How do children ask for help in your Montessori classroom? Overwhelmed!

Discussion in 'Montessori' started by crispywafers, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. crispywafers

    crispywafers New Member

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    Mar 22, 2008

    Hello all,

    I am a relatively new Montessori teacher (2 years). I have a fairly happy humming classroom (30 kids), however I feel the children in my room might be too dependent on me? I have observed other montessori classrooms and feel like I see the teacher/directress able to walk around the room, observing, etc.

    Whereas in my room - I can have a backup of 4 or 5 children waiting for my help. What have I done wrong?

    In my classroom we taught the children to come over and put there hand on our shoulder if they needed help - this way they do not interrupt if I am currently talking/giving a lesson, etc. However, now, by the end of the day I can feel clausterphobic - as I sometimes have 5 children build up with hands on me waiting at a time!

    How do you have the children in your room ask for help? Do they put their hand on your shoulder? Do they sit somewhere?

    I'm not sure if I have a problem here with my classroom - as maybe too many children are needing help? (requesting paper, wanting me to check a paper/work, needing help to sound out a word, wanting to tell me they have finished, asking me if I can please choose a work cause they dont' know what they want to do, wanting to tell me the work they are going to go do (esp the little ones like to do this), wanting to show me how nicely they rolled a mat,. etc. etc.)

    Or is this a problem with how we have set up the "asking help" policy in our room - with the children coming over to me and putting their hand on my shoulder.

    At this point I can't even get through 1 lesson without being interrupted several times.

    Thanks for any tips/insight!
     
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  3. Yenna

    Yenna Companion

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    Mar 23, 2008

    Hi Crispywafers!
    I would offer you several thoughts:
    first- you have to make sure you never interupt a lesson to help another child. This sends the message that you are available. When you are in a lesson - you are available only to the individual or small group for the presentation.
    second- make sure all activities are prepared in advance with all materials accessible. The children shouldn't have to come to you for supplies or accessing materials.
    third- I use the "waiting spot". This is great because the children don't have to interupt your lesson to give the signal that they need you. Also, I give grace and courtesy lessons on helping someone in the waiting spot and always encourage a child to do this before I ever help anyone. Sometimes the child goes back to his work on his own and solves the problem!
    fourth- you should do observations everyday so the children get use to you doing this. I know one Directress who puts a colorful pin on her clipboard to signal the children when she is observing (of course, she presented this in grace and courtesy)...I find it just as effective to just tell them "I'm not available when I'm observing" or something similar. The children will respect this when it becomes routine.
    Good luck!
     
  4. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    Mar 26, 2008

    I don't teach in a montessori school but I have taught my kids how to get help. At the beginning of the year we talked about how I might not always be able to answer a question or help them on something. My kids know the rule is that they have to ask a buddy in the class first before ever coming to me. Also, when I am meeting with a small group, I wear a special visor that means, "I am teaching." They are not allowed to talk to me when I have the hat on. I have had kids come up anyways....but all I do is tap my hat and you hear them say "oh yeah" and walk away. Possible some kind of hat or clip would be a visual for the kids to know when they have to be independent.
     
  5. MsVee

    MsVee Rookie

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    Mar 26, 2008

    I heard of someone who used a stop sign on the table to mean she was unavailable. Or was it a stop light?! :p Anyway, I like your hat idea better, little317. It seems easier to implement somehow.

    I don't work at a Montessori school, but I do work with mixed grades, so I have to have one-on-one time with them fairly often. They sort of know that if I'm working at "the Round Table" I'm off-limits, but even I forget to enforce that rule.... I like your hat idea. I think it would help everyone remember that I'm busy.

    I also heard about a teacher who had an "I need help" box. Each student had a tag or something that they could put in the box to indicate that they needed help. It helped the teacher remember who needed help, and reduced the students' anxiety about being forgotten.

    Personally it would drive me bonkers if students kept putting their hands on my shoulders to get my attention! I ask them to stand nearby, and I usually signal them with a hand gesture either that I'll be a second or that they need to ask the aide.
     
  6. rotterdam

    rotterdam New Member

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    Sep 17, 2008

    Hi!
    I can understand that this is very overwelming. In my class(29 kids) the first thing I learn them is to never, ever come to me for help. And I'm getting pretty good at ignoring them if they do:) I always walk the same route in my class. So the kids now that I'm on my way. They all have a buddy in the class were they have to go to first. If this child can not help them, they have to at least ask 4 other children. If that doesn't work, they put there work aside and do an other activity till I can help them. Each child has a namecard and they put it on there table if they want my help. They are not allowed to wait and do nothing. They have to chose another activity.
    This way you make the children less depending on you.
    Good luck!
    groetjes Zillah

    ps: I just looked at the date you posted this. I hope you allready had lots of good advice:)
     

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