Classroom Management HELP

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

  1. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Oh yeah 34 is nuts. I can't even fit more than 30 desks in my room---if I had that many kids, it would be standing room only!!
     
  2. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    That's why I feel frustrated when I am told to "be creative" and "work with small groups." I'm actually impressed that I was able to small group teach with my class of 32 today...but only because their behavior allowed it. I just feel like I am getting no support from admin. My mentor is coming to observe my class on Monday and she is really great. I hope they are not good just because someone else is in the room. I also wrote up four behavior reports for documentation so I am hopeful that admin will be stopping by this class more often.

    Do you think I should continue to call admin for disruptive kids? The kid I called admin for was yelling across the room repeatedly + hit another kid with a water bottle.
     
  3. TrademarkTer

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    To be honest, I work in a suburban school and deal with very few behavioral issues. The only time I involve admin is when I catch cheating on assessments, which happens once or twice a year..

    I did my student teaching in a less "nice" district. My cooperating teacher there told me to try not to involve admin too much as it makes it look like you don't have the power/control and undermines you in front of the students. That kind of stuck with me so I personally would only involve admin if I felt it was a very serious infraction..I think it would also depend on how supportive the admin were. I think your new plan will allow less room for these types of violations to occur.
     
  4. Ms.Holyoke

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    ^
    I hope so...but I still see kids getting off task, laughing, turning around and I need a way to set the expectation that they do the work. If I do silent work, some of the kids won’t be able to get help from their partners.

    I’m not sure what to do about the struggling kids besides asking them to come to extra help. I feel like doing any kind of individual teaching is not realistic.
     
  5. Ms.Holyoke

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    My plan for Monday is to set clear expectations for classwork and if I have to ask the Class to quiet down more than once then it turns into silent work.
     
  6. LouiseB

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    Remind yourself that other classes are going well so not everything is terrible. I think it's a good idea to have the mentor come to observe. It sounds like the mentor is realistic and will realize that kids are being "good" because they are there. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the undesirable behaviors will show up. Hang in there!
     
  7. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Thank you. Do you think it is fair to say that next week will be do now, lesson, worksheet, and exit ticket for this class?

    I will plan some more engaging things for my other classes. My admin likes to see engaging activities so I am hoping that this will be ok. I am not comfortable giving them materials anymore (like mini whiteboard markers and whiteboards). I cannot even give them calculators for an activity on Monday. (There was another incident of throwing something in class.) I am even putting away my tissue box for when this class comes in and I will be "hiding" my supply caddies for use with my other classes. It makes me sad that I cannot trust them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2018
  8. LouiseB

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    It is what it is. You say it is about 10 students who are causing the problems in this section? Look at their behaviors and see if you can figure out what it is that causes them to act this way. I would also look at the reaction of those around them. Laughing or upset? This will give you a feel for what you need to target. Are the ones causing the problems the poor students or just ones who want attention? If at all possible, building a relationship with those who are problem makers will go a long way in how things work. If you can't put them in the hallway or want to bother admin, then what can you do? Don't let those 10 students "ruin" your day as you have many more who are making your teaching life a joy! I would ask your mentor about how to manage those 10 students.
     
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  9. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Thank you! My concern is that I have no idea how to build relationships when the class is so chaotic. These kids are getting detention, etc. so they obviously don’t like me. I also feel guilty that these kids are impacting the education of others who are behaving respectfully. I filed four behavior reports yesterday and I am hoping that admin will be in my room more frequently from now on during this period.

    I am hoping I’ll be able to make it through my lesson tomorrow! This class will fall behind if I can’t!
     
  10. rpan

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    You can still form positive relationships with students even when giving consequences. This is a good opportunity to explain one on one to the student why the behaviour is unacceptable in the classroom (because it disrupts others learning, because it’s unsafe, because you are concerned that his learning will be affected) and that because he made the wrong choices he has to go thru the consequences. Tell the kid something positive about himself that you have noticed and admire about him and make it clear you are targeting the behaviour and not the person and you aren’t enjoying giving him the consequence at all. And if the kid makes positive choices then this detention business won’t have to happen again. Students seem to respond positively to that in my experience because they see that you are calling out the behaviour not the person, you’ve acknowledged what was positive in him and what is negative and he understands the reasons for the consequence, and you’re not just picking on him for no good reason. This chat needs to be calm and respectful and caring.
     
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  11. Ms.Holyoke

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    ^
    When do you usually talk to them? During detention or after class?

