Classroom Management HELP

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Aug 29, 2018.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Sep 13, 2018

    I am also going to start staggering my classes and I am hoping this is a good idea. I have one class that is high and they are ready to move on. I teach all "college" classes but these kids are in honors science, etc. This class is super easy to teach and I always end my day on a high note. It makes me feel better as a teacher since I know that if I had honors classes or pre-AP classes, I'm sure the behavior would be easy to manage. The english teacher next door to me is also having issues with my morning groups.

    Anyways, I am thinking of having my high class be one day ahead so that I can test out a lesson -- and because they are ready to move on & they don't need another day of multiplication practice. My only concern is that admin looks at my board for objectives, agenda, etc. so I need to find a way to quickly change my board between classes.
     
  2. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Does anyone have tips for kids leaving things behind in class? I’m sick of my second period class leaving behind pencils and papers. It’s most annoying when they’re crumpled up on the ground. Yes, our janitors sweep it up but it is not their job! Another teacher told me that she picks it up when annoyed and calls them up in front of class to pick up their paper! Lol

    Today, a student from my second period class (my most difficult class) brought DIRT into my class and his English class. A kid from my last period class came for extra help after school and showed me the dirt. I was joking with him that they’re my favorite class because they always take their stuff with them! I went to supervise in the hallway and when I got back this kid had picked up every single piece of paper and pencil on the floor!! It was really sweet. I also have a girl and a boy who don’t leave my last period class until they help me put up all of the chairs. I have some very difficult kids but I also have a ton of very sweet and respectful kids.
     
  3. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Don't let them leave the room until it's clean.

    Excuse rows / groups / tables when their floor and desks are clean.
     
  4. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    We unfortunately have bells so the kids are used to leaving with the bell.

    I might “threaten” this today or say that kids who are leaving their papers behind clearly need organization help and will be required to stay after on Wednesday.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
  5. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Because #1 Teachers are required to do a lot of the parents' jobs now. They expect way more from teachers and feel entitled (of course not ALL parents so don't whine about my comment).
    #2 Kids are much lazier nowadays and expect everything handed to them and do not want to even try to figure things out (yes, I know there are some kids who have initiative so you're lucky if you get those kids in your class).
     
  6. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    What if you start one minute before the bell rings and let them line up or stand at the door once they're excused from their tables?

    I'm a big believer of that teacher saying "the bell doesn't dismiss you, I do." It's certainly hard to change an attitude that they are automatically able to leave when the bell rings, but they should at least need to wait for you to say they can go before they walk out of your room.
     
  7. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    They are used to leaving with the bell???? NO, they leave when dismissed by their teacher. Where did they get the idea they are in charge?
     
  8. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    [QUOTE="otterpop, post: 2080167, member: 84048"

    I'm a big believer of that teacher saying "the bell doesn't dismiss you, I do." It's certainly hard to change an attitude that they are automatically able to leave when the bell rings, but they should at least need to wait for you to say they can go before they walk out of your room.[/QUOTE]
    Right. The teacher dismisses the class. I had a teacher in high school who set the stage the first day of school saying he would dismiss us. The only way we got dismissed is if we were quiet and the room was clean (I believe it was a science class). He would say, "Stand up. Push your chairs in" then when HE was ready he would say, "have a nice day" and THEN we knew we were dismissed.
     
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  9. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    We are apparently supposed to have bell to bell instruction. I dismiss kids to get up, turn in work, etc. about a minute before the bell rings but they wait by the door for a few seconds until the bell rings. Anyways, today I reminded the kids to put their papers away and said that kids who leave their paper behind obviously need help organizing their binders, so will be required to stay after school with me on Wednesday. I didn’t have any papers on the floor today.

    However, the class is a nightmare to teach still. They honestly make me want to quit because it is exhausting working with them and I don't even know if they are learning anything. My other two classes are fine to teach...I just hate, hate, hate this group. I have 34 kids and it seems like every boy is a behavior problem.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
  10. otterpop

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    34 kids is a lot. I'd guess a lot of your problems stem from that. Obviously you have to make the best out of what you've got, but that's way too many students for one teacher.
     
