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Rachael Carver
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I think that this is so true! I have seen it in so many students- even though they are struggling, and even some of the most basic skills are difficult to accomplish, they are trying SO hard to do it and improve every day! I really think that there is no better quality then the ability to face challenges with positivity on such a consistent basis (we are asking them to do this for 6 or more hours a day 5 days a week!). One of my favorite parts about being a teacher is getting to know my students, and I would not want preconceptions to get in the way of that aspect of teaching. One of the big appeals of SPED for me is that often times you will work with a student over the course of several years, which amplifies your ability to know your students on an extremely individual level in order to teach to their needs and recognize their strengths.
I really enjoyed reading this. I think that it is so true, and I have found that it is really challenging to keep my students engaged. I am student teaching right now and finally feeling comfortable enough to start letting my personality show through. And, although I am not the most outgoing or captivating actress... I do feel like the times that my personality has peeked out the students have been more engaged. I can't wait until I have a classroom of my own and I can really work on experimenting with making my instruction more entertaining and putting my own personal spin on my lessons even more than I am doing now!
I feel like I have a similar problem with pencils in the classroom that I am currently student teaching in. I really like your idea with the mechanical pencils that are labeled with students names and turned in at the end of each period. I think this could be a great way to solve the problem, as well as provide some extra inspiration for responsibility over their pencil. I think that most students prefer using mechanical pencils, so if they know they have to go back to wood if they lost it, they would most likely keep really good track of it and take care of it. In turn that would cut back on the other issue I have been having in my class of students throwing and flipping their pencils and erasers all over the room when I have my back turned. Or even the issue of students rolling them on the dest making noise, you could have a clause that the mechanical pencil is taken away if it is played with on the desk. I think this is a strategy I will try when I have my own class!
These are great ideas! Thank you for posting. I think that I will for sure try the "Give Me 5" with my older groups. I have been struggling to keep them on task and following along while I am trying to give instruction. I have been using the "one two three, eyes on me" method, but I feel like my 5th and 6th graders feel that it is too "young" for them and so I have been trying to think of a new tactic. I also think that I am going to review classroom expectations with them in order to make sure we are all on the same page.
This is a great list of things to keep in mind. The part about listening to your students is really relevant for me right now. I was having a hard time with some student behaviors the other day, particularly with one student who had been defiant and off task all day. I had tried using the classroom behavior management plan, but it didn't seem to matter to this student whether he was losing or gaining point. I went to my mentor and told her that I thought it might be time to use a more serious form a discipline with him and she suggested that we pull him aside first and see if there is something going on with him that might be causing him to act out. After I took him out in the hall and talked to him I realized that maybe he just needed to be heard. I think that it is so important to remember to talk to your students from a caring place when they are struggling with behaviors. A one-on-one check could make all the difference for both you and that student for the rest of the day, or maybe even week!
I really like the idea of using goals instead of current levels when talking about students academics, but when it comes to groups of students, I wonder if either approach is the best option. I find that it is rare to be working with homogenous groups in either ability or goal. Another important thing to remember is that each student is an individual who's needs, strengths, weaknesses, and goals vary on as much of an individual level as their fingerprint. A group of students who are working on the same level of DRAs may have very different goals for the year, semester, or even week, and may move through levels at a variety of paces. I love the idea of planting seeds of encouragement by reinforcing behaviors that our students are just on the brink of mastering. I think that this is a great way to encourage our students and build confidence and motivation!
Rachael Carver is now following The Typepad Team
Aug 30, 2015