First let me say, I survived the first full moon of the year! If there is one thing that I have learned during my time as a teacher, it is that students are definitely more challenging on a full moon. That doesn't have to be a negative thought either, and its not just them, I believe I have to watch my own behaviors during this time as well. I try to be more soothing and calm and not get them too hyped up.
I have learned soooo much this week and I am excited about that!
I attempted to introduce "centers" and conferencing with students. This is something I have struggled with forever and I am more determined then ever to get it right this year. I now have a 120 minute math block in the morning and about 95 minutes in the afternoon. There is no reason this can't work!
Lets just say this was a great learning opportunity for me. Especially since our wonderful RTI specialist, who I just respect so much and adore was in the class with me. She gave me some really great suggestions and helped me make a plan for next week!
What I learned and how I'm changing it and concerns:
Not enough structure! Since I have 18 students and set my desks up in three rows of pairs, after the mini lesson, I will have the pairs of students turn their desks and face each other. This will create 3 "groups" of 6 students. I will have 3 activities planned with all of the supplies in a basket. I will designate a captain for each group, that person will keep the group focused and on task. Each group will have a supply manager who will be responsible for distributing and collecting supplies from and to the basket. There will also be a messenger who, if the group is having a problem or question and cannot figure it out themselves, the messenger will be the only one who can ask me the question.
Concerns: I'm pretty sure I know my high, middle and low groups already, but I know there is not a perfect 6 of each. Something I plan to do is pull 4 students at a time to my back table. So I will also have to take that into consideration, would I want all lows together and when I pull my 4 only 2 are left? Still a lot of learning for me to do and I think I won't be able to know for sure until I try it.
WBT is going well and still a lot for me to learn here too. Of course in my mind I expect instant perfection and I'm not there yet, but that is OK. In the first week I have seen more than one student who has the tendency to be off task and disruptive, self correct and work really hard to get a "line" on my tracker sheet to earn a star. That is success in my book! Here is the other thing I noticed this week. I've raised my voice once or twice and said some negative things (Do you want to lose recess? If you can't follow the rules you are not welcome in my classroom-things like that) and some of the support teachers have done the same. The students respond to that really well AT THE TIME, but then go right back to the behaviors we do not want. On the other hand, I've already seen as mentioned before, behaviors being changed from the positive reinforcements even when I'm not actively talking about it. I'm not sure I'm explaining that correctly. Anyway, I plan this week to really focus on and call out all of the good behavior I see and less focus on the misbehavior. I won't let the misbehavior off the hook, they have already learned my stink eye and I will stand by students who are talking out or not focused, I will still wait for 100% and things like that, but I will go out of my way to make a big deal over students who are doing the right thing.