Monthly Archives: December 2015

Systems and Routines by kroeningj

When I first started teaching in the 9th Grade Academy, I soon learned I had to develop routines. A forty-three minute class  can’t have much down time. I didn’t want things to be too elementary, but there was definitely a need for organization and expectations.

I was often guilty of trying to multi-tasks during instructions. I now know that is a bad idea but time was so precious. Should I have the students line up outside the door or not. Although it might have seemed like a throwback to elementary school, the activity made my life easier and enhanced the beginning of class. It gave me time to finish completely with one group before the next adventure began. I also didn’t have to worry about what was going on in my room while I was supposed to be monitoring the hallways. In addition, if students were lined up, they were not clogging up the hallways for others.

Technique #57: What to Do. Use specific, concrete, squential, and observable directions to tell students what to do, as opposed what not to do.

#57 is very important in the 9th grade world! Freshmen can get off task in a heartbeat. They love to respond/argue any chance they get.

“Knock it off, Johnnie.”

“What am I doing?”

This could go on forever.

“Pencils are made for writing, Johnnie.”

Stops tapping. “Oh. Sorry.”

Will I always be able to put a positive spin on a negative behavior. Probably not. But with a little practice, I bet I could get pretty good at it!

 

 

 

No Apologies by kroeningj

“It’s in the curriculum.” I have said this to my students. However, this is ironic because I had a hand in revising the curriculum. It’s not acceptable. No more apologies.

The alternatives to apology listed on p. 124 remind me of my bulletin board-Change your words; change your mindset. I guess it works for teachers, too!

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Last year I had a group of less than motivated students. When it came time to do Romeo and Juliet, I used the alternative text. I told myself we would never be able to get through the original text. Now, I wonder if I really did for them or was it for me? The alternate text was easier to understand, but I robbed them of “the hard necessary to scholarship (122). If I am going to make my students talk standard English and in complete sentences, I should not be introducing them to alternative texts. It’s in the curriculum for a reason!

I saved this a couple of years ago. Fits in nicely to Chapter 3! I Don’t Know

Students Are Always Watching

 

good teach

It is only the beginning of our journey together as a book study team, but I cannot express how happy I am to have solid time set out of my hectic life to brainstorm, vent, and most importantly, learn from my colleagues.  Our focus (beyond Lemov’s 62 teaching techniques) really is to connect what we do every day in the classroom to our building’s indicator–this term Respectful Culture.  It is only fitting that we moved from the Introduction to Chapter 3 about setting and maintaining High Expectations.  On page 90 Lemov really hits a homerun with his statement that “the goal is to build a “culture of better” in which being pushed by your teacher to go a little further is normalized–is as commonplace in the schoolroom as a pencil.” AMEN; however, stating this is so much easier than the battle of always enforcing it.  Sadly, not every student enters our classroom with the internal drive to learn and leave with more knowledge than they entered with.  Our job, as teachers, is to help foster learning habits and care/respect for everyone in the classroom.  

 

I, personally, take great pride in my classroom management.  Yeah, yeah, I have an Honors class this term; however, this isn’t always the case, and I have my share of struggles with Contemporary Literature and the absences of the “good kids” in Advanced Writing.  No matter the class, though, I encourage respectful culture in my classroom by not accepting the beginning shenanigans of students at the start of the term when they are testing the waters to see what I will let slide.  The answer is NOTHING…we are here to learn and grow.  I state that from the beginning, and I model that by my own care and respect.  I SHOW my students daily who I am by sharing in the learning process; I show my own examples or I share tales about students in the past who took an assignment further than expected.  What this does is that it shows students that I’m not just following the curriculum but that I see the importance and try it out too.  I want students to trust me.  

 

Trust–now that is one of the most powerful tools in the classroom.  If students trust you, they will do work for you.  Also, as Friday proved to me, they will come to you when something is wrong.  They look to you as someone who always does right or who knows what to do.  Well, Friday I had my students inform me of a situation that is very wrong and very possibly dangerous that was occurring in the restroom.  The moment they told me, I literally felt all 24 sets of eyes on me…waiting to see my reaction…and what I was going to DO.  To be honest, I looked up at that classroom clock and saw that there were only 15 minutes left of adult-teacherhood; I could ignore this situation or I could take action.  Well, with those eyes on me, I knew that I had to grab my Superwoman cape and see that justice was served.  With heart-pounding, I flew out of the classroom, assessed the situation, did the right thing, and saw that the situation was resolved.  When I came back into the classroom (with only 3 minutes left), I began speaking rapidly to close out the day and apologize for not having time for our remaining presentation.  However, I was met with protest– “Mrs. Staber, we did the final presentation.”  “Yeah, E—— got up and did her movie.”  “Ha, yeah, and K—- even asked her the questions you always ask at the end.”  

 

What the?????  My jaw fell open, but then I recovered with my usual smile.  Wow, my students respected me and knew I was busy “taking care of business,” but they knew I would want class to go on. They felt badly for poor E—–; she was nervous and wanted to present.  
So, with my long-winded rambles here, I feel like what occurred in my classroom can happen anywhere; students look to us for guidance, and we must never ever forget that their eyes are always watching.   

superwoman  Angela Staber