  11. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I think that is the main issue and the english teacher is having issues with the same two groups. My first group is also 34 and I have minimal classroom management issues with them...so I'm not sure what it is. I feel like if I just had 5 less kids then I would be ok. My second group is a nightmare and everyone says that classes at that time of day are always badly behaved. I just feel bad for the kids in the class who actually want to learn and are frustrated by the disruptions. I told the social worker about issues with this class and she said she will try to talk to some of my "heavy hitters." She has been really understanding and helpful.

    I have a class of 28 in the afternoon with better behaved kids and it feels like a breeze to teach and I actually feel relaxed with them. I'm honestly just frustrated with my school. I teach all "college" classes which has lower levels kids but I don't have any kids with IEPs. Therefore, we have no legal limits on class size. (I was told that they supposedly stop around 36-37 and I just got a new student today.) We also have no extra support unlike inclusion classes. My principal said that he wants to focus on pushing the college students this year since they don't get a lot of attention or something. It all feels like a joke. All of the better behaved kids are in the honors/pre-AP classes which are so much easier to teach. (I have a class of kids in college math but honors science/social studies, and there is a remarkable difference.) I have 5 kids who are failing now and I have no logical way to support them. I got an email that 2 of my kids were in danger of retention next year and would benefit from extra support...but I’m not sure where exactly this support is supposed to come from!! What am I supposed to do with a kid who can't even tell me what 5-0 is? Or kids who don't come to extra help after I email and call their parents AND remind them? The math coach tells me to do "centers or stations" to remediate but I cannot work with individual groups at all with my morning groups. She said the groups working without me will behave if it’s engaging enough...but the truth is that I have to monitor the whole class otherwise it just ends up in chaos.

    In January, I am planning on starting a job search in a district with a contracted class size cap because I am done with these ridiculous class sizes.

    The good news is that although 5 kids did badly on my quiz, most kids got A’s and my average was good!
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
  12. rpan

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    I know you are frustrated with this class but you have got to keep using the strategies you have. They may not seem as if they are working but you really need to give it time. Be positive and acknowledge the small gains you have made, and you have made gains in a short space of time. 34 is a lot, but that’s outta your control so you have to make the best out of it for now. Don’t hate the students or enter the class with dread because they do sense things and it won’t help to build positive relationships. They just aren’t choosing the right choices at the moment, perhaps because their home life is crap, perhaps they haven’t been taught discipline and structure, perhaps they are just testing you. But if you keep at it, they will come around. Maybe not all will come round, maybe 20 will come round, which is success. It may take 6 months maybe more but they will. I’ve had absolutely awful classes that have made me feel like a failure every single lesson but 3/4 into the year or even a month left in the year, they come round and start changing for the better. Then the next year, they come to you and say you’re the best teacher they’ve had and they miss you. That’s the beauty of teaching.
     
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  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I have MUCH more experience than you do, and my group (3 weeks in) isn't ready for me to work with one small group while the others work independently. I am doing small group activities, but instead of sitting the entire time with one of the groups, I rotate between them. I am able to differentiate for the groups, so that all are working on their level, but my mini-lesson or instruction with each group is only 1-2 minutes long. We'll build stamina, but that will take time. I never did get there with 5 or 6 of my students last year.

    **This morning is the first time in the past week that almost every single one of my students has sat on focused on the task I had assigned. Conversation has been, for the most part, on topic and the noise level has been a quiet hum. There's hope!**
     
  14. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    So I was very strict with class today and it went better. I even got through an entire lesson on long divsion.

    I asked a group of kids how class went and one kid said I was too strict!! Lol I might have been but class was at least better and more calm.
     
