tell me how to do this...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Linguist92021, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 2, 2012

    I'll be subbing in the same classroom for 3 weeks. 3 weeks is a long time in the lock up, for some students I'll be the only teacher they will know there (we get a lot of kids for that amount of time, even just for a week or few days). Someone here told me once that I focus on management behavior and not on teaching discipline and behavior ownership and that's a temp. fix. I'm still confused about that, and I don't agree with it.

    Met with the teacher who gave me a lot of freedom in what to do and how to do it, she just wanted to make sure we have some continuation with some of her system.

    Behavior:
    - students have assigned seats
    - rule is to come in quietly and go straight to work.
    - they do about 50 minutes of independent work, split into 2 class periods (tailored to their reading level, designed by the teacher), so I thought starting with that would cut down on transition, and would have a nice, calm way of starting the class (similar to silent reading that I did, and it worked great)
    - students know the consequences (nothing new here)

    Positives / rewards
    - the class can earn 25 minutes of game time. The teacher gives them 1 whole period, I want them to earn 5 minutes / day. I've done this for a long time, so they know it. They won't have a problem accepting it
    - there are 3-4 students / class recognized for excellent behavior, they're called the A team. They help out with things, in return the teacher pays them: they can listen to music with headphones while they work for 1 period. This is worth GOLD :) Every week new students can get on the team, or lose being on the team
    - individual reward in a form of a positive write up - worth a lot in the lock up.
    - I plan on using as much praise and positive talk as I can

    Curriculum:
    It will be a mix of things, so I don't think they'll be bored.
    - 2 days / week 25 minutes of independent work - they love it because they can catch up on credit
    - lessons from textbook, accompanied by powerpoint.
    - Wednesdays are short days, so we'll do a poster project for 2 weeks, 1 week movie (relevant to lesson)
    - Friday test/quiz and their earned game time.

    What am I missing? This is an earth science class, grades 8-12, all together. I will have no TA and grading and other administrative stuff will take up a lot of my time, so I have to be very organized. I already planned my 1st week with the powerpoint ready to go, and mapped out 2nd and 3rd week.

    Back to my original question: the only way I can make this work for 3 weeks is to be strict and not put up with nonsense. This is a very immature group of kids, who always try to get under the teacher's skin and are pretty good at it. The less comments they can make, the better. With one comment they can have 5 others chime in and let everything get off topic if I let it, or just get loud because they think it's ok to talk without raising hands. So I have to be very strict on that issue.
    Some might say that this way all I'm doing is enforcing behavior and make sure they're quiet. Yes, but is there another way? What am I missing?

    The kids know me, and like me, at least for the most part. Or at least they were very happy to hear that I'll be there for 3weeks (I think their joy will be short lived, lol)
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Dec 2, 2012

    Did the person who said that realize that you are a substitute in a correctional facility? Behavior management, opposed to teaching behavior ownership, seems very reasonable given your circumstances.

    ETA: Sorry that I don't have advice otherwise. It seems as though you're really thinking this through, you've obviously met with the teacher, you have plans, you have experience there...sounds good. :)
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 2, 2012

    I think they know.
    But I was thinking this will be 3 weeks, so it's least a bit more longer term. The thing is, I still don't know what it is that I'm doing wrong, or I'm not doing that results in not teaching behavior ownership. I'm just lost, but I want to learn :)

    So if this was my classroom from now on, what are things I would need to do or keep in mind? Because as of right now, this is exactly how I would do things.
     
  5. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    Dec 2, 2012

    This is pretty much how my classroom was run... just we did independent work 90% of the time (the decision was not up to me, unfortunately). In regards to independent work, I think you should think about:

    1) What do they have to complete during that time period? Is it a review of things they have learned, work on their own pace, etc?
    2) How will they demonstrate that they have been successful in independent work? Are you grading it? Do they have to do something in particular to be considered "on task?"
    3) Is there a chance of them completing the work ahead of time? What should they do in the time that is left?

