I got this from Bryce a few days ago:
Here is a short chat I had with a sharp young teacher who really wants to learn:
Do you let kids play with the props other than story time? When the students come in for first hour, do you monitor their behavior at all. For example, what if a kid lays on the floor, but is in his seat working by the time the bell rings? What would you do?
Here is Bryce’s response:
It may seem odd, but I have learned that a student laying on the floor is fine, in fact, I would USE that whacky behavior to tell an interesting story. That student could become your secret weapon for rapturously focused input. I bet that kid is what Susan Gross would call a “sparkle child”, and he will get some attention one way or the other. It might as well be you that is directing the attention and using it to further the learning in the class.
A kid that is exhibiting nutty behavior usually feels the need for someone to notice him and he is fighting to get attention. Recruit that energy and that unexpected, quirky, fascinating behavior to get the class to pay attention to you and learn some Spanish.
Last year I had an oddish girl that always wanted to sit on the floor. I could have made a scene and demanded that she sit in her desk like normal kids do, but that would have raised unnecessary resentment and squelched something special, so instead I used it. She became the star of a huge homerun story that lasted for a week. It became “The Girl beneath the Table” story (La chica debajo de la mesa) and developed into something of a mystery story.
The class learned a ton and we had all kinds of fun. The students paid a lot more attention to her weirdness than they would have given me. Kids still talk about that story and how it turned out.
After that bit of affirmation, that student never sat on the floor much again. She didn’t need to because we had noticed her.
Works for me,