Help With Language Arts!

Discussion in 'Sixth Grade' started by LA/FLnewbie, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. LA/FLnewbie

    LA/FLnewbie Companion

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    Oct 21, 2007

    Hello everyone,

    I am in my first year teaching 6th grade and 8th grade Language Arts. I student taught in a high school so I expected the transition to middle school to be rough...well, the 8th graders are doing fine, but I REALLY struggle with the 6th graders. Classroom management and behavior is a major issue...talking, fidgeting, singing and other distractions are making the class an uphill battle for me. The thing is, I think it is because I'm not structuring the lessons well for these younger kids! They write in a workshop twice a week, and those tend to be the best days because kids can move around and work at their own pace. But I just don't know what to DO to make reading, vocabulary, and grammar lessons work out for them...Can anyone give me good suggestions of things to try? Before I go INSANE?!?! :)

    Thank you !!!
     
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  3. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    Oct 21, 2007

    Join the crowd! My seventh graders will be the death of me. My eighth graders are fine, but the seventh graders are coming from elementary and are having lots of problems.
    There are thirty of them and they are very talkative. I have tried many different things. Most things will work for a few days.
    I try to establish a routine where they have a chance to be quiet (mine are highly competitive and do not work well with other students). They really like to read out loud. They also like to take notes if I give them a note sheet with blanks they have to fill in.
    We (the middle school teachers) also give them sentences to write (ten at a time) like " I am writing this sentence to remind myself that I need to be quiet and focused on my work in order to have success in this classroom."
    We are also going to start making them sign a homework log when they don't turn in their homework in that says, "I chose not to my homework." We all are getting only about half the homework turned in and then the students say we lost it!
    Good luck!
     
  4. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 21, 2007

    I'm having a hard time getting my own child to bring me his homework log. He isn't turning anything in either. Although there are things I've done at home, some of the teachers seemed almost shocked when I wanted something other than grades to be his consequence at school. If you read some of my other posts you will KNOW I've done my part at home.

    As for the other stuff, try breaking it up with some class games. Get them up and moving.

    I hate to say it (and I don't teach this group so others are welcome to join in and disagree), but why not say stuff like, "I hear someone singing? Don't stop. I think I recognize that song. Why don't you come up here and sing it? What? I don't hear it anymore. Oh well."

    Separate frequent talkers. Wander around the room making your presence known. Give them assignments where they can talk some. Move someone if they are doing it too often (with a quiet warning).
     
  5. cdorey13

    cdorey13 Rookie

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    Oct 21, 2007

    Here is a GREAT idea that I learned from a fellow 6th grade teacher and tried this year... hopefully I can explain it well!! Split the class in half but every other student, like A B A B exc. Everyone will need a partner in the end, but that's for later. Then you give the A's an assignment like a worksheet or something that will keep them busy for like 10 minutes. Tell them it HAS to be completed in the 10 minutes or else... this forces them to focus on their assignment. Then you tell the B's that you are going to teach them something new and that they can take notes if they would like to, it's up to them. Then you teach them a 10 minute lesson or whatever (I taught the parts of the earth and volcanoes for our science but that was what we were working on). When you are done teaching the 10 minutes. Erase everything you have written. Ask if there are any questions, which there usually isn't, and then tell A's to turn in their assignment because time is up. NOW, tell B's they have 10 minutes to teach A's everything that they just learned and A's can take notes. Walk around, DON'T comment, just listen. Then when the timer goes off, tell the A's they are having a quiz on what they just were taught by the B's and they CANNOT use their notes. (no notes is important because they spend most of their time spelling, copying and not LEARNING!) Then give them a QUICK 5 question quiz. At this point the B's are laughing because they just get to sit and watch, they can't help or talk. At the end of the quiz, tell the A's to give their quizzes to their teacher (the B) and tell the B's that whenever a teacher gives a quiz they have to grade it, so B's grade, they are still laughing. At the end of the quiz they put a grade at the top and write their name under the grade so you know who the teacher was, then you tell the B's (teachers) that it is THEIR GRADE because teachers are graded on how well their students do. This shocks them! The next day, I did it again switching roles and even though they knew what to expect I made the lesson HARDER and they still did just as poorly but in the end my class had a new appreciation for me as their teacher. I plan on doing this a few other times in the year just as a reminder to them. I also ended up using their "grade as the teacher" as bonus points for their science test since it was only 5 questions and the most anyone got was 3 out of 5. I hope that makes sense! Keep them on their toes and don't let it be too easy and it might make a GREAT point for you!
     

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