seasoned teacher desperate for help

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by bonneb, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Oct 21, 2008

    Well I don't know if it is me, the kids, or the school. But I am extremely seriously wondering if I have what it takes to continue and don't know if I can make it to Christmas.

    Can anyone help me with this particular problem:
    Center time.
    I am supposed to use center time to do my reading groups. But my students are so loud I can't do reading groups at all. I have a splitting headache by 9:30 every day. Maybe my centers are not right.

    Today I made extra centers so the groups would be smaller. I had one small group writing a story together, helping each other. Then they moved to the art center and illustrated their writing. The next group worked on the carpet with word and letter tiles. Next group read books together, near my reading table. The idea was to draw them over to my table from ther reading group. The last group was doing puzzles on the circle carpet.

    But they were so loud I had to remove 4 children from the centers and have them sit out reading for center time, spread around the room. Those who were supposed to be writing scribbled nonsense and got wild. Those illustrating, painted pictures that had nothing to do with their writing. The kids at tiles ended up throwing the tiles under the carpet and at each other while screaming. Puzzle people did pretty well.

    Over 1/2 of my students are so loud I feel assaulted. They simply do not know how to speak in a normal voice. Some might have hearing problems, but 1/2 the class??

    What am I doing wrong? I have done my reading groups this way for several years, and even had 2 years where the kids could be almost totally independent, get their centers done and checked off, and I could work with readers. It is the end of Oct. and I have had reading groups twice. They aren't good at seat work either - one group finishes so fast they then are truly bored, the other group is not able to work independently. So that means I can't work with readers.

    Is it ok in first grade to not do reading???????????????????? Is there a new way to do reading?? I have a wide range. A couple who are reading far above grade level, and about 4 who don't know their letter sounds. A bunch in the middle. But I feel like a failure because I get super frustrated that I can't get to reading groups and I want to scream. (Also personal stuff going on that is eating up my composure and patience and creativity and humor, nothing to do with the kids.)

    I just wish I could figure a way to do my job and enjoy my job.

    Any ideas?
    Anybody share your daily schedule - maybe I need to tweak some stuff. Also, I have NO planning periods all week, and am lucky to get to go to the bathroom. This is not going to change. So any ideas on scheduling planning while the kids are busy with something else would be welcome.
     
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  3. MrsPatten

    MrsPatten Comrade

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    Oct 21, 2008

    I can sympathize. I'm experimenting with new center implementation this week myself. You may already do this and just left it out but do you give them specific tasks to do at their centers? Try giving them a list of words to make with the letter tiles and giving them specific things to write about. When I give mine a specific task and tell them if it's not right they'll have to fix it at snack time it gets them to working productively. Like I said, you're probably already doing that though.
     
  4. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Oct 21, 2008

    That is a great point and unfortunately, sometimes I do give the specific directions, but they don't hear me! Or sometimes I don't give clear enough directions. Sometimes it takes 15 minutes of the actual center time to just get them quiet enough to hear the directions. But those are good suggestions. I think I need to go back and read "What ARe the Other Kids Doing While You Teach Small Groups," and make up packets for them to work on at their desks. I had to do that one year and the kids responded pretty well.
     
  5. MrsPatten

    MrsPatten Comrade

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    Oct 21, 2008

    Bless your heart. I had a group like that a few years ago. I couldn't get them to be quiet to save my life.

    Do you have a reading coach or anyone in the school that could come in an help/give suggestions? Sometimes an outsider can see things better than you can.
     
  6. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Oct 21, 2008

    I could ask my P. who taught primary for many years. I guess I am afraid I am really a lousy teacher. It is not that the kids are bad, just super loud and active.
     
  7. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Oct 21, 2008

    OH OH OH I just got back from a Dr. Maggie Allen conference on centers. I'll try to type up what I learned and email it to you unless you have AIM or Yahoo Messenger.
     
  8. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Oct 21, 2008

    Thank you Jamie! Wow! I do not have AIM or Yahoo! Thank you! Can you recommend a book perhaps? I got to hear her at a conference and meet her but did not get any of her things.
     
  9. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    Oct 21, 2008

    to help with the noise level you could try playing some calming classical music. Tell the students you must be able to hear theusic and not them. Lay down a ground rule that if you have to stop the music centers will stop the class will clean up and go baxk to thier seats. Proceed to pull out some horrible amont of work. Smile and explain that it will be done this way if they can not it will result in silent snack, and silent work. it will take a few practices for them to understand that you are serious.
     
