MS: Having your students line up outside the door or not?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Peregrin5, Aug 16, 2014.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Aug 16, 2014

    I don't normally have my students line up outside the door, and in past years I generally allow my students to enter and continue conversations as long as they are getting work done.

    However this hasn't always worked out. Students frequently don't have their materials out and prepared. This year when they enter I would like to have them enter silently and get straight to work.

    A problem might occur though simply because they would all be entering at different times. I generally stand in the doorway so I can keep an eye out, but it might just be easier to have them wait outside the doorway and get them all started at the same time.

    The only thing is that I teach 8th graders and that feels very elementary school to me. Some of our teachers do this, and some do not. What do you think?
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I want mine coming in at different times. They often have materials to pick up, and when all 35 of them try it at once, it is chaos.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Mine only line up in the hall if I'm not in the room or if they are waiting for another class to leave my room.
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    This is true of my class too.
     
  6. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    We generally don't do lines in middle school. I would be very surprised to see them line up at my door.
     
  7. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Ours come in as they get there. I've never seen teachers have them line up in junior high.

    My kids are pretty good at getting to work when the bell rings but they're older.
     
  8. Jeky

    Jeky Comrade

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    Aug 16, 2014

    Absolutely I have them line up outside. I usually stand outside chatting with them until most of them are there. Then I let them in. I talk about the doorway being a barrier between social conversation and getting to work.

    Day 1 we practice coming inside, getting the bellwork, sitting down and getting started.

    It works for me. If I had a lot materials that students needed to get, I would wait until after bellwork/attendance and have an organized way of getting materials distributed.
     
  9. MrsRed

    MrsRed Rookie

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    Yes, my middle-schoolers line up. It's school policy, and honestly it works quite nicely. They know that when they enter the classroom, it's time to learn. Like Jeky said, they know that the doorway is a barrier.

    Parts of me wish I could get away with it with my 11th graders!
     
  10. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I have them line up. I do let them in before the bell, but sometimes I need to run to the restroom in between classes, and I'd rather they stay outside the room where the other teachers can keep an eye on them for me.
     
  11. ready2learn

    ready2learn Comrade

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    I have had them just come into the classroom and I have had them line up. Right now, I am doing the line up before coming in first thing. I think I prefer that because I do see more know that it is time to get to business when they get inside the classroom.
     
  12. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Aug 17, 2014

    It would not work for me just because of how my school is designed. There is nowhere for the kids to line up where they wouldn't be blocking classmates' lockers. I can just see that starting some type of middle school drama everyday (ex: "MOVE! I can't get to my locker!" "What are you gonna do about it, wuss?")

    Or maybe I just work with some easily ruffled kiddos ;)
     
  13. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    I always start with them lining up and see how that particular class handles it. My 8th graders were done lining up on day 3 this year (most of them are kids I had last year already), my 7th graders though will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I like setting the trend the first couple days so they know it is an option if I see they need the reminder that inside the class is an academic zone.

    For me, I couldn't care less if something seems elementary if it works.
     
  14. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Aug 17, 2014

    My school wants MS teachers to do lines.

    I think they are great if you can get the kids to line up and be quiet/silent before they enter. This is supposed to be the prerequisite for coming into a classroom and the reason we do lines. But, if you can't get the kids to be quiet in the hallway before they enter and they are all unruly and noisy; then don't bother with the lines. It just makes you look bad.
     
  15. kaeco510

    kaeco510 Companion

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    I've been in schools where the kids lined up and schools where they did not. IMHO the lines were more of a pain than a help. The kids, especially the 8th graders, felt that they were being treated like babies, and I agree.

    I think if you have a routine set up from the beginning of school where the kids know to take out the required materials and begin the warm up / do now, they should be fine. It takes some practice and training, but by 8th grade, they should be starting to do things independently.
     
  16. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Aug 18, 2014

    As you already know any routine like the entering room transition will be as successful as the attention given to it. Most kids enter the room talking, poking and loitering because they are allowed to. If a teacher's discipline plan dictates the doorway separates work from social then the teacher needs to be prepared to teach and follow through with the plan.

    If students are slow to get materials out consider giving each something to work on as they enter the room. This helps eliminate the different "organizational skills" of trying to find materials with some starting while others are still digging in binders. Have you tried "sponge activities"?
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Aug 19, 2014

    They have a kick-off to work on as soon as they get into the room. The problem was that they weren't starting it and were instead just chatting. My sponge activities are then writing their homework in their planner, copying down the word walls if there are any, and completing the sentences and definitions for them, or adding splines to their concept maps.

    The problem wasn't a lack of stuff to do, it was more of my attention to it as you mentioned. Even though I would remind them, there was very little motivation to do it, and it wasn't something I wanted to break out consequences for. I also explicitly told them that they could talk as long as work was getting done. I started doing random participation point checks and that worked for a bit, but a few kids were a bit stressed out by it. (That said, I'm going to be doing daily Preparedness checks this year.)

    So I decided to make it clear cut this year. There should be no talking when you enter the room and get the work out. That way they won't be distracted catching up with friends instead of getting their kick-off done. I can also quickly assess to see who is following the rules, because if someone is talking, it's obvious they're not working, as opposed to trying to pick out who is not working amongst a room of conversational 8th graders, some of who did the work, some who did not.

    There is also the motivation of being checked for participation both by being prepared with their materials out, and by being ready to answer the question (having it silent will also cut down on copying the starter questions from each other). Those who I call on, if they are not ready, lose participation points for themselves, while those who are ready and answer win participation points for themselves and their whole group (so there is a slight element of peer pressure hopefully).
     
