Saturday, September 22, 2012

Positive Affirmations for Students

This year, my teammates and I decided to start each class period with positive affirmations for the students. We want to encourage our students and build them up so they have an "I can" attitude rather than "I can't."

Each of us picked a few affirmations that we liked best. I have mine displayed on the front wall so the students can always see them.

I will choose one per day and start each class with it. There is power in the spoken word and we want our students to feel empowered, motivated, and full of self-worth!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Using Finger Signs in the Classroom

I think these words will be the story of my life this school year....

            "This year I'm trying something new!"

Being that last year was my first year teaching middle school (and my first year back after a long teaching hiatus) I did A LOT of trial and error with classroom procedures. Some things worked, but most things didn't. So this year I'm implementing a lot of new ideas to see if I can have a smoother year.

One new idea that I stole borrowed from lots of other teachers is the use of finger signs. Last year, I constantly had lots of students getting out of their seats and wandering around with the excuse of "My pencil broke" or "I need a tissue."

Not this year! I'm going to try using finger signs for using the bathroom, getting a new pencil, and getting a tissue.

On top of that, I'm not letting them out of their seat for a pencil or tissue (of course if they need to go to the bathroom, they can). If they hold up two fingers, I'll take them a new pencil and they give me their broken one. If they need a tissue, I'll take it to their seat. Hopefully, this method will help keep the kids in their seats and more importantly, keep the class on task. We'll see how they work!

Here are the signs I'm using. Borrow away!!

Classroom Finger Signs  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Classroom Behavior System for Upper Grades

For those of you who are middle school teachers, you understand the difficulty in developing a classroom management system. You only have the students for 50 minutes a day so it's hard to keep an account of each student's behavior.

So at the end of last year, my teammates and I (we are the Jaguars by the way) developed a plan for keeping record of each student's behavior. Each homeroom teacher has a chart with their student's names. That chart goes with each class throughout the day. If a student misbehaves or breaks a rule in class, the teacher puts their initial along with the number of the rule that was broken. For example, my last name is Stidham so if little Johnny breaks rule number 4 in my class on Tuesday, I put S-4 next to his name. Then when he goes to the next teacher, she can see that he's already gotten in trouble in one class. We began noticing that some students got in trouble in every class on a daily basis.

It worked so well because we were able to easily document each time a student misbehaved and then meet as a team if we noticed one student was breaking a lot of rules. It is also nice to show parents when they ask how often their child misbehaves.

In addition to consequences, there were also rewards for students who did not have any marks after a certain number of days. It was a great way to see which students were consistently obeying and deserved to be praised and rewarded for their excellent behavior.

I should note that in my school, homeroom students travel together throughout the day. So the same group of students are together for every class. This would be harder to do if students don't stay together. However, it has worked great for my team and could even work for an elementary classroom when the students travel to their related arts classes.