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amathona amathona is offline
 
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amathona
 
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Middle School classroom management advice please
Old 02-24-2019, 02:22 PM
 
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My background is elementary ed. I subbed in everything. Then got into middle school. I have a master's degree, and have been at this long enough that I'm officially 10+ years of experience.

But these last two years have been hell.

I don't know which came first, the hell, or the anxiety and depression, but they certainly aren't making it easier to be patient with my sixth graders. Somewhere along the way, we've had a breakdown in respect.

All three of my classes are talkative. First and third block are terribly disrespectful for guest teachers too - counselors doing lessons on respect, media coordinator doing lesson on digital literacy, etc.

But when 3-4 of the main instigators are out (suspended, usually), it's so so so much more manageable! First block they were all late the other day from breakfast.... everyone listened to directions... it was bliss.

I need some middle school specific ideas for classroom management. What kinds of things have you tried? What can you do with students who argue with basic directions like "sit down" (Student yells, "I am!" Teacher *thinks*... uh, no you're not, you're standing around talking........)


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Old 02-25-2019, 12:15 AM
 
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Procedures. Procedures. Procedures.

Now, sixth graders, IMO, are a whole other animal than seventh and eighth. I am not certified for sixth, so I have had few years with only one or two classes of them. Iíll have to say I donít like them. Ours come to us not knowing how to acclimate to the freedom of middle school, so the whole team has to be on the same page for getting them trained. That can be tricky. One weak link, and it is over.

My eighth graders are going to be interesting when I return. Iíve been out two and a half weeks. (Staff days for flood and illness. My sick days.) I am going to have to reteach my procedures. And the kids will balk.

Be picky. Be the boss, but donít be bossy. Donít argue. Ever.

I really like Randy Sprickís CHAMPs program, and it fits nicely with our PBIS school protocols.
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Old 02-26-2019, 01:45 PM
 
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On the first day I greet students at the door one-at-a-time by name, give each a sponge activity with seat number written on back and direct each to follow written directions on the board (posted in advance). I walk around and monitor students' work. I check to see who were the first students to follow directions, about 3-4, and write their names on the board under heading, On Task. Often students ask why their name is on the board and if they are in trouble (the usual reason for names-on-the-board). I tell them to keep working. I will explain later. Five minutes before the bell I say, "Students with names on the board are finished, may put their materials away and line-up for dismissal. The rest of the class keep working." At they bell I tell the class, "The reason students were dismissed early is because they were on task immediately when they entered which saves me more time to teach." Then I add, "When you come into class next period I will again check to see who is on-task and write your name on the board for early dismissal." Then I dismiss the rest of the class.

Reason I backup to explain first day, first period is because almost everything that follows will be predicated on how well I tell students "Who I am" the first seconds of the school year. I could make announcements about my rules and procedures after students enter the room. But announcements are just that - a list of hopes and wishes for a successful school year. I choose to teach lessons instead. The school year is barely a minute old, and I have taught: (1) I respect you enough to learn your name (2) I will assign you a seat (3) You will have something to do when entering the room (4) I will be close by watching you work. Already, students are asking themselves, "Am I dealing with a rookie or a real teacher?" By my actions (not words) I'm teaching the class what is important to me.

On the second day I time (secretly) the student sitting farthest from the door how long it takes him/her to be "on task". It's usually around 1-2(+,-) minutes. Then I explain Preferred Activity Time (PAT) to the class. I say, "Two minutes is not bad, but I think we can do better." I send the student outside to enter again as I time him/her. Average is 24 seconds with 17 seconds the record. This means entering, walking to seat, take out text and materials and be actively engaged in bell work. Then I tell class, "We are going outside to line-up and enter again. I will give you a gift of 50 seconds added to Name's time. Any time under 67 seconds will be added to your PAT which is already 20 minutes. Let's all help each other to be on-task so we can earn extra PAT." The whole class is able to be on-task in less than a minute (sometimes less than 30 seconds).

Again, my goal is teaching students my priorities; that discipline is worth my time. Will a student stand and talk when he/she should be on-task down the line? Certainly. But far less than had I not invested the time and energy early on. To put it another way, I really can't expect students to attach any more importance to discipline than I do.
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Old 03-09-2019, 08:29 AM
 
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I follow Wong's First Day of School procedures. I also use a lot of Teaching with Love and Logic to avoid power struggles.

I have a procedure that is written down, taught, and posted for basically everything. Middle school kids will argue about anything possible. I don't argue with them. I will just point to the sign or let other students say, "This is the procedure, we..."
Here's my other tricks:
*Be interesting. Kids like me and my sense of humor for the most part. We can have fun in class as long as we get our work done. I try to add video, music, skits, plays, group work, technology, games into about every class when possible. There is so much technology out there now. Sometimes students use their cell phones and create a review activity on Kahoot that we all do.

*Walk around and circulate as much as possible.
*Talk to kids outside of class. Get to know them. Try to target the trouble maker. Get them on YOUR side if possible. (This is not always possible.)
*Send positive notes home
I hate this one but it works for me: REWARDS. Candy, certificates, praise, etc. works great for me.

*Small threats: I haven't sent anyone to the office all year (though one kid just walks himself down when he wants to) but I might move seats or hold them after. For MS, these are big. I have a plan that I follow. I mark down disruptions on a clipboard. I might give bonus points for cooperation in a group activity or whatever.

IT is a lot of work! I also have a PLAN B. If they can't do the more interactive stuff then they can work by themselves, silently, and write out all the responses. Then I will collect all those responses for a grade. Disruptive students will be referred to office. If just one kid is disruptive, I put that kid in the hallway.

My biggest weapon is to just say nothing and stare. Very few kids will keep mouthing off when they are getting the stare. IF they continue, then I write on the clipboard. They don't know what I am writing, it could be like, "Get the dog groomed" but they don't know that. When I stare, I'm not even glaring...just don't argue with them, that is what they want. They are not dumb, they know how to act in class.

When I've had some big attitudes I have pulled out my cell and called parents IN CLASS and put the kid on the phone. That works, but I haven't done that in a while. It can backfire when the parent doesn't answer or has little sway over the kid. Now I have emailed parents in class and said to the kid, "One more word and I will hit send..." If they say, "Go ahead, do it" then I will.

Find out what works for other teachers at your school also. You got this!
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Old 05-08-2019, 04:45 PM
 
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Impressive...


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I know it is late, but...
Old 06-30-2019, 06:08 AM
 
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Hi,

I hope you were given some great tips managing your middle school students. All of the tips suggested were fantastic! I would also add that what worked for me is simply be kind in my wording and my tone of voice. I am told I am already soft-spoken so when I phrase my directions kindly, students get caught off guard as they do not expect me to be since they ____ (fill in the blank the kind of behavior you are trying to correct). For example, if the student comes in late, and, of course, it pisses me off as he/she is not disrupting the lesson, rather than say "sit down", I may say, "Thank you so much for coming, ___. We would very much appreciate if you joined us in the meeting area." I do this all the time, and the student's faces when I say so calmly is priceless. I feel they expect you to be upset and say something that will give them the reason to talk back. But when you take that opportunity away by being calm, stating the desired outcomes in a way that is unexpected, it gives them no choice but comply.

I hope this helps!
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Fcl5555 Fcl5555 is offline
 
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Setting up classroom government to help wit
Old 07-04-2019, 11:14 AM
 
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Has anyone tried setting up a classroom government where the students pick the consequences for their misbehavior and then they appoint a student judge and student jury and then they all decide what to do with the student who decides not to fulfill the consequence?
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