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  #1  
Old 12-14-2012, 11:24 AM
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jamoehope jamoehope is offline
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Need help with class management all over again

Hello,

I've posted on my own class management struggles before, so I want to get ideas from you successful middle school teachers and/or special education teachers on what works for you. I've been offered a job teaching special education in a middle school.

What rules do you use?
What hierarchy of consequences do you use?
What rewards do you use?
How do you demonstrate your expectations on the first day(s)?
What expectations are initially crucial?

Thank you!
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  #2  
Old 12-14-2012, 03:04 PM
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Are you teaching in a self-contained position, a resource pull out position, or a resource push in position?
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  #3  
Old 12-14-2012, 05:42 PM
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It's combination of two classes of resource pull out (called learning center) and co-teaching with general education teachers.
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  #4  
Old 12-15-2012, 10:47 AM
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Advice?

I was wondering because if I take this job I want to know an easy class management system I could implement right away since I won't have much time to prepare.

I used rules/rewards/consequences before but I felt unsuccessful (had kids talking over me, not doing all the work they needed to do, etc.) so I want to know what all of you feel is successful. PLUS I know I could do a better job of explaining/modeling my expectations, so I want to know what you do as well.
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  #5  
Old 12-15-2012, 11:10 AM
Linguist92021 Linguist92021 is online now
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I think the bare basics are these:
- decide the basic rules that are the most important and crucial to a productive classroom (ex. raise hand to speak / get out of seat, etc)
- decide consequences for not following the rules. How many warnings to you give before the consequence? What type of consequences? (ex. getting more serious with each offense, etc)
- decide on a rewards system. Students need something to look forward to, something to earn. This can be individual, group reward or both independent of each other.

All of this is totally up to you. I would decide on these, and go with that. You can tweak it later. In a co-teaching situation I would ask the other teacher and go with that system, unless I really disagree with it and can change it without major issues.

For example if the other teacher allows students to shout out answers, speak without raising hand, i would change it, because i can't work like that. Student can and will get used to a different system and can switch withing a second. But there s no point to come up with a different reward or behavior system in the same classroom, if the one in place works well.


As far as kids talking over you: doesn't matter what consequences you assign if you let them talk over you. You have to stop talking every single time you hear someone talking out of turn. Consistency is VERY important.
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  #6  
Old 12-15-2012, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linguist92021 View Post
I think the bare basics are these:
- decide the basic rules that are the most important and crucial to a productive classroom (ex. raise hand to speak / get out of seat, etc)
The rules are used before were the following:
1. Stay on task.
2. Follow directions immediately.
3. Be respectful of people and the classroom.
4. Raise hand to talk and to get up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linguist92021 View Post
- decide consequences for not following the rules. How many warnings to you give before the consequence? What type of consequences? (ex. getting more serious with each offense, etc)
Where I had problems was with consequences. Initially I used names on the board with points as warnings, but that got too cumbersome. I wanted to be moving around the room to help kids and to use proximity to discourage misbehavior. So I started writing names with points on a clipboard. But that DEFINITELY did not work. I ended up giving too many warnings and when I resorted to detentions or talking to parents, I saw that these methods did not reduce the misbehavior.

So what do you use for consequences? I liked the idea of behavior notebook from this post http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/s...quences&page=2 . However, I want to know what others are using that actually works. What is a quick everyday consequence that stops you from having to get into power struggles or from using what should be more severe consequences too much (like detentions)? What about consequences per student and for the whole class?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linguist92021 View Post
- decide on a rewards system. Students need something to look forward to, something to earn. This can be individual, group reward or both independent of each other.
I had rewards that seemed to work (although they didn't outright prevent misbehavior). It was getting to work in groups, do puzzles, have free time (at the very end of class or on Fridays sometimes), and watch short funny videos. But I still would like to know what you all use that you see working. I feel I am too dependent on wanting to use rewards over using consequences when necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linguist92021 View Post
As far as kids talking over you: doesn't matter what consequences you assign if you let them talk over you. You have to stop talking every single time you hear someone talking out of turn. Consistency is VERY important.
Consistency was part of where my breakdown in management was. But how do I teach the expectations of not talking out, behaving in general, etc.?

