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Old 01-03-2010, 11:03 AM
 
Location: In the AC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepka View Post
One that worked well for some students with AD/HD: When they have an assignment to do, all they can see is eternity. I would get out a timer and set it for 2 minutes and tell them to hurry up and do as many problems as they could get done in that amount of time. They were always amazed at how short 2 minutes was and how much they could get done in that time and were always eager to reset the timer and then disappointed when it was over. I've not tried it but it just occurred to me too, that if you know they can finish a WS in a certain amt of time., give them that time limit and if they make it, give them a high interest activity as a reward. See, I know the ADD brain like it was my own.
I think I want to get an overhead timer...

The other extreme works with ASD kids. I ask how long he thinks something will take. He estimates, then gets to work. At the end, we compare the estimate with how little time was really needed. Again, as you said the actual time needed is always much less than the reality.
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Piedmont NC
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Default Positive reinforcement v. the negative

Having to make those necessary negative phones calls home often wore me down, and made me feel negative. To counter that, I started making as many, or more, good calls home, too.

Was I ever pleasantly surprised at the response! The kids came to school, excited, the next day, sharing, "Hey Mrs. M told my parents I _?_!" Let them know I was as apt to call home about the good, maybe even more so, than the bad.

I also followed-up the bad calls with a good one, if it was only to report I was seeing some progress, however seemingly-insignificant, ie. Johnny was tardy only twice this week, and I'd add something like "I know he can get this down to one tardy per week with a little more effort." You didn't have to make these those 'marathon-on-the-phone-for-an-hour' deals, either. If I didn't get an answer, I'd leave a good message so kids knew that my calling wasn't always a bad thing, either.

These good calls, or you could send notes, went a long way to reinforcing classroom management, and always made me look good to the Administration because parents couldn't say they never heard from me, or only got bad news from me.

I also tried (and sometimes it was very hard, or even very, very hard) to find positive things to say to each of my students throughout the day, the week, the month, the grading period, the year. "You know, Suzy, that skirt was not 'dress code,' and I know you can't wear it to school w/o getting sent home, but I can see why you like it. It's cute. . . or it's a nice color. . . blah blah blah." It validated how the kids thought they felt about themselves, and you weren't always so bad. "Johnny, if you're going to be late to class every day, you could stop by the office and bring me. . ." You can bet most times somebody in the office would ask him why he wasn't in class, and while he couldn't say I'd sent him because he wasn't on a pass, he was doing something halfway constructive.

A lot of times, the class clowns were also involved in something else on campus -- a sport, drama, whatever -- and I'd try to make note of that, too. "I see you're playing the role of _?_in the play, Johnny. <vBg> I knew you had talent." You can find something positive if you look hard enough, long enough, often enough. Because the 'bad kids' hear so little positive, you'll be surprised how far it goes with them, and once you win them over, they can become some of your best students, even if not necessarily academically.

My 27+ years in the classroom was with the 'difficult' kids -- as an In-School Suspension teacher at the JR HS level, for about 10 years, and then working with lower-achieving students in the HS, teaching English. I learned, that within reason, you -- the teacher -- could make more of a difference in those children's lives than what you might ever realize, if only for that one hour every day.
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Piedmont NC
4,597 posts, read 9,841,313 times
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MSM, the paper rolls I printed were from the computer, and were fairly large -- covering maybe three weeks at a time, for a nine-weeks grading period -- so I had right much room for my notes. I just made 100 the 'good comment' and for others, came up with a code I'd recognize or was easy.

A kid could get 100 for the day, and still have something unfavorable, like NB (no book) or NNB (no notebook). I'd put the more critical note on the actual date, if I could, and maybe the 100 on another day's slot, since what actually earned them 100 was less critical. Some kids might have 100s and notes for almost every day of the week, and I might make a general note to myself in the margins of the rolls.

At the end of a week, or two or three, if I saw a definite pattern -- say NB for a week -- I might ask the kid privately, "Where is your book?" It might also precipitate a call home.

I also tried to deal one-on-one with my HS students, especially 11th and 12th graders, who seemed to appreciate being treated as young adults (even if they didn't act like one much of the time), and would ask them things as unobtrusively as possible. Sometimes the answers might be something I'd never considered -- "I spent the weekend at my mother's, brother's, whatever, and haven't had a way to go get it." Because our HS was keeping records on the computer, I could look up a kid's schedule, and had fun sometimes sending a note to another kid -- "Johnny says he left his book in your car. Please remind him to get it when he rides home with you today." The kid getting the note would think it was funny, and would often jokingly remind the other one, 'get your book.'

Teaching often calls for creativity, and a well-developed sense of humor.
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:24 PM
 
3,764 posts, read 6,767,048 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RDSLOTS View Post
Having to make those necessary negative phones calls home often wore me down, and made me feel negative. To counter that, I started making as many, or more, good calls home, too.

Was I ever pleasantly surprised at the response! The kids came to school, excited, the next day, sharing, "Hey Mrs. M told my parents I _?_!" Let them know I was as apt to call home about the good, maybe even more so, than the bad.

I also followed-up the bad calls with a good one, if it was only to report I was seeing some progress, however seemingly-insignificant, ie. Johnny was tardy only twice this week, and I'd add something like "I know he can get this down to one tardy per week with a little more effort." You didn't have to make these those 'marathon-on-the-phone-for-an-hour' deals, either. If I didn't get an answer, I'd leave a good message so kids knew that my calling wasn't always a bad thing, either.

These good calls, or you could send notes, went a long way to reinforcing classroom management, and always made me look good to the Administration because parents couldn't say they never heard from me, or only got bad news from me.

I also tried (and sometimes it was very hard, or even very, very hard) to find positive things to say to each of my students throughout the day, the week, the month, the grading period, the year. "You know, Suzy, that skirt was not 'dress code,' and I know you can't wear it to school w/o getting sent home, but I can see why you like it. It's cute. . . or it's a nice color. . . blah blah blah." It validated how the kids thought they felt about themselves, and you weren't always so bad. "Johnny, if you're going to be late to class every day, you could stop by the office and bring me. . ." You can bet most times somebody in the office would ask him why he wasn't in class, and while he couldn't say I'd sent him because he wasn't on a pass, he was doing something halfway constructive.

A lot of times, the class clowns were also involved in something else on campus -- a sport, drama, whatever -- and I'd try to make note of that, too. "I see you're playing the role of _?_in the play, Johnny. <vBg> I knew you had talent." You can find something positive if you