  10. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Oct 21, 2008

    Implementing centers is tough with a group like this. Trust me. That was my class for the last 2 years. You have to spend time teaching, reteaching, and enforcing procedures. Is it possible to have the reading coach or an aide to come in and do your reading groups while your working on procedures. Once you have the kids on task doing what they're supposed to do, centers will go a lot easier.

    Two years ago, I didn't have anyone to come in for me. I ended up seperating my guided reading and center time so I could work more on procedures. During center time for 3 weeks, I simply monitered the centers and redirected kids when needed. Guided Reading time ended up being silent reading and reading responses when I wasn't meeting with those kids. That time was rough because they didn't want to be quite. But after I spent that time, centers were quiet and on task. I was able to move my guided reading time back with the center time.

    Last year I had a group that was even worse! I tried the same thing with this group that I did with the last group. Did it work? No. They could not tone themselves down at all. I ended up making myself as one of the centers and we would do Reader's Theater at that time. It was something they could be noisy at. Hello! Did it work! This group was able to keep quiet during silent reading time and stay on task.

    Each class is different. They have their own personality. Sometimes sticking with something you're trying for a good amount of time works. Sometimes it's brainstorming for another idea.
     
  11. MissHunny

    MissHunny Comrade

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    Oct 21, 2008

    I am doing the Daily Five this year and I love it. I call them stations rather than centers. Each day the kids rotate through listening to reading, reading to self, partner reading, word work, and reading table with me. It took about a solid month to have it set up, practiced and running smoothly, but it was well worth the process. I recommend getting the book, The Daily Five.
     
  12. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    I've heard several teachers say they love that book. Oh, and I do call mine stations too!
     
  13. swtteacher

    swtteacher Rookie

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    Oct 21, 2008

    I don't allow talking in my centers. They are only allowed to whisper if they have a question or need help from someone in their center.

    I have 7 centers, with 2-4 students per center. They have set tasks for every center, and more work in each center than they can possible do. Every center requires them to write the words they sorted, or whatever they did, in their notebook. If they finish, they use those words to write sentences. I tell them they are NEVER completely done. There is always something else they can do.
     
  14. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Oct 21, 2008

    bonnie - I also sympathize with you. I had a very vocal group last year too. I ended up making them work on individual workstations - which were much more time-consuming to prepare and of course, kind of defeat the purpose of cooperative workstations. But after a few months I went back to regular centers and they were fine - it was like they learned they had to be quieter! I would just make take-to-your seat activities for all the kids and they would have to complete like 4 a day.

    Do they make class sets of ear plugs? :p
     
  15. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Oct 22, 2008

    Personal stuff is hard too!

    My DD had 4 heart procedures in 4 years. Last year she had 2. I thought I handled it well, kept the burden neatly tucked inside although I felt like I carried her tightly in my arms everywhere I went. I was really afraid she was going to have a stroke and die and she very well could have. We were at the ER twice last spring & I went to school with 2 hours of sleep. I also had some health problems of my own.

    Well, this year the lab tech across the hall tells me that I really changed over the summer! What?? I didn't know what she was talking about. She said last year that I just had a "look" and a different "walk". What??? Well, yes I guess I did. I've always felt that my personal life should stay out of the classroom, there were days when I was so thankful that I could go in my room, close the door and focus just on my precious students. I know I did it last year too but sometimes things just affect you. You're human too. The good thing about hard times is that they pass and it makes us really appreciate it when days are good. My kids this year are just as awful as last years but I'm able to cope with them better.

    Maybe taking off a couple of mental days will help you. I wish I had last year but just didn't have them and I used 10 days when DD was having her heart procedures.

    Hang in there, things will get better.
     
  16. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Oct 22, 2008

    Thank you all so much. I am starting with re-organizing my schedule so my daily tasks go smoothly. Such as attendance, etc.

    Next I think I will get the Daily Five book and see how that works. I do love centers and love for kids to collaborate. But they are not ready for that yet. And I need to get some centers that are all literary centers, not mix in art or math games during reading time - duh! Every other year except one, they could handle having some math games and art centers while I did reading groups. One year I just had them do seat work silently and made horrible packets they could never finish just so they would have something to do and I could do reading. I do have about 1/2 the class that is really gung ho about learning, they follow the rules, and it is like they look at me and think "When are you going to get this together so we can get on with our work???"
     
