Am I doing okay?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by bewlove, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    Aug 19, 2014

    Hey, everyone. This is my second week ever teaching my own class, and I just need.....reassurance.

    Everything was great last week, and even yesterday was good. Today has been so stressful! Nothing awful happened, but my kids just aren't listening. I'm team teaching with a two hour block, and because of all of the chatting, we didn't get to social studies. It took all of our time to do ELA. During reading centers, everyone was too chatty, so I made them go back and work quietly at their desks (which they did), but I felt defeated. I had some really fun stuff for them to do today, and they were just too chatty....and several kids said they didn't know what to do, even though I said like 5 times "If you are in Group 1 you're silent reading, group 2 is independent work, etc." They aren't listening!

    Then, as a class, we talked about main idea/details, and everyone seemed to get it. We also talked about complete sentences, and everyone seemed to get it. We did a self-assessment, and everyone seemed to get it. I handed out the graphic organizer and told them to do it with this week's story?.......No one knows what to do. I have half finished assignments being turned in. I gave them 30 minutes, and one kid wrote one sentence. I did have them all sit with me during recess until it was complete....but what's the deal? I'm trying to stick with my guns when it comes to classroom management, and I feel like behavior overall is fine. It's just being chatty during transitions and then not using their time wisely to get work done.

    Any words of wisdom, or reassurance?
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Aug 19, 2014

    How old are the children? Maybe you are going too fast expecting them to learn rules and procedures?

    Have you spent enough time modeling everything you want them to do in small and large group?
     
  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Aug 19, 2014

    Whenever I have a fun learning activity planned that we don't get to, I usually tell the kiddos, "I had planned for us to do Such-And-Such today. Unfortunately, we weren't able to, and had to do [whatever] instead." Then I ask which activity would they have enjoyed doing more, and ask why they weren't able to do it. That let's them directly see what they, personally, lost because of their actions. It lets them see the natural consequence, and also lets them see that you aren't punishing them... they're punishing themselves.
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Aug 19, 2014

    Depending on the age of the students, you could be moving too fast through building up rules and procedures. First week is normally the honeymoon period so you are getting past that and behaviors are going to start creeping out. Be sure to stick to your guns, but make sure that the students know exactly what is expected of them. Maybe it would be good to go back and review your routines and procedures. Model exactly what they should be doing or have students role play. Good luck! Sounds like you're off to a great start!
     
  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Aug 19, 2014

    Do you have a behavior policy in place? Check out the threads on different management programs. One of them might be worth implementing (I adore Love and Logic since it works online).
     
  7. dmbfan36

    dmbfan36 Rookie

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    Aug 19, 2014

    Even though you told them 5 times what the groups were having it posted someplace in writing allows students to also go back and re-read it in case they don't remember and now they're not looking to you to tell them what to do again and again. Posting directions is helpful.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 19, 2014

    What grade level is this?
     
  9. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    Aug 19, 2014

    Thanks for the replies!

    It is fourth grade. As far as behavior management, I use the clip chart, as well as the teacher that I am teaming with. We have a mini clip chart that follows the kids wherever they go, so that even when they are not in our homeroom, they are held accountable for behavior. At the end of the day, I put a smiley in each child's planner that let's the parent know what color the ended on. Parents are required to sign.

    As far as the center directions, I had a main idea visual up that I told them they could go look at, I wrote the instructions on the board for the worksheet, and then I also have clips that tell them which center their group is supposed to be in. I did the same thing with my second group (although they are a higher group) and we finished the lesson with ease.

    It was amazing how quickly they were able to finish their work once they were doing it during recess. I just hate to take recess because kids need that time to let loose! :(

    ETA: I also taught a lesson on main idea, I didn't just put up a visual, lol. :)
     
  10. elleveeaych

    elleveeaych Rookie

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    Aug 19, 2014

    Have you tried modeling what you want each of those components to look like? Depending on the age group, you may need to go back and have a lesson on what "silent reading" looks like, how to fill in a graphic organizer, what a transition should look and sound like. It sounds like you have high expectations for your students though which is really great!
     
  11. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Aug 19, 2014

    Don't forget to See It, Say It, Do It. Let them see you model what you want, have them tell someone what they need to do, then practice. Come back together and make sure everyone understands, then turn them loose. They have spent 3 months not following a lot of directions, and they are out of the habit.

    You might have to go back to one step directions. Then work up to 2-steps. Then 3, etc. You will get them there. My biggest suggestion is to make sure you are not doing all the telling-what-to-do. They need to be involved. Think about the last PD you were at. Last day, just after lunch. How into directions were you? That's every day for 4th graders!

    And some days, they are just being pills and there is nothing you can do about it. Those are the days you eliminate the fun stuff, and let them know what they missed out on.
     
  12. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Aug 19, 2014

    When you're giving instructions are they all looking and listening to you, or are they chatting, looking at their desk, doodling, etc.?

    If they start chatting during instruction, or not listening, what do you do? Do you keep giving instructions, or do you stop and silently wait for their attention before moving on?

    Do you ask a few students to repeat your instructions or show you how to do what you just explained?