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  15. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    At the beginning of the year, I asked my students what I could do this year to help them be successful. Several said, "Don't be strict." We had a discussion about what they meant and I pointed out that if they expected me to just let them do whatever they wanted to, they wouldn't get their wish.
     
  16. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I was just extremely strict and it didn’t feel natural. It worked though. My lesson was long and not super engaging (long division) and they made it through most of it.

    My system was one warning and a detention. The warning is public. I had two kids get two warnings and I talked to them after class and said this was their one “free pass” because their behavior was much improved over normal behavior. I’m honestly just tired because I’m not used to being that strict but I don’t see another way to do it.
     
  17. Loomistrout

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    If by "strict" you mean putting discipline before instruction and dealing with every infraction, no matter how small, each and every time then, by all means, be strict. Don't expect students to say "Thank you" for giving them little choice but to grow up. The thanks will come down the road because you know what's best for them. Majority of students like a teacher who runs a tight ship. They know a good teacher by how much work they get done without being disrupted. It is usually the vociferous cries of the few who try to make the teacher feel like a fool for having any standards whatsoever. From students' perspective a strict teacher is someone who interferes with their agenda of goofing off. That is, some students are horrified to find an adult who knows how the game is played and won't play fair.
     
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  18. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I addressed almost every behavior with a warning and I might have to do it again on Monday. I don’t like public warnings but I don’t see any other way to start out. I didn’t really like how I felt as a teacher but the kids were behaved. I’m hoping it’s not just the shock factor though. My mentor said I should start strict and then I can loosen up.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
  19. rpan

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    Many students think they don’t like strict but actually they do, they just don’t realise it. When there is order and structure in the classroom, kids feel safe and that this is a positive environment for learning. Stay strict but fair and the kids will appreciate it, further down the year.
     
  20. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I hope so!! I am just not sure if my warnings are “fair.” I accidentally gave a warning to a girl who I thought was talking but I realized she was just turning around! I obviously apologized but still!! I feel like I constantly have to be on top of them!
     
  21. LouiseB

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    Stay strict so they know you mean business! As others have said, kids really appreciate a fair and well run room. Keep going!
     
  22. rpan

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    That’s perfectly fine. Kids respect that you can call yourself out when you’ve done the “wrong” thing. It’s what they perceive as fair too.
     
  23. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    Thank you for the affirmation! The kid who said I was "too strict" was probably annoyed that he couldn't talk all class anymore haha. I think I will also get a little bit more "strict" with my other classes just because I do see a few behaviors starting to come up. My high class is honestly struggling with working respectfully in a group and it is getting annoying. I am definitely going to start enforcing the "silent Do Now" rule for all of my classes. I actually felt like I was able to enjoy my second period class yesterday and finally pass back papers when they were more calm at the beginning of class. I'm doing a fun activity Monday but I'm hoping they'll be able to do it. I also know that I need to be very clear with my expectations with this age group, which I haven't always done a great job on.
     
  24. Ms.Holyoke

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    Good news -- I have been very clear about my dismissal expectations and I've started giving them 20 seconds to put all of their papers into their binders before they leave. I have had two consecutive days with no papers/pencils on the floor!
     
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  25. otterpop

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    Nice job!
     
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  26. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I had a difficult day today. I tried to do a fun activity but I had some kids literally throwing markers!!! We had to stop the whole activity and I’m thinking no more fun activities with them for a while. The activity went really well with my other classes. I cried during my entire planning and I have no idea what to do anymore. I gave 4 detentions and I know the kids are mad at me. I just feel like I cannot teach this class.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
  27. LouiseB

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    Who cares if they are mad at you? You followed through with consequences and that is so important. Just keep moving forward. You will get somewhere with this class but it will just take a LONG time. Do something fun when you get home from work. Think about something else to clear your mind. Do not let this class overtake your life!
     
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  28. Ms.Holyoke

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    I think I could have been more consistent in giving warnings, etc. but I will do better tomorrow. Sigh. I'm also going to pull the girl who threw the container and make her write me an apology letter by Wednesday...I forgot to give her a detention!