    Of course, the above questions really rest on the particulars of your situation! I just know that some kids found it difficult to work independently, did not use their time wisely, etc.
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 2, 2012

    According to the teacher this independent work has been working great. She bought a set of the material, I think it's called SRA. (I don't know what it stands for). Each box of material was about $600, and each box is Earth Science, Life Science, etc.
    These are basically laminated 8x10 size cards that have text, and questions, including practice for standardized testing. Everything is based on a certain reading level. All the students are tested, so we know their scores and she already has everyone assigned their level. She showed me how to assign the new kids their level.
    So to answer your questions:
    1. This is in the same subject but different topic. It's something they can do independently, especially since it's tailored to their reading level. Yes, they work on their own pace.
    2. I'm grading it, but I will probably have a student from the A-team grade it, or maybe some of it, and I'll look over them. On task means they're working on it, it's easy to see.
    3. they basically have just enough time to read the card and answer all the questions. The concern was that they wouldn't finish it, and it's not good to leave to finish the next day. If they complete a card early, there are more, they actually get the whole packet, and just simply take out another one. So there won't be any time left over.

    The teacher showed me her way of assigning credit and grade. She said something like one card having the questions worth a half hour credit. That part is all confusing for me, but she'll have it written down, so it's simple. Here, because sometimes we get kids for a week, we have to calculate how much credit they get. Very complicated in my opinion.
    The teacher also said the kids love it. Some of them actually prefer to work on this during game time, which was surprising to hear.

    She said the main concern is to make sure they don't steal it! It's very pretty, with lots of pictures, and the kids just love to take anything they can. She said I was the only person who she trusted, and if I didn't accept this assignment she would not have taken off for 3 weeks. The box is $600 which she paid out of her own pocket, and if some cards are missing, it's not that useful.
    It seems that the independent work will be the easy part. The only thing I changed was to start to class with it, and not finish. This way I look up everyone's level and put their packet on their desk (it's on the seating chart). I'll have to do it between classes (5 minutes) but it's better than having students pass it out during class, and end up taking and have a lot of downtime. I'm not losing 5 minutes or more.
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 2, 2012

    Forgot to mention: I also included the following in their week's powerpoint, that's the first thing I'll go over:
    - rules and expectations
    - rewards
    - weekly schedule
    There are a few slight changes in each one, but this way everyone is on the same page :)
     
  8. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Dec 2, 2012

    From your previous posts, I have always believed you are doing a great job and work very hard. Sounds like you are ready for this assignment!
     
  9. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 2, 2012

    Oh, thank you! :) But there is so much to learn...
     
  10. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    Dec 3, 2012

    Good, you do seem to know how to handle the independent work. :)
     
  11. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Dec 3, 2012

    Who ever would have made such comments Linguist? :). So, to clarify, yes - I remember you mentioning you often subbed in difficult situations for short amounts of time, and I believe my response was that yes - I agree with you that such a short amount of time means you have to structure your classroom management approach differently than if you were working with kids over the course of a year. Even consider the popularly suggested Whole Brain Teaching - you couldn't implement that program in 3 weeks, so you have to modify your approach. I've also worked in a variety of situations that are short-term, from substituting to week-long camping programs, and most definitely - strategies are different than if you were working with kids for 9 months.

    Since you brought the point up, to clarify my thoughts, I think there are different goals to behavioral support with kids. One goal, for example, is to minimize impact of behavior to be able to focus on the curriculum. Another goal is to maximize focus on behavior for purpose of working directly on social/emotional development. These two goals would lead to different strategies in your management systems, and (hopefully) different outcomes if implemented correctly. Most teachers working with kids for an entire school year should probably chose a combination of both.

    The confusing part is that both types of support can contribute to both outcomes. So, focusing directly on social/emotional development can lead to improved short-term behavior, and some strategies focused on minimizing behavior can produce long-term impact. They aren't completely mutually exclusive. So, for example, social skills training is a direct focus on behavior and social/emotional development, but it also produces an impact on short-term behavior.

    Our conversation last time, I believe, focused on ownership related to a more specific behavioral strategy - can't remember exactly now, but the larger context was the overall purpose of the strategy, and that different behavioral strategies might be better suited for different goals. An extremely strict teacher, for example, might produce effective short-term behavioral results, and results very specific a particular context (i.e., your classroom), but are not as likely to generalize across a child's life context, because the core variables contributing to success are not similar to what the child is likely to encounter after your classroom (or after the schooling process).

