My students are driving me insane!

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by wldywall, Nov 16, 2007.

  1. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Nov 16, 2007

    OHHHH 8th graders! They think they KNOW everything. Mine talk and talk and talk and talk. Some even have the gall to go home and complain to their parents about how hard it is to concentrate when they are in the top 5% of talkers!!!!!! I even had them fill out a survey that asks them what they need in a teacher, and classroom to learn better, and what I/they did right and wrong last marking period. Almost all of them want a strict teacher that keeps the classroom quiet. But when I call them on the talking I have to hear tons of "I hate this class, you are getting on my nerves, I am just going to get my class changed....etc" (Oh, most of the time, they get the class changed, which is a problem for a new teacher you know, the principal I have keeps score.....however moving a kid that IS the behavior problem does the kid no good, and they don't have to learn how to deal with the situation they created......really sets them up for a successful adulthood huh? *insert sarcastic voice here* )

    Today they sent me over the edge and I yelled at them, not got stern and firm in my voice so the kids accused me of yelling at them, no really raising my voice very angrily yelling. I swore I would never do that....but I could not say ONE SENTANCE without talking, stupid questions about what are we doing, complaints they are behind on the notes (umm, they were talking and I don't wait for them to get done), telling me no it was not them talking (so why were their lips moving and sound coming out?????) and basically causing chaos. I have tried moving them around, calling parents, having parents sit in the classroom, sending them out to write a responsiblity plan, even got some suspended, and nope, nothing. I did try something with my rowdy 6th graders today, after this horrible class of 8th graders, I told them they could earn star student status, and well gave out star post-its to quiet kids for them to get jolly ranchers. YEP I rewarded them with candy, but I was desperate!

    My fourth hour 7th graders had me so angry too. 1st I had a student lie to my face about stealing from me, basically he "collected" the red sharpies from a peer editing session and "put" them on the table by my desk, and instead of facing up to it he demanded other students agree with him ( I was watching the table when he supposedly put them there) and then after that another student began talking INTENTIONALLY while I was giving instructions and when I told her to stop she started telling me to mind my business she hates my class, and other disrespectful/disruptive comments, so I ask her to step into the hall. Before I could get that far she calls a student gay, he shuts the door and she starts pounding on it, and when I didn't open it she flipped me off through the window! I was so mad when I wrote out the suspension form, my hand was shaking!!!!!!

    1) anyone got any suggestions to get the students to shut up???
    2) now that I have yelled at them, how do I put that "cat back in the bag"?
    3) is occasional rewards (I mean occasional, the more spread apart the better, keeping it random) okay to do?? (no it won't always be candy, I have lots of pencils etc to use)
    4) have I gone nuts and will I ever recover????? :lol:
    5) I want my mommy they were mean to me today....... :eek:hmy: lol
     
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  3. Anyalee

    Anyalee Companion

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    Nov 16, 2007

    You need control of this classroom. Have them put their heads down on the desk every time they start talking. Then look at the clock when they start talking and keep track of the time it takes until they shut up. (I have even said SHUT UP before). Let them know that you will be taking back the time they stole from you at the end of the period after the bell rings. Soon all you'll have to do is look at the clock. You could start keeping track of misbehavior and make that part of their participation grade for the class. You could also point out specific kids that have to stay after class for 1 minute, 2 minutes, as long as it takes. And no excuses don't write passes so they won't be late to their next class. Start handing out detentions for this BS that they are pulling on you and be consistent about it. Give them boring book work to do if they can't behave. Ask your principal for help and advice if you need to. Move them to better seats if that will help. Above all, remember it will be better next year after you get this year's experience!!!!
     
  4. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Nov 16, 2007

    Good advice, and I have done all of it except the head down thing. I am positive I couldn't get away with it with the 8th graders, I would probably be fired. (understand I have a 15 year old 7th grader......) Believe it or not, this is NOT my first year teaching, its my third.....two years paid, one FULL year student teaching.

    I don't tolerate it, I do not allow it to go on unchecked, but I have had them practice procedures, stay after, write out their responsilibities as students etc, for most of a class period, and no good so far

    Does any one have ritlan in a mace can?????




    Okay I am not serious but really...........a person gets desperate
     
  5. Anyalee

    Anyalee Companion

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    Nov 17, 2007

    Oh I see...you've just got some crazies! My 7th hour 7th grade class is like that. It drives me nuts, too. But I just look at the "good" kids and do what I can to get it under control.

