Taking over a class

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by jen12, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Mar 20, 2014

    I just took on an LTS for a teacher who will be gone until the end of the year. In the week that I've been there, they started off with a really bad day, then got it together and had a great day and then sank down again with their worst day yet.

    I use the classroom management system they've had in place since the beginning of the year - clip chart and table points. I've added an extra incentive to kids who clip higher than the top level of the chart.

    There is an adjustment period. I get that. I'm learning names, so that's definitely helping. I'm seeing who the repeat offenders are, but there are quite a few of them.

    One wanders and does nothing at all unless I stand over her. She is perfectly capable of doing the work. She just doesn't want to. She won't even participate in PE games.

    One hums, talks, stretches all over his desk and just can't keep control of himself. At one point I took away his chair, thinking that maybe standing at his desk might be more comfortable for him than having to sit, but he still proceeded to bother everyone around him.

    One talks back.

    One is fascinated by the computers and constantly asks me if he can use them. Even as I'm explaining a lesson, he'll raise his hand and ask to use the computer. Before he finishes his work, he asks to go use the computer. As soon as I walk the room to help other students, he heads to the computers to stare at them.

    One is already on an IEP and has several pullouts. She also has physical disabilities. When she's in the classroom, she does very little unless I'm standing with her. What she does do is report to me on what everyone else is doing. Her mother came in to talk to me on my first day with the class and wanted to know how she was doing. I told her we had some attention issues. The mother said that was not unusual. A few days later, she approached me again to tell me I didn't send homework home. They get a packet for the week on Monday. When she looked through the girl's backpack while we were talking, the homework was right there. Its too early for me to tell if the mom is "with it" or not, but I get the feeling this child might end up needing a lot of attention from me.

    Since they're first graders, the tattling is a regular and constant battle. Their teacher has folded that into her clip system and tattling is on the list of things they clip down for. I can't say how much I LOVE that!

    This is a really good class when they want to be. I can see that. Right now they're just playing games and seeing how far they can push me. There's no possible way I can do things exactly the way they're used to. Instilling my own systems is not easy either. Right now my main challenge is getting the noise level down when I'm trying to teach. Second will be getting my wanderers to sit still.

    Any tricks for taking over a class mid-year?
     
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  3. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Mar 20, 2014

    I feel for you - taking over a class mid year is not easy. I've never done it before, but I do teach grade 1, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

    While you don't want to make drastic changes, do make the systems 'your own'. It's next to impossible to keep things exactly the same, so don't even try. YOU are their teacher now and you need to run the classroom in a way that makes sense for you.

    A lot of what you are describing is typical grade 1 behavior. They are testing you and seeing where the boundaries are. Be firm, fair and consistent. Don't give tons of warnings, follow through with what you say and make them repeat routines and procedures until they do them correctly. Since you've already had what you can consider a 'good day' you know it's possible, so hold those expectations high.

    Does your student on an IEP receive any in-class support (i.e. an educational assistant). You'll only be dealing with her mother for a few months, so be polite and accommodating. Maintain a positive relationship and support her as necessary (the mother). Find out more from your resource team about how to best meet the child's needs in the classroom.

    To get the noise level down:
    1. Establish a clear 'attention getting signal'
    2. Keep instructions / lecture style teaching clear and concise
    3. Whisper instructions
    4. Say things once and do not repeat yourself to students who were not listening (obviously re-explain to students who don't 'get it')
    5. Never speak over them - wait until they are quiet. Do not train them to think they can speak when you are.

    Wanderers:
    1. Make sure you are providing movement breaks during the day
    2. Re-direct
    3. Tight deadlines - make sure they know that incomplete work will be made up during a less convenient time (i.e. COMPUTER TIME, recess, choice time)
    4. Ensure they have everything they need before they get started on their task

    Really truly you are hopping into grade 1 at the best time of the year - they are really smart by now and only going to become more skilled and independent. Work them hard, keep them busy and make sure you have FUN with them!
     
  4. ScienceEd

    ScienceEd Companion

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    Mar 21, 2014

    Miss Scrimmage: I think I might use some of your advise and retrain my 9th graders :) thanks
     
  5. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Mar 21, 2014

    Glad I could help :)
     
  6. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Mar 22, 2014

    I took over a class this January. It was.... tough... but they got used to my style of teaching and I finally learned about them (their names, strengths, weaknesses, etc). I did make some drastic changes, we needed it to make that class run smoother. That former teacher was way too lax on classroom management....

    Anyways, go in and be strict, tough, consistent, and loving. They will eventually warm up to you. :)
     
  7. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Mar 24, 2014

    After a full week, I'm starting to realize where the problems are. Whenever I give the signal for attention, there are always still voices, and it's always the same three or four students carrying on their own conversations who are oblivious to everything going on around them. I have to repeat it three or four times before I get "buy in" from everyone. Since they already have a clip chart and table points, I brought in a marble jar today. I told them that it's for entire class cooperation, such as silence and eyes forward when I ask for it and for line walking. They were into it in the morning, but blew it off by the afternoon. I'll keep pushing it.

    I do have an awful habit of speaking over the noise. I'm working on that. It hit me that if work doesn't get done, there's always the next day. It's not like a single day of subbing where I have to explain why I didn't get to something. I'm just slowing things down to go over rules before we start everything. It's like September all over again for them. I'm not starting from scratch. I'm just trying to adapt what they've already got to make it work for me and for the problems I'm seeing.
     
  8. ScienceEd

    ScienceEd Companion

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    Mar 24, 2014

    you can try matching those three or four students with a "buddy" that can help them get back on track or notice when you are calling everyone to attention. I've found organizing your groups help a lot in classroom management and noise.
     

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