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nstafins nstafins is offline
 
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nstafins
 
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When students ignore you
Old 02-09-2017, 03:03 AM
 
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I teach small group reading with 8th graders and I'm about ready to pull my hair out. Most of my groups are fine. I know none of them want to be there (because it's not "cool" to have reading tutoring, and because they hate to read and that's what we do), but they do what they are told and listen. Except one group. They are a mess and controlling them has been impossible. I'll have kids shout out to one another about what they are doing in science class in the middle of a lesson. The side conversations begin the second I take a breath from speaking.

Yesterday, during our book discussion, I had a girl turn to a friend right in front of me and start another conversation while I was speaking. Then they all were in on it and not a person was listening. At that point I just had them all stop what they were doing and sit there while I once again went through the rules and how to behave respectfully. This is a group that has made it clear they don't care. They treat the class more like a study hall/socializing time, and like I'm a nuisance for being there. It makes me dread their class.

Any advice? I have tables in my room, and it's a very small room, so I can't separate them. Unless I switched out the tables for desks. Maybe I should start giving lunch detentions more often. Tried to reward good behavior and the rest of them had a fit about how unfair it was and were horrible the rest of the day. Just really need help I think.


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Fenwick Fenwick is offline
 
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Old 02-09-2017, 05:58 PM
 
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Quote:
...Any advice? I have tables in my room, and it's a very small room, so I can't separate them. Unless I switched out the tables for desks. Maybe I should start giving lunch detentions more often. Tried to reward good behavior and the rest of them had a fit about how unfair it was and were horrible the rest of the day. Just really need help I think. ...
It looks like there is too much teacher talk while students listen. In other words, the teacher is doing most of the work while students watch. The idea is to have students do most of the work while the teacher watches. I'm not a big fan of typical discussions where the teacher queries students and calls on one student to answer. At best there are two people involved in the lesson: teacher and one student. What are the rest of the students doing? Some listen but as you are finding out not all. They find other ways to amuse themselves. In terms of bang-for-the-buck or engagement rate discussions in this format, especially with a bunch of kids who are not interested in the first place, is almost like asking them to goof off.

In a "discussion" the treatment of a topic or story element does not always have to be verbal. Students can write or draw: "Class, on the back of your paper I want you to draw a diagram of the setting at the beginning of the story. Be prepared to show me when I say 'Show'." (small lap boards can work too) ... "Next in your drawing add two main characters and two supporting characters .... 'Show'." (or show your partner etc.) Idea here is DO. You want students to "do" something with the material not sit and listen. In addition, you can check for understanding with the whole group at a glance. If you are sitting recommend getting up a moving among students as they draw or write. Your physical proximity will increase accountability. Distance is safety. Again, if your goal is engagement rate of 1 have a typical discussion. If your goal is engagement rate of the whole class the lesson delivery should involve the whole class.
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Old 02-11-2017, 07:10 AM
 
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I have done research on small groups for my dissertation, and while I am a fan of small groups, my research and experience have shown me that they do not run themselves. It is necessary for the teacher to describe the goals and give some preparation to make small groups of students run effectively. There may also be need for some oversight because the research showed that students can get off-task and not stick to the assignment.

I have students work in small groups in my classes, and in one class, it is like they are performing a work slow-down where they play around until I call "Time's Up" then they ask for more time. I have spent weeks defining and reviewing certain new concepts, and even after the weeks of reviewing these concepts in context, with definitions, I will still have students tell me that they do not understand the concept that is being used in the small group.
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nstafins nstafins is offline
 
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:39 AM
 
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I agree completely. I should have been more clear as well. I'm a Title I reading tutor, so all I have are small groups. We use what's called the LLI program-- all the lessons are outlined in a book and do seem to be primarily teacher led. It does call for a discussion after each book is read, but like you said that's one or two students talking while everyone else listens. Engagement level is low because this is all I have to work with...the Title I coordinator has made it clear she wants me to adhere to LLI and those guidelines. The only thing I can think of to do is have the kids do more writing instead of discussing after we read, that way everyone has to participate. Our days primarily are just reading and discussing, with some word study thrown in there.
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detra detra is offline
 
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Love your ideas, Fenwick.
Old 04-29-2017, 04:55 PM
 
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So true.
If you keep doing what you always did...you keep getting what you always got! You can teach an old dog new tricks!


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