    You think you would get in trouble for having them put their heads down? That seems to work for one of my students- I just have one of them put down their head when they get a little out of control. Would threatening to call their parents work at all? This is just my second year teaching and I am going to a seminar on classroom management in December. I'm not sure if that will help me out or not, but I sure hope so. How many students do you have in each of your classes & where do you teach? Do you get any support from the administration? Have you tried making them do "dead cockroaches"? Do they like you pretty well except for the problem with craziness?
     
  6. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    Nov 17, 2007

    Middle school teachers- we should get hazard pay.

    Frankly,

    Many middle school students simply do not know why they do what they do. The part of the brain that controls impulses is not fully developed in that age group.

    Sometimes I go over and talk to the wall, tell the wall it is doing a good job, and would the wall like an A? The wall is a lot quieter. . .
     
  7. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    I'm intrigued, what are "dead cockroaches"?

    I teach 6,7,8th grade social studies. I have called parents a lot, even had a few sit in the classroom with their kids, but it doesn't work. I have between 34 and 15 in my classes, only one with 15, the others are 30-34. I have a big room, so space isn't an issue, but the talking! The incessent talking!

    I think they like me, well the other grades, the 8th graders I am not so sure.......they seem to like to drive me nuts.
     
  8. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Budaka, do the kids get the hint????

    By the way that is hilarious! :toofunny:
     
  9. Anyalee

    Anyalee Companion

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    Nov 17, 2007

    Dead cockroaches are like pushups only worse. You have the kids lie on their back and hold their legs and arms up in the air until they can't stand it anymore. Make it a contest to see who can last the longest for a piece of candy. Then maybe later you could threaten it to keep them quiet!

    34 kids is A LOT to keep under control. I have 25 in each of my 6classes and I have a rough time. More kids just equals more talking I think.
     
  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Nov 17, 2007

    Don't back down from the procedures. You teach, teach, teach them and practice until they can't stand it any more . . . and then you reteach and practice again EVERY SINGLE TIME they don't comply. Yes, it seems to take a huge amount of your class time, but in the long run you'll get more time for your classes.

    I love Randy Sprick's CHAMPs management program. I've used it for 5 or 6 years, and I'll never go back! If you want to email me with your email address, I can forward you a bunch of stuff about the program.

    I've retained my sanity through 15 years of middle school, and we've had a couple of groups go through these past few years that had the potential to carry us out of the building if not kept under control.
     
  11. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Nov 17, 2007


    :lol: :lol: :toofunny:
     
  12. SmallTownGirl

    SmallTownGirl Rookie

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    I have started off with setting a timer for three minutes. Everytime the class goes three minutes without talking or shouting out the class gets a point. When they get to 15 points (baby steps, right?) they will get a mini reward. I have a student who is near the whiteboard work the timer. Everytime someone talks the student resests the timer. It took a few times in the begining of not getting past 30 seconds for the class to get the point. It works really well for me. Next will be longer intervals of time!
    I also have my 7th graders use sign language when the raise their hands so I can eliminate a lot of the silly story-telling comments or the bathroom and water questions. The do a sign language "A" if they have an answer to my question. A "C" if they have a comment (which usually means somehting totally unrealated to the topic. ha!). An "I" meaning "I have a question". And they do the water sign and the bathroom sign if they need those. The sign language has been working really well for me as well!
     
  13. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Nov 17, 2007

    Several people have sent me a PM asking for the CHAMPs information, but none of them have sent me an email address. I share this information frequently, and I have it saved in draft form on my email program. It comes with 8 to 10 Word document attachments, and I can't send those through the PM system here. Please send an email address or I can't help you. Thanks!
     
  14. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    I'm guilty, sorry, sent you a PM :eek:
     
  15. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    I agree with Imateacher. You can't review procedures enough. I made the mistake of thinking that my seventh graders would know how to some things that they don't know how to do. They actually didn't know what to with their homework because there wasn't a tray to put it in like in elementary school.

    I have talked to many walls in my teaching careers. Also a few chalkboards, books, and pencils!
     
  16. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    No big deal at all! I just didn't want you to think I was ignoring your request. I once had a person on another site who requested information from me but would NEVER include an email address. She made a rather rude comment about me later on the site when I offered to send someone else information . . . apparently never realizeing that she'd not given me any way to contact her. :confused:
     
  17. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Umm yeah, there is dumb, dumber, dumbest and then there is someone that will complain about someone doing something wrong when it was there fault.

    Yikes.

