overwhelmed and no centers

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by jennyd, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. jennyd

    jennyd Companion

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    Nov 6, 2007

    My class has me so overwhelmed this year! :( they're a big bunch - 26 with 18 girls and only 8 boys - and they just talk SO MUCH. We've seen some improvement since september...there's a bit less calling out, which is nice. But, I dunno, today was a difficult day, and I know tomorrow will be better (my mantra this year, courtesy of "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse") but days like today leave me so exasperated. Of course, it also doesn't help when all the other teachers in the building sort of shake their heads and wish me luck all the time. And we haven't done centers in forever, because too many of them just can't handle the independence/work quietly. And that really makes me sad because they're missing out on small group time.

    I'm encouraged by the "secret walker/worker" idea. I think my class might do well with that (if i can just get the criers to not cry every time they're not the secret person). hopefully if it goes well with our hallway behavior this week (at the principal's request, i'm not even allowed to send them down to the bathroom by themselves anymore...they need a chaparone) i can re-introduce centers.

    really, i just wanted to vent a bit to folks i knew would understand. ;):thanks:
     
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  3. Victoriateacher

    Victoriateacher Rookie

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    Nov 7, 2007

    I have a large k-1 class that was extremely difficult for me for the same reason, especially since the gap between k-1 at this time of year is huge. I have started splitting the group in two for centre time and it is working out really well. Basically I allow half the class to do centres (albeit not the noisy ones) while the other half does something quiet at their desk, then we switch. It means less time at centres for everyone, but at least this way they are getting their social play-time in (which I think they really need). Your group might be especially chatty because they aren't getting enough centre time. But it's a chicken and egg thing. Have you thought about asking a parent come in to help you with a few tasks? Or having a colleague come in and observe to see if they have any suggestions for you?
     
  4. cait21

    cait21 Rookie

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    Nov 8, 2007

    Don't fret! We have have days like that! I also have a veryyy talkative bunch! The secret worker/walker certianly works for me... however in the faternoon they are just so spent, it's hard to get them to quiet down... so what I did was have a "peace circle" where we all sat on the carpet and held hands, i also got down to their level and jioned the circle holding hands on the floor.. We each shared a high and a low from school so far.. they were all shocked to find out they I also had feeligns, and it hurt me when people called out and how I wanted to be fair to everyone and call on those who were raising their hands... and then went on to tell them about my highs.. and they weren't when they got a high mark.. but when we all were cooperating and working together.. everyone shared, and it went really well.. i found that the next day they were much more aware of my feelings when acting out or talking too much... when u tell the students straight out how it makes you feel, you'd be suprised how they respond.. i think i might make the "peace circle" a weekly event!
     
  5. Victoriateacher

    Victoriateacher Rookie

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    Nov 8, 2007

    the peace circle is a great idea. I wish I had a bigger carpet space to do that. With my 22 kids it's a squeeze just to get them all on the carpet. A circle is not possible. Although maybe if we were standing up... thanks for the idea!
    I agree though- I had a talk about how I felt with them when they acted out and was surprised by how seriously they took it. Many of them looked genuinely concerned!
     
  6. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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    Nov 9, 2007

    I think, for me at least, the key is to be consistant. You just keep trudging along even when it looks like nothing will work. In the end, it does. This year, I decided I wanted to implement the Daily 5 in my classroom after reading the book over the summer. I was so excited. This was going to be my guided reading, guided writing time and the kids were going to learn to work independently no matter what. At the beginning of the year, I started teaching what this would look like to the kids and it just seemed like everyday, we weren't getting it. I mean, come on, they couldn't even read for 2 minutes without someone talking or getting up and out of their chair. BUT... I was consistant and we just kept trudging along. Eventually we were able to read for 6 minutes and then 10 and now we read to ourselves for about 20 minutes and read with someone for about 15. They can do it. It was a hard road but it is possible. AND, more importantly, I am able to get to those guided groups each day. That is a goal that I am working on (to get to more groups in a day) but we are getting there. This last week, I think we did more than I have ever done. I was so excited and the kids were excited too. They love coming back and reading with me or doing word work. We still have a long road ahead but it is so worth it in the end. I would strongly suggest reading The Daily
    5.

    I also give my students points toward a party. (I actually read this on here and used the idea in my own classroom. Sorry I can't remember who posted it but hey, Thanks!!) Anyway, the kids have to earn 75 points and with those points, they can buy a party. They get to choose what kind of party it is and they LOVE it. Last year, they chose a Halloween party, a stuffed animal party, a pajama party, and a rootbear float party. It is a really good incentive to get them back on task. I add 5 points everyday and can take away points if they get off task. I also give 5 points if they are walking in the hallway and another adult gives them a compliment or if the principals walk by, that's 10 points. They don't let me forget if they earned a compliment either. (Sometimes they try and say that someone gave them one but I tell them that I have to hear it or it doesnt' count.)

    These strategies seemed to work for me, so far but of course, you have to use what works best for you. It will come together...I know it will. Be consistant. Remember, they are just first graders.
     
  7. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Nov 9, 2007

    teaching mom - do you mean that you do guided reading and the other kids are reading silently at their desks?

    I am also having trouble with center time and I have not been able to do reading groups at all because of the noise. I have had to monitor the centers rather than read with a child or group.

    That said, here are three things that have helped a lot with managing the group.

    1) I decided that even if it killed me I would only talk about my class to others in a positive way - only share the funny/great things about the day, and never complain to other teachers about them. This keeps the others from "feeling sorry" for me and reinforcing how badly I really feel about the loudness. Of course, this site is another matter. This is where we can let it all hang out.

    2) If the class will not respond to my directions to quiet down, we will do a class time out. Heads down, lights off, not a sound. One time we had a 15 minute time out, sadly, it was during what should have been snack time. I decided they would not die if they didn't eat snack, and it would drive home the lesson. This technique is not my favorite - it is not my personality - but it works.

    3) I got some bright glittery stars and other shapes at Safeway and taped them at various places along our pathways to the library, lunchroom, and gym. These are our stopping stations. The line leader must stop at the stopping station and wait for directions. This frees me up to wander about the line and focus on where ever the noise is. Sometimes I move kids around. (They all have an exact place they are to be in line every time, according to their number/ABC order). These stopping stations have helped a lot with hallway management. The kids know I am monitoring the whole line and it has really helped them learn to quiet down in the hallway.

    I am interested in this post because there is still so much I have to learn about teaching first grade! It seems like some teachers do it effortlessly. oh - and those teachers who look at you sympathetically and shake their heads, are they also first grade teachers?
     

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