Be all that you can be. Find your future--as a teacher.

Musings of a second-year teacher.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Choices have consequences; make wise choices.

My middle school motto said it best, "Choices have consequences; make wise choices."

As a student teacher, I came into the classroom midway through the year. I naturally assumed the same behavior management system as my cooperating teacher in order to provide continuity for my students. She had been big on "self-regulation" and helping students to understand that their choices all have consequences, good and bad.

This logic seems to simple. You make good decisions and good things will happen. You make bad choices and bad things will happen. Yet, it seems so difficult for first graders to remember. But should I be surprised? How often to I hear directions and not pay attention. How often do I blatantly disregard a rule or law?

Classroom and behavior management have been my biggest challenges thus far. Before teaching, I saw classroom management as a minor part of teaching. Now I realize that it is ever-present and one of the most challenging parts of teaching to grasp.

Coming up with a behavior management system is challenging. I want something that will motivate the kids, without rewarding them unnecessarily and too frequently. I want something that is achievable for all students, yet still rewards the students who make more frequent "good choices." And eventually, I want students to make ke good choices without the bribe of a reward.

So what's the best choice? So far, I've used a few things. I'm continuing my teacher's "marble system." Anytime the students are exceptionally good, do something exceptionally well, etc, they are rewarded a certain number of marbles. Once the marbles fill up the jar, the students get a party. The marble jar is used sporatically, but students are motivated to behave with the thought of getting marbles.

I also began a new system once I took over full time. I segmented the day into three parts, so that students have three chances to redeem themselves. The first time I call down a students during the day, their names goes on the board for that time period. So, if a student gets their name on the board in the morning, they still have the opportunity to keep their name off the board for two more period of the day. Each period that you keep your name off the board is worth a ticket. When students get five tickets, they recieve a sticker. This has worked ok. It's time consuming to put stickers in all the students bags and then count to see who has five. I think there's probably a better system that I"ll try once I have my own classroom.

Just my thoughts and struggles on behavior management for the time being...any suggestions?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Seamless Integration?

This is my first post of the semester, as I've found myself in the midst of student teaching and insanely busy.

With a class specifically focusing on technology last semester, I found it easy to focus on technology in the classroom. However, now that I'm teaching, I realize that technology has fallen by the wayside. As a teacher, I use technology frequently. The internet is my lifesaver. I use it to find lesson ideas, worksheets, collaborate with other teachers, communicate with my cooperating teacher, etc, etc. But, I've found that my students rarely use technology IN the classroom.

I am in a first grade classroom and we have four computers. The computers are connected to the internet; however, the connection is rather slow. About once a week, there is a volunteer that comes into the classroom and helps students on the computers and they get about 15 minutes to play games on the computer. Other than that, we rarely use technology in the classroom.

I'd love to have a projector to project my computer screen on the board, but that's anot feasible. I'm not really sure of other ways to use technology in the classroom right now. I know that blogs are an option, but with only four computers and just me in the classroom...I'm not sure how to manage this.

Any suggestions from lower elementary school teachers of "best technology practices" in your classrooms?