Was I Wrong

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by womby, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. womby

    womby Rookie

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    Feb 18, 2008

    Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but I think I handled a situation correctly (or correct at the time) but I just wanted to get some other opinions.

    I teach history to 6 sections of 7th graders. Last week we were finishing a unit and had a day off on Wednesday because of weather. I wanted to finish the unit Thursday so that we could take a quiz on Friday before our Presidents Day vacation started.

    When we came back to school on Thursday I announced to all sections that we would be taking a quiz on Friday based on everything we had done so far, and proceeded to review the terms on our terms sheet. The students had the terms sheet out (16 terms in all) and the textbook open to the chapter. I was reviewing the terms, essentially going one by one down the terms list, and having students read the definition out of the book. As students found the definition, and wrote them on their terms sheets, I would give a little explanation of the term and the context it occurred in.

    One of my classes was being incredibly talkative (nothing new, but not helpful on a review day) and when I couldn't take it any more, I told them that their behavior showed me that they thought they didn't need a review and that they should put everything away and they would take the quiz that day.

    This was with about 10 minutes left, and when many complained I told them to do as best they could. Some began working slowly but surely (there were 25 m/c questions), some began working furiously, and some didn't do anything.

    At the end of class, I collected the quiz and asked them, if they didn't think my response to their behavior was fair, I told them all to come up with something that was fair. Either an explanation from the whole class, signed by everyone, or an individual explanation from everyone. It was due by the end of HR on Friday morning.

    Friday morning came and went and though some students came and sheepishly apologized, no one turned in a letter. When class came around I received a note from one student telling me that I was not doing my job. My job, it said, is to teach, and giving a quiz a day early is not teaching, it's just setting students up for failure. Another note came in signed by most of the class saying that though they may have been talking, I never told them to stop, all I did was stop talking, how were they to know they were supposed to stop? If I were more specific, it said, they would have gladly stopped talking.

    I felt that giving the quiz on Thursday was a legitimate response (and yes a little knee-jerk) but now I'm not so sure...

    What ended up doing was making a new quiz. When asked about the quiz they took on Thursday, I said I had checked it, saw that many people weren't ready and would be counting it along with the new quiz and averaging them together.

    I've had problems with this class before and am really trying to stop the problems, not cause more. Wait time just doesn't seem to work, as they would talk forever if I were to wait for them. I don't always "teach" we also do projects and cooperative learning. I know that this age is tough, but this takes the cake. Could anyone share their thoughts. When it comes to my classroom management, I'm pretty sure I have support from admin, but not so sure that all parents are on board.

    Thank you if you've read this far, and if you have any jewels of wisdom, I'd appreciate any.
     
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  3. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Feb 18, 2008

    You are completely right if they are not going to listen to you, I wouldn't do the review session and they can fend for themselves. If they really wanted to do well on the quiz, the students could have looked up the terms on their own time. I am much meaner than you I would have given them the quiz that day if they were talking during the review session.
     
  4. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    Feb 18, 2008

    If anyone knows how to make seventh graders quiet, that doesn't involve violence, I would pay them several thousand pennies (hey I am a teacher) kiss their feet, and conjugate any verb Spanish in any verb tense they want. Seventh graders . . .:( the bane of my existence.
     
  5. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    Feb 18, 2008

    And don't listen to their sad little banter. They know they are not suppose to talk. They know that. They know it but socializing is NUMBER ONE for them. :mad:
     
  6. cwp873

    cwp873 Comrade

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    Feb 18, 2008

    I think you did the right thing in terms of giving them a wake-up call! I think offering the chance to re-take the quiz made it fair, although I probably would have taken the higher of the two grades rather than averaging them.
    I've had similar problems and am also at a loss! I'm anxous to see if anyone else has a solution!
    Maybe the next time, announce up front that as long as they are attentive it will be a review day, but if they talk excessively you'll pass out the quiz and NOT offer a chance to re-take. I have also had students get a paper signed explaining what's going on. If the parent signs (alerting them to the problem) I allow the students to make up missing work, re-tke a test etc. No parent signature?? You're stuck with the grade.
     
  7. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Feb 18, 2008

    and I would not allow a retake, this is a valuable learning experience. You waste my time in class then you'll be getting a quiz.
     
  8. ~mrs.m~

    ~mrs.m~ Comrade

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    Feb 18, 2008

    I can see how their talkativeness was frustrating to you. I probably would have had them finish the work on their own with no help from me and take the quiz as scheduled. The reason why is that there could have been at least one student in the class that was trying. Mass punishment isn't fair to the students that may not stand out in the crowd but are actually conscientious. I would want to be able to justify my action to every child's parent.
     
  9. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Feb 18, 2008

    If the entire class was talking they'd get a quiz and the kids who weren't could take the quiz as scheduled with extra credit.
     
