Summer seems to be the time that I am actually able to get some blogs in. I have this grand idea of being this amazing teacher, girlfriend, doggie momma, AND blogger. Yeah right.
So here I sit in the sun shining through my living room window, Lorde is on my radio and coffee is in my hands. I am blogging.
I found this link up that I really liked to get into the groove of blogging.
The link up is from Laura at Where the Magic Happens. She has a great little blog and I LOVE her thoughts on behavior management.
So here we go.
Today, I am digging into behavioral management.
Last year was a special year. It marked my (technically) 2nd year teaching. I had my own classroom this year (my first year I was on a cart and in 7 different rooms)-mind you it was the smallest in the school and I had classes of upwards to 35 students in each one. . I had 5 preps (I was supposed to only have 2- the three others were given to me in late October). Generally speaking I had good kids. My behavioral management system was a blend of my own teaching style (and ability to handle a little noise in my classroom) and the teach like a champion techniques that our school has employed.
1. Voice levels (0-4 zero meaning tests - four meaning group work)
2. Do it again (not everyone is doing it right-we will do it again, I expect nothing less than 100% compliance...students get sick of having to "do it again" real quick)
3. SLANT (I hate this...but my school uses it, so I do)
4. Show 5 (I especially hate this. Every time I put my hand up and I see students do the same I am instantly reminded of this...
It makes me very sad. I never use this unless my principal is in my room. Our school uses it so if I have to use it when the principal is there my students know what it is.) Typically I do a count down.
- I need your voices off in 5
- Your eyes are on me in 4
- Your hands are free in 3
- You are ready to learn in 2
- You are respectful in 1
My students actually really like this and some have told me they like it more than the show five because they need a few seconds to collect them selves. In one of my boys classes last year I had a group of boys that would recite it with me as they were getting ready to learn. It was really cute.
As I said I really did not have a problem with classroom management. Mostly I had a problem with individual management. You know those 3 kids in a class that just stink it up for the whole group. Now. Imagine having 6 classes, so a solid 18 of those kids. So that being said...My management wa a bit "wishy-washy" I tried so many things but what fI really found was that different things worked for different sets of students. Eventually I found what worked and went with it. Some needed reminders and some needed consequences, most still needed a break and time to reflect.
I ended up going to target and getting a small table for a "take a break" area. This actually worked really well for reflections. I will definitely be doing it again next year, but this time start it from the beginning of the year. IF you want to read more about my take a break (and a freebie!) go to the blog post I made about it earlier this year here.
For the 2014-15 school year I have all 6th graders. I also will now have co-ed classrooms (our school was a gender segregated school for the last 11 years).
Do you remember your first year of middle school? You were a terrified little child. You just wanted your teacher who you could hug, and sometimes call mom. The 8th graders are huge, you have never used a combination before, and you have to change for gym now? WTF!!! Now you have to cary all your supplies with you, have to take your shoe off for a pencil if you forgot one, you have a LOT more homework, and you have 7 different teachers, ALL who have different ways of managing their classrooms. On top of all of that you are figuring out who you are, you understand a little more sarcasm, you know a LOT more dirty words (phrases, gestures, websites, television shoes, songs ect.) and generally would rather hang out with your friends (even if it is on Facebook) all day than sit and listen to (enter teacher here) talk about (enter boring subject here).
NO WONDER MIDDLE SCHOOL CHILDREN ARE CRAZY!
Really for me the only changes I am going to make is implement the "take a break" table right away! LIKE DAY ONE. I want to use a strike system of some sort. I like the idea of using something like this:
Perhaps I will pass them out and if you get a second you have to go to the "take a break" station.
Here is the hard part, I am going to go to a math workshop style classroom environment. How do you go pass one of these out to a child on one side of the room, when you are working with a small group? I thought about making a big one and having it be a sign. If I am on one side of my room and little Timmy is making a riot in the game section I can just call his name and hold the sign up, mark his name down? I would love some elementary help on this one? I am a bit lost.
The other thing I want to change is this:
I lOVE joking around with my kids. They are at that perfect age that you can tell a joke or be a little sarcastic. I love it when my students ask me questions about my family or dog and love answering them. I love hearing stories from children about their families and sports.
There comes a time when it has to stop. I think I am going to employ one of these two items in my class next year:
Haha, OK. I love the idea of the "I'm invisible" light. ESPECIALLY for when we get into small groups. (I just bought a Silhouette Cameo...This might be my first project!) I also like that it is very visual!!!!!
The tape is for a very visual understanding of "when I am in this space we are learning" I am not your friend, I am not going to joke or tell stories. I will teach you what you need to know. This is going to be hard for me to remember when I am in the box I need to be in teacher mode. I think that this (If I can stick with it) will be an amazing and simple tool to help the stories that students tell me too. Say little GRACIE just needs to tell you the story about how her and her sister were playing a a video game last night and she went to make chicken - "Gracie, I am in the teacher box. Your story will have to wait." Boom. Done.
I think the key to all of this is to start at the beginning of the year.
My classes that I had from the start...were great! My classes I got at the end of October...not so much.
I am excited to see what others say about behavioral management and how it works in their classroom and would love any advice or comments. Be sure to check out the link on
For more behavioral management link ups!
I will be back tomorrow with a to do list for this summer!
YAY SUMMER 2014