I do not know what to do with this class? Advice?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by SpringGirl14, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. SpringGirl14

    SpringGirl14 Rookie

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    Sep 24, 2010

    I have my hands tied as I am only a student teacher. We even had someone tell me she feels bad I have to student teach in this class. The class is the rudest, can't stay on a single task, at least 8 students who unless you stand over them will do NOTHING, copy NOTHING, which includes even writing down their homework..and these are 7 year olds:eek:hmy: My biggest gripe is the way the classroom is set up. The kids sit at tables:eek:..2nd graders at a table? I've seen this in kindergarten, maybe even first grade, but never at this age. It is all day long talking, talking, hitting, touching, moving, fidgeting, making noises, stealing pencils, getting up, no matter how many times the teacher says sit down and raise your hand, it's a nightmare. I even discipline them at times too but my coop teacher is a real screamer and I don't think, since technically it's not my class, I should scream at them. I get along well with my teacher who is a veteran and she vents everyday to me and everyone else how she can't take it anymore.

    The other problem is the way they are taught, especially math. They have to sit on the floor with white boards and markers. They don't use notebooks to write down the lesson. They sit there fooling around, hitting the person next to them, drawing on their hands, drawing pictures on their board. I mean this is clearly not working. I've never seen math taught this way in any other school and I've been in about 5 others. You sit at your desk and the teacher is at the board which is how I was taught.

    I taught my first math lesson using the everyday math book, which I am not a fan of. The teacher and I went over the lesson the day before even though it's written out for you step by step in the manual and she said I would then do 3 workbook pages with them, this is in a 55 min block. She never uses the board, as she said it's not allowed and uses this tiny white board and a marker so I was stuck using that. Well the marker smears, I was writing on an angle and my only other option is to use chart paper which makes no sense and could fall over. The children were so disruptive and busy drawing pictures, fooling, you name it, I had to stop at least 10 times during my lesson and just sat there until they became quiet or I had to call out the names of the students to stop. Well, they understood what I did when I was teaching them, students were giving the right answers, raising their hands but the lesson took so long. I actually went way over my time and never thought just the lesson part would be so time consuming. We only had time to do 1 workbook page, only 3 examples which they all had a very hard time doing, half of them were sitting with their book closed so I had to then start opening up their books FOR THEM or reapeating to OPEN YOUR BOOK. I then had to go back to the front of the room and give them the answers pretty much which some students didn't even write down. My teacher sat at her desk while I taught, but helped me out at the end. She didn't comment how I did but I told her I was sorry it took so long went into another period and I needed to watch that. She said it was ok and with this group she knew how hard it is since they don't pay attention but I feel like my lesson was a bust. So what do I do in this situation with a group of children who are low functioning, don't respect anyone, including my cooperating teacher and will not do any work unless you stand over them...to add to a horribly set up classroom??:dizzy:I've noticed with these mathbook pages shes gives with each lesson there are many students who don't even attempt to do it :help: I am also being formally observed by my college supervisor so I'm not sure if I should mention beforehand the behavior problems of this class.
     
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  3. texteacher

    texteacher Companion

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    Sep 24, 2010

    Student teaching is definitely a hard time, because you have so many of your own ideas but you have to go along with what's happening in your class. I don't really have too much advice for you. I know when I student taught, I was allowed to also observe other teachers in the school which I thought was helpful. Maybe you can do that and see how others teach the math lesson? My cooperating teachers allowed me to make adjustments and do what worked for me. Hopefully your teacher will give you a little bit of freedom.
     
  4. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Sep 24, 2010

    Sounds like a difficult situation. I find it hard to give advice, not knowing the students... but I will say that I use tables in my second grade class, and I love it. In fact, desks are very rare in K-2 here... and are even becoming more rare in grades 3-5.
     
  5. SpringGirl14

    SpringGirl14 Rookie

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    Sep 24, 2010

    Can I ask what ground rules you have with your students that gets them to behave well when seated at their tables? Or are they just a well behaved group?
     
  6. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Sep 24, 2010

    I'm a teacher of students who are Emotionally Disturbed. We rely on a lot of "tangible" positive reinforcement---aka: bribery. ;) So this is just an idea you can use, providing your co-op is okay with it.