    I'm also frustrated because I told my math coach that I have a few kids who are really struggling. She said I have to plan stations or "follow them around class" to support them but it's not ok for them not to be mastering content. I feel like what am I supposed to do when the behavior is so, so bad? There was an experienced teacher in our department planning who said she couldn't do a "teacher table" with her class of 25 because the behavior is ridiculous in her class. That's kind of how I feel right now, and I'm being expected to do it with a class of 34? Right now, I can't give any kids individual help because of the behavior and there's just too many!

    I'm honestly considering a minimum 50 policy of tests/quizzes so kids aren't failing and they at least have a chance to get their grade up.
     
  29. rpan

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    Classroom management takes a long time. The success you are having with your other classes is not going to be as forthcoming with this difficult class. But it’s not a failure on your part. You didn’t fail because the kids chose to be rotten. You are extremely hard on yourself. Some days will be good days some days will be bad days. One good day doesn’t mean you should expect all the days will be good. It’s often a one step forward three steps back situation and if you accept that, you won’t be so self critical. You are still learning, still forming your strategies, the fact that you have success with other classes means something.
    Please reconsider your 50 policy to bump up their grades. Grades should be merit based, giving students grades they don’t deserve is not doing them any favours in the long term.
    If their behaviour or attitude is so poor they can’t demonstrate their understanding then so be it. Let the grade reflect that.
     
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  30. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    You're totally right! I need to stop stressing about it. Today's class went well but I know that tomorrow is a 1/2 day and the kids might be a little bit crazy. The good news is that I was able to "loosen up" on the warnings for talking while I was because it wasn't happening much. So I was able to just pause, look at the kid, and move on which I think generally helped the atmosphere of the class. I also made them feel guilty about throwing markers/throwing the marker caddy. I explained that I bought it with my own $$ and asked the class how they think I felt, etc. and I think it worked. I had 0 paper balls on my floor today unlike the 5 that I usually find. I did have one more detention today for a kid who was out of his seat and poking another kid with a pencil lol.

    I'm stressing about grades because I can identify 4-5 kids in my class who are failing all assessments. I was told that admin does not like to see F's so I'm confused about what to do. Right now, my classwork percentage is at 40%. I wanted to bump that down a bit, but if assessments are 65% of their grade, I think they will fail. I cannot give individual help in this class but my coach says it's not ok for so many kids to be failing and that I need to be creative. I'm confused about what I am expected to do. I have contacted parents, asked kids to stay for my extra help day (they don't), and I've tried in class but it is tough.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
  31. otterpop

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    Are your students getting F's because they aren't trying, aren't turning in their work, or are they trying hard but still not understanding the content?
     
  32. Ms.Holyoke

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    I would say about 4 students in my two morning classes failed their quizzes. (I had kids get as low as a 5/25). I honestly think they are failing because they aren't understanding it (although I'm sure their effort could improve). I have one student with a D that I know is deserved. However, most of my students got As on the quiz so they are ready to move on. The failing kids really lack basic computation skills which makes this unit tough for them (I am just teaching computation.) I actually only have one kid with an F now because they receive some credit for the work they do in class. If most of my grade was based on tests and quizzes, I would have more kids failing.

    I'm also including things like exit tickets and will soon be including weekly open response/journal questions in classwork so I don't mind the percentage. But this will likely bring down their grades!
     
  33. otterpop

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    I know some will disagree with me, but what if you tried adding a few easy problems to the test? If your principal doesn't like failing grades, it seems you'd have some leeway to get a bit creative. Maybe put a few vocabulary questions on the test and repeat, repeat, repeat in class to practice. Or, put some basic computation practice in there since it seems that need to be monitored in that area anyway.

    If a student was going to get a 10/20 (50%), but you add five easier questions you're pretty sure they'll get, they'd get a 15/25 (60%) instead. It might also give them confidence and let them think they've got a shot at succeeding.
     