Thank you by the way for the tips!
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  #7  
Old 12-15-2012, 09:49 PM
Linguist92021 Linguist92021 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamoehope View Post
The rules are used before were the following:
1. Stay on task.
2. Follow directions immediately.
3. Be respectful of people and the classroom.
4. Raise hand to talk and to get up.
Those are good rules! I always make sure I explain what they mean. rule number 2 means the students must do what I ask them to do right away, etc. Rule 4 means raise hands AND wait to be called on, etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jamoehope View Post
Where I had problems was with consequences. Initially I used names on the board with points as warnings, but that got too cumbersome. I wanted to be moving around the room to help kids and to use proximity to discourage misbehavior. So I started writing names with points on a clipboard. But that DEFINITELY did not work. I ended up giving too many warnings and when I resorted to detentions or talking to parents, I saw that these methods did not reduce the misbehavior.
I myself never write kids' names on the board. when i was student teaching i was told not to do that. Discipline should be private, publicly humiliating students by putting their names on the board does no good. We're not even supposed to call their names out loud, but a lot of times that can't be helped.

What ALWAYS works for me: marking down students on the clipboard. The clipboard has the seating chart, and i simply put a dot next to their name. I do that for the smallest things. I don't say their names, sometimes i make sure they know it's them (I look at the students, make a mark, look up and look at him, as in by a reflex.) Other times i don't care if they know - trust me, they're watching.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamoehope View Post
So what do you use for consequences? I liked the idea of behavior notebook from this post http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/s...quences&page=2 . However, I want to know what others are using that actually works. What is a quick everyday consequence that stops you from having to get into power struggles or from using what should be more severe consequences too much (like detentions)? What about consequences per student and for the whole class?
My situation is different from everyone here because I'm in a detention center. That means no phone calls home and no after school detention. I can write them up, which may mean they 'fail' their day, meaning they have to stay 24 hours more in jail. this day didn't work out for them, so they have to make up. Other times the officers talk to them, take away their free time (have to face the wall for 3 hours silently), etc. We have strict officers and lenient officers, just like parents.

But if I was in a regular school I would do 30 minute after school detention. Of course that would also mean a phone call home. Kids want to hang out with their buddies, no one wants to sit straight up in silence for 30 minutes after school day.
I had rewards that seemed to work (although they didn't outright prevent misbehavior). It was getting to work in groups, do puzzles, have free time (at the very end of class or on Fridays sometimes), and watch short funny videos. But I still would like to know what you all use that you see working. I feel I am too dependent on wanting to use rewards over using consequences when necessary.
I would give out more days as severe consequences. 2 days, or a whole week. You do what you gotta do to make sure the kids will turn their behavior around. If they don't show up for detention, now they ow you 2 days, etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jamoehope View Post
Consistency was part of where my breakdown in management was. But how do I teach the expectations of not talking out, behaving in general, etc.?
You don't necessarily have to 'teach' how to not talk out. It's just that when someone speaks without raising his hand, you stop, and you say: "you're supposed to raise your hand, remember? " then make them raise their hand, then you call on them, and they repeat what they already blurted out. You can teach certain behaviors, such as how to sit the right way, how to line up, but can't teach how to behave in general. You just have to always stop and point out when the rules are not being followed.

It's not easy!! but if you remember to be consistent, it will be easier every day.
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  #8  
Old 12-16-2012, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linguist92021 View Post
I always make sure I explain what they mean. rule number 2 means the students must do what I ask them to do right away, etc. Rule 4 means raise hands AND wait to be called on, etc.
How much do you have your students practice following these rules on the first day (or days)? Do you use non-examples where you model or at least list out the incorrect behaviors? I've been reading about doing that in an Anita Archer book I have and from the website http://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linguist92021 View Post
Discipline should be private, publicly humiliating students by putting their names on the board does no good. We're not even supposed to call their names out loud, but a lot of times that can't be helped.
I didn't want to write names on the board but I tried it because I thought the public shame would be effective. It was NOT! And it was hard to manage as I would have to return to the board when I would be somewhere in the classroom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linguist92021 View Post
What ALWAYS works for me: marking down students on the clipboard. The clipboard has the seating chart, and i simply put a dot next to their name. I do that for the smallest things. I don't say their names, sometimes i make sure they know it's them (I look at the students, make a mark, look up and look at him, as in by a reflex.) Other times i don't care if they know - trust me, they're watching.
I know your work situation is different as to the environment you teach in. But what is your hierarchy of consequences? Warning and then detention or removal of privileges?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linguist92021 View Post
But if I was in a regular school I would do 30 minute after school detention. Of course that would also mean a phone call home. Kids want to hang out with their buddies, no one wants to sit straight up in silence for 30 minutes after school day.