  10. emmyblemmy

    emmyblemmy Companion

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    Feb 18, 2008

    I think you did the right thing- hopefully, it was a valuable learning experience for your students.
     
  11. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2008

    I'm in agreement with everyone else. You did the right thing. It is Feb, and they know they aren't supposed to talk when you are talking. I would have had them finish on their own, and taken the test right when they came into class on Friday.
     
  12. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Feb 18, 2008

    Their little note blaming you, saying you never told them to stop talking, was just to make you feel guilty, in the hopes you would back down. Call it 7th grade blackmail. If you go into a justification of what you did that day, why you just stopped talking etc, the kids will win. They will realize they got your goat and do it again and again. Stick to what you did, and by the way tell them tomorrow you expect the letter to be redone, for a grade, and that they are to only talk about THEIR behavoir, that they are in control of what they do. IF you were in control you would have made them stop, but since you didn't it is obviously within their control and they need to take responsiblity for their behavior, oh while you are at it, have them add something about being honest about their behavior and not try to blame others for their actions.

    Stick to your guns!
     
  13. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Feb 18, 2008

    Totally agree - during my test review, my students know that I WILL stop the review and pass out the test if they are not particpating, too much extra talking (we play a game), inappropreiate answer or anything else that I feel the need to stop it for. I also state to my class that it is usually the students that cause the review to end that need the review the most. Totally agree with wldy - if you back down they will never take you serious about anything else. Hopefully this got their attention and the next time they will listen.
     
  14. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Feb 18, 2008

    Two things going on here. One is discipline. The other is instruction. Discipline must always come before instruction. As you experienced if discipline is not solved first kiss off instruction. Discipline problems are solved with discipline techniques. Measuring student learning is solved with quizzes. Settle the discipline issue (talking) first while putting instruction on the back burner. :2cents:
     
  15. MrL

    MrL Companion

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    Feb 18, 2008

    I'm going to start mentioning that as a consequence on review days.
     
  16. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Feb 19, 2008

    I think what you did was perfectly ok. I don't do mass punishment or reward often, but sometimes peer pressure can be a useful tool. I would also take the time to review class rules and remind them that talking isn't part of the classtime routine. Actually I make sure my kids know that the classroom is not a democracy, it's a monarchy and I'm the queen. (We joke about it, but they know that while I do seek out their opinion from time to time, it's my opinion that makes the decisions.) What you've described is why God made me for elementary. I have the most admiration for all of you who teach jr. high kids. *shudder* Not for me! :)
     
  17. carlea

    carlea Comrade

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    Feb 19, 2008

    I don't think you were in the wrong at all. I had the same type of problem with my 8th graders a while back. I stopped the lesson, told them their chapter test was on Friday and good luck. I also told them that if I had to stop a lesson again, those students would receive infractions for misbehavior. I also emailed the ringleaders' parents regarding their behavior. I haven't had a problem since.
     
  18. AF Mom

    AF Mom Rookie

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    Feb 28, 2008

    You did the right thing. Sometimes kids just need a little reminder as to who exactly is the boss. I also tell my classes that I am the queen and what I say goes. I even have a plastic tiara that I wear sometimes. Usually when I start reviews, I tell them up front that the review will end and the test will begin if the talking starts. It only took 1 time for them to realize I meant it.
     
  19. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Mar 1, 2008

    I don't know why this thought came to me...mind you, I'm a PreKinder teacher, not a middle school teacher...with this particular class, why don't you just put a recorder on your desk, press record and let them have a go...bear in mind, that your recorder is not hidden, but in full view of the class.
    what do you think?? or am I just some crazy, sneaky teacher?
    hehe:D
     
  20. MrL

    MrL Companion

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    May 27, 2008

    I do the Harry Wong "Raise my hand and wait for the kids to quiet." It's on average effective between 3-7 seconds. I also use "If you can hear me say SHHH," "If you can hear me SHHH that way," and "Clap your hands if you can hear me."
     
  21. Vegas Art Guy

    Vegas Art Guy Rookie

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    You did the right thing. Don't let them make it up. Next time they'll stay quiet.
     
  22. NUMB3RSFAN

    NUMB3RSFAN Rookie

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    Jun 12, 2008

    Don't know if this will help but...

    I tell the kids right off the bat that I have 42 minutes of instructional time and that that time is my time. If they talk, I stop and wait for them to get quiet. The amount of time they talk is the amount of time they owe me back after the bell. I also tell them that I will not write them passes to their next class. (They have a 4 minute passing period.) If they settle down, I also allow them to earn some of their time back for paying attention as well.

    I've used this with 6th - 8th graders and it works well. The first time around, they don't realize how long they have been talking and are shocked when I write the time up on the board. The next time, their peers notice I'm counting and police the room for the talkers. After that, talking usually isn't an issue because they know I'm not playing around!
     

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