Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Good and the Bad

Today was a rough day.

Well, the ending was rough so that put a damper on the rest of the day which went just fine.

My biggest group of students is six 4th and 5th graders. Two of the boys like to cause a lot of trouble but the girls (all in 5th grade) are generally well behaved. They want to participate and are usually engaged. I do have to work to keep them from chatting to each other all period though.

Today was a different story. The girls (and one in particular) would not stop calling out, making comments to other students and talking back when I told her I was taking points off. The boys were a bit sneakier causing their trouble more quietly so that they didn't get called on it as often. This led the one girl to start pointing out everything that the other students were doing. It just got worse and worse as the 90 minute period progressed.

I am so frustrated because I expect that six kids can be have themselves. I don't have a huge class of rowdy kids running around and yelling; I should be able to handle a measly six kids.

Part of the problem is that the space that we are in is so small. Students are sitting way too close together and don't have enough personal space. Then, if I need to separate someone there is nowhere for them to go. I have one small table on the back wall that I could move a student to but they would not be any farther away from the other students.

The space was just part of the problem today though. I don't know what I am doing wrong. My procedures are in place. I have the students wait in a quiet line outside the classroom before we enter. I remind them that they have to enter quietly, sit down and begin the Do Now. One student picks up the composition books from the back table and then they begin on the Do Now.

That's about where the smooth procedures get derailed. They take FOREVER to copy down their heading and the DO NOW question even though I remind them how much time they have left. Usually after I've given them 5-10 minutes to do this they have barely finished copying the question or they've written it down but not responded. I think that today part of the problem may have been that the question was too hard for them. They didn't understand what I was asking. ("Why is it important to know who your audience is when you write a persuasive essay?" We talked about this yesterday.) I'll have to work on that.

Well, tomorrow is a new day and I will try again. Also, I only see the 4th graders tomorrow and that always seems to be easier than the two grades together.


In brighter news . . .

The coaches are starting to be nice to me. I don't know what happened.

Last week one of them was in a better mood than usual so I took that opportunity to ask her for help with teaching my kindergarteners their letters and sounds since I know that she specializes in early childhood. She was very helpful and gave me a lot of good ideas.

Since then, things have been going better. They say good morning to me when they come in the room and actually talk to me during the day.

Yesterday, I foresaw a huge fight coming--it never happened.

There was a tall box belonging to the math coach that had been sitting on the dividing line of the room since the first week of school. I had been using it to put my hand outs and clipboards on while I teach. Well, yesterday she finally got rid of the box. I replaced it with a small desk because I NEED a place to keep all my stuff while I teach and there is no other space at the front of the classroom. Knowing how things have gone so far, I was SURE that she would have a fit and say that it was in the way (it's slightly bigger than the box). I was all prepared for what I would say.

She never said a word.

I don't know what's going on with them but I hope that it continues. I asked them for some advice with my rowdy kids today and they did help some. I think maybe they like it when I ask them for advice. I'll keep on asking if that's what it takes.

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