    I am just happy to get it, and feel silly to have forgotten to include it. Thank you
     
  18. ebrillblaiddes

    ebrillblaiddes Companion

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    Nov 26, 2007

    Reviewing procedures doesn't work for my seventh grade "angels"--they do the exact same thing three seconds later. And student accountability in this school is a joke; a student sent to the office for running out of class without permission was back in her next class 20 minutes later. I don't have the energy left to decide what to try next. Seriously need to be somewhere else next year.
     
  19. KristysRedBarn

    KristysRedBarn Rookie

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    I have a mixed class of 7th and 8th graders, 14 students total and teach all subjects, so I have them all day. Ocassionally they drive me crazy, but it's been getting better. I have a few ideas for you that have begun working for me, but sometimes they just don't. One idea is to write the word SILENCE on the board in big capital letters, this usually get's their attention, and if a student doesn't follow that, just calmly walk over to their desk and tap on their desk to get their attention and point to the board. Another idea is to set up a signal that you expect silance, such as a hand clap, raising your hand, or ringing a bell. We have also played "quacker meeting" in my classroom, where I give each student a clothes pin at the begining of the day and if they talk I just walk over and take it away, never saying a word. At the end of the day those with a clothes pen left get a reward out of the reward bowl. Good luck.
     
  20. ~~Pam~~

    ~~Pam~~ Companion

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    Dec 3, 2007

    I'm a stickler for procedures. The way I teach is that we work hard Monday through Thursday and on Friday we relax a little and enjoy. We still work on Fridays but I try to incorporate more manipulatives, hands-on activities or games and opportunities to win small prizes - pens, pencils, Jolly Ranchers, homework passes, etc and the kids have really jumped on board. I have found that the kids think they are getting away with something and I actually have more time to teach instead of dealing with so many class disruptions. I also use Terry Alderman classroom managment that allows for students to earn more opportunties for rewards as the 9-weeks progresses. It has been very successful for me this year and I have a challenging group.
     
  21. Researcher

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    Dec 14, 2007

    Hi,
    I don't use anything too complicated. Maybe similar to the SILENCE method. And how you use it depends on how many students you have, and if you really consistently carry out the neg/positive consequences (this one has both).
    Use a jar full of about 20-30 balls/marbles/etc. Each one represents a "free minute" they can earn at the end of the week from my class time.
    So everytime they talk without raising their hand or waste time getting materials, I dramatically (but quietly and quickly) take out a marble ("You waste my time, I take yours," is really all I say). They usually quiet down afterwards. Here's why: On Fridays, they get to use those leftover minutes to either play a game, go outside and play on the playground, study hall, or just hang out and talk to each other. I have a 5th grade class (elementary) who like to use their extra minutes outside on the playground. I have a 6th grade class (middle school) who likes to use the time to socialize or study hall.
    If they use up all their marbles before Friday, I start subtracting minutes from their recess or gym or whatever they love time.

    Let me know if you use it and how it works out for you.
     
  22. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    I went from teaching K-8 to 4th & 5th and the best part is...no middle school! God bless all of you that teach them! :hugs:
     
  23. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    See now that is just mean, rubbing in those sweet little kids who are fun to be around.......until you get to the he looked at me funny, he farted, she smells bad, etc etc stuf.

    Hehehe, god bless those that can teach the little ones, because I couldn't do it! :hugs:
     
  24. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    I feel your frustration, wldywall. I see elementary students from 8 a.m. to noon. Then I transition to the junior high for two classes. My first class of junior high, 6th period, is directly following lunch and so no one within the sound of my voice has any blood in their heads. They talk and talk and talk. I have this vision of a sculpture with no eyes or ears biting into some fast food item with "blah! blah! blah!" stamped all over it.

    They hardly ever listen. I teach art in a scaffolding scheme where one skill helps build the or the vocabulary helps discuss the work of art. I've tried reasoning, offering the potential for rewards, called parents, and, sadly, yelling vexedly. All of it works but not in any lasting way. It has always taken me approximately 15 minutes or more to get this class into their seats, quiet, and "engaged" in the lesson for the day.

    Some days, my charge across no man's land is pushed back and others I take a few 1000 yards of their trench.

    Some things I do to make class bearable are I try to form friendly working relationships with my students as individuals. I'm not saying be a "pal". I'm saying, show them that you are more than just a teacher. You're a person, too. I try to offer respect to them as I would want. If this practice is successful with a student, then when I ask politely for them to "shut it", they often do.

