More Classroom Photos

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19 thoughts on “More Classroom Photos”

  1. HELP!!! Sorry, totally unrelated post but am in the middle of day one at my new school! Will have a report from field, photos soon.
    BUT…STAT…like by tomorrow…I need help with a super unruly group. 22 (24? who knows i can’t keep track of the attendance lists) …9th graders. It was basically a shit show today. I have rules up, stopped at every infraction, pointing calmly, etc. I had to do this pretty much every 2 seconds.
    About half or more of the class is really trying, eyes, up, everything good, signaling, etc.
    But a significant group of boys is derailing all efforts. Need to nip this in the bud. This is all new for them. All new.
    Not letting that take all my attention because my other block (level 4) i am already in love with!!!!!!!! oh yeah, plus there is a student in the unruly group who basically is fluent in spanish. spontaneously lovely speaking. needs to be removed from that group asap.
    Anyway, love my advisory group too. Next block is level 2 which I anticipate loving. I love the unruly group too of course. But need to reel them in somehow.
    Sorry to hijack but I’m on the edge here. Will not likely check again til tonite, but any suggestions??? THANK YOU!!!!
    It is calming me right now to look at Ben’s room. 🙂

    1. Hi Jen, so sorry this difficulty was the way that class had their first day. Sounds to me like you’re doing the right thing in stopping and using the rules. I admit I don’t feel I’m the best at classroom management (it’s not natural to me), and I hope others will have ideas for you, but here is what I thought of. Ideas to sift:
      – What about passing out an Interpersonal Communication Skills rubric and showing them they had an F so far?
      – Calling parents.
      – Letting them know those who do not engage in class per the guidelines from the rules will have to do book work individually PLUS know the material presented during class.
      – Keeping your cheerfulness and joy intact throughout. I suspect on day one that was being tested in a big way. (Is she going to yell? Is she going to freak out? etc.)

    2. Can you sense ring leaders? This might take more time than just one class, though.
      I just sent a kid outside today during story asking. I will not allow him to ruin my work. I don’t know if you have that option, and if there is more than just one or two kids it may not be feasible.

      1. James said something that I love: “I will not allow him to ruin my work.” That’s my mantra all year. And I’m gonna say it aloud to the perpetrators or ignorant children as needed!
        Diane N – Spot on ideas that I would think will help with half of the problem kids.

    3. Hi Jen,
      Ben said something to me a year ago that has helped me. He said to keep in my mind that these students are bullies and need to be stood up to with force in your voice and poise that a bully needs to hear in order to understand. Not that you are going to mean, but that you are going to be strong and firm with them and inform them that you will not tolerate this kind of behavior in your classroom. The rest of the class needs to observe this internal strength and your resolve to not tolerate bullies.
      Ben had said that there is this power that comes from one’s gut that produces this attitude of intolerance for bullies. It’s a disposition that you can practice anywhere, whenever you are challenged by a bully, in the classroom or elsewhere.
      I’ve kept this as a mantra and actually put it top on my list for each day of my school planning calendar for the first days of the year. I write “gut” and this reminds me of the anti-bully attitude I need to have. I tend to be a more passive, non-confrontive person in general, so I need to remind myself that I need to be firm on bullies.
      Having consequences and routines are essential too, but nothing can replace the attitude that kids will sense when you show them with your body language and firmness in your poise and voice that you will not tolerate bullies.
      Also… one consequence, recommended to me by a colleague, that I have tried is this: I pass quizzes out at the beginning of class (actually there’s a job for it). The paper sits on the desk (no pens and pencils). If a student is being disruptive I walk over an put a minus point on the quiz. I don’t have to do it often, but it usually sends a quick consequence and message that I’m serious about no disruptions.

