Miss Bennett in the Bay

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 12 2007

Total Delirium

The last two nights I’ve only gotten 4 and a half hours of sleep each. That is a long amount of time in comparison to most people that I’ve talked to. 2 or 3 hours is the norm. Last night my roommate got 30 minutes of sleep. I haven’t seen her yet today, so I don’t know how she’s doing.

As a result of collective sleep deprivation, everyone is down right loopy. My team teacher and I today got into a laughing fit about……. I don’t even remember. Something not at all funny.

In my last post I was having serious classroom management issues. So yesterday I just clearly outlined my expectations for behavior in the classroom. My kids always screw around in line, so I made them practice lining up during what was supposed to be my lesson on prefixes and suffixes. I told them we’d do it as long as it took. It took about 25 minutes. My teaching block is 40 minutes long. Combine that 25 minutes with a bathroom break and I’ve got 10 minutes of teaching time left. I realized there was no point in starting my lesson, so I just went through the rest of my expectations. When I am talking, you will be quiet. You will sit in active listening position. When I do the quiet coyote, you will all follow me in doing so. You will stop talking. You will be respectful. Going through that last part of the lecture ate up the rest of my 40 minutes.

My behavior management investment really paid off. Today, when I actually taught prefixes and suffixes, I barely had to ask for quiet. My best technique so far is just stopping in the middle of a sentence when I hear kids talking and waiting. When I do that, R holds up the quiet coyote. He loves the quiet coyote. The kids at least seemed mildly interested in what I had to say. We’ll see if they could fill out their worksheets.

Today we began math-literacy hour. We split the class into small groups based on their diagnostic scores, and each teacher works with one group. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we do math and the other days we do literacy. I am working with the second lowest group for math and the second highest group for literacy.

I looked at the diagnostic scores for my math group and saw that they were having trouble with using the inverse operation to check their answers. So, if I add, then I should subtract to check my answers. I based my math mini lesson around this. It took them a few minutes of me explaining it to finally get it, but when they did, boy did they get excited. I was giving them practice problems and they just ate it up. One of the boys said, “Miss Bennett, can we do a hundred problems?” Of course, I had not prepared a hundred problems. But I did tell them that if they wanted, I could go home and find some worksheets for them to take home tomorrow. They were jumping with excitement. “Yes! Yes! Give us worksheets!” A put it very well when she said, “give us more practice so we can learn more!”

Ah, yes. That was a gratifying moment.

One Response

  1. Hehe, I remember doing drills in elementary school of 100 problems in, like 5 or 10 minutes. I’m not sure it was FUN, exactly, but we did them anyway…

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"All that is gold does not glitter, not all who wander are lost." -J. R. R. Tolkien

Bay Area
Elementary School
Elementary Education

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