    That hasn't work as well with my 6th period class but I win more days than I loose. On the opposite side of the coin, my 7th period class has seemingly capitulated and are good about listening. Different students, different atmosphere, different time of the day; all that plays a part in what type of reaction you get from them.

    I hope it continues to be a success.
     
  25. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    I am new to the forums, and am not sure this is okay, but the following is information I shared in another forum I think it will help you immensely. If nothing else, what do you have to lose?

    Here you go:

    I am an 8th grade science teacher, 15 years in the classroom. Until recently I was getting burned out. The kids did not listen, they were rude, told their parents complete fabrications about their own behavior, and innocence. I was ready to look for another career. Then I stumbled on Power Teaching.

    A group of teachers in California started this grassroots movement based in educational tomfoolery which gives you tools for classroom management that the students buy into.

    I never have to say "come on, guys you are getting too loud! Hush! Listen!" They know what I mean exactly when I ask them to get quieter. To get the attention of the whole class I say one word and they respond together with a smile, and often a giggle.

    The first thing I introduce is the Yada Noise Control Scale. For years I have been telling kids to quieten down, but never thought much about the fact that we have a completely different idea on what is acceptable noise and what is not.
    This technique eliminates that, and allows the kids to blow off a little steam at the start of the class in one move.

    On my board I have the scale written like this (not the part in parentheses):

    Yada Noise Control Scale

    5- Out of Control (just too loud)

    4- Loud Crowd (still a bit too loud for most activities)

    3- Formal Normal (regular speech, class discussions etc.)

    2- Low Flow (appropriate for partners working together)

    1- "00" Spy Talk (whisper quietly)

    0- Quiet of the Tomb (Testing)

    Every day when the kids come in I stand next to the scale, and say, "Okay, let's calibrate!"

    The first few times I start on the highest level, and we all chant "Yada, yada, yada!" Volume falls off, with me modeling, as my hand travels down the scale to 0.

    Now when I tell them they are too loud I tell them they are at scale 3, and I need them to drop back to scale 2. If they do not comply I hang my head, and drag my feet to the board, and give them a frowny and they give me a MIGHTY GROAN. It is very effective.

    As they get more used to calibrating I start at different levels on the scale. If they are not loud enough at the top of the scale I stop them and tell them not to dis me. Bring it like you mean it! They laugh, and do it.

    If I forget to calibrate, they remind me!

    The second management component is the attention getter. You will love this one! When I say "Class!" the whole group has to respond "Yes!"

    BUT, they have to do it like I do. If I say "Classity-Class-class!" they respond "Yessity-yes-yes!" and they have to match my volume whether it is a yell or a whisper.

    The third component is the smiley/frowny list. The hook is that, if at the end of the week they have more smilies than frownies they get a reward. Start small. A three minute reward to begin with. They can earn more as they follow procedures. Not following instructions, or not participating in the above procedures earns a frownies. Doing an exceptional job earns a smiley. When they get a smiley they do a one second party, everyone at the same time yells "Oh, Yeah!"

    If they complain that a stubborn few are costing them frownies I tell them they live and die as a team. If they want the smilies, everyone has to participate. Encourage a little positive, constructive peer pressure. It also does not hurt to pull the holdouts aside and let them know that if it is only they who are holding out you will reward the rest of the class, and send the holdouts to work on assignments in another teacher's room.

    I do explain to them that the Power Team techniques we are learning accesses all three learning modes- visual, auditory, and kinesthetic at one time. Explaining the reason keeps even the most reluctant in line with the others. It takes some time but is very effective. I also point out that it is a lot more fun to be able to do some of these things than just sitting around and working on worksheets.

    The smiley thing should be hooked to a very short reward at the end of the week, especially at first. One of the best is to use the SuperSpeed 1000 game (I can get you a copy, or once I am big and grown up enough to be trusted in this forum, give you the links), which increases sight reading speed, but is played fast and the kids love it. Initially rewards should be no more than three minutes. They build up to those over the week. To get the reward, again, they need more smilies than frownies.

    Start with these three components this week, and I will tell you more about Power Vocabulary soon.

    Start with the Yada Noise Control Scale and the Class-Yes system first. With a rowdy group it make take a couple of days to get them into it. Let me know it you want to know more or need more help. I am very willing to offer more explanations, and resources for this grass roots movement.
     
  26. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Jan 11, 2008

    Some very good ideas, thank you. I will use it with my new students as I do not have middle schoolers anymore


    Ty
     
  27. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    These techniques were originally developed in Elementary schools, but are being used with great success in middle, high, and post secondary schools as well.