    Bring in some skittles or something similar. This will be your "hook". Start tossing them out to the kids who are on task. "Oh, I love how Jimmy is working so hard on his sheet. Thank you, Jimmy." Without missing a beat give it to the next kid who is working.

    When you get the kids who start saying "I'm working!" expecting a reward, you can say somthing like "Ah, but you can't ask for the candy jar---I have to wait until I see people working quietly without asking!"

    Eventually you can even wean them off entirely, just bringing it out for special times. It will take them a little getting used to. You might want to even make a big deal out of it. Bring out the container, shake it and introduce it with a sense of "awe". Establish the ground rules from the get-go.

    Best of luck!
     
  7. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Sep 24, 2010

    My whole school uses tables only. K-8. And I teach second grade Everyday Math on whiteboards well...every day! :) I use the large whiteboard though, and they just follow along. We have a very specific routine that includes when they pick up their markers and put down their markers. Keep your directions short and specific, and compliment the kids who are doing it right.
     
  8. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Believe it or not, I have never spoken about "rules" with my class. I have talked a bit about making good choices, but not all that much.

    Basically, I set my expectations for each activity. More often than not, I have them working together. I will move students who seem to be causing a problem with each other.

    I pick tables to go first for snack, or line up, or something else... there's some peer pressure to behave a bit there. We have a basket with pencils and erasers that stays in the middle of the table. I tell them to keep that in the middle of the table. I have students turn their chairs towards me while I'm talking.

    Whenever possible, I wander around the room while I talk, so that I can see each student. If a student is off task, I just quickly state their name in the middle of my sentence. For instance, I might say something like this: "When I say 'go', Jimmy, *insert stare here* I want you to go get your snack."

    I have built great relationships with each of my students, and so when they hear me say their name, they aim to please me.

    Do I have a great class? Definitely not! Do I have a terrible class? Absolutely not! Proximity is a huge deterrent to problems as well... always be moving around the room whenever possible! There are several students in my class who had multiple detentions last year... but the key that I have stumbled upon this year is building relationships with each of my students. I know it sounds absolutely schmaltzy and lifetime teacher movie-esque... but it's true!
     
  9. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Sep 24, 2010

    I was going to emphasize that maybe you should talk to your lead person and express how you need to practice TEACHING and no so much classroom management skills. HOWEVER, I then saw your comment about how white boards and markers "aren't the way to teach math". It's called thinking outside the box and differentiated instruction. there is NOTHING wrong with not sitting at your desk with a pencil and paper. If you truly believe that teaching with a paper and pencil at a desk is the only way to go you are going to have a hard time with teaching and you will have discipline problems. Maybe that mindset should be fixed first.
     
  10. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Sep 24, 2010

    You might also look into Whole Brain Teaching. It can be very effective very quickly, especially with younger kids.

    Go to the website and click on the "First Step" tab and read over those. There are also several videos available to watch WBT in action.

    I helped with the 3rd/4th graders at Summer Camp and we had many of the same discipline problems you describe (although not to the extent you have). So one day, I made our entire group sit down in the hallway and I spent 15 minutes explaining how we would start using "Class, Yes" for them to be quiet and "Eyes and Ears" (rather than "Hands and Eyes") for them to focus their attention on ME. The kids bought into this immediately.

    It takes practice and I'm still working on it myself, but I'm now using WBT in my 6th grade math classes. The kids respond great to it, I just need to improve my techniques and applications. However, we recently took a mandatory field trip for the entire middle school. Each grade was on a separate bus and I drove the 6th graders. Since they ALL were familiar with my WBT techniques, I would just use "Class, Yes" when I wanted them to get quiet. Let me tell you something, it is VERY impressive to hear an entire BUS full of kids respond immediately to a single prompt and to stop talking while listening for instructions.

    If your coop allows it, use the "Class, Yes" and "Hands and Eyes" (so they keep their little hands to themselves) for class mgt first, then implement more of the tools as you go along.

    The lead teacher I worked with at Summer Camp is a 20+ year veteran 3rd grade teacher. She was blown away by how quickly the students responded to the "Class, Yes" and asked me to send her the website link so she could start using it with her regular students this year.
     
