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Chromebooks
Old 10-27-2016, 07:05 AM
 
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Usually the teacher leaves plenty for high schoolers to do to fill up the class period. But two days this week I was in 11th-12th grade classes where the regular teacher assigned chromebook activities. And those lasted 15-20 minutes and the rest of the time they were cutting up. A lot of rowdiness.

When a teacher leaves NOTHING for them to do at this level except a short online assignment, what are some good activities for me to do to keep most generally engaged? I retired after 29 years in elementary school. I love secondary subbing and want to be as relaxed with them as possible, not generating laughter in how I act. (I remember a teacher like that when I was in HS and I'm ashamed to say that I joined in with others in laughter and pranks. No one took her seriously!).

Also, I just need some advice about how to approach kids this age. Do I walk around the room, monitoring and keeping proximity? I've been told at the secondary level that's not a good idea.

Thanks!!


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Old 10-27-2016, 09:54 AM
 
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In my short time subbing (mostly HS) I have found that the occasional stroll around the room does more to keep everyone on focus and on task than anything else. I learned very quickly that staying behind the desk in not an option.
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:24 AM
 
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I sub mostly middle school, but walk around almost constantly. Our middle and high school are all Chromebook one to one. It's necessary to keep moving. Even the little 6th graders have figured out how to have two screens open. I'm pretty good at catching them, the little stinkers.
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Old 10-28-2016, 02:24 PM
 
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You're wasting your time and energy if you try to give an assignment above and beyond what the teacher gave. They will see through it.

I usually sub for social studies and I will often try to engage them in a discussion that has to do with the subject. I've often given provided a much more in-depth class than what the teacher would normally do. The key is, if you don't have the knowledge or the right situation, don't push it.
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Old 10-29-2016, 04:41 AM
 
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If I sense they're off task, I stroll around pretty often too. If I'm in a high level class with motivated students, I don't need to do much. In your case, I would ask them to show me what they completed. If it was truly finished and up to par, I would have them check their online page to see if there were further instructions for them. (Frequently my notes don't tell the whole story.) If not, they could use the time to work on other subjects. When all else fails, I tell them they can do whatever is quiet. I really don't care if they play a game if they're really all caught up. You could also check with another dept. teacher for guidance.

Depending on the situation, I sometimes put on my sweetest concerned face and say, "Oh no. You look like you have nothing to do. Would you like me to find you something?" They get the message.


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Old 10-29-2016, 05:52 PM
 
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Respect the kids. They're becoming adults. Many times they expect you to pull a power play. Don't fall into that trap because you really can't win. Let the line between teacher and student get a little fuzzy.

Take an interest in the kids. This includes "proximity classroom management." The difference is that you're not trying to catch them being off task, you're trying to help them. "How are you doing with that?" Trying to dominate them is not a good idea. Being interested is. Make them teach you. "Help me understand why..."

Letting them laugh at you is not all bad as long as you can laugh at yourself with them. "Okay, so I'm a dinosaur..."

Be curious. Take an interest in what they're doing and interested in... don't be quick to condemn. Surprise them by being genuinely interested in what they are doing, thinking, and feeling. "So why did you decide to color your hair purple...?"

At the risk of sounding maudlin, love them. I asked my mentor how to survive this job called substituting. She said, "You find something to love about each child." At first, it seemed easy with cute kindergartners. But it's also possible with surly teenagers.

Downtime (nothing to do) is deadly. Extend and engage. Start a conversation. Get a debate going. When there's nothing left on the lesson plan, you have total academic freedom! Ask leading questions. Don't give up too quickly. Give the kids a chance to express themselves. It will likely surprise them. And they may surprise you.
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Old 10-29-2016, 06:31 PM
 
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That's a good thing to say. My experience is with elementary for almost three decades and I've tried not to act like that teacher with juniors and seniors. Just have to find the balance. In the case of two days and short chromebooks assignments, I was left ZERO notes.
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Old 10-29-2016, 06:38 PM
 
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You are right on. I've not wanted to dominate. Not be "the third grade teacher". I've gotten into conversations but I need advice on trying to include them all. And oh yeah, they've laughed at me, especially as I pronounce a name wrong. So I laugh with them. I'm trying not to take myself too seriously.

I just need ideas on engaging them. The teacher next door had special activities appropriate for high school. I need time fillers for that. Thanks!
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I've tried engaging high school students
Old 11-02-2016, 09:46 AM
 
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and been greeted by blank stares. Teenagers in the affluent district in which I teach treat subs like the hired help. Main reason I won't subject myself to the abuse any more. I try to stay within the parameters of 3rd - 8th.

I once subbed a high school sign language class in which the teacher left a video but no way to show it. I was supposed to use her computer connected to a smart board, but her laptop was password protected and locked. I phoned the office for advice and was told, "Give them a study period." You can guess how that worked out. The classes were 90 minutes long (met every other day). It was a nightmare. So, you can certainly try throwing a topic out there and hope it generates enough interest to get a conversation going, but I wouldn't try an activity that veers too much from the lesson plan. They'll catch on right away it's not something the teacher left. I once had a fifth grader proclaim in a similar situation, "You made this work up. I'm not doing it."

For teachers who read here: Please leave enough work to fill the period and make sure your sub has all the tools needed to carry out your plan. He or she will love you for it!
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Advice to cubby
Old 12-03-2016, 11:19 AM
 
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I approach this situation like this. My first period is usually what the teacher says. If it is a short assignment all of my next periods go like this:
Long "intro" to assignment. Just like when we went to school. Talk about the assignment, what do they know about the subject, what do they anticipate it is going to ask, current events on the subject? Do a warm up regarding the assignment, because now you know (from 1st), what it entails. Anotherwords, eat up a half hour if you know the assignment is only going to take 20 min. or so. Then, hopefully everything went well and you can praise them for being such a good class by letting them check their messages on their cells for last 5 or 10 minutes. It's the carrot on the stick.


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