New teacher: adding structure in SECOND week of school.

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Painter, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. Painter

    Painter New Member

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    Sep 1, 2014

    Hello,

    I am a first year teacher. I am afraid I may have been a little too loose the first week. My head was spinning, and I didn't lay the groundwork I had intended to. The week went by in a blur!

    Any veteran teachers out there have suggestions for adding structure and higher expectations in the second week of school and counter-acting having not done so well in week one?

    I teach high school. I have laid groundwork plans for entering and exiting the room.

    I didn't jump on students blurting out as much as I think I should have. I only responded to those who raised their hand and tried not to give the blurters the attention. I didn't jump on side chatter as much as I wished. I did not set up a clear expectation for getting their attention. I want to do all these things this week.

    I plan on instituting a warning system for minor issues (like talking and blurting). Progression being warning>student conference with me>call home> detention or referral.

    I also am going to try implementing an attention getter of "ladies and gentleman, I need you attention" with a raised hand signal given from the same spot in the room.

    Other suggestions or how to implement these things after a week would be appreciated.
     
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  3. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Sep 1, 2014

    I would skip the warning and go straight to student conference. They already know that behavior is not acceptable, they are just testing to see what they can get away with.

    Or move their seat as their warning. I do that a lot. Usually I have them move to an undesirable Siberia seat with the option of returning after X amount of time, or the next class, if they behave. Sometime students recognize they get more work done and elect to remain.

    The important thing is to not argue. When students whine and say they will stop talking, etc, just say "thank you. Please move now." Repeat as needed.

    Sometimes, if I have a really chatty class, like last period after spring break, I shake things up with a new seating chart. It's amazing what problems a good seating chart can solve.
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I think if you are going to change anything major, now would be the perfect time. You can even act as though it was part of your plan all along: "ok, students, now that I've started to get to know you a bit after the first week, let's go over how things will work in this class..."
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 1, 2014

    I think you have a lot of good ideas already. Especially the attention getter, and your consequence plan. You may find that you need to make small changes or additions (i.e. how long do you want to wait for their attention before you start handing out consequences for wasting time, etc.) but just having that structure in place is a great start.

    Before the year starts, I generally just think of everything in my class that needs structure (i.e. entering, leaving, passing out papers, passing out materials, getting them back etc.) and I just write a short blurb about how I will do it in my class. This becomes my comprehensive classroom management plan. I make changes to it as necessary, but it's nice because the next year I can build on it rather than doing it again from scratch.

    Again, I think you have a lot of good ideas already. Follow through with them. And try to stay consistent! Good luck!

    Btw, one of my favorite classroom management blogs is http://smartclassroommanagement.com. Give it a read if you have some time.
     
  6. Painter

    Painter New Member

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    Sep 1, 2014

    Forgot this question:

    Also, is using the board and writing names with checks beside them to keep track of warnings/ consequences too elementary for high schoolers?
     
  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I know HS teachers who do it. I've personally never had success with it. I like private consequences though, and keeping the record between myself and the offending student. I use a clip-board for this purpose.
     
  8. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I know teachers that use the checks in their classrooms. It seems to work for them. I just don't care for it so I don't do it. I don't judge the others, however.
     
  9. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I've never seen the name/check thing in high school, but like others have said... do you.

    The second week is not too late to regain control. Go in tomorrow with a VERY structured assignment. When I have a class start to slip, I monitor the activities down to the MINUTE, and I try to change things up every 15 minutes or so. The more out of hand they are, the busier we become.

    And there would be a new seating chart tomorrow, too. Just say, "now that we've all gotten to know each other, we have to get to the serious business of learning. To start that off right, I'm going to arrange you based on what I've observed about your learning needs last week." :)
     
  10. Painter

    Painter New Member

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    Sep 2, 2014

    Thank you

    Just wanted to say thank you all for the advise. It means a lot.

    Today went well. Tomorrow will be the true test with the class periods who are a little more... lively (block scheduling).
     
  11. abat_jour

    abat_jour Companion

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    Sep 4, 2014

    similar problem; kids do nothing, i dont know what structured activity is - matching?
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 5, 2014


    I have never been a fan of it, I prefer consequences kept private, but somehow at my school it works. I've been doing it for almost a year.
    After 2 warnings I put the student's name on the board for detention. I have a box with 'detention' written in it, so if the name goes there, they know what it means. Sometimes I just put their initials, and they still know it. (of course they can work it off during the class and it gets taken off).
    I've found that this visual really works. Out of every 20 students 1 blows up and it's all over, but for the other 19 it works. Another teacher does this and my P encourages it.

    Before this I kept this private, and it was very surprising (and disruptive) that the students didn't know where they stood. The bad ones assumed they weren't in trouble, and some of the quiet ones kept checking 'do I have detention?" It just wasn't working.
     
