We have officially ended our second week of school and my students and I are finally starting to get into a good classroom routine. Students have caught onto my “class” “yes” routine which allows me to have students talk and re-teach each other concepts but allows me to quickly get their attention back and quiet down to move onto the next thing we are doing. Students found it strange on the first day but we are having fun with all the talking in class now. The more enthusiastic students are when they teach each other the more fun it is. Studies show when students are having fun they are able to retain and learn more information so hopefully I can tap into that part of their brains with this “Whole Brain Teaching” style. Its still a work in progress for me to remember to keep this up. But the more I do it the better it works.I set my classroom up totally different this year with a table in the center of the room with supplies on it. It is working out great! Students can quickly get the materials needed for class. Its been working smoothly; students can needed materials quickly and back to their group without a wait.
As the year progresses classroom management often gets away from me. I know part of the reason is that I do not spend enough time in the beginning of the year practicing routines, procedures and rules. I am making a point to do more of this this year. I did want to give students a list of procedures to put in their notebook but I had trouble editing it down to a short list, so that's out for now. But I do have classroom rules that I have posted and we have reviewed them daily. We have practiced some of the classroom routines and talked about expectations. I tend to get frustrated with students when they are not behaving in class the way I want them to but I must own up to not always telling students my expectations. I am not only talking but having students talk to each other about the expectations so I can listen to what they are saying and be sure that they truly understand.
Here is my first week summary:
Day 1: Students make things with play-doh that represent themselves. I get to walk and talk informally with students. Then they share with me their creations and what it says about them. This is fun and shows me a different side of students. After that a quick power point of Mrs. Olsen's world showing where/what to do in class.
Day2: Go over classroom rules and expectations. Introduce "class" "yes" procedure. Math 7 students play a number line activity where they compare integers and the number with the greatest value wins. Its active and gives me a chance to walk around and see where students are in their understanding of the value or positive vs negative numbers.
Day 3: Review rule/procedures. Practice class/yes routine. Math 7 students play similar number line game as day 2 but today the number furthest from zero will be the winner. This game introduces the concept of absolute value without using the terminology.
Day 4: Review rules/procedures. Math 7 students play similar number line game putting the three days together. They roll to get their number and graph on the number line. After both partners have rolled they flip a coin that has n on one side and on the other the n is inside absolute value bars. If a student rolls the n they keep the number they have. If they roll the absolute value side they then take absolute value of their number. If its a change they need to move their playing piece. The winner is the number with the greatest value.
All in all it was a good week. The activities eased students back into the school routine. They allowed them to talk and work and get their minds engaged back into school. Not bad for the first week. Just wish I was quicker at learning my students' names.