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Middle School Management
Old 08-04-2017, 03:57 AM
 
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I will be teaching 7th grade social studies this year. It is my first year teaching, so I have no experience implementing my own classroom management system. When I student taught, it was younger grades, and teams had plans for the entire community. I found out today that my team does not have a plan, they believe that 7th grade is the time to learn responsibility. I still do not feel comfortable without a behavior plan. What can I do in my own individual classroom that still adheres to the "learning responsibility" idea?


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You need a plan-long
Old 08-04-2017, 06:46 AM
 
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I would refer you to Michael Linton who has a Smart Classroom Management website. I also like the Wong books like The First Day of School. Another one I like is Setting Limits in the Classroom because the author stresses that you have to have a consequence. You can't just say, "Raise your hand" a hundred times and don't do anything.

My team doesn't really have a plan either. Basically, each teacher has five rules or so and then just threatens to call home or write up kids who are disruptive. I am a little more specific. I have my five rules, but I also send home a discipline plan to be signed and returns that has consequences and "rewards" on it. I put rewards in parenthesis because we have a school wide reward plan (like our form of PBIS), so I've altered that.

So basically, decide on five rules. I like to be specific. Then, I do three strikes and your out (in the hallway moved to a different seat.) Basically, the biggest issue is talking out. For some reason at my school, a lot of teachers just let kids blurt on and not raise their hands. I don't get this, so I am pretty strict about it. If a kid gets put in the hallway, I have a paper they fill on. If this happens 3 times, I call/email home. If it still happens, I fill out a referral. At my school, they usually get a "warning" in the office unless he or she is a repeat offender. Basically, I try to nip problems in the bud the first time. I also tend to have pretty good relationships with my students. I am friendly, but not friends with them though. (Don't fall into that trap.) So if they are out in the hallway, something may be going on with them. I probably only get to the "office" stage once or twice a year and that is with repeat offenders.

At my school, we do have kids who will test you all year. They must never hear the word "no" at home because they will push and push. Be consistent and keep your word. Don't let kids fast talk you and bend the rules. If I let them, my students would spend 20 minutes a day playing around at their lockers. If they need their glasses or a specific supply for class that is one thing, however, I'll have kids "beg" to go get their headphones or candy or something. I tell them, "I said that you may not go and I mean it. Now sit down and do your work. Do not ask me again." Then, stop and wait for them to comply. If they keep talking, continue to say nothing. Yep, this is 7th grade in a nut shell. 99% of the kids will get it. However, I always have a few students who push it. My greatest weapon is to pause and stare!

For the responsibility, it is an uphill battle. Usually, after a couple of times of doing without something because they "forgot" it, they might remember the next time. For example, in social studies, I might give them a study guide due the next day as a test review. If they bring it to class finished, they can use it as a cheat sheet on the exam. If they didn't do it or forgot it, oh well! Hopefully, next time they will "remember." With the pencils, I have kids who never bring a pencil. After kids get tired of lending them one, they can use a crayon or colored pencil. I don't make their problems, my problems. Now, if it is a special education student or a special circumstance (homeless, ADHA, off meds) I might allowed them to keep a pencil in a cup they have or keep a folder in my room. However, for most, they need to be a little more prepared than they were in 6th grade.
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Old 08-05-2017, 07:52 PM
 
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Quote:
...I still do not feel comfortable without a behavior plan. What can I do in my own individual classroom that still adheres to the "learning responsibility" idea?
Your concern is legitimate. How do you teach responsibility? You do not have years of "bonding" to build relationship like their parents. You will need responsible behavior immediately. And they don't even know you. When you direct students to move their desks into groups some will do what you ask but not all. Some will dawdle, talk and fool around. How do you get these kids to hustle and give up the pleasure of play?