  18. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Aug 19, 2014

    Yes, some kids will like you because you let them talk but the majority want a quiet, distraction free environment to get their work done. Do not expect applause from the disruptive few who try to make you feel like a fool for having any standards whatsoever.

    Sponge activities are generally not related to assignments students "have to do" anyway. They are enrichment, fun and learning related - something students look forward to doing, hence, built-in motivation. Can't blame students for procrastinating or producing quick, sloppy and inaccurate work if the "reward" is more work. Sponge activities do not have to be sophisticated, the easier the better. Drawing-coloring "hidden pictures" related to subject matter has been used in high school. X-words, word searches, mazes etc. or anything which has no-brainer directions and "soaks up free time" will work as a sponge. Some teachers use a "project box" (shoebox works) that students fill with stuff to complete a project(s) - building boats out of different materials to demonstrate displacement comes to mind.
     
  19. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Do you have any good resources for "sponge work"? In my experience, my middle school students find things like mazes, word searches, etc. to not be enjoyable. Many find them pointless and would rather read (which I encourage). I've tried logic puzzles too, but I think they were too complex.

    I'd like something fun that increases their deductive and inductive reasoning abilities.
     
  20. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    I'd be careful putting too much weight on what students find "enjoyable". Adolescents are famous for saying "no" to almost anything suggested by an adult. Given too many choices students have a tendency to vote for things which are familiar - listening to music, talking with friends, video games etc. - all of which are vanilla over and over. If you find one learning related activity every student, no matter ability-maturity level, will salivate over please let us all know.

    Instead of just one sponge activity consider an array. One teacher would keep three trays with a different dittoed activity in each in the back of the room. As students entered the room on Mondays teacher would greet and hand each student a sponge which they kept in their binders to work on when finished with regular assignment or waiting. If students finished a sponge they turned it in and chose a new one from a tray in the back.

    The sponge activity is not the time to assess students' knowledge. As you noted, too difficult and it's a turn-off. Its main purpose is to keep kids busy, hands-on and self-directed. The knowledge stuff comes out of whatever bell work or warm-up activity (not a sponge) you choose to focus the class when they enter the room. If you use 2-Problem Approach as a warm-up students will finish at different times. If they have nothing better to do they will talk. A sponge activity is designed for the I'm finished. Now what do I do? crowd.

    The favorite PAT activity in one high school AP class was, unbelievably, 7-Up! Yes, the heads down, fingers up game played by first-graders. Point is students would like to give impression they are adults but most are 16 going on eight.

    Lots of resources on Web: sponge activities for middle school
     
  21. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I always tied my bell work to my exit ticket, so there was motivation. Something like, solve a problem based on yesterday's objectives (bell work), and use the numbers in your answer to solve today's exit ticket.

    When I type that out it sounds complicated-it wasn't. They just had something to do when they entered, and had to keep it and keep track of it in order to do the day's exit ticket. Meaningful, content related, and a measure of accountability. If I didn't do this, they wouldn't do it.

    Also, my general rule was no one enters until everyone exits, and no bunching in the doorway. Nobody has time for 7th and 8th graders mixing in a doorway. They tended to form a line naturally, but for me personally, I wouldn't mandate a line. That could lead to resentment, which is step 1 towards losing respect and/or control.
     
  22. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Aug 20, 2014

    Love love love this.
     
  23. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Today was my first day teaching my 8th grade class, and they all came in chatty and only about half were following the posted directions and bell work. I made them all go out and do it again, and they came in as quiet as mice. I will continue to practice as necessary!
     
  24. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    :thumb:
     
  25. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Good job! Middle schoolers only believe the rules when they first break them and you keep them accountable for it.
     
  26. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    It's interesting, since all three of my high school classes were seated and silent before the bell without any extra redirection from me (just directions at the door and on the board). Teaching both levels will be an interesting experiment in what works with what age groups, and how they respond differently. The 8th graders did respond well once I asked them to do it right. My goal for this year is to never get frustrated (or show my frustration) when they don't get it right the first time!
     
  27. mrs.whatsit

    mrs.whatsit Rookie

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    I always had my students line up outside the door. this gave me a chance to say hello to each one individually and build relationships. You can also address them as a group and give them directions about what you want them to do. its a nice ritual!
     
  28. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    I taught ms for three years and I lined them up every day, every class and credit that practice with most of my success. I am aware that there are some places in the country where children come in quietly and respectfully and get to their work with minimal prompting. However, I have never worked in such a school. Everyone's classes were always just on the brink of chaos and holding that literal line was what kept the ship afloat. I love it because it gives me the opportunity to get them quiet before entering, allows me to check that each kid has a pencil and greet each student. It creates a clear delineation between nonsense that happens in the hall and how we act in class. At my school there was so much swearing, scooter riding, basketball throwing and wrestling in hallways that the office told us to not even bother writing referrals. I liked being able to ignore all the craziness in the hall, which was too great to control, and focus on my line. Once you were in my line, you had to stop. If students came in noisy or even one student talked, I would make them do it again...usually 5 or 6 times a day for the first week. Later in the year, knowing kids would enter quietly and I would have those 2 minutes of calm and control was so helpful. This is the number one thing I recommend for new teachers, tired teachers...basically all teachers.
     
  29. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Aug 26, 2014

    I'm doing enter as they come for now and seeing how they handle that. If they can't it's nice to have something like this to fall back on for a while.
     
  30. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    I don't have mine line up, they just have a bell ringer that they know that they should get started on straight away.
     

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