  17. xmasqueen

    xmasqueen Rookie

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    Oct 22, 2008

    All I can say is thank goodness I don't have to teach reading. This year with our new reading series we have interventions and the reading teachers have to differentiate learning, which means they have 3 groups....high, mid, low. Fortunately we do homogeneous groupings so the class that needs the most intervention (these are determined by DIEBELS testing) have a Para and a Special Ed teacher in the classroom as well as the regular Ed teacher. We have full inclusion at our school so the Special Ed teachers move to different grades to work with those kids. I don't think I could teach my math classes without them....because if it wasn't this way I would have a headache everyday also.
     
  18. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Oct 22, 2008

    Ugh- I'm so sorry that things are not going the way you expected. I would also recommend The Daily Five!
     
  19. lindalou

    lindalou Rookie

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    I, too, am having the same problem, bonneb. I came to this forum to look for help and viola!

    My question is about the listening center. Our reading coach bought us all these beautiful listening centers and I have yet to use it b/c I just can't picture it! I'd be DOING daily 5 if I could jump into listening center. After the kids listen to the story, do they have some work to do that makes the center last the alloted time? Do they listen to a different story each day? Please help me...lol!!!!
     
  20. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    I do not have them write anything or do anything while at the Listen to Someone. I will have them retell the story with their partner though and when we share at the end of Daily 4, I ask someone to tell us about their favorite book they listened to.
    I MIGHT start adding some reader responses later in the year but right now I am just happy to have them use the tape players and clean up when they are done... :)
     
  21. lindalou

    lindalou Rookie

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    Oct 22, 2008

    Thanks, trayums! I have another question about the daily 5. I assume you are pulling kids for guided reading groups so do some kids "skip" a daily five? Are your daily five stations timed? I so appreciate your help!
     
  22. SuzieQ

    SuzieQ Companion

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    Oct 23, 2008

    OMGoodness! I am having the same problem . I did not have this problem last year this is why I am going nuts! What I have done that has worked is give my most talkative kids a post -it note. They are to draw a star everytime they finish a worksheet, every time they read 3 pages of a story, or complete an activity without talking or getting out of their seat while I am working with a small group. I learned this from a sp ed class I was taking but it has actually worked for my kids! I give raffle tickets to good students. I also have them "sign" if they need to use the restroom. They also must quietly "ask 3 before me."
     
  23. MissHunny

    MissHunny Comrade

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    Oct 23, 2008

    During my daily 5 time, the kids only really do 4 things in a day. I rotate listen to reading and read to someone so that the kids are doing those every other day. So on average the kids are all listening to 2 books on tape per week. I do have them respond to a comprehension question after each story but I like the idea of the oral retelling. My team made up "book box logs" that just have one comp. Q on each page, such as Who was your favorite character and why, what was the problem in the story, Describe the setting of the story, etc. I assign a page on the board for the book that they are doing. Also, i have 2 listening machines the 2 books are going at once. A group of 6 kids goes over and splits themselves into 2 group of 3. Each group of 3 gets on a machine and listens to the story. Then 2 days later when it is thier time for listening again the 2 group of 3 just do the other book that they didint do yet. Hope this is understandable. I am able to get to all 4 reading group for 20 min each every day. It is great!
     
  24. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    My stations are on a 6 day rotation (that allows me to have 6 small groups), which means they hit the listening station on one of those days. Every 6 days I will put a new book in the listening station. They have the alloted time to finish the 2 stations that they are assigned for that day. If they are at listening station, they listen to the story and the fill out a LS response form. I start off with a really easy version at the beginning of the year (circle how they like the book, draw a picture, write a sentence about the picture), and move up each 5-7 weeks to a harder version. By the end of they year they are writing detailed responses. I also have chapter books that I will put in the LS. I assign so many chapters that week (say 1-3: depending on how long the CD runs for those chapters), and more chapters the next week.
     
  25. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Oct 23, 2008

    After listening to the story tape, you could have the kids draw a picture of their favorite part of the story! You are so lucky! How I wish I had a listening center. Maybe next year.

    Thanks everyone - your thoughts have been very helpful.I am ordering Daily Five today!
     
  26. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Oct 24, 2008

    But before I order the Daily Five, who is the author??
     
  27. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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  28. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Oct 24, 2008

    Thank you! That is what I am ordering. Maybe I just need a fresh approach.

    Hey, it's Friday, anything is possible! :thumb:
     

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