Incentives are a way to jump-start students who are typically irresponsible. An incentive is not a bribe. It's a condition laid out in advance that students will work for. The incentive needs to be something that outweighs the pleasures of goofing off. If you include the whole class as part of the incentive often times students will do things for their peers they would never do for an adult. Example: "Class, it usually take us over three minutes to move desks into groups. Today I'm going to time you. Any time under three minutes will be added to your recess time. If you move desks quietly, are on task and working in under one minute I will add an extra minute as a bonus to the time you save. "
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Older but still learning
Old 08-12-2017, 07:07 AM
 
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I have had my challenges with middle school behavior, so I know your proactive desire to set up rules and consequences that are going to stick. I have used Cantor's Assertive Discipline throughout the years. I know some people feel he is punitive, but he has transformed some of his ideas and has written a new edition of his discipline management that I recently bought and am using in my new 7th and 8th grade classes. I recommend his no-nonsense approach. I also recently purchased Harry Wong's discipline management book. Although it costs $29.00, the reviews have been good, and I will use whatever wisdom I can to improve my own management program. As the previous post stated, some kids will continue to break rules, and they have been the bane of their teachers' lives since first grade. However, with 5 easy rules and consequences that you can live with and will enforce and consistent application of the consequences, your life will be better.
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2nd year with a ton of students
Old 08-12-2017, 04:35 PM
 
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Second year teacher here! I'm currently reading WBT and it seems like most of the methods are for teachers with significantly less students than I have. Anyone have any advice? Last year I used a Behavior Chart with each student's name listed and codes for their behavior but I felt like that paperwork was overwhelming. I'm considering switching to where I keep a piece of paper on my clipboard that documents severe behavior in conjunction with Class Dojo.


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Paperwork
Old 08-13-2017, 06:01 AM
 
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To Excellence: I like the new Wong book also. I want to focus more on practicing procedures with students. It's hard when you see 120 and are pressured to start academics right away, but so important.

To august3: I used to do Whole Brain Teaching. I really liked it but I really want to move away from rewards. I also felt like the class focus was on the behavior and not on the subject matter we were learning.

As to Class Dojo, I could not keep up with it. I just didn't have the time to even take the attendance on it. I basically already take attendance eight times a day and just found it undoable. Also, for Class Dojo, the students were focused on their avatars and arguing about points. It just took too much focus off of the lessons. I like to start my classes off with a probing question that they can think about during the class and I already felt they wanted to know what the reward was or how many points they had, etc. However, maybe that is fine for the first few years of teaching because it does help with behavior.

I do keep a clipboard for all my classes. Someone talks out, they get a check (warning), again (2nd check), third time (hallway with think it over paper.) It's pretty simple, but you have to follow through. I put the think it over sheets on the clipboard. I get three, that's an email/call home. Four-referral to office. They learn not to blurt out and talk during direct instruction. I have to be on top of them to enforce this though. No extra chances and no one is fast talking me. Also, I do have pretty good relationships. That helps.
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Teaching Students Responsibility
Old 08-23-2017, 02:56 PM
 
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I agree with Mshope.

As a student teacher I was taught from Dr. Wong’s First Days of School book. As a teacher I want a more substantial way to hone my classroom management skills. I found several resources to help make my classes more student-centric with the responsibility transferred to students.

Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov provided expert advice and great strategies (and videos on the website, too) from experienced teachers. Some of the videos are on YouTube, too. For example, one teacher challenged his classes to compete in a timely fashion the procedure of turning in paperwork! The strategies, procedures, and consequences are cross-referenced in the book to help one correct a lot of situations.

You might also enjoy 1-2-3 Magic in the Classroom: Effective Discipline for Pre-K through 8th Grade by Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.d.

The Smart Classroom Management blog website by Michael Linsin is awesome! I subscribed to receive free emails every time he inputs a new blog, which he tries to do weekly. One can search the archives in this blog to find relevant information for almost any scenario. And I really enjoy reading the comments at the bottom of each article. Linsin also has written a lot of books about classroom management for specific teacher groups.

What do these resources have in common? They all teach “consistency.” Students have to be treated in a consistent fashion to create a classroom that is a safe learning environment.

My daughter uses a segmented clipboard chart to document infractions by her students in all her classes, so she can share with parents and administration why students received various grades. She teaches routines, procedures, rules and consequences to high school students. She teaches them how to be self-governing. To guide consistency, these routines and expectations are posted around her classroom.
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