7th Grade Classroom management

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by rockangel312, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. rockangel312

    rockangel312 Companion

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    Jan 7, 2011

    I'll be starting a new position in a seventh grade classroom, and I am a bit nervous. Every teacher I talk to tells me that they would not want to teach 7th and that they are very difficult. My concern is that being a new teacher I don't have discipline mastered yet. I was thinking of doing some positive reinforcement in the classroom with tickets and a raffle system. However, after reading some of the posts on here I am concerned that it might not even work!
    I went into observe one particular class one day, and the teacher had to keep telling them to be quiet. I'll flip if I have to keep telling them. Whenever I have given the students a "talking to" it works for the rest of the day, but the next day it or day after it goes back to how it was.

    Any suggestions for what works for the 7th grade age group? Strict, talking to them like an adult, anything else????
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 7, 2011

    I taught 7th grade to the current Juniors, and we have a very special bond as a result.

    7th grade is a very magical age. They're old enough to be treated as adults, but they can still enjoy things like kids.

    They're very, VERY big on "fair." Once they see you as fair, you can really be incredibly demanding.

    They have great respect for those who know their stuff, and no patience for those who don't. They'll keep you on your toes in terms of the material.

    They loved when I did "adult" types of projects with them. So when we did simple interest, we 'bought' a house and figured out both the monthly mortgage payment and the total payback. We 'bought' a car. When we did proportions, I gave them a few choices from the IKEA catalog and let them design the bedroom of their dreams. We had British penpals and we did a project on currency exchange.

    Behavior wasn't a big issue. Transitions can be your ememy, so work on keeping them busy-- but at the same time, avoid "busy work." It takes a lot of planning to stay on top of a couple of classes of 7th graders.
     
  4. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    Jan 7, 2011

    7th graders are wonderful, but they are a social bunch! Go in firm, stay consistant and don't back down! If you are strict in the beginning (firm, but fair) word will get around quickly. Go in with a plan letting the students know you will not allow talking unless you've given permission for talking. With 7th graders it is a new day every day and you're going to have to repeat, repeat, repeat...every day for a few weeks and then they will know and understand what you expect from them.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jan 7, 2011

    Grade 7 students are, by nature, social beings--not much is more important to them than their friends. They like to be able to share their ideas with a partner, but you'll need to discuss the concept of accountable talk. As Alice said, "fair" is important--don't let them feel that you play favourites. Recognize that they have a life outside of your class--ask them about their game, and understand that, on occasion, life gets in the way and they won't complete their homework. Be friendly, but not their friend. A healthy sense of humour is vital. Understand that there is a whole host of words that you will need to erase from your vocabulary: hard, ball, stroke... If they know you are on their side, they will lay down in the street for you. When demanding respect, be sure that you give it--nothing will turn them against you faster than if they feel you are talking (or looking) down on them.

    Enjoy them for who they are now and for the glimmers you see of who they will become.
     
  6. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Jan 7, 2011

    can I add to that forgotten word list? Duty, number 2, and the variable "p".

    We kid (a little), but seriously, they are fun. One thing that really helps with the talking situation in my classes is to give them a minute now and then for just free talking. I don't do it every day, but I'll tell them that at the end of this 20 minute lecture there will be 2 minutes of talk time. Then I set a timer and stick to it. They appreciate it and give me the attention I need.
     
  7. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jan 7, 2011

    I love 7th grade!! I really do miss that age group (I'm going to try to get back as soon as I can!)

    I echo what others have said: They are social so just allowing them to talk about the concept is good. Be firm but fair. Use humor. Treat them like adults.
     
  8. rockangel312

    rockangel312 Companion

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    Jan 8, 2011

    Thank you for all of the responses! I have only had one other teacher tell me that she loves 7th grade. Everyone else keeps warning me that it's rough. Right now there is a privilege they have on Friday, and I could make sure that they remembered that it was a privilege and that could be taken away. I completely forgot about the talk time! I used to do that when I substituted day to day at the older levels. It sometimes worked. I didn't know if a more individual reward system works at this level. Did any of you use a reward system as far as tickets or anything?
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I never did.

