I taught full time for fifteen years and am now subbing so that I can finish my novel. I don't have all the answers. None of us do. In fact, even if something works great for me, there is no guarantee it will work for you.
I hope that we will give each other suggestions. I went to all the trainings I could get my principal to approve when I taught full-time. I talked to a lot of teachers. AND I just kept trying things until I found something that worked FOR ME. We can not go against our own nature. Kids can sense that and will test us.
So, don't give up. Keep on trying new things and always know that there is a place to go where you can be anonymous and speak freely.
Best of Luck to all of you. Our children deserve the best that we can offer.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Learning Through Teaching

Friday, January 18, 2013

My Simple But Effective Classroom Management By Sherrie Miranda

My Rules 1) Respect Yourself & Others - I usually had a discussion with the students and had them write about WHY they have to respect theirself first. (i.e. If they don't have self-respect, they won't respect others.) With the middle schoolers, they got so they would tell a student who was misbehaving "Read Rule # 1." It was great because the student realized it wasn't just a judgement the teacher made, but something the students observed themselves. It helps them to learn self-assessment which I believe is the key to true learning. 2) Be here! Be on time. - This is probably self-explanatory, but again very good to discuss, esp. with English Learners. 3) Try, try, & try! Give 100% - Again, self-explanatory, but great for a discussion AND to practice writing. Something that I have always done but didn't really understand how or why it worked is putting a stamp or smiley face on their paper while they are working. :-) It can be as simple as making two eyes and a curved line for a smile =) or a stamp that says "Great Work!" Maurer explained this to me in my coaching class and in his book "One Small Step Can Change Your Life": (This book is simple and easy to read and I think it is the answer to problems in education.) It is amazing what kids and adults will do for a smiley face! I have tried it with Advanced Placement Seniors and even with adults. Only 1 or 2 very jaded kids has ever commented on it being silly. When I am teaching and a student is acting up which happens a lot less because of stamping their paper and learning when to let things go (tho letting things go comes later - at the beginning you make a BIG DEAL out of a little problem). I give the student the EYE (0). Often times the kid will stop what they are doing & even apologize. If they continue, walk over to their seat, again while looking at him (or her - I actually have had more problems with girls than boys. They can be real Bs when they want to be.) Never turn the incident into a show. Kids love this! They get to focus on something besides learning; they get to be entertained. You should tell students at the beginning that they will see you after class if a rule is broken. Again, at the beginning of the year, keep a couple kids after class for minor infractions so they don't escalate into major infractions. (Some teachers say to take a kid outside and let them hear you yell at them, but I try to always respect the kids so they learn respect and respect me back.) Also, you should be aware of them making a kid the class clown. I have talked to a number of black kids telling them they don't have to do the things the other kids want them to do. They can do what's right. I tell them that a lot of kids try to get the African American kid to act up for their entertainment. Several kids have thanked me for this as no one had ever explained it to them before. When you keep the kid after class, ask them what is wrong. Be understanding. Tell them, there are other ways to deal with these problems. Get them to make a promise not to do it again. At Hilltop, they have these forms kids fill out to explain 1) What happened? 2) How did YOUR behavior contribute to the problem? and 3) How will YOU do things different in the future? The goal is for the student to take responsibility for his/her actions. One year, I had a group of English Learners that were just totally wild. Luckily, they were advanced students so I started making them write essays in TOTAL SILENCE. When we tried to have a normal class, they got wild again, so we repeated the process with a new essay. By the end of the year, theses kids knew HOW to write, but even better, they knew HOW to behave in a classroom. They felt really good about themselves and I managed to keep my sanity. The most important thing is that the students KNOW YOU MEAN WHAT YOU SAY. If you tell them they are going to write an essay if the problem continues, you have to make them write an essay, and make them keep doing whatever you said was the CONSEQUENCE until the behavior stops. In the end, they will thank you for it! Sherrie P.S. As soon as you can, watch "Good Morning, Viet Nam." You will see why when you watch it.