    Please be aware that what I have shared above is the barest tip of the iceberg. There is a great deal more available. This is just where you start.
     
  28. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Well I will try it with my new group of high schoolers. Does sound like a good idea, is there a program it is part of?
     
  29. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    Jan 11, 2008

    Power Teaching

    It is part of a program called power teaching. It has been going on in California since 1999. Chris Biffle, a philosophy professor, and two elementary teacher began it. Now more than 3500 teachers have been through the training.

    They offer free ebooks that explain how this works, and offers additional tools to help you, and can even partner you with experience power teachers who can help you. You can see videos of this at elementary, middle, and college level by going to YouTube and searching for "Chris Biffle".

    I don't think I can give links yet here, but I will say that all of their resources are free.

    As with anything new, just start with the basics that I gave you, and work up from there.
     
  30. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 11, 2008

  31. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Okay, add more sites to this weekends reading list! I will definatly be reading them. Thanks
     
  32. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    Power teaching is a grass roots movement in education started by Chris Biffle, a philosophy professor, and some elementary teachers in 1999. Since then more than 3500 teachers, elementary, middle high school and college have participated in the training- all on the West Coast.

    I am the first East Coast Power Teacher. I have 15 years in the classroom and frankly was burning out, ready to do something else, give up. Then I came across the YouTube videos by accident, and contacted Chris. Since then I have been an enthusiastic proponent of Power Teaching- no more, no less than that.

    For about two months I have been using Power Teaching techniques and gone from burned out to looking forward to everyday of school. I don't dread going to work, and I walk out with a light step thinking, "Gosh I wish I had had more time with the kids today!"

    I live in NC. My school is impressed enough with my results and feedback to date that they are considering sending me to California to train with the core instructors there.

    My connection is that I know Power Teaching can make a HUGE difference for teachers and their kids. If it could make me love my job again I have an obligation to share it wherever I can so that other teachers on the brink can be shown again why they loved this profession to begin with!

    To that end I suggest the techniques anywhere I see they might help, and I belong to several forums with that in mind.

    Until you have stood there looking in the bathroom mirror at least once thinking to yourself, "Why the hell am I doing this?" you can't imagine how good it felt to get that message.

    Not everyone can be a teacher. Especially today it takes someone special to do this job. More and more of us fold under the pressure and go do something else. I almost did.

    I pray that I can help some of you remember why you are in that classroom every day, and pass on the tools that will help you stay there.

    Power Teacher (East Coast)
     
  33. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Power Teaching sounds very similar to Responsive classroom.
    I even use a volume chart. In kindergarten I only go to volume 3.
     
  34. helpinghand

    helpinghand Rookie

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    I have not used the CHAMPS program, but I agree. I have had two "doozy" years, with children who have not learned the purpose of school or respected the expectations. last year I taught a challenging 6th grade group, and this year, I am teaching 8th. The start of this year I spent the first quarter and and a little more not backing down on my expectations. I addressed every issue that did not comply, and yes I was cursed and disliked. I told them clearly we had a job to get done and were going to have a peaceful work environment. Half way into 2nd quarter, they are my sweet darlings.

    Now I have to make up for some lost time, but well that's the way it goes. i know we can make it happen!
     
  35. andrewgerst

    andrewgerst New Member

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    Mar 14, 2013

    Hey PowerTeacher, I am a first-year teacher of 7th and 8th grade students. I would describe the year right now as basically a disaster... most of my classes have 30+ students and they are out of control. (kids running around, breaking the flag, ripping up books, throwing notebooks at each other).

    It's March. I would do almost anything to get my classes under control. I'd love to hear more about Powerteacher techniques.
     
  36. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Mar 14, 2013

  37. blauren

    blauren Rookie

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    Mar 18, 2013

    One of the schools I taught 7th and 8th at did after school detentions and you could give detentions out at your will. When mine would get too chatty, I would pull out the detention slips and say the next person who talks will have an after school detention. Worked amazingly.
     
  38. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Outstanding Ideas! :wow::wow::wow:
     
  39. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    readingrules, if you like this, go check out Whole Brain Teaching, either here on A to Z or by Googling it.
     
  40. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Thanks, Teacher Groupie. I went to Youtube and added the videos to my favorites. I watched a few. The good content more than makes up for the mediocre presentation.
     
  41. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I haven't been on the Web site in ages, but it might be worth a look, too.
     

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