  11. hojalata

    hojalata Comrade

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    Sep 25, 2010

    1. It seems like you have some kind of antiquated ideas about teaching 2nd grade. Every single 2nd grade classroom I know uses table groups. And they even use..gasp...white boards. And to go even farther, my school doesn't even allow homework for 2nd graders! And certainly none that they'd have to write down in a notebook like they're middle school students.

    2. Read the book Daily 5. Even if you don't use the Daily 5 reading format, the book teaches you how to set up, teach, and reinforce high expectations for your students.
     
  12. Super2ndGrade

    Super2ndGrade Rookie

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    Sep 25, 2010

    Teaching is pretty hard when it comes to the kid's behavior. Here are some tips:

    The candy jar idea is good, just make sure you don't miss anyone. You can walk around the tables, looking at the students' work, giving candy to the ones who are halfway done and not goofing off.

    When I was in 2nd grade, my teacher would give stickers to kids who did something good, like holding the door for a teacher or saying "please" and "thank you". If we got ten stickers, the teacher would give us a "homework pass" to use whenever we wanted.

    However, positive reinforcement isn't the only thing you need in a classroom- you also need discipline. When they are fighting, break them up and take each kid to one side of the classroom, away from the group. They will sit there for 5 minutes. You can also use the 'time out technique" for single kids who are not acting appropriatly.

    Give the kids each their own pencil and eraser. If you give different colors or patterns to the kids, it will result in fighting over pencils. Just use simple, yellow pencils. Don't give ANYTHING different to another kid, that will ALWAYS result in fighting.

    Hope this helps- remember, teaching kids to behave is sometimes like training an animal, and kids WILL misbehave sometimes, no matter how "nice" or "sweet". Keep trying!:thumb:
     
  13. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I don't see anything wrong with using the whiteboards. I use whiteboards in my class too, and actually it can be more effective than the typical pencil and paper way of doing things. Kids need to be stimulated, and their work should be fun. Obviously, though, there is a problem if kids are using their whiteboards to draw on. What consequences are you giving them if they play with the whiteboards? Have you tried just making those kids put the boards away and work with a paper and pencil instead? This might be a big incentive for them to stop playing around. There needs to be consequences. What is the behavior management system in this class? Do they turn cards? In any case, I don't think the issue here is the whiteboards and the way they are being taught. It sounds more like an issue of classroom management.

    By the way, be very careful about having students do things a certain way just because that's the way you were taught in school. Things have changed, and our challenge is to teach in today's world, that the world we grew up in. Your lessons should be designed using methods and techniques that best serve your students' needs, interests, etc.
     
  14. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    My CT used small whiteboards in her classroom from time to time when covering new material. She would introduce the material, illustrate how to apply it, then have students work problems on their whiteboards and hold them up. This gave her an instant assessment on who was understanding the lesson and who was not.

    It worked fairly well, but we also had the problem of students drawing pictures on the board or writing messages for their neighbors.
     
  15. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I use whiteboards sometimes, but not every day. I have very specific rules. They can not talk at all when I'm handing them out. They can not draw pictures on their whiteboard. If they do anything they're not supposed to do, I take away the whiteboard and they have to write everything down on paper. My kids love the whiteboards, so they behave when we use them. I tell them if they do a good job, I will let them draw on it at the end (it's usually only about 2 minutes).
     
  16. SpringGirl14

    SpringGirl14 Rookie

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    I should clarify what I mean. I understand, especially in the public school system which I am in, smart boards are used, white boards and I am not saying I do not want to use a white board and am against it. I am just used to seeing lessons taught on a board that's all. As far as giving rewards, she gives out popsticle sticks when a student is behaving well and when you collect enough you get a reward. BUT..she very rarely gives them out and never says before a lesson "Whoever pays attention and does their work will get a popscile stick" which may help.