    My other concern is based on what I’m expected to do. On Friday, I followed the math coach’s advice to remediate with a small group. (She told me it is not acceptable to have kids who don’t get it and I need to be creative.) I think that’s why class went so badly — because the other kids don’t have the independence to work on an assignment when I am not watching them! The computer teacher at my school said that when I get advice like that, I need to ask them to help me plan the lesson and model it for me. I won’t be doing any small groups at all next week but I hope I won’t be in trouble when this class performs badly on benchmark assessments.
     
  12. rpan

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    I talk to the kid about his behaviour the first opportunity I get to have a one on one time with the kid. The fresher the incident is in the kids mind the better. But you need to make sure you have time to have a long conversation if it’s required, this is the time to build relationships and make the kid understand where you are coming from, so it cannot be rushed.
    I would follow the computer coaches advice, ask the math coach to model the lesson for you. Sometimes people give you strategies without the context of knowing the students personalities and classroom dynamics. If the class is not an ordered place, then the best pedagogy in the world is useless. So the math coach needs to know the kids and classroom dynamics to be able to give you relevant strategies, not just general ones.
    I would follow your plan of silent work and no fun activities till the math coach can model the lesson for you, and have an after school session or something to catch the lower kids up.
     
  13. Ms.Holyoke

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    ^
    I’ve been asking kids to stay after school on my extra help day (and I’ve added on more) and calling parents to get them to stay after school. Even after reminding parents, I usually only have about 2 kids stay after when about 10 kids need to stay after. My plan for Monday is allowing partner work and making a chart with the class detailing expectations. If I need to give more than one warning that it is too loud, then it turns into silent work.

    I also cannot have conversations with kids during class because of the behavior of the other kids and I am technically not supposed to keep them after class, but I sometimes do.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  14. rpan

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    It’s not your fault if you have the extra help classes and remind parents and the kids don’t turn up. You cannot make them want to learn. You provide the opportunities to improve, do what you can to help but if they don’t want to turn up, you’ve done your duty. It sounds harsh, but you cannot save them all, only the ones who want to be saved. Help the 2 kids who turn up and want to improve.
     
  15. Ms.Holyoke

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    ^
    It’s just that when I told my math coach that, she said I had to pull them in a small group. When I said that behavior didn’t allow this to happen, she said to “be creative.” That’s why I feel like I am struggling and I am not sure what to do. Our principal is also talking about how our test scores are low, etc. and it’s all putting a lot of stress on me. The 6th grade last year had very low scores because the teacher was terrible but I don’t see how my kids will do much better.
     
  16. rpan

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    “Be creative” comes with experience, something which a first year teacher would not have. A seasoned teacher would find a class of 34 kids, 10 of which are behaviours, challenging, let alone a neophyte teacher. I would point that out to the math coach in the most respectful way, and be honest and say you need help, and the best way is for her to model a lesson for you, as soon as possible.
     
  17. LouiseB

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    rpan is spot on. You are getting these suggestions but you are at the point where you want to see it in action. Sounds to me that the math coach is just giving you pat answers and nothing more. She probably wouldn't be able to teach in your situation!

    Are detentions given by you? If so that is the time to talk to students. At our school we are to take care of detentions before or after school. If the student doesn't show up, then it goes to administration. We also have a behavior section in our grade book where we can add issues we are having. It is a record for administration.

    I would also find out how the students who are struggling in your classes are doing in other classes per behavior. Maybe find out what those teachers do. (Don't know how large your school is.) Many kids can struggle in math and many times behavior is a result of not knowing math!
     
  18. Ms.Holyoke

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    ^
    I give detentions on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so I can talk to the kids then if I don't have other kids coming for extra help. I know that another teacher struggles with the same class but it is not as bad as it is for me. I also teach them at the traditionally most difficult time of day. An experienced science teacher told me that a few of the same kids have detention, but her class is better managed than mine. She also does not have exactly the same group as me.
     
  19. LouiseB

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    I would do the detention the day of the behavior issues. Kids love to push it off so it works for them. No way. You just might have to stay every day to get this under control. I know this doesn't not sound like something a teacher would like to do but it would give you the consequences they deserve.

    Can you separate the behavior issues or something else? I remember that they can't sit in the hallway. With so many students in your room, this might prove difficult.

    Wish I could help more!
     