    Overall, I believe in a balance of both. A focus exclusively on social/emotional development would probably distract too much from academics, while a focus exclusively on minimizing behavior would ignore important opportunities with social, emotional, and behavioral growth.

    If you look at prepackaged curricula that are popular, again such as Whole Brain Teaching, you'll find that strategies incorporated are often addressing both types. So, the positive practice/overcorrection component of Whole Brain Teaching is focused on social/emotional development, while some other components simply focus on improving compliance in the short-term.

    Sorry if my past communications caused you any confusion or frustration - I know you work in a tough setting, and - as others have mentioned - it seems that you do good work!
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 3, 2012

    EdEd, Yes, it was you, I just didn't want to name names :)

    Well, here is my take on this - it's still the same as last time, even though I've been thinking about it since then. My main focus is to teach students, and make sure they learn. That means that they need a disruption free environment. That's my first concern. So i have to be strict, and I might have to give up the focus on social / emotional development, building a bond, etc. Because if I don't have order in the classroom first, no one can learn, let alone 'bond', and learning comes first.
    I still feel that who knows how they will be in other classrooms, and I choose not to worry about that. Let the other teacher worry about it, especially since I have enough to deal with.

    If I was a regular teacher, it would be different because I would have 9 months or so for all this, but even then, the first few weeks would be focusing on correct behavior + learning.

    And, especially in this environment we never have student that long, even regular classroom teachers. At this lock up, most of the students are there for 56 or 84 days tops. Some longer, but that's rare. So even if I was a regular teacher here, I still couldn't worry about long term things.


    I do like Whole Brain teaching, although I should read the program again about specifics. Originally I was using the classroom management components, attention getter things (call/yes), etc.
    However, - like I said I need to look over it again - I remember it very active, everyone talking. Of course it's structured talking, but at the lock up we don't want all that noise. We really don't, it wouldn't work.
    I would never dream of using class/yes, the kids would not buy into it.

    I will look over it though, I'm sure there are things I could use.

    Thank you for explaining it! I feel better :)
     
  13. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 3, 2012

    Today went real well. There was no chatter, off topic comments or attempts to steer things off topic or towards the inappropriate. Well, maybe last period tried, but it wasn't bad. I've seen much worse.
    I think it helped that I told them to come in quietly, WITHOUT SAYING A WORD. Of course only 2-3 classes out of the 6 was able to do that, so as soon as someone said something (anything, even good morning, or a quiet comment to someone else) I sent everyone back out. Then they came in quiet as little mice. :)
    We did a lot of work. We read, discussed, took notes - actually covered 3 pages of the Earth science book. Finished everything in each class, or left off one little thing. It seems that we rushed through it, in 50 minutes (+ explain rules and procedures), but they had 1 concept they were supposed to master, everything else was extra. But we'll take it a little easier after this, I kinda wanted to give them a lot of work, moving fast so they wouldn't be bored, and that they see what to expect.
    So I think it will work great, as long as I keep them in check :)

    The reward system, putting the 'DOTs' (markdowns) on the seating chart, and the concept of the A team seem to be enough to motivate them behaviorally. And of course, I'm there, too lol.
    So, I feel pretty good.
     
  14. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Sounds like we're on the same page. I agree with you - that minimizing disruption is often a priority, especially in your environment. The only exception in longer-term environments is that, as I mentioned before, sometimes some of those "longer-term strategies" (e.g., social skills training) provide a useful short-term effect (and an effect that might not otherwise be available through other strategies). However, given your context, I think we're on the same page.
     
  15. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oh, and I think it's very cool that you've been reflecting on these issues and really considering behavior management in more depth. It's definitely a sign of your strength as a teacher that you're willing to invest that time and emotional energy in that level of self-reflection. That was really the point I saw in the last discussion as well - not simply an abstract debate - so definitely feel free to call me out if you think I'm wrong!
     
