Carol Baker on wed 20 sep 00
Hi Susan! Here are a few ideas that worked for me - for many years.
1. Love them because at this age no one else does. Keep your sense of
humor, and don't be afraid to laugh at yourself. They will love you.
2. Decide what you can tolerate and what you can't. Make a set of classroom
rules to live by. Let them participate. Then make them live by them.
3. Send home a parent letter stating your procedures. Get it signed by both
parent and student. When "Mommy Dearest" says you have a personality
conflict with Joey, agree with her. Tell her that Joey's personality doesn't
agree with the procedures we all agreed to. Then work out a contract with
Joey with consequences.
4. Give everyone a job. No one leaves the classroom until all jobs are done
and everyone is back in their seat. Number your tables and give each space a
number. All 1's wash the table, all 2's clean up the floor, etc. Have one
table each week be responsible for cleaning sinks and counters at the end of
class. Keep track of all this on overheads.
5. If you have good tools, number them and check them out. A responsible
student can do this.
6. Clay on the ceiling? Make a couple copies of the history of pottery.
Their choice: read about clay or create with it and respect our classroom.
Never had a kid choose to read for more than one class period. Rarely had
clay on the walls.
7. Play Mozart. Try it; you'll like it. Explain the learning theory of the
brain and music. Kids asked me to play the "brain music".
8. Radio time. If your school permits, play their radio station on Friday.
(Listen to the lyrics first.) They had to earn radio time. Good behavior
earned you more time. They thought that was so cool. It became a contest to
see which class got the most radio time.
9. Whatever your procedures, be consistent. Soon you will have the joy of
watching your kids come in, get their projects out, and eagerly get to work
without any prompting from you.
10. And . . . don't forget to have fun. After you retire, you really do
miss them - selective memory helps.
Have a great year!