  20. Ms.Holyoke

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    We only have a late bus on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday so I am only able to give detentions on these days. I don't want to be responsible for a student after school if a parent doesn't come get them. The behavior occurred on Friday, so I can only give a detention on Tuesday or Wednesday. (I can't stay late on Thursdays.) We are required to call parents for same day detentions as well. Detention is until 2:55 and our contract ends at 2:40 so I do not have to stay much longer.

    I am planning on asking for extra desks in my classroom but I don't even think it would help & I don't think my school has any. I can imagine the kid causing chaos as they walk to another seat to the side of the room because even getting up and moving can be a disruption with them. I can't even move seats because they'll find a way to misbehave next to literally anyone. I am always making a new seating chart, checking it with the English teacher, and they STILL find a way to talk. It is ridiculous!
     
  21. Always__Learning

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    You have to do what works for you in terms of when you can stay, but you have received some good advice. I don't want to sound harsh, but would stop thinking about contract time. I don't know anyone who worked just contract time in their first few years (except for teachers who ended up leaving the profession in those first few years). Learning a new job takes more time than doing a job you are seasoned at.
     
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  22. Ms.Holyoke

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    I am well aware of this. I actually stay until 3:30 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (over an hour after the kids get out) and stay until 5 on Fridays. I come to work 30-45 minutes early every day. Like I said, I cannot give detentions on Mondays or Fridays (I'm not sure what I would do if a parent didn't come get the child and kids generally do not stay after on these days for any reason) and I have a personal commitment on Thursdays so I need to leave on time & I don't think I should be made to feel like I am not doing my job because of that. I also take several hours of work home every single night and work hours on the weekends to prep for the next week so please do not assume that I am not working hard or doing my job. I was only pointing out contract time to demonstrate that staying after for a detention is really not much of an inconvenience for me.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  23. Always__Learning

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    Ms. Holyoke,

    I wasn't trying to suggest that you aren't doing your job. You have spoken of contract time in a number of threads and my feeling is that if you are using that as your benchmark for efficiency it might be worth ignoring that benchmark for at least a few years. I would figure out what a reasonable number of hours for you to get your job done and still have time for your well-being are and try to stick to that. It sounds like you've found that a schedule that works for you which is great.

    As a more general concept, I actually think it would be better if we as teachers had 8 contract hours plus our lunch. So, for example, one school I worked at we worked from 8:30-2:30 - which is actually 5 1/2 hours plus lunch. A lot of my co-workers complained about taking things home. I think to do our jobs does require 8 so if instead of leaving at 2:35 we had been contracted to stay until 5 most of us would have felt that our jobs were less all encompassing because we could have got our marking, planning, etc done in that extra 2 1/2 hours.
     
  24. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    The courses I teach end at 1:00 and I have prep from 1-2:20. This is why I am usually able to get ready for the next day in this time because I like to lesson plan over the weekend and refine the night before. I feel like my entire prep consists of calling parents, making copies/anchor charts, and organizing my room! However, I still take a ton of work home and it does stress me out, but I know I need to do it for the first year. I make it my goal to leave on time when I can so I can get work done at home, so I can beat the traffic, and for my mental health. I do not use contract time as a benchmark for my efficacy, but I do try to use the time that I have efficiently. I make sure I get all of my work done in a timely manner.

    Everyone is different. I have friends at my school who stay until 5:30-6 every day but take no work home. I leave much earlier (except on Fridays), but I take a lot of work home. Another new teacher on my floor does the same. We all probably end up working a similar amount of hours. On a side note, I wouldn't like being forced to stay later when I could just take the work home. I'm sure teachers would resist unless they were compensated more for those hours.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  25. Loomistrout

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    Detention has nothing to do with whether kids like you. What they don't like is what you represent - "no". Barney or Big Bird could be giving detention, and they wouldn't like them either. In other words, if you are expecting students to stand up and cheer, "Thanks teach for giving us little choice but to grow up!", it may be a long wait. Most students like a teacher who runs a tight ship; a place where they can get their work done without being disrupted. It is usually the vocal few who try to make you feel like a fool for having any standards whatsoever. Relationship is built because of one's high standards not lowering them in hopes if students get their way they will like you. The "Thanks" will come down the road because you know what's best for them.
     
