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Kind of a Tough Day - How Would You Handle This?

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Kind of a Tough Day - How Would You Handle This?
Old 10-31-2009, 08:03 AM
 
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First let me start by saying the students were wonderful! No disciplinary problems whatsoever. But - here was the problem....

The teacher left an assignment for the students to work in pairs on their projects - so imagine a class period of around 30 students - each in 15 pairs - all talking at once! And imagine this assignment was for 5 different classes. Now, as I said - the students really did do what they were supposed to - but these were middle schoolers (grade 7) and we were located between two other classrooms (with one classroom having a partition wall). My major concern was keeping the noise level down so that we would not disturb our neighboring classrooms. I must have had to yell (not in anger but just to be heard to remind students to speak lower) so many times I almost came home hoarse. Truthfully, I was exhausted by the end of the day! I must admit - all the students did try and speak somewhat lower - but when they got animated and enthusiastic - their voices shot back up.

So tell me - what is the secret of having a group of 30 who need to talk to do the assignment on a Friday, the day before Halloween, at a voice range that won't disturb the other classes?



Last edited by catarific; 10-31-2009 at 05:49 PM..
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Old 10-31-2009, 08:27 AM
 
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give them lost of candy!!! They'll be so doped up on the candy they won't know what to do with themselves

Just joking----realistically, you did all you could do---constant reminders to keep the voices at an acceptable level---beyond that enjoy the Halloween!!!
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Old 10-31-2009, 09:01 AM
 
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yoohoo is right, there isn't much else you can do. The one thing I can think of, would have been to have a signal (ring a bell etc) so that you wouldn't have to raise your voice to remind them to be quiet. I've also read on here about rating each class period and then challenge the classes to get a better rating. The challenge could have been what class needed to be reminded of the noise level the fewest number of times.
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Class rating
Old 10-31-2009, 11:29 AM
 
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I've challenged classes to see who gets the better rating; it's usually a hit or mess depending on the students.
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Signal
Old 10-31-2009, 12:13 PM
 
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Before I let the students work in groups I always go over what I expect from them... I usually tell them that the only person that need to hear them speak is their partner... I also tell them that I will turn the lights out if it gets too loud...This saves my voice I tell them if they see the lights go out, they need to stop speaking and look at me I usually give them two shots ( I let them know this)... If I have to turn the lights out a third time, then we go back to independent work... I understand that you had to have them working in pairs so maybe the independent working thing wouldn't have worked in you case but I wanted to mainly tell you about the use of a signal... it really helps me

Maybe, you could have had a contest of some sort to keep them working quietly... The groups that work quietly get some sort of reward...


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Old 10-31-2009, 02:43 PM
 
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I've been in that situation, but with second graders.

The solution is threefold:

(1) take advil
(2) close the door tightly
(3) wear earplugs

If they did what they were supposed to do, then you done good.
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Old 10-31-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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I had a similiar class on Friday in HS Spanish. They were exuberant and having all sorts of fun working together on a work sheet. I usually handle it with firm "good humor". The usual description of me in all areas of my life involves my sense of humor and I can usually put it to good use.... Oh my, one girl decided I was the funniest sub ever and began writing down every thing I said. That was nerve-wracking! She and a friend were whooping it up. They weren't exacty rude or mean spirited but, oh my, it began to wear on my nerves. Fortunately, it was a day of shortened classes because they were being rewarded with a longer lunch AND they had an assembly and it was soon time for them to leave. I took a deep breath and resolved to bring out my 'inner drill seargant' for the next group. But, no, word spreads. They came in laughing and talking and swinging from the vines. A few of them said the last class said I was the funniest sub ever. Well, thank you, but calm down please!!!!! They were just full of the joy of life and all that stuff that is exhausting for grown-ups!!! I try to cajole them into quieting down, just walking around the room attempting to redirect toward their tasks. I have a very loud voice that carries, and I'm not always comfortable using it!! wow! Maybe the Friday before a holiday is a good day to stay home and do laundry!!!!

And the assembly? the dear sweet secretary let me leave rather than attend! Bless her heart! The day before I went to an assembly at MS and was the only person there wearing deoderant....
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Old 10-31-2009, 04:29 PM
 
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I would have done what Smiling Sub did, use some sort of signal where you didn't have to keep talking-- it does get old quick, repeating yourself over and over, doesn't it? Most classrooms have a bell or you could turn out the lights, as suggested. If they don't quiet down, they they work by themselves.
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Hmm
Old 11-01-2009, 09:50 PM
 
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Was it possible to convert the assignment into one where they communicated by writing (or drawing) to each other rather than talking? Pencils are quieter than voices.

You might also check with a couple of reliable students as to what normally happens. I'm wondering if the regular teacher invented the pairs assignment and doesn't normally have things done that way but thought it might ease your day. You might also find out how the teacher normally manages the noise level if that is a regular technique.
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Old 11-20-2009, 02:47 PM
 
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I have been working in my school district for about 10 years now, as a sub. Personally, I would have told them that if they were not able to work quietly then it would be complete silence. Having worked as a regular teacher also, I would not be upset if, due to loudness, the kids were asked to work on their own. I never do candy. I think from day one, the kids need to know that you are a nice, fun, person but must be respected. Anyone agree??


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