    What consequences do you give those who are being chatty during instructions?
     
  13. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Aug 20, 2014

    You got to get it together girl. Clearly, they aren't listening to you and may soon tune you out completely. Need to nip this in the bud soon. Observations start in October.
     
  14. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    You're always so glass-half-full! So refreshing!!

    /sarcasm

    :dizzy:
     
  15. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    Aug 20, 2014

    Thanks for all of the advice, everyone!!! I do try and "nip it in the bud" as someone had said. I use the clip chart and have kids clip down every day when needed. I also did tell them about missing out on the fun lesson I had planned.

    Many of you asked about the way I handle instructions, and it usually goes something like this:

    Me: "Alright, I need everyone's attention please, for (insert here)."

    Usually, everyone will listen, except occasional kids. If I don't have everyone's attention, I may use our little catch phrase:

    "Hocus Pocus!" and the kids say "time to focus!". This usually gets everyone's attention. Then I can tell them. It's just that it sometimes seems as if it goes in one ear and out the other.

    I am happy to report that today was much better!!!! We got to do everything that I had planned, and they were very well behaved. I also noticed a pattern between the kids that seemed to struggle with listening yesterday and today. It's the same few kids, but with some proper motivation (i.e. I can either send you home on a good color or you can clip down if I have to say another word to you).

    Thanks again everyone! Today was much better, and I did try to have them repeat back instructions to me, etc.
     
  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Aug 20, 2014

    What's the consequence when the student's clip goes all the way down?
     
  17. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Aug 21, 2014

    Glad today was better!
     
  18. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 21, 2014

    First off- you're a "new" teacher in the sense that you're teaching your own class. Give yourself a big break. Most educators will tell you to just "survive" the first year- it looks like you're surviving, so you're doing GREAT :thumb: Secondly, I think most teachers will always need a little reassurance about them being a good teacher- I'm starting my 7th year and I still get down about messing something up. I actually keep an email folder of parent emails that are praising my work (I have a separate folder for "other" parent emails too ;)) so when I need a pick me up, I look through those. :)

    Kids are starting to feel comfortable with you and their peers- so they're starting to get chatty. That's normal and will be something you probably have to deal with at some degree for the rest of the school year (that's my #1 problem in my classes too).

    Being that the students like to socialize so much, perhaps you can work your lessons around more social activities- like breaking them up into small groups (3-4 students) and having them first independently write their answers in their notebook, then share as a small group, and then a recorder could write down their group answer. (I do this A LOT to help my little ones get some time to chat and think about what they know and what others have told them)

    You're probably also learning how to pace the lessons based on your students' needs. This is normal and the right thing to do. Part of learning how to pace is to determine how much time will be used as "distracted time" - remember kids need breaks too. (For my younger students, when I teach a double I will normally give them 5 minutes in-between the 2 periods to get up, stretch, walk around, or use the bathroom/get a drink. They really appreciate it and I notice they're able to focus better during the 2nd period.)

    Your students may be slightly overwhelmed with all the directions you're giving. What I would do is either write it up on my whiteboard/type it up on my Smartboard -or- I would tell them ahead of time what each group was doing and then have a paper that tells them what to do at the group table. (Or both :thumb:) Don't expect students to be able to listen to directions- it is a skill they are building up to do (my 3rd graders can really only listen to 1 or 2 steps, while my 6th graders I can basically tell them the whole lab experiment and they can do it on their own).

    Getting an idea and then analyzing a text to show their understanding are 2 different things. Have you modeled how to do this with your students? What I've done before is that I will use the same template my students are going to use and do a "fake" one with them (maybe pick a story that all the students know well- like a fairy tale). I then make a copy of that model for them to keep next to them and they can use it to help them analyze a different experiment (or in your case a different story). Also, they might be new (or need a refresher) on how to fill out a graphic organizer, so the example page would be helpful in showing them that. (It might be a confidence thing too- they don't want to mess up the assignment and then either disappoint you/have to do it over again/or be mocked by their peers in class.)

    Normally if I see students turning in half finished work, I take it as they don't know how to do it. If have 2-3 students come up with the same question/same skipped questions, I will stop the class and re-teach the content for those. Are you providing them with any notes and examples during the instructional time? If they can refer to notes with examples, that might cut down on skipped/incomplete work.

    I would say for the boy with the 1 sentence it might be a confidence issue, he might not be able to read, he might not know what a main idea is, etc. Do they have any notes with examples to go off of?

    I'm not sure what your school's policies are for kids who don't complete work, but I personally try not to take away recess from students (the whole idea "I don't understand this, so I can't do the work... so I can't have recess, I guess I'm a bad student" mentality that some students may have). Thankfully the parents at my school can usually either bring their child in early or have them stay later to work with me. But if that's not an option, please keep in mind that students who have to stay in at recess sometimes think it is a punishment and I try to remind my students that it's not: it's me wanting to work with them in a quieter setting so that we both know they can understanding the material.

    If they're focusing well during lesson time, allow them to get a little chatty during transitional time- they need breaks and they're kids: they want to socialize and make friends.

    This might be a strategy to use in your classroom- https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/student-participation-strategy

    :)
     

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