Thursday, August 22, 2013

New Rules

In the past I've written about a set of very detailed classroom expectations I've used.  As I wrote about in that post, I needed them then.  I don't need them anymore.  No I'm not a better teacher or anything like that, it's just that my classroom culture has changed.  I had bigger classes then with many big personalities.  Most of the classes I have now are small and for the most part very well behaved because (last year at least) we just had a really great mutual respect going on.  There were certainly issues with students but I just handled them on an individual basis and it worked fine.

So for this year I'm going simple with the rules.  They were inspired by something I saw on pinterest.

I think they'll be enough. I'm especially fond of #5 because now when they tell me they give up I can reply with a smile and tell them that unfortunately that's against the rules and point to the wall. I find that they start to have fun with stuff like that, like eventually one kid will say they give up and other kids will be the ones to tell them that's against the rules. Kinda like how they started to police each other with the curse jar.


Along with that I have two more new pet peeves that arose from last year.  These two will be hung up too.


This one became an issue last year. A kid would be asking me for help and another kid would pipe up with, "Come on, you're not done yet? This is so easy." Now the first kid is frustrated that they don't get it, angry with the other kid and has totally lost focus.  The kid doesn't want to bother trying anymore because they feel stupid and I'm frustrated that the other kid couldn't just keep their mouth shut.  It just ends up making kids feel bad and I want to stress that it's a really big deal. Instead of putting each other down they should be offering to help each other out.

It should also go without saying, but this goes doubly for teachers. We should never be telling kids that something is easy. If we say something is easy and then a kid doesn't get it at first, they're going to be extremely discouraged and start to think that the problem must be them.


This one is mainly because I'm tired of "I don't know" as a cop out.  Often it was always the first thing a kid would say. Then I'd press them further, urging them to take a guess..even something totally wrong..and I'd say 9 times out of 10 they would say something correct, even if it was just an idea of where to start.  I need them to go straight to the guesses on what to do. For times when they honestly don't know, we'll discuss better ways to say that. When I feel that they truly are unsure on something then conversation turns to where they can find how to do it. But I'm never going to let them off the hook with an "I don't know" so they should learn quickly to not even bother wasting the breath.


7 comments:

  1. From the How To Learn math class this summer, to your "I don't know" commenters, you can add the word "yet". I don't know yet, but you will soon :)

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  2. I love your response that "giving up is against the rules." And I agree that "I don't know" is a cop out. Love how JFairbanks added the "yet." I have an "Instead of I don't know" poster and I made sure to put it front and center this year. Hopefully, I'll refer to it often and not accept "I don't know" as an answer from anyone.
    Kim @ Confessions of a Multitasker

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  3. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog. I am incorporating some of thie things in my classroom this year. I am curious what program do you use to do all your fonts and design for pages and posters?
    I am having a 'Everybody is a Genius' wall where the kids can place what they feel they are 'genius'in and hopefully it will encourage some to find that thing they can feel good about.

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  4. Will you do an update, later, on about how you feel the change in class "rules" has affected your class? Last year, I started the year with three simple class 'rights': be respected, be heard, and make mistakes. However, at the semester, some of my classes were a bit unruly and I felt the need to create more structure. I gave them a list of "expectations" on how I wanted them to enter the class, work during the class, and leave the class. That definitely helped and I'm thinking about starting the year off with the expectations. I'm really battling with whether it is actually necessary or if I'm just trying to hold on to more control to compensate for being a new teacher.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Will you do an update, later, on about how you feel the change in class "rules" has affected your class? Last year, I started the year with three simple class 'rights': be respected, be heard, and make mistakes. However, at the semester, some of my classes were a bit unruly and I felt the need to create more structure. I gave them a list of "expectations" on how I wanted them to enter the class, work during the class, and leave the class. That definitely helped and I'm thinking about starting the year off with the expectations. I'm really battling with whether it is actually necessary or if I'm just trying to hold on to more control to compensate for being a new teacher.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brandy,

      I think you are confusing "expectations" and "procedures". Expectations are for the big picture things like respect and trying our hardest. Procedures are just processes for getting things done efficiently, like having a specific way to turn in homework and how to enter and leave class. Keep your expectations low in number, but have as many procedures as you need to run an efficient class.

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  6. I like the "This is Easy" idea. I'll have to remember that. Here is another one:

    I Can't = I Completely Admit Not Trying

    ReplyDelete