what does a first grade classroom look like?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by bonneb, May 21, 2009.

  1. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    May 21, 2009

    All my years of teaching, I have had very little opportunity to visit other first grade classrooms.

    My classroom often descends into mayhem. Esp. at this time of year. I don't know if it is me or the kids. I try to post a schedule, have routines, and follow them, mostly.

    Yet the kids seem to go through wild periods, times of completely ignoring me, and either don't hear me or decide to just do what they want and take the consequences. Some seem hardened to the consequences.

    I have a headache every day - a couple students who CANNOT lower their voices, and parents won't follow recommendations for hearing tests. I feel discouraged. I am tired of them all , little darlings that they are.

    What does your first grade classroom, or others in your school, actually look like throughout the day. ARe they quietly sitting at their seats working? Are they at the circle with the teacher thrilled with doing the calendar for the 165th time? Singing songs? Running around the room? Hollering across the room to their friends??

    My only saving grace is that the K class is even louder, and nobody seems to expect anything else from them. In the last few days I have had other staff stepping into my group and correcting my students when I am standing right there. To me, at the time, I was getting things under control but the other staff was not patient enough to stay out of it.

    Grrrr. time for school to be over? Don't you hate it when other adults step right in front of you an scold your children? That is one of my pet peeves.
     
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  3. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    May 21, 2009

    You must be my twin. That's been my whole year. I seem to have gotten the "tough" bunch. This will honestly be the first year that I am really glad to see my kids move on.
     
  4. Yen

    Yen Rookie

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    May 21, 2009

    I very rarely have a quiet classroom. The only times I expect them to be quiet is when: I am teaching whole group, they are taking a test, or we are doing a read aloud. And even then it's no longer than about 20 minutes. We do calendar but my students have been in charge of calendar since September. It's a weekly job and the students are expected to fix the calendar so it is correct and then use a pointer to lead the students through it.

    We sing songs almost daily (but not always) and a lot of the time I'll play classical music while they are working. It doesn't make them stop talking, but they are definitely quieter when working.

    They are definitely not running around the classroom! And there are kids who have volume control issues lol. Last year I had a student who either whispered or yelled. He got a lot of reminders about using an inside voice.

    All of our primary grades use the animal rules. Here they are:

    Turtle Rule: We will walk in the classroom.
    Bear Rule: We keep our hands, feet and other objects to ourselves.
    Raccoon Rule: We will clean up after ourselves.
    Bunny Rule: We will use quiet voices in the classroom.
    Heart Rule: We will be kind to everyone.
    Elephant Rule: We will listen while others are speaking.
    Ant Rule: We will follow the teacher's directions the first time.

    The rules are posted with a picture of the animal (or the heart for the heart rule) in every primary classroom.
     
  5. snickydog

    snickydog Groupie

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    May 21, 2009

    My classroom is rarely quiet! I have an... interesting... handful of kids this year who have very strong personalities. Even when I've had naturally quieter kids, I LIKE them to talk. They need some socializing, and many of my students are ELL, so my room may be the only time they get to practice English during their day. While they're not at their seats working diligently all day, they are on task, for the most part. We don't have recess, so I understand why they bounce off the wall sometimes. They're six, after all! :)

    At this time of the year.... They're all crazy, I think!!! :)
     
  6. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    May 21, 2009

    Yen, I love those rules that go along with the animals!!
     
  7. newbie0809

    newbie0809 Companion

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    May 21, 2009

    Yea that is also a pet peeve of mine and something I hate. It's like I can handle it myself or will be about to get it under control and someone step in. I feel like that can also make your class not want to listen to you because someone else had to step in and also make them lose respect for you.
     
  8. Yen

    Yen Rookie

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    May 21, 2009

    Aren't they neat? A kindergarten teacher shared that with us last year, and she got it from someone who got it from someone and so on. :)

    When our kids misbehave we have a little sheet with all the rules on it (and the picture of the animal). The kid checks which rule they broke and wrote what they did. Then they and the teacher sign it. Works wonders!
     
  9. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    May 21, 2009

    Thanks everyone!

    I feel I have realistic expectations for the age group and I have a wonderful group of kids this year. One thing is I am having physical problems that have affected my teaching. Next year should be better.

    Another thing is a couple kids have physical issues that affect their behavior and they have no control over it, or not much control, and that affects the other kids. I feel it is normal for first graders to be loud and boisterous, impulsive, and not think through all the things they do! But "others" think they should make the kids into people they can't be yet.

    I have a real issue with "whole school" activities - some activities are just not age appropriate for first graders, and upper level teachers, or even staff, don't understand this and expect unrealistic behavior. I am going to have to be stronger next year to keep my kids out of these high expectation situations. The problems we have had lately are all related to the kids being put into situations they are not mature enough to handle, then being disciplined for not measuring up.

    Frustration! But, only 2 more weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks so much for all your input. You have made me feel like I am not insane. I did have a fit yesterday because they came at me like a mob and scared me - something I won't have.

    but they are sure sweet and I will miss them.
     
  10. maroki

    maroki Comrade

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    May 21, 2009

    During morning work (the first 10 minutes of every day) my kids are sitting quietly at their desks and working. They aren't completely silent, but I've always attributed it to full stomachs (free breakfast for all students at 7:30) and an early start (7:50 am).

    Our morning math time is generally noisy, but I would qualify it as exploring/learning noise rather than off-task noise.

    There are rarely times when my class is perfectly quiet, and I don't expect them to be. After all, they are only 6 and 7! The only time I require them to be absolutely quiet is when we are taking a test or when the point of the activity is for them to be quiet.

    My kids aren't completely quiet when they are in line, although I always try to get them quiet. They talk amongst themselves during calendar sometimes, but are pretty good about sitting quietly at the rug when I'm teaching. We sing several songs every day, and do a lot of work that isn't at our seats so I think that helps them get some of their energy out.

    I do have some (maybe 5-7) that see nothing wrong with hollering across the room to their friends, or standing up and sharing their work across the room with someone else...even if everyone else is still working!

    I can only speak about my classroom. I don't often get to see the other 1st grade classes at my school in action, so I have no idea how their classes are throughout the day. I know one class is quite loud, as I can hear them when I walk by in the hallway. However, I can't see in so I have no idea what they are doing at that time...
     
  11. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    May 21, 2009

    We had to keep our kids perfectly quiet ...all 150 of them.... throughout their lunch period during the 3 days of state testing.

    They were also expected to sit on their pockets for 1 hour during an awards ceremony that had nothing to do with them. I have been constantly praising my kids when I see them acting like second or third graders. It seems to work for me.

    My kids the last couple weeks have been really good. Today was bad, but the other days were great. I don't know what's going on. My class is the bad class but other teachers have even noticed how well they are behaving. We'll see what tomorrow brings.
     

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