Question on how to get class started

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Shanoo, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Messages:
    761
    Likes Received:
    5

    Aug 27, 2010

    I teach Grade 9 (mostly) and Grade 11 (some).

    Our school is different in that there are no bells. None. Never. The theory behind it is to force students to manage their time properly and to give them a "window" into the work world. Most professions don't have bells that signify when to start work and when to stop, so the thinking is that we should be teaching our kids to be responsible.

    For the most part, it works ok with the upper grades. My 11s know to get to class on time and if they can't, how to enter the class respectfully, knowing that I will speak to them after class.

    My 9s are another story. I, personally, don't think they're mature enough to handle a no-bell system, but there isn't much I can do about that.

    Last year I stressed the importance of getting to class on time. That when I decided to start class, the door would close and they would have to deal with the consequences. The majority of them got there but, as they have a 10 minute break between periods, they would socialize while waiting for class to start, which is fine. My problem is this: how do I get their attention and let them know that I am starting class if I have 25 students in my room talking, etc., but no bell to get their attention?

    I suppose that I could tell them to do their socializing in the hall, but that would result in my wrangling them up before class. I find that to be time consuming and it defeats the purpose of no bells.

    Any ideas?
     
  2.  
  3. SunnyGal

    SunnyGal Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 27, 2010

    Could you have a warm-up activity for them to do when they get in the classroom? That way they aren't just hanging out and talking in your room. They'll know that when they walk in, they're going to have something to do and will settle down, which would make it easier for you to get roll taken, announcements made, and then you can go over the warm-up and get down to business.
     
  4. SingBlueSilver

    SingBlueSilver Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 27, 2010

    Wow! 10 mins between classes? That's a lot! And no bells sound super interesting...
    But anyway, I think that if you establish a routine, that might take care of it. Even WITH bells, my students have a hard time knowing that they're supposed to be quiet so we can get started. What I do normally, at the beginning of class, instead of speaking or giving directions, use an overhead projector/LCD/PowerPoint to give directions for a Warm-up activity/question. They have 10 mins to get their work done and while they're working, they'll be quiet, so at the end of the 10 mins, I tell students to pass up their work. Once they know the projector is flipped on, that's a visual signal for them that its work time.
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Messages:
    17,362
    Likes Received:
    46

    Aug 27, 2010

    I agree to have some type of bell work for them to do the minute they come in the room. This no bell system sounds interesting. We don't have bells between classes at our middle school, but we only have 4 minute passing periods. Also, as far as getting their attention, take a look at the 'class, yes' strategy of whole brain teaching.
     
  6. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Messages:
    761
    Likes Received:
    5

    Aug 27, 2010

    Thanks, guys.

    It's not so much a 'what work should I get them started with' problem.

    It's more of a 'what strategies could I use to let them know that their free time is up and they should get going on said work' issue.
     
  7. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Messages:
    761
    Likes Received:
    5

    Aug 27, 2010

    And, if I give them work to do as soon as they come in the room, they will choose to stay in the hall until the last second, which is fine, but that brings me right back to having to go out and get them, which I don't want to have to do.
     
  8. SingBlueSilver

    SingBlueSilver Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 27, 2010

    Well, in terms of the mentioned activities, because I count them as part of their grade, they soon learn that their socializing will lower their grade if they don't get started right away and finish their bell work.
     
  9. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Messages:
    895
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 27, 2010

    I was thinking this myself. High school students want to talk as much as they can!
     
  10. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Messages:
    761
    Likes Received:
    5

    Aug 27, 2010

    But there's the rub...it's not a matter of them finishing their bell work. My administration would go nuts if they thought I were regularly making my kids do work for credit during their free time (if it wasn't making up missed work or a detention-type scenario). It's their time. And I, for one, don't want to take that away from them. Our periods are 80 minutes long and I think they need that break to switch gears, get the chatting out and mentally prepare for the next subject. They're choosing to socialize in my room so that they're not late.

    I give my kids bell work, and they do it. What I don't want is to spend the first few minutes of class trying to let them know that class has started and they should be working on the bell work. With no external reminder (aka bells), it comes down to me. Last year it was a gong show. And they aren't being rude or disrespectful. They're chatting with their friends. I guess I'm just looking for a cue that I can use in lieu of a bell.
     