        1. Thanks Leah. Here’s a little info on the quizzes:
          I have six 5 question quizzes printed on one sheet of 8 1/2 X 11 paper. It doesn’t have to be six; a traditional non-block schedule could have 5 so you have one each week. Usually kids answer true/false, who? type questions with a word bank of names, or translation of a word or phrase into English, so the blank lines don’t have to be very long. Also, short answers are quicker to grade.
          These quiz papers get distributed by paper monitors at the beginning of class (while everyone is working on the warm-up), sit on the desk during the period (so I can give minus points if I need to), and then one quiz on the sheet is filled out each day at the end of class. Then students turn the quiz in, it is graded by me or the T/A and ready to hand back the next session. After six quizzes are taken I enter one score in my grading program, so I’m not constantly entering quiz scores.
          For absences: any student who misses for ANY reason, gets a zero and has the opportunity to make up points by doing a “Quiz Make-Up Assignment.” They have a choice from several menu items and the assignment takes about 15 min. These cover sheets with directions are filled out by another “secretary” student and their absence is recorded on a roster. I distribute these before the quiz each day to students who were previously absent. After they complete and turn in this assignment, I “clear” their zero quiz by adding points in a column in my grading program for “Quiz Make Up Points.” Students who have a “truancy” have no option to make up the points; they receive a zero. If a student is present but has to leave mid-period for an office summons, to go home, etc. then I just clear their quiz when they leave and hand it to me.
          Also, quizzes are blank on one side to discourage cheating. When the quiz is done, I instruct kids to turn the paper over so the blank side is facing up. Then no one passes up papers until I see that all pens and pencils have been put in pockets or bags. Then I cue students to send the papers up. Last year kids tried to cheat when the chaos of the passing up of papers occurred. They would look at a paper coming up and then frantically fill in a blank or change and answer on their own paper. The new system has helped reduce this kind of thing so far.
          I like the daily quizzes because I always have a record of attendance, and there is a built in accountability piece for absences and truancies. I had a kid who was lying about coming to class last year when they were ditching. The blank quiz was hard evidence that they were not in class. Kids have told me they like it because they know they should pay attention in class since they know they will be assessed.

  2. Thanks for the quick response y’all! Probably over panic because of day 1 and really wanting to let the hammer down.
    Inerpersonal rubric! What a great idea! I don’t have that up yet! F! Yay!
    Ringleaders, absolutely I will watch for this and also think I’ll have my previous block move the chairs into a row formation for that group. At least for now.
    Call to parents. Yes. It was mostly overwhelming not knowing the kids’ names and such. Tomorrow I will have a seating chart for them with pre-made name tags.
    Overall great first day.

    1. Yeah maybe do what David does with subtracting points on the spot. Definitely find the ring leaders. There are probably two of them playing off of each other. Crush that. Use the rubric and point out when they are failing to honor it. Tell them “I am grading you right now by the way – that is mainly how I grade. You and you are failing and will definitely fail this class if you keep this up. In order for you not to fail I will call your parents right now.” Then go over to the phone and call them. Don’t bluff that. It will work. Get a massive amount of gut going. These bullies suck at being students and you cannot let them continue that for one minute. They always win when they come in for the second class and get away with the same thing. You MUST call the parents of the ring leaders BEFORE OR DURING the next class. Get that fluent kid GONE. WTF? Tell counseling about that class and get them to come observe it and tell them to DO THEIR JOBS! Find a sympathetic AP or someone and HAVE THEM ACT. Beat them before they beat you. It’s all in how you react now in this 24 hours period. Later is too late.

    2. The thing that I have had to remind myself this year is that it is the beginning of the school year. I think as TPRS fanatics we come out of the gate swinging ready to make tons of magic happen from the first day or week. Some years we are lucky and it does happen…sometimes we have to slow down, be patient, and wait for the magical moments.
      I have told myself this year to be patient and wait for the magic and not try to force it. This helps me stay patient with students that aren’t exactly TPRS driven the way I am. My wife’s slogan to me is often,”Take it easy” so that is what I am trying to do when things ae going as planned…take it easy.
      Go easy on yourself the magic WILL happen!

  3. It’s not an easy situation. There is no easy solution. Just keep trying, and put your mental health first. If you feel yourself losing your center, take time to care for yourself as best you can. You can’t necessarily make the situation better for anyone else but you can always make it better for yourself. Pause to breathe and observe them. If you can’t turn the situation around you can at least learn from them. Just keep showing up, taking care of yourself and do your best. There are many, many factors beyond your control. I do not have a good track record so far with surviving classes like this, but even in classes with unruly and even cruel behaviors, there were moments of kindness and a pretty good amount of language acquisition happening. Nothing compared to a functional class, but still something. Good luck and keep us posted!

  4. Jen, I commiserate. I have some reeling in to do too tomorrow with a few kids. Nip it in the one day old bud!
    “Pause to breathe and observe them.”
    Yes, Angie! Only I would say (to myself) “STOP! Just stop everything, and observe and don’t start up again until something shifts – their actions, my breathing and heartbeat, something big. I forget to just stop. I try to deal with things on the fly. Not good. Thank you for the reminder.
    Jen, I don’t know what you have available or if you have a school procedure for discipline or whatever you want to call it, but I have tended to not use ours, wanting to handle things myself. This year, (if STOPPING and breathing doesn’t do the magic) I am going by the book starting tomorrow. One day that hinted of misery was enough to remind where I don’t want to go. Granted, the couple of kids who are giving me grief I know from last year, so I know what they are up to.
    And yes, take care of yourself!