  16. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 5, 2012

    So I've learned a couple of things already.
    - Like I said, every class can earn 5 minutes / day towards their Friday game time. They must enter the classroom SILENTLY. If one person says one thing, they lose a minute. It's working great! I had 1 or 2 classed when someone walked in with a 'good morning'. Not bad, but they're not supposed to talk. Didn't line them back up, just took off 1 minute. Working perfect. So entering the classroom like angels - done :)

    - marking students down on the seating chart - like always - works like a charm. One new thing I discovered: I stole this line from a teacher. She's awesome, very strict, much more stricter than I am, I mean she won't let them say 1 word, ever. her lines is: "Who's talking?". I'm asking this looking at a student, and / looking around, as in scouting for students to be marked down. It's so funny, but everyone gets quiet. I don't let the classroom get out of control. if I hear a few whispering, or some very quiet words, I just go 'who's talking' and it's take care of. I have no idea why it works so great lol.

    - writing them up for the smallest things. Yesterday out of 6 periods 2 students used profanity. Not directed at me, but it was more than slip out, one repeated it. Wrote them up. I know they didn't get in big trouble, but wanted a paper trail, an acknowledgement, and talked to the officers and asked them to at least have a chat with them.

    - Do not ask students to snitch on each other semi privately. It must be private. I knew it, but now I was reminded. One student completely defaced 2 pages in the textbook with gang related tagging. Luckily he listed his and others gang aliases, but can't make out the gang's name. Actually it's 2 students, one gang crossed out.
    I can narrow it down to about 18 students out of the entire day (6 classes) because it's at a specific table. I know it's a Mexican gang, so not to sound racists, but it's definitely likely that the student is Latino. So now I have about 12 students. I asked one guy who I knew would help me, quietly if he could tell me which gangs those are and in which city. I didn't even care about the name of the student. He said he didn't know, but I knew he lied. I was disappointed. At the end of the class of course 5-6 student wanted to help, of course they were just being nosy. No one helped.
    Then when everyone left, I looked up and the first student came back, stood there with his eyes wide open and with a smile on his face. He scared me. just stood there quietly, looked like a cat (reminded me of Garfield, lol) :) He told me the name and the cities. So now i just have about 4 students, and the officers will figure it out - or maybe I will, tonight.
    So, something I knew before, but forgot: I have to ask them privately, otherwise they'll be labeled as snitches.

    Tagging is a huge problem, I cannot watch these students every minute, so I have to make an example out of these 2 students.

    Other than that, it's working out great. It's not just 'be quiet and do your work' anymore, we can can actually laugh and have some fun, at least with most of the classes.
     
  17. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Dec 6, 2012

    Sounds like it's been productive! I love "Who's talking" - I usually say, "I hear 3 people talking, now 2. Oh, now 4. Looking for those 4 people." Seems that being specific lets kids know that you are actually seriously looking for those talking.
     
  18. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 15, 2012

    So I made it through 2 weeks! Only one more to go :)
    By the second week I had 5 classes out of the 6 just absolutely wonderful and 1 just terrible. I guess after a few days the real personalities come out, not just sit quietly and follow directions, but they show if they love you or hate you.
    So 4th period class is just bad. I don't stress about it, I refuse to. I don't take it as a reflection on me, because what I'm doing works with all the other classes, it even turned around 1st period, who acted similarly to 4th period the first week. I also talked to another teacher who says they're pretty tough to handle. I think it's just the fact that there are many difficult kids in that class. Unfortunately it's not 2 or 3 doing bad things, it's 8-10 doing small bad things that add up. So I put them on 'quiet time' for several days, when they're doing independent work. The teacher usually has them do independent work, just not the whole period. She told me to do what I gotta do, teach what section i want to teach, make it work :)
    So next week 5 periods are watching a movie about global warming (and taking notes and of course going over some material before hand) this one period is doing independent work the whole week. They have been bad enough to have earned that. I have never been cussed out. That happened in this period. (I also suspended that kid form my class for 1 day)

    I realize and appreciate the fact that this is difficult time of the year. The kids are spending Christmas in jail. So a lot of them just don't care right now. But if I can have 65-70 kids care, then why can't these 15-18 care?

    I think i did ok as a sub. If I was a regular teacher I would do some different techniques, but so far the P is happy and so is probation.

    These 2 weeks just reinforced that my usual strategies are working, but I also discovered some things I should change. Not behavioral techniques, but teaching strategies. So overall, I've learned :)
     

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