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  26. Ms.Holyoke

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    So question...how do you handle the vocal few who are rude/disrespectful when you try to talk to them about their behavior? I have one student who is actually pretty well behaved BUT her behavior has unfortunately ramped up in my class. She sometimes talks when she is not supposed to, so I obviously wait/look at her. When I do this, she looks EXTREMELY inconvenienced and looks at me like "what did I do wrong?" It's comes off as rude and disrespectful. She does't exhibit the worst behaviors, but most of my students (even kids who talk more than she does) stop talking when I look at them and do not give me attitude about it. I spoke with her after class and I told her that I expected better of her because she had two days where she got very little done and she is a high achieving student. She basically shrugged me off and left. The English teacher was shocked when I said that she was giving me attitude but I'm sure that the behaviors of other kids cause the "good kids" to exhibit more behaviors. I did email her mother (who is very involved) last week so we will see. She might be the type of mother who takes her daughter's side so I am not sure.

    I also have another kid who exhibits more extreme behaviors (talking, yelling, hitting other kids with PAPER...so many ridiculous behaviors.) I call him out and he is downright disrespectful. (And yes, I have to call kids out publicly...I know Fred Jones says to take a pause or something but my kids can't handle it if I stop teaching.) He acts like he doesn't know what he did wrong! He is the kid I needed to call admin on & I finally got him to apologize to me and own up to his actions when I pulled him aside in the hallway at the end of the day on Friday. Apparently, he told his mother that he wasn't yelling, but he just has a "loud voice." (That's what the social worker told me!!) This is not true and the social worker said she would touch base with his mother. I also told the social worker about how he reacts to redirections. Things might go back to normal with him tomorrow (the defiance and disrespect) so I will have to see if the events from Friday will change his behavior.

    I am planning on running a tight ship tomorrow. I even called another parents this afternoon because her son has been very badly behaved this past week and I'm hoping that he will have a better day tomorrow. I will try the two reminders and then silent work idea. HOPEFULLY they can handle partner work and we don't need silent work!

    Has anyone ever had a class that was never able to use materials or do any fun activities? I'm worried this will be it for me. :( I'm teaching fraction division next week and my mentor has a lesson that I'll be using involving fraction tiles. I'm not even sure if this class can handle fraction tiles without throwing them at each other.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  27. Ms.Holyoke

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    Today went better but I am required to teach a lesson with manipulatives next Wednesday! Agh!! It's really just about 5 kids right now. This unit is BORING and very difficult for kids with weak computational skills, so I am glad that it is over on Thursday.

    I also really want to increase engagement in the classroom. I would love to use mini-whiteboards with the kids for exponents but I do not want the class to end up in chaos again.

    One of my students (academically high but very chatty) is moving away! So I am down to 33 kids (for now).

    I did ask my math coach to model stations for me and she will in the next few weeks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  28. Loomistrout

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    Hard to tell from your description the context of this interaction. Are you teaching a directed lesson, at her desk or?
     
  29. Ms.Holyoke

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    Usually during a lesson but sometimes individually.
     
  30. Loomistrout

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    Unless students have legitimate neurological disorders which prevent them from understanding "no" there is little reason to talk. They know what they are doing. They know the rules. They have known them since kindergarten. They have heard the lectures, cajoling, threats and reprimands from every teacher before you. Michael Linsin recommends never lecturing students about their behavior. He advocates trying to act like you don't care at all about their behavior; you have seen it a 1000 times and, quite frankly, you are bored. This is a good strategy. It keeps you in control. When you lecture it is telling students their behavior gets to you, upsets you, messes with your teaching. It's a license to keep doing it since it works so well. Calmly issue whatever consequence your management plan dictates. Then walk away. I sometimes carried a little notepad in my pocket. When I saw a student goofing off I would make eye contact and slowly take out the notepad. Slowly I would look at them and start writing as if it was a death warrant. I was doodling. They didn't know it. They thought it was a write-up. Slowly I put it back in my pocket. They usually got back to work.
     
  31. Ms.Holyoke

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    I honestly feel like some of my issues are arising because my students are SO CONFUSED about division. I have no more time to spend on this unit but my test is easy and I'll throw out questions that everyone gets wrong. My mentor came to observe me and gave me some really good advice. She said that I need to create partner work norms and one of them needs to be that everyone has to work on the same problem at the same time.

    There was one point where 18/34 of my kids were working as she noted. Yikes...
     
  32. otterpop

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    Don't worry about that "What did I do?" look. They will give it to you with false hopes that you will think it's honest. It's not. They know they're not supposed to be talking. If you really think she might not know (or that she would argue she doesn't), wait until she stops talking, and then say "Voices need to be off." Repeat, repeat, repeat. She will eventually get annoyed enough that she'll stop just to get you to stop. Although... this is good advice if it's just one or a couple kids. It may not work as well if there are a lot more doing the same thing.
     
