Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Elementary Internship: Day 2

 (16 hours down, 104 to go)

"Life is hard, but you still have to play by the rules. When you play by the rules, you have more fun. Look at all your friends having fun, drawing on the computer, because they followed the rules." -Ms. McEathron to an off-task kindergarten student, who finally said he was sad because a little girl said she didn't like him. He then sat down, and did his work for the rest of class with a smile on his face.

This was a hard day. Hard. I'm feeling a little sad about it. Not, really that I could have done much to change the day. I think I maintained my cool, responded appropriately. But it was just a day that behavior got in the way of learning more than I would have liked. Classroom management can really get in the way of getting anything accomplished. Since I only see most of my classes once a week, it is difficult to establish my expectations. It is critical to be consistent.

One thing that I helped get going this school year within my specialist team was the Specialist All-STAR. We've had a great school-wide discipline plan framed around STAR. S represents Safety. T represents Task-Master. A represents Achiever. R represents Respectful and Responsible. Each class can earn 4 points during their specialist classes, one each for S.T.A.R. for a possible weekly total of 20 points. At the end of each month the classroom in each grade level with the most points gets a trophy, which floats from month to month to the winning classes. Elementary kids work for things like points and trophies.

The first time I saw my classes in September, we spent the hour constructing little books outlining what Safe, Task-Master, Achiever, and Respectful and Responsible looks like in the media center. At the end of every class, we decide whether they earned each point, and why. If a class drops down to a score of 1, then we re-do the first class exactly. I introduce myself again, we get a tour of the media center, we construct our book. I let students know during class how they're doing, if they've lost any points, and what they can do to earn points back (with the idea that if all the specialists are consistently doing something similar, it will be easier to manage behavior and keep expectations clear).

Problem is, today my kindergarten class got a 1. But we can't re-do the first day of class, we didn't make books.

So today, we spent time sitting quietly instead of doing a story. This was after we walked silently back to the media center door, lined up again, and walked silently back in (and repeat with four students who didn't manage it that time, either).

And when I see them again on Friday, we'll do the same thing.

I do have to say this. It really worked for some kids that typically have a hard time in that class. The score of 1 does not reflect how many of them were wonderful and sweet. And the fact that we actually did accomplish the day's lesson.

Hmm. Maybe a 2 would have been more appropriate.

The rest of the classes today were fair. One class had a sub so they came in wild, and one class had just come back after a field trip (whew!).

**Still reading The Book Thief.

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