  11. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,468
    Likes Received:
    12

    Aug 27, 2010

    You could always invest in some music chimes, a whistle, a gong, a small drum, or any other noisemaker and "train" them to be quiet at the sound. Or you could teach them to turn and face you when you show you are ready to begin by standing at the front of the room. If it's a matter of them being disrespectful and ignoring you when you try to begin class, then you need to go over your procedures again and again until they learn them. Are they just testing you to see if they can get you off track. Kids will do that. Mob action.
     
  12. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    2,292
    Likes Received:
    121

    Aug 27, 2010

    Can you do something as simple as shut your classroom door and announce, "Let's begin"?
     
  13. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 28, 2010

    What if you played music in your room during the 10 minutes down time (nothing current - maybe some 50s/60s upbeat stuff)? Once the music is off, it's time to start class.
     
  14. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    612
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 28, 2010

    Here's what I do:

    I train them in the very beginning exactly what "being tardy" means.

    So, I have one student who is "tardy" and the rest of the class is the bell (for you, it can be when the door is shut).

    We rehearse the three scenarios:
    --1) The bell rings and student enters: TARDY (the door shuts and the student opens the door: TARDY)
    --2) The bell rings and the student walks in while the bell is still ringing: TARDY (you're closing the door as the student walks in: TARDY)
    --3) Student is in class walking towards desk as the bell rings: NO TARDY (you close the door after they enter classroom, no tardy -- or tardy, whatever you want -- I just tell my students I'm not going to split hairs that fine).

    Here's the point: After you SHOW them what you expect, it's no longer your problem. You don't have to round them up anymore. It's their choice if they're on time or not.

    NEXT: My classes always start (and I explain the first day that there will always be something on the board) with the Bell Work/Do Now activity.

    Here's what I do: My Bell Work activities are on a projector so I have to turn off the lights. That way they can see a physical difference between my classroom and the hallway.

    I tell them they are more than welcome to finish their conversations out in the hallway, but when they enter my classroom it's time to begin.

    Note: I also train them how to enter my classroom, being very specific with what I want. But I don't know how far you want to take it.

    Hope that helps some.
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 28, 2010

    I taught that way for 7 years, in the first school I worked at. (My current school has bells; you're either on time or you're late.)And you're right; most kids adapt well, but there are always a few who can't seem to manage it.

    What works sometimes is to give them an assignment during those first minutes that will be completed as homework; the longer you linger the more homework you'll have. In math it can be a spiral activity-- something you taught last week or last month that you want to use to keep their skills fresh.

    Another idea: tell all your classes that you're determining "late" by the time on YOUR classroom clock. If they want to come in before homeroom and synchronize their watches, they can feel free, but your class begins at ___ time.
     
  16. jday129

    jday129 Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Messages:
    435
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 28, 2010

    Play some music b/n classes. when you want students to get to work, switch the music.
     
  17. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,330
    Likes Received:
    573

    Aug 28, 2010

    The school where I taught last year was the same way. to make things even crazier, there was only one hallway for the kids with about eight doors in it. Somehow they still managed to run late@@

    My method was to physically shut the door when it was time for class to start. They would see me walk over and hear the door and that was their cue. Most of the time that worked. They always had bellwork. Sometimes the bellwork would take two minutes sometimes it would take five. I would give them one minute more than I thought it should take and then sometimes I would take up their work for a grade.

    I see nothing wrong with saying "Ok, class is starting. You should be in your seat and focused now."
     
  18. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    5,976
    Likes Received:
    1,459

    Aug 28, 2010

    Just because the school doesn't have bells doesn't mean that you can't use something kind of signal to begin.

    Our school doesn't have bells either. They get four minutes of class change time. We're always in the hallways making sure they are walking to class, not just "hanging out". There are always "starter" activities on the board, so kids always have something to do when they arrive. I have a call bell on my desk that I can use, but I really never need it.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 285 (members: 4, guests: 262, robots: 19)
test