  5. Back to the room setup. I started with just 4 question words (super simple b&w). I love the idea of the simplicity, but I have to say, I miss some of the other ones. I need more for the flow of things and because my classes aren’t all in the same place. And there are a few of those other words that I just want to point to and pause without having to write them down again each time. So I am going to put up my clear and handsome set (French) which I am happy to share tomorrow when I am back on my school computer. I’ll put them low enough to touch, though. That is key!
    I love walking to the rules and touching them. We’ve hardly begun! I’ll be wearing a path in the linoleum!

    1. And, Ben, thanks for the pictures and descriptions! What a nice room! With everything in it that you need.
      I love seeing other people’s rooms.
      Did you use your laser pointer when you were reading? I love touching words rather than pointing, but the laser is great for reading, so I’ll probably use it there. I am just wondering what you are doing. And I think I am going to try sitting with the group for ROA instead of at the side of the board. Nice! Even in a regular chair 😉

  6. First of all, so sorry that your first day wasn’t all that you had hoped it to be (it rarely is). I agree with trying to sniff out the ringleaders asap. However, I have found that if I make the alpha-dog (male or female) the center of the first couple of circling rounds (I assume you started out with CWB, right?), I can usually get them on my side pretty quickly. Maybe they are just not used to the fact that somebody is actually interested in THEM.
    Good luck tomorrow!

  7. Thank you all SO MUCH. I want to clarify that while the one group was challenging, I had two (three, counting advisory which is not in Spanish!) wonderful groups of children. AND even in the unruly group I reminded myself as they left, only 6 or so of the 24 were unruly. So 18 others were trying their best. More reinforcement for me to clamp down. For the sake of the 18 others! And of course for the sake of the 6.
    We have a mentoring program, so today we had a great meeting right after school with our mentor. Me and 2 other newbies (me not so new to teaching, but new to the school and of course open to everything). My mentor is great. As part of the meeting she had us role play different things we could try with unrulies. 3-4 different strategies, most of them completely the same as those you all have described. We even practiced our “oh no you don’t mess with me” stare.
    BACK TO THE SUBJECT OF THE POST! I am sending Ben some shots of my room now that the desks are gone. 🙂

  8. Quick response is needed now jen. You are much too fine a person to have to deal with any degree of bullying from your students. I woke up thinking about this. We have hundreds of pages on this topic of bullies here, but just to add one more that you might try, because if you don’t act today, it might be too late:
    When the bullies act up (I feel there are two of them for some reason because of the frequency of the interruptions) stop as usual and directly confront with:
    1. Slowly walk to rules and put hand on the one they are breaking.
    2. Wait. Get the silence going.
    3. Stay in your core, just as in yoga.
    4. Walk back to front of room. Lean up against a stool and wait.
    5. Say, “The reason I am waiting is because I am good at ‘wait time’. The term ‘wait time’ is something we teachers learn to do to give you students time to process and idea, so you learn it better. I’m waiting now, and the idea I want you to process and learn is that I have been working on getting better at teaching for a long time now and I won’t allow any one person or persons – look directly at them now – to prevent me from what I have chosen to do as a profession. I WILL call your parents tonight about this incident, which you consider small but I consider very big, because learning a language is not like learning other things; there must be quiet. Do I have your phone number right, Billie? It’s 871-793-4412 right? (show them you have memorized it) and you Ralphie yours is 871-618-8864 right? OK I’m just gonna wait here for a little while longer for you to process what I just said.”
    Then wait there. Repeat to yourself that they will do what you allow. Put this as THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO IN THIS CLASS RIGHT NOW. Understand deeply that unless you act by phoning the parents – the above is NOT ENOUGH because anything you do IN the classroom is INSUFFICIENT WITH 99% of kids. It’s dramatic and shows you mean it, but the other kids need for you to make the call and GET SOMEONE on the admin level to ACT to get the kid out. Getting the kid(s) out must be done in most cases where the abuse from the child on you goes on more than two days.
    I’m sorry if I am overreacting but jen you are truly one of our group who has given us much and gone through much but you are a born teacher with great abilities and I am feeling very protective about what you wrote. Just feeling very protective about this. I know what I have suffered – my goodness don’t we all know this – and it ain’t pretty, and a super aggressive admin/phone call response from you (again, the classroom response is not enough) must happen now. Generally they won’t change. The Mildred response Blaine likes so much is nice but works one in a thousand times only.
    Categories to read in on this topic:
    Classroom Discipline

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