Hands Up - question, comment, answer...

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by ayotte04, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2007

    I'm curious what your thoughts are on this. My fall semester master teacher used a technique (maybe rick morris?) that changed the idea of "raising your hands" in class.

    Basically the kids have 4 options:

    1) if they have a comment they form a "c" with their hand
    2) if they have an answer they form the sign language "a" with their hand

    3) if they have a question they form the sign language "i" as in, "I have a question"

    4) and if it's a restroom thing, they form an "r"

    Allegedly it helps cut down on questions not related to whatever you're lecturing on. You can instantly tell who has to use the restroom. And if someone doesn't "get it" you can see they have a valid question.

    I found from summer school teaching (i did not use her method) I could waste plenty of time calling on kids with their hands raised to : get a drink of water, use the restroom, share an obscene amount of comments (and questions) not related to what we were discussing...i.e. "what's our homework? when is this due? what are we doing next? 'this one time, my step-brother's aunt's neighbor's ex-boyfriend's dog....'"

    I could EASILY spend 5 minutes (or more) calling on them. Then I would get frustrated and be like "if it's not related to homophones, put your hands down!"

    how do you handle all the hands raised?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 29, 2007

    The system you're describing sounds great in theory, but it is just too much work for me.

    I control the types of questions asked during instructional time by laying the groundwork during the first several weeks of school. They will undoubtedly ask inappropriate questions (rather, appropriate questions at inappropriate times), so I let them know right then that I'm only handling questions pertaining to the topic at hand. It helps to control when they're allowed to raise their hands (like when I've paused or when I've specifically asked for questions). I also control how I phrase my request for questions. Instead of asking if there are any questions, I ask if there are any questions about what we've been talking about or any other grammar/vocab/Latin-related questions.

    I let them know that the appropriate time to ask personal questions (like asking to use the bathroom, requesting a grade printout, etc.) is during independent work time, between classes, or before/after school.
     
  4. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2007

    so this way you're suggesting...it takes them a few weeks to warm up...(let's say 2-3)...then after that...when their "appropriate questions during inappropriate times" come up...what do you do?
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 29, 2007

    I redirect them and tell them that right now is not the time to be asking me that question.
     
  6. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2007

    so they catch on and it's never a problem? I believe it could work...I just know during summer school...no matter how many times I told them "wait until I finish giving instructions" or "the only questions should be about what we've just covered" they still didn't catch on.

    perhaps you should come teach my class for a day
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 29, 2007

    Most kids did catch on, but a few didn't. I just tried to be patient with those who didn't catch on in hopes that they will do so by next year when I have them again.

    Kids in my classes know that I will only give instructions once. I'm happy to offer assistance if you don't understand my instructions, but I'm not going to repeat them just because you weren't paying attention. Kids catch on pretty quickly that it's a waste of time for them to ask me to repeat stuff because they were screwing around, just like they figure it out that it's a waste of time to ask if they can use the bathroom when I'm in the middle of my talk about subject/verb agreement.
     
  8. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Jul 29, 2007

    I do pretty much the same thing as Cassie does.

    What to do if someone breaks the procedure?

    Off task questions/comments: Right now we're focusing on _______. Questions/comments on _________? Thank you.

    Bathroom/water/inappropriate requests - as I've mentioned I have a generous policy on these things - but there is a time and a place. So, I say to the student - Time and place. Any questions/comments on ______________ ? Thank you.

    "Time and place" is a reminder phrase I use in my room - students want to deal with their issues RIGHT THEN and RIGHT THEN is often not a good idea for many reasons. They learn that I'm happy to talk to them - talk, not yell, and at the appropriate time and place. I'll remind them "time and place". Does it always work? No. Nothing does. :)

    I forget where I picked up the "thank you" thing. You say it with a smile thanking them for following through with your directions. A lot like the "teacher voice" it just radiates your confidence that they ARE going to do what you say. It also throws them for a bit of a loop - thank you is awfully hard to argue with. A lot of classroom management comes down to fairness, consistency, and confidence.

    If a child consistently breaks this it is a disrespect issue and should be treated as such.
     
  9. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2007

    I love using please and thank you...almost to an overkill point. Some of these kids weren't raised with basic manners. I think it's one more way to show your respect for them as students.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 29, 2007

    Same here.

    I can't remember which thread it was in, but someone mentioned being told at a professional development thing (I think) that teachers should never use please and thank you. I can't imagine that!
     
  11. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2007

    that's stupid....by using it in the classroom you'll naturally use it more often when you're around your colleagues. and it always comes in handy around the administrative assistants and VPs (wink)
     
  12. willsgirl

    willsgirl Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2007

    And, so, as ayotte suggests, how are they supposed to learn common courtesy and manners if we don't model that for them? I really can't imagine what kind of pro dev thing would adhear to that type of thinking. I'm with you.
     
  13. apple25

    apple25 Comrade

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    Jul 30, 2007

    Last year, my students are quite good at wasting time by asking appropriate questions at inappropriate times. My first year teaching (2 years ago), I spent a lot of time teaching procedures and expectations the first few weeks at school. The class was fairly good with staying on topic - it made life much easier :)

    Last year, on the 2nd day of school, we had a tragedy and I let things slide . . . there were much more important things to deal with. I did notice, though, towards the middle of the school year, that it was very hard to stop the wasting of classtime. You could tell them that it was "off-topic", but it didn't seem to stick with them . . . the next day it was the same thing (sigh).

    I know I made the right decision last year re: letting some things slide, but I also know next year I'll crack down out the expectations again at the first of the year!

    I should mention, last year was an amazing year in terms of how close the class was and how everyone cared for each other. Even though the first few weeks were rough, and they did drive me batty with their chatter at times, they also made me cry at Christmas with a calendar with their pictures on it . . . I'll miss them this year . . .
     
  14. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 31, 2007

    not to intrude, dont feel obligated to answer, but was this a personal tragedy in the class, or for your school?
     
  15. apple25

    apple25 Comrade

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    Jul 31, 2007

    It was in my class - a boy was riding an ATV and was killed in a collision w/ a cement truck. It was absolutely awful. My grade 8's this year would be his class, so it is still very fresh in everyone's mind. Because we are a really small school, everyone knows everyone really really well - I had taught him the year before, and all the kids would have been invited to birthday parties, etc. It's only really lately that I've been able to talk about it a bit more - it took a lot out of the school.

    I know it will be coming back often again this year . . . on the second day of school it will be the anniversary of the accident, so I'll have to plan something to acknowledge it, but yet try to keep it positive.

    It was the hardest thing I've had to go through, but it did give me a different perspective on teaching. I remember J cheerfully saying "good-bye, see you tomorrow" to me and all the teachers that day, and I told myself that personal relationships is key to teaching. The last thing that I would ever want is to have "an issue" as a last memory.

    At any rate - I've blabbed long enough :) Thanks for asking me about it.
     
  16. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 31, 2007

    well i appreciate you sharing the personal story...yup kind of puts it in perspective. you never want a kid walking out of your class with you fuming mad, then the next day you find out something bad has happened.
     
  17. cjven

    cjven Rookie

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    Jul 31, 2007

    I take very similar approach as Cassie but I usually give them the last five minutes of class for inappropriate comments. Last year I had many students who would think of a joke they heard or have a "what if" question during the lesson. Once they learned that they could ask those questions in the last five minutes they stopped asking them during the lesson. I liked to hear these comments, stories and "what if" questions because I think it helps them relate to the material.
     

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