  33. Ms.Holyoke

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    The good news is that things have gotten better with that student after I emailed her mom and also sent her a positive note when I noticed improvement. The other good news is that I am able to make it through a lesson and the kids are listening. However, being in the front of the room, there is stuff that happens near the back that I might not really notice.

    One of the defiant kids is still behaving badly and I'm pretty sure he is trying to show off for his friends. He is always complaining that "she' (aka me) is always picking on us, etc. I'm moving his seat to not sit so close to two other boys. I grouped two low kids together which was a bad idea & I'm pretty sure this is why they're not behaving appropriately -- I need to put them with higher kids who will be able to help them.

    The main issue now is academic work. My mentor noticed two girls talking during the whole Do Now that I didn't notice because I was checking homework. There was also way too many people not working on the assignment and I cannot redirect 15 kids. I am planning on being more clear tomorrow with norms (ex. you and your partner have to be on the same problem) and also timing us (we are practicing 3 different skills) to create a sense of urgency. (10 mins to practice multiplication, 10 mins for division, etc.) I have no idea how to make kids do their work. When I student taught, we had kids who didn't do their work and there was nothing we could do. The issue really is that some kids cannot do it...but when I'm just one person and pulling kids doesn't work, I'm not sure what to do. I have to say my mentor gave me really good and practical advice -- be more clear with directions, group norms, always project the worksheet we're on, etc. She also agreed that I shouldn't do anything fun with them for a while.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
  34. ms.irene

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    Definitely use proximity as much as you can -- one of the hardest things for me in the beginning was to walk into the rows and not get stuck "on stage." I usually teach from the middle of the room now and will (slowly) move towards kids who might be getting distracted as needed. If you're somehow tethered to the front of the room, try to find a way to change it up so you can roam around more.
     
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  35. Ms.Holyoke

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    Surprisingly, today's class went really, really well (not as good as my other class, but much better than previous classes). I followed my mentor's advice about partner work and almost every pair was on the same problem at the same time. I would say that the first 70% of class was really good. We did a review packet but I set a timer for 10 mins on addition, 10 mins on multiplication, etc. The kids turned in their work and almost EVERYONE worked except for one student. Near the end, the kids lost focus, so I had them work independently on a problem for the last 5 mins of class which they did. I want to keep this structure going forward and I hope that it will work!
     
  36. Ms.Holyoke

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    Oct 3, 2018

    I wish I had one of those tablets where I could write on the SMARTBOARD from anywhere in the room. I feel like when I am teaching a lesson, I am always stuck in front of the class. But I am trying to move around more when I don't need to write on the board and I notice a difference.
     
  37. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Oct 3, 2018

    Consider: There is nothing in state or federal law that says a teacher is the only one permitted to write on the board during a lesson. You have 34 willing workers, any of which would love to get out of their seat and write for you.

    In advance, I made a VIP (Visual Instruction Plan) on paper then chose a student to use it to copy from at the board as I moved around the room and dictated. This allowed me to "work the crowd" as I taught. Sometimes students would take turns "teaching" at the board.

    For bell work I assigned four problems (or categories) for homework. Next day one student was chosen to put their problems on the board and become the "teacher" - monitoring students and discussing solutions. This got me out of the business of having to create bell work each day and allowed me to move and watch. Surprisingly, idea of using their own work and role-playing teacher was motivation to complete hw.
     
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  38. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Oct 3, 2018

    So I had an informal observation during this class today and my principal left me really good feedback (kids working together, etc.) I think my mentor's advice is paying off! :) He said he went to 27 kids in the class and they were all working together and discussing. Obviously, behavior and focus improves a bit when he comes into the class but it's still a good sign.

    I'm going to tell the kids tomorrow how impressed the principal was with them. I think some positive feedback would be good for them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
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  39. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 4, 2018

    Ms.Holyoke, thanks so much for sharing both your fears and your progress. This thread has become one of my favorite things currently on A to Z.
     
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  40. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Oct 4, 2018

    Thanks!! If is also helpful for me to look back and see how things have gotten better!!

    Interestingly, I think I’ve “let go” a bit too much in my last period class. The kids are much better behaved and I haven’t been very strict. I realize I still need clear directions for them otherwise behaviors start to pop up. I did whiteboards today and I didn’t teach clear expectations, etc. so it didn’t go too well. They’ve also started talking in class, etc. I will make sure I am well prepared for them tomorrow too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018

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