Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Patience, patience, patience!

Wow - this week and last week have been a bit trying.  Finally, I stopped to think at lunchtime today.  Last year was exactly as crazy at the beginning.  It took some time for things to settle down.  Classroom dynamics change and mellow after September.  I keep reminding myself to be patient - remain consistent with WBT and it will pay off.  I was rewarded somewhat today when my students started to do my reminding for me.  One student piped up, "Please STOP, Bobby* - I want Center time!!"  I was able to step back and quietly watch as my students kept the independents in check.   The Scoreboard buy-in is beginning to take effect!!!!

Friday, 16 September 2011

My First Couple of Weeks

Well my friends, I am back at it again!  Here are my observations:

1.  Whole Brain Teaching is still so amazing!

2. I just got 6 new children - they unsplit the 1/2 split next door - now I have 25 kids and they picked up WBT so quickly.  Not sure if they know what hit them:)

3. Scoreboard has had about 30-40 smilies and frownies on both sides before recess.  The class has won the Scoreboard several times and they have lost several times, as well.

4.  I have still had private talks with students on occasion just to reinforce that when they break the rules they are causing frownies for the class, especially if they are being unsafe.

5.  I have had to remind myself occasionally to not use names when pointing out frownie behaviour.

6.  I am going to have to talk with my teacher aids and explain to them that this is a different type of classroom.  I may even give them some light WBT reading to do.  They are not in the mind-frame of practice, practice, practice like I am.  They look at me when students aren't sent back to their desks from the carpet for misbehaving.

7. I have had students sit out of an earned learning game - partly due to second guessing myself, aid comments, and the desire to have that student understand that what they were doing was not acceptable.  Really, each student is part of the class and if the class won the Scoreboard then the entire class should be allowed to partake in the reward.  Still, I think students need to get the idea early that what they are doing is not acceptable.  Do I give a student who is causing all the frownies a consequence even if the class wins the Scoreboard?  My initial thought says no because right now that child is still practicing.  My instinct says that child knows he/she is breaking the rules and, therefore needs a consequence.  What I really need to focus on is the class giving the consequence - peer pressure is the key - when I call out Rule 2 - the whole class needs to say it and really mean it!

8.  Line check has worked wonders on my line up!!  Thanks to Educ8rKP who wrote about this on the forum!! Very helpful!
"1. Laser-straight: the tiles on the floor help a lot, but we also have lines painted on our sidewalks. They know, because I remind them often, to make sure their left foot is on the line.
2. Dead quiet: I never allow any talking in my line. Not even to me.
3. Arms crossed: I used to allow kids to choose whether they crossed their arms or put their hands in their pockets, but I found that if you give an inch, they take a light-year. So, arms crossed only.
4. Faces forward: It's really irritating to me when people standing in line at theme parks aren't paying attention when the line moves forward, leaving a huge gap. I don't want my line to have gaps in it either.
I teach these four expectations, and slowly wean them off me reminding them of each one when we line up, and settle for the aforementioned "LINE CHECK!" They repeat "LINE CHECK!" and instantly snap to attention in a perfect, orderly, OCD-tickling line (tears of joy!). The key is consistency and unbending, unwavering expectation of perfection. As long as it's not perfect, we don't move. If we're already moving and it stops being perfect (arms swing out, someone talks, someone veers way out of line), I call "FREEZE!" and everyone stops. I say "LINE CHECK!", they respond appropriately, then we're on our way."
My goals right now are to:

1. Change my challenging students, to fence sitters, fence-sitters to go-alongs and my go-alongs to alphas.

2. To talk less and use Teach/Okay! more.

3. To be consistent.