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  34. Ms.Holyoke

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    This isn't a bad idea! My mentor teacher from my student teacher differentiated tests (easy and hard) but I don't want to go there. Putting some "free points" on the test might not be a bad idea. When my coach said to "get creative", I think she meant to find a way to get kids to master the standards BUT I literally have no idea how to. Today, I even had to ask a few kids to "help" and "tutor" which is against my philosophy but I am struggling. This is one of the strategies suggested to me.

    I will say that the quizzes I gave weren't too difficult and there was one pretty easy problem on each. The issue is that I gave a multiplying quiz and a few still can't multiply. We're doing long division now and I already know which kids won't master the standard.
     
  35. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I feel like I have a good day and then a bad day. Today was a half day and it was rough for my second class. I’ve decided to move the desks into rows.

    I really dislike this group and I’m starting to worry about their test scores.

    I also get it because this unit is so boring. It’s just computation and I know that computation can be hard for kids who don’t have a good math foundation. It is very boring to learn and teach but I have to teach the standard.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
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  36. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    When I attended my first Fred Jones' seminar we spent a half day on furniture arrangement. Fred would make statements like, "This is how effective teachers arrange their desks", and began showing different arrangements. I sank down in my chair. I looked around, and the other teachers were trying to hide too. I never knew nor was it ever addressed in my methods courses that furniture arrangement is a key element determining how hard a teacher will work at discipline. Examples: I had my teacher's desk in the traditional spot - front of the room which is the worst place to put it. I had rows front to back which block teacher movement. My aisles were too narrow. I didn't use "dots" on the floor so students could move their desks back after "desk creep" or dots to show exactly where to place desks when moving into groups. In other words, there is more to furniture arrangement than merely separating students.
     
  37. Ms.Holyoke

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    ^
    I honestly do not have the room in my classroom for the "Fred Jones" arrangements. I did partner rows because I cannot manage behavior effectively in this class when the kids aren't facing me. I'm really frustrated because my other classes are doing fine with groups. My aisles are narrow now but I'm not sure what else to do. :(
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  38. Ms.Holyoke

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    Today was probably my worst day of teaching yet. I had the following behaviors:
    -Kids trying to move desks away from each other.
    -A kid making popping noises during class.
    - Kids talking when I am teaching.
    -A kid hitting another kid with a water bottle. (called admin on him)
    -It was too LOUD!
    -Lots of kids were off task.

    My instructional coach told me that I needed to make the time to pull kids who are struggling during class. So I tried that today where my low kids did a worksheet and my high kids did a word problem partner activity. It was a disaster! The kids working independently have no independence to work respectfully with each other. It is like putting fires out.

    I called admin for the water bottle student (who also exhibited other behaviors+rude when called out) and was told that I am not allowed to ask a kid to step out into the hallway. My mentor told me that admin doesn't like to get called too often...but I had no other option. I honestly also do not care if they're upset with me at this point.

    My plan for this class is no more groups (regardless of what my instructional coach says) and no more fun activities. My class size is way too large to give kids individual help. I will just have a lesson, worksheet, and exit ticket.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
  39. TrademarkTer

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    Good plan. You really just have to be in surviival mode the first few years. This should also make lesson planning for the week a lot easier! And then in a couple of years, you can set up shop in a nice suburban school and do all the fun stuff you had always hoped you could do.
     
  40. Ms.Holyoke

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    Sep 28, 2018

    ^
    My other classes do a great job with activities and are well behaved. I will still plan some for them, but I will print a worksheet for this particular class. I hope that this works though because I'm not sure what to do if it doesn't.

    I know I work in a low-income school, but most of my students are great. Almost every kid in my other two classes are well behaved and respectful and there are about 10 kids out of 34 in my difficult class that are ruining it for everyone else. I think that if I had classes of 25, I would have no problem managing this group.
     

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