  13. MsDouglas

    MsDouglas Rookie

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    Sep 6, 2014

    I wrote names on the board at my last school. When the student got 2 checks beside their name, they went to detention for the rest of the period. I didn't have to tell them to leave. They just knew to leave when they got 2 checks. I made a stickers list for the same class to reward good behavior.

    I'm the teacher, who waited until the middle of the semester, to implement an attention getter. Sometimes I make up rules when a situation arises. This past week, 2nd week of school, I made up a rule that if a student doesn't put his or her calculator away before leaving class they can't use it the next day. The next day a student accidentally dropped his calculator, I implemented the same punishment. Each class is as unique as the students and you have to adjust the rules and procedures to them.
     
  14. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 7, 2014

    A structured activity is an activity where the teacher is able to maintain a high level of control over the students. (i.e. NOT group work, activities where they move around, or have a high level of freedom; more like activities where they are quietly working on worksheets, they are being led in a step-by-step manner by the teacher for each directions, basically anything where the teacher can easily keep an eye on all of the students at once)

    While they are not ideal for learning in the long run, they are more effective than doing unstructured activities with poor management, because in those cases, the students learn next to nothing. At the very least with structured activities you can maintain a somewhat safe learning environment for those who wish to learn and teaching becomes less of a headache. It will also give you the time to breathe and maybe try out a more ambitious activity a little bit at a time and build up your skills for managing more complex activities like group work, investigations, stations, etc.
     
  15. sjanew15

    sjanew15 Rookie

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    Sep 15, 2014

    I have a similar problem. Today, it was okay period 2 but bad period three. I told both classes, " if you go through the week alright, on friday, you get free choice for seven min. If not, you get no free choice. I have a tally chart for it. Worked okay with period 2, didn't work with period three. I maybe should have jumped on kids disrespecting me sooner, but I finally had them line up outside the class line like admin wants them to until they stopped chatting. Then we went back in and wham. The gang members in class were out of control, this boyfriend and girlfriend who were messing around that I had already spoken to were out of line...I made some phone calls home, but, that did little. What can I do to fix this? I asked around and these kids are known for nor wanting to behave...

    I also have a very high-pitched voice, even when I deepen it as much as I can. The kids now make fun of it in the halls. They also respond better when I speak spanish, but I speak no Spanish. 90 percent of teaching staff have a coteacher. I am not one of them. I asked for one to help with my very low, sped, Spanish speaking ESL students. Admin has been complaining that there are too many teachers in some rooms who have no defined role.I hope I get one of them.

    Anything else I can do?
     
  16. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Sep 15, 2014

    Well, you've made a promise of seven minutes of free choice if they behave, so you have to follow through with that, but I would NEVER give a class with discipline issues that choice. What possible good will come in that seven minutes? No. You have to be the instructional leader in that room from bell to bell.

    Let's check some basics:
    1. Do you have a seating chart created by you (not student selected seats)?
    2. Do you know everyone's name?
    3. Do you have a solid curriculum and lesson plans?
    4. Is there a structure/routine to your class? I see that you teach ELA. So a typical structure might be 7 min warm up, 10 min mini-lesson on writing/reading (direct instruction), 10 min guided practice, 20 min independent practice (with lots of teacher movement around the room, checking on understanding and conferencing when needed), 5 min review/exit ticket/etc.

    If any of these 4 things aren't happening, they should be addressed first. It's the key to good classroom management.
     
  17. sjanew15

    sjanew15 Rookie

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    Sep 15, 2014

    I asked the other teacher who shares the room with me to see what ideas she had, and she liked my point system reward idea. That's a big reason I went with it. She's also my mentor, because she was supposed to push-in to that class with me and then I lost my push-in before school started when admin decided to send her elsewhere to fill a hole in the students' class schedules (a pretty big one, actually).

    I do have a seating chart. I do have curriculum (although parts of it may be too easy or a little confusing, but that's stuff I am ironing out as my first year continues).

    There is structure to my classroom. They come in, they copy down the learning target, they complete the do now, we go over it, I explain a strategy/ELA content to the ESL students, they get guided practice to reinforce the concept, and then they have independent practice.

    What seems to be happening is when one person doesn't get an assignment, instead of asking me for help they give up. Then, they cause trouble. I really need help keeping them on task when that happens. The learning levels in that class are also really varied. I have some former ESL students in that class with some students who are so SPED they literally need someone sitting next to them to prompt them to complete the assignment.

    I've currently decided to try tiered learning assignments. I want to address the modalities in the classroom and see if I can't give one strategies with many levels of accomplishing it.

    I also need to get to know people's names. I have three people with the same name in that class and then two others who have a different same name. It makes it a little hard to remember who they are, but I'm getting there.

    A big complaint with my school is that we are adding in a high school to an already existing middle school, and a lot of teachers are getting a complaint from the students that the assignments and behavior system in the school are "too middle school." Is there any way around that?
     

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