns to get the students' attention and to "work the clock." Is it age-appropriate in middle school for the countdown technique? Have you had success with it in, for instance, 8th grade?

    For example, "pencils down and eyes on me in 5...4...3...2...1."
     
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  3. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Jun 24, 2013

    I did this in 5th grade with great success. I'm sure it'd work in middle school as well.
     
  4. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    Jun 24, 2013

    I never taught eighth, but I taught ninth for years and think that strategy would get old kind of fast (at least for me!). To be honest, I usually just say something to the effect of, "Can I have your attention?" and that does the trick. (You just can't start talking unless the room is absolutely silent, though. Otherwise, students will think that you will teach over their talking, which could definitely cause classroom management issues.)
     
  5. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Jun 24, 2013

    I teach 7th grade, and I don't think this method would work for me or the kids.

    I usually set the time limit, give them warnings (5 more minutes or 2 more minutes, or 30 seconds) but actually counting down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 is highly distracting. Had my teachers done that to me, I would have just quit right at 5 seconds because I'd panic. Usually when I say "alright guys, about 30 or so more seconds---they hamper down and I will see them focus and finish in about 30-45 seconds.
     
  6. Miss84

    Miss84 Comrade

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    Jun 24, 2013

    Counting down? I agree with the previous poster-it will get old, fast. I've never used this method, even with the 3 year olds.
     
  7. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    Jun 24, 2013

    This is a great point that I need to remember. I've been so guilty of not following through on it while subbing!
     
  8. chebrutta

    chebrutta Fanatic

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    Jun 25, 2013

    In 7th, I hold up my hand and say, "I need your help." We practice until they know to raise their hand, stop talking, and put their eyes on me. As soon as it's silent, I put my ha d down, say thank you, and start talking.

    My only concern with the count down is that there's no physical signal from the teacher... I think a lot of my kids would just be completely tuned out to my countdown and miss it. I think it could work very well as long as there was something for them to see out of the corner of their eye to signal that you're starting the countdown.
     
  9. geoteacher

    geoteacher Cohort

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    Jun 25, 2013

    I teach 8th, and I do use this technique, but it is not the only one that I use. I agree that it would get old if I used it all the time. Two things that I took away from that book (at least I think it was that one!) were to wait for absolute silence before speaking, and to stop moving when I had something really important to say.
     
  10. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I use a countdown only occasionally and mostly when we are cleaning up from one activity and ready to begin another. I do use "noisemakers" of a variety of sorts as attention grabbers and that works pretty well for me.
     
  11. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Jun 25, 2013

    I teach 6th grade. My number one attention getter is give me five, and it works. I posted a thread here last summer asking if it would be too elementary for 6th graders. I don't remember what the concensus was, but my kids respond quite well to it.

    I do still count down sometimes, not as an attention getter so much as a reminder or a warning. For example, if they're working on a independent assignment and I realize there's a lot of whispering going on, I'll say something like, "I need the conversation to stop, please. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1." I also count down at the very beginning of class rather that doing give me five. I don't want to over usemy attention getter. If I use it for every little thing, it will lose it's significance.
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Aficionado

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    Jun 25, 2013

    I count down sometimes, and I teach high school. It actually works extremely well, even my P was surprised when she was in my room. She said she thought it would be too elementary for this age group, especially for our student population, but it's great. I used it at the lock up, too, even with 18-19 year olds, same result.

    But I don't do it routinely, only sometimes. At the most I use it 1-2 times / week, usually when I have a few students out of their seat, taking too long to pass things out, etc. As soon as I start counting, they just speed up their actions, and make sure by the time I get to one they're in their seat. It's pretty funny to see. I guess they've been conditioned for it, somehow.

    But with high school I wouldn't use it routinely, especially not for procedures.
     
  13. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    Jun 25, 2013

    I just start in teaching, then deal with the attentional laggards by shush or gesture. In extremis, I say, "Stop talking." I address this to individuals, never to the group, and I never embellish it with a "please," though I'll drop the occasional"thank you" if the results are pleasing. If you say it to the group, they think, "Oh, I didn't think we WERE talking," and they start. Weird but so.

    The theory is that you can't divert students' attention FROM something (the fascinating subject about which they are talking) until you have something to direct their attention TO (the lesson, which may seem, or even be, less fascinating).

    This is in high school, of course, where if I started unaccountably counting, my students would think dementia had set in, or deepened.

    Teaching is fun, isn't it? I really mean that.
     

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