My TA is gone all this week to Mexico for a teacher conference/convention so I'm in the class with a substitute the class is familiar with! These first 2 days of the week have been quite challenging in terms of classroom management, not just for me but also for the substitute teacher! There are many factors that play into reasons why the students are a handful but let's not dwell on that right now.
Lesson planning has gotten a little bit quicker because I don't have to do an extensive write up like I have been taught earlier. I've been writing out notes for my plans including such important details as key questions, agenda of activities and names of students or groups of students who may need extra help in certain areas (like math).
It's encouraging to know that both my TA and the substitute teacher think I'm doing a really good job so far. The substitute teacher and I had a conversation today while the students were in music class about classroom management related topics. Yesterday we established a point system where either me or her will give them a point if the whole class is on task and quiet without us having to ask them. WHOLE CLASS. That means one person could ruin it for everyone. It's not working as effectively as I thought it might, but they actually finally settled down this afternoon and even earned their 15 points. The reward is that for the last several minutes of school they can play a game instead of do real work. Last week the class settled about mid-week so I'm hoping this will be the case and tomorrow will be awesome. Well, more awesome. Even though the last 2 days have been testing my patience a little bit, there was still a lot of positive things going on.
Quiet coyote has made a comeback! Whenever the students are lining up to go somewhere there is always one boy who makes quiet coyote and so I give it another shot and hold up quiet coyote. It's pretty amazing how quiet they became....and remained quiet too! What I learned from this is, quiet coyote has his place, not when I'm in front of the class teaching, but as we attempt silence in line ups.
I have to remind them that I'm not quite awesome enough to be able to hear everything everyone is telling me all at the same time. Not yet, anyway! If they want to talk to me they need to raise their hand silently and wait till I get to them. I find that I've been better at saying 'No" and cutting off questions and comments that are totally off topic. I managed to ask a bunch of higher level questions with my Social Studies and Novel Studies lessons yesterday as well and I was pretty pleased with the answers the students gave me. With the math lesson today, after giving them the speed test I split them into 3 groups and asked the substitute to work with the weaker students. I grouped them into red, yellow, green light groups for myself based on looking at the previous 2 speed tests. I worked with the yellow group because I wanted to check up and see if they weren't understanding something or if it was just trying to be fast. I chose to have the substitute work with the weakest group because I know she has more teaching experience than me and might have some other tricks for teaching multiplication that could help them more than I could. In speaking with her after, she said that all of them got it except one girl. I'll have to think more about how else to help her. I think I will have them all sing multiplication songs on Thursday....it's worth a shot, right?