    That one year was the only time I've ever taught kids that young (aside from my current after school stint as a 5th grade religion teacher for my daughter's class.) I think I treated them as I've always treated high school kids-- I simply expected them to be good, and by and large, they were.

    I would concentrate less on the idea of taking privileges away, and more on rewarding when they do as you expect.
     
  10. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Jan 9, 2011

    I'm not a fan of ticket systems or gimmicks like that, just because I get bored, and I tend to let things like that go, and that makes me feel like I've lost credibility.

    Plus, such things are novelty now, but become ritual later (this is an important aspect of Quantum Learning). When things become ritual, they lose importance. So you find that the novelty stops working, and you have to keep coming up with new things to replace it.

    Bah. I'd rather spend my time and effort focusing on presenting the material in interesting and thought provoking ways (thus giving them no time to misbehave). Interspersing quality, well developed lessons with a few minutes free time makes for a happy junior high classroom.

    They love parameters. Set them, follow them, and you'll be just fine.
     
  11. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    Jan 11, 2011

    Definitely look into Whole Brain Teaching. It will accomplish a lot of what you are looking to do, and the system is FREE!
     
  12. glitzeyes

    glitzeyes Rookie

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    Jan 11, 2011

    I am a new teacher and just started a 7th grade science teaching position and honestly, I love the age group. I am only 22 and I was nervous my age would be a factor and that they wouldn't take me seriously. However, that hasn't been the issue at all. On the first day I went in strong. I showed them that I have high, CONSISTENT expectations but that I am also fair. If I tell one boy he can't do something, then I tell all of the kids they can't. Once the kids see that you are the teacher but that you are fair I feel like they will listen to you. I also would say in the middle school atmosphere you really need to give the students respect first, and then expect it in return. My kids work hard for me...in fact they give me their best because they know that I expect that of them and as a result, classroom behavior isn't much of an issue. I give alot of praise as I find it motivates the kids. I expect them to correct their errors on assignments but I support them while making the changes. I find if I encourage them, they wanna work harder. I want them to know WHY something it is wrong and not just be docked a grade and then move on. I am very blessed that I have such wonderful kids. I am also going to be trying a raffle ticket system where I will write the school mascot PIRATES for each class period on the board and if at the end of the week they still have at least a P then everyone in the class period gets a raffle ticket. They will lose letters for not following directions, talking in class etc. Then every one to two weeks one student's ticket is drawn from each eligible class period. Each period will have their own raffle. I went to the dollar tree and found prizes for a 1.00 or less because some things were in packs with more than one in them. I found stuff like highlighters, pens, pencils, mini hand santizer, stickers, fun erasers etc. However, students will be excluded if they have missing assignments or if they have been particularly disruptive and do not deserve to be included. Honestly, I think a reward system will work. I used a stamp that said 100% with an apple on it on a assignment and you wouldn't believe how bad the students wanted to receive that stamp on their paper...I was shocked at how much 7th graders still enjoy that stuff...Overall, just make sure you are prepared for each and every day, Don't be nervous-hide it even if you are or they will prey on that and have fun! Good luck :)
     
  13. calislug

    calislug New Member

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    Jan 11, 2011

    I teach 7th and 8th and love it! When I start the school year, I spend the first few days in very formal suits. I am very clear with my expectations and lay down all the rules. I have learned that being upfront with them and telling them exactly what you expect, you will get more out of them. I usually spend the first week going over all policies and procedures and then I am able to relax a tiny bit and enjoy them. Fairness like everybody has stated is very important! They are quick to jump when you are not. I also treat them like adults and talk to them as such. I will also give them choices if it is available. If the plan for the class is a few different items and they don't have to be in a specific order, I let them choose the order. The more control they feel the have, the more involved they are. Good Luck!
     
  14. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jan 11, 2011

    I focus on routine. With routine in the class and consistency in expectations, things go smoothly. Students that age also focus a lot on "fairness". They hate thinking that they are being treated unfairly. However, that doesn't mean "equal" all the time. They are not beyond understanding that they Suzie may have a different assignment that Johnny.
     

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