I would give out more days as severe consequences. 2 days, or a whole week. You do what you gotta do to make sure the kids will turn their behavior around. If they don't show up for detention, now they ow you 2 days, etc.
I tried detentions and I think I didn't have them long enough nor did I institute them early enough. I will see what the school policy is on detentions. In some schools they have a certain time for detentions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linguist92021 View Post
You don't necessarily have to 'teach' how to not talk out. It's just that when someone speaks without raising his hand, you stop, and you say: "you're supposed to raise your hand, remember? " then make them raise their hand, then you call on them, and they repeat what they already blurted out. You can teach certain behaviors, such as how to sit the right way, how to line up, but can't teach how to behave in general. You just have to always stop and point out when the rules are not being followed.
And I would assume this means especially at first! Even if you don't get as much teaching done in terms of academics. I will just have to be more adamant about saying something every time I see a student not following a rule, which I don't think is easy for me or I think I would have had an easier time last year.

As for rewards, I'm also considering the idea of giving students points that they would keep track of. I'll give points when I see the students doing behaviors I want to reinforce. There could be individual rewards and group rewards like if everyone gets X amount of points in one class. AND if the students do it then that saves a little management for me.
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  #9  
Old 12-17-2012, 10:27 AM
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I'm sure Linguist is tiring of giving me advice. Does anyone else have suggestions on consequences/rewards that work well for middle schoolers? And how do you teach your rules and expectations?

BTW, I bought "Discipline in the Secondary Classroom" by Randall Sprick for my Kindle (so I didn't have to wait to receive it in the mail). It's for high schoolers but I think it will apply to middle school as well.
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  #10  
Old 12-17-2012, 11:49 PM
Linguist92021 Linguist92021 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamoehope View Post
How much do you have your students practice following these rules on the first day (or days)? Do you use non-examples where you model or at least list out the incorrect behaviors?
I myself have never taught them behaviors. I guess if i was in elementary grades, I would teach them line up, etc. But by the time they get to 6th grade, my experience have shown that you basically tell them to come in quietly, go to their assigned seat, put their backpack on the back of the chair, get their supplies out, etc. then they do it. If someone doesn't do it right, you point it out. Every time someone does it wrong, you point it out.

In my current sub assignment I require the students come in silently, no good morning, no how are you, nothing. I have to draw the line, otherwise they'd be coming in chitchatting. I let them know the first day, but they have previously known that I like it like that. Before every class comes in, they send a kid to ask me if I'm ready. (actually I can make them wait if I'm not ready lol). I tell the kid 'yes, I'm ready and please tell them to come in quietly'. I hear him tell them 'room 1A, come in quietly, don't say nothing, no good morning, nothing, otherwise we lose a point'. Occasionally there is still one student here and there who forgets and says something, I just silently remove 1 minute from they they can earn.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamoehope View Post
I know your work situation is different as to the environment you teach in. But what is your hierarchy of consequences? Warning and then detention or removal of privileges?
For us it's really kick out the kid and probation handle it. Of course we also have to write them up. I don't always kick them out, but still write them up and then explain to the officer that it was serious. Lesser consequences could be talking to them, taking away their free time (have to face the wall on their bunk the entire afternoon / evening), to 'failing' their day, meaning they have to spend and extra day in jail. For more serious offenses like fighting they get removed and can get up to 30 more days, but I haven't had to deal with that, thank God. I do give them enough warnings and I mark them down on my seating chart. They do get a daily behavior grade, so each mark down reduces it by one grade, after about 3 mark downs I write them up.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jamoehope View Post
Even if you don't get as much teaching done in terms of academics. I will just have to be more adamant about saying something every time I see a student not following a rule, which I don't think is easy for me or I think I would have had an easier time last year.
I was always told discipline comes first, instruction second. Meaning, you have to handle behavior first so you can teach. If a kid is talking, misbehaving, you can't teach over him, so you have to stop and handle it. It won't work if you talk over them, ignore behavior. Even if it seems that you're wasting 30 minutes out of 50 with always stopping and handling issues, it still is worth it on the long run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamoehope View Post
As for rewards, I'm also considering the idea of giving students points that they would keep track of. I'll give points when I see the students doing behaviors I want to reinforce. There could be individual rewards and group rewards like if everyone gets X amount of points in one class. AND if the students do it then that saves a little management for me.
There are many ways to give rewards, keep track of points, etc. You have to find what works best for you. I like to use what is easiest. I don't want to be busy tracking points or relying on students to track their points, or carry around logs, etc. For me marking down on the seating chart for individual, and earned class points on a board is simple enough.


I hope this helps !
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