    I just have to get used to writing on a small size board I guess. Even though she is helpful and we do get along, I feel like I am expected to teach how she wants and what she wants while in her class. I mean she won't even let me choose what books I want to read to them for read aloud:confused: She saw me looking once and then ran up behind me with a book of her choice. So, it's like even though I may teach a lesson it's done how she wants. Also, when she has them use their boards to write on during lessons, she never asks them to hold up their work, it's just used to write on. And even with her in front of the room it's her yelling throughout the lesson at them. She does not allow any food to be eaten in the class, so I can't go giving out skittles or other food unless they want to take them home. I really would rather not rock the boat and start telling her how she should run the class or comment on things I do not think are working. I don't know. I feel like this is going to end up being a month of behavior management techniques and what not to do, rather then learning how to teach..
     
  17. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    I use the whiteboards and I have established rules about drawing on them. When I have them get their boards out of their desks, I always give them a minute or two to doodle...gets it out of their system, but after that, I don't let them draw. I also let them use their boards during free time to draw on, so the novelty is gone. I will pose a question and say, "think, write, wait, and 1.2.3 show me!

    I agree with the whole brain teaching...I use it...and have almost 100% student engagement.


    I just wanted to say that you have the wonderful opportunity to really think about what you don't like and what you would do differently in your own class.
     
  18. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    It IS her class and she is the one that will have answer for their performance (or lack thereof) at the end of the year. She obviously wants things run her way and there really isn't much you can do about it.

    If this just a month-long assignment, then it obviously isn't your last ST assignment. Just take what you learn in her class (both good and bad) and use that knowledge to help further develop the style (and procedures) that work best for you. At least the teacher is friendly and willing to work with you. It could be a lot worse.

    My ST assignment was 12 weeks and I taught all 4 classes solo for 10 of those weeks. My CT was great to work with and very supportive, but she also let me know right away that SHE wanted her class back BEFORE time to start prepping for EoGs. She didn't trust anyone else to get her class properly prepared for the End of Grade testing. She's been teaching for more than 25 years and I'm just starting, so I really couldn't argue with her reasoning. ;)
     
  19. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    I agree with the above. It is her class, not yours...
    Sounds like you are there for observing? If so, there is so much you can do with this experience! = ) You can make note of what was effective in her room and why as well as the opposite and how you would make it different.
     
  20. cheer

    cheer Comrade

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    Ok I think tables vs desks is a personnal choice. I have used both and I have to say...kids that have their own space seem to do better focusing. (just my own experience) Although desks pose other issues as well ie playing in them. I like the wipe board idea but not every day. Kids need traditional and nontraditional ways to perform tasks. I would also think that if you implement some sort of positive reward system when you are teaching (maybe not candy because schools frown upon that) but maybe a ticket when the whole group is caught doing the right thing. make it a race to see who can earn the most tickets in one lesson. The winners get a printed ribbon (made by you) OR each child in that winning group gets to wear a king crown to wear all through your next lesson. Then when the next lesson is through see if anyone gets to "steal" the winning crown from last lessons champs?? I do caution when using a race you may get some kids that cry so set the ground rules in advance..NO crying just try harder next time.
     
  21. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    We use tables in 5th grade here. The rest of the school would love them, but we can't buy that many at once!

    Don't scream at them. There are lots of other ways to manage them. Try to spice up your lessons to get their attention. Try positive role models. Try being specific about expectations (I expect that you will sit still, with your hands to yourselves, until I am done talking). Then reward those that do that.

    We use something called CHAMPS. Google it. It sets expectations for every activity, as far as movement, noise level. how to get help, etc.

    Another thing - maybe your cooperating teacher would allow you, as a project, to start a positive incentive plan? I have something really simple, a marble jar, and every time I see something good happening, someone doing the right thing, they can put a marble in the jar. When it's full, there is a class reward. Something easy, like having lunch outside or getting a longer recess. They love it! Other teachers do a class store, where they pay kids that they catch being good, and those tokens are redeemable for small prizes at the end of the week (it could be pencils, or buying a lunch date with you, or stickers, or whatever)
     
  22. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Sep 26, 2010

    I do this too... it helps sooooo much! We draw at the beginning, and then if we can work quickly and get through the whole lesson, they can get another minute or two at the end.

    If I catch someone using the board inappropriately, they lose the board for part of the lesson. Once they realize I am serious about taking them away, I don't have the problem again. I do this with our smartboard remotes too.
     

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