Saturday, March 04, 2006

Not a consequence, not a rule............but a REWARD

My 4th Period Class........ a nightmare. This was the firstweek of school. Fourth period was my first time to teach aPre-Algebra class (except for the one at Oxford MiddleSchool during the summer). There were 32 on roll with only29 desks. In addition, discipline problems across theboard. Terrible grades and even worse attitudes made up theentire class. Between talking out loud and police enteringthe room to arrest students, it was any wonder that I wasable to teach anything. As first semester went on, Ifinally had control of this room, some what. I thought, atfirst, that it might simply be a lost cause. Pre-Algebra isthe lowest math that 9th graders can take. So, the vastmajority of these students had extremely low math skills. Needless to say, I had a huge challenge before me. Since day one, I began using consequences with thesestudents. That worked for maybe two weeks. By then, theywere immune to the system. The only thing that seemed towork was the office. I had the full backing of theadministration when it came to this class. As I returnedafter Christmas, I decided to restructure this class. Idecided that the consequences were not working. So, Ishifted to the rewards. This reward worked great. I firsttold this class that if they entered the room each day, satin their seats, began on their boardwork, and classes wentwell, they would have some free time on Saturdays. This hasworked great! Basically, if they followed the procedures ofthe classroom, they would be rewarded. I can actually teachnow! Other things have greatly improved when it comes to my4th period class. I actually enjoy seeing them! They havegreat personalities, and we now have a lot of fun in 4thperiod. In additon, grades are coming up drastically. I amso proud of their last major test. In Desoto County, we useCMS testing. Normally, their class average on CMS Tests isabout 69. Which is about average for these students. Ontheir last CMS test, their class average was an 87!!! I wasSO PROUD! I have bragged on them to everyone that I comeinto contact with! I think that by enforcing the proceduresof my classroom, learning has drastically improved. So, forme, one particular consequence or rule did not do the job. A reward did.

Spring Break!!

Well, Spring Break is just around the corner. Only one moreweek! I believe that the kids can even smell it! :) Thesaid thing is, I can too. I am ready for it! It seems likeeverone has a severe case of Spring Fever. It is beginningto get warm outside, and everone is ready to go SOMEWHERE! For Spring Break, I am going to California. I have neverbeen to California. I will be out there for almost a week. I am so excited. I think in the end, it will be a nicerelaxing get away for a little while. I think that it willhelp the overall attitudes in the classroom. The kids areready for a break, and I believe that the teachers are evenmore ready for it. The problem will be once we return fromSpring Break. This will be when we have some major SummerFever. We will have few (actually only one holiday) afterSpring Break. That is when we will be begging for summer:). For now, though, this is something to look forward to.