Again, sorry I'm so far behind!
This week I’ve been noticing the different classroom management strategies Miss Anne (3rd grade) utilizes in with her third graders. The classes are divided into boys and girls so boy-girl partnering strategies have been left at the door. This group is particularly chatty and not very good listeners. I’m not sure if it’s just that I’m unused to teaching this young of an age-group, or if it’s a reflection of this groups study skills, but I find that Miss Anne and I are constantly repeating directions and yelling for quiet. The students take a long time to take out their supplies, transition between subjects, and haven’t yet been able to work in silence. Someone always takes it upon himself to be the class clown. They also have the habit of when either Miss Anne or I call someone out on not behaving properly 10 other voices start yelling the culprits name. We are working on trying to get them to understand that this is not helpful.
Miss Anne has a rewards system in her classroom where students receive little laminated cards for good behavior, good study habits, and important milestones. They say things like “used English during playground” “turned in all my homework this week” “lost tooth”. The students collect them on a little ring and when they have five they can trade them in for a reward like choosing their classroom job for the week, having Miss Anne eat with them and their friends at lunch, or bring in a show-and-tell item. The school also has a system in which students can receive either good or bad notes home in their homework diaries for their parents to see.
One of the strategies used at Colegio is to send misbehaving students to the other classroom. So if the boys are in Miss Anne’s English class that day, she’ll send them across the hall to Miss Angel’s where the girls are having their classes in Spanish. I have mixed feelings about this because the third grade boys can be incredibly disruptive. They ignore all of the warnings Miss Anne gives them, and continue to talk and not listen even if she moves them to sit alone in the front of the classroom. And it’s not just one or two of them, but 8 or so of the 24 students. For every hour, Miss Anne typically only get 20 minutes of instruction in. But also when the students are told to leave the classroom they miss the content. It’s frustrating because Miss Anne is a very good and creative teacher, but she’s spending her whole time yelling for the boys’ attention.
One of the other hard things is Miss Anne has tried to keep the students in during playground, but at Colegio extracurriculars like soccer practice are built into the lunch hours. Parents often get upset when the students miss the activities that they pay for the child to attend.
One of the things I have been impressed with though is both Miss Anne and Miss Monica’s ability to weave in larger life lessons into their lectures or scolding. This week, a number of students had lost their supplies and didn’t have either their pencil or eraser and Miss Anne had the student’s laughing as she described their parents going into work and saying, “yeah that laptop you gave me, I don’t know where it is. Can I have another?” But they got the point and Miss Anne, plus Miss Anne isn’t being overly generous in giving out extra school supplies. And Miss Monica lectured her fifth grade boys this week about problem solving for yourself. If you forgot your notebook, what do you think you should do? Just sit and not copy the notes? Can you ask for an extra sheet of paper and then what are you going to do tonight? Miss Anne said it well, that the content is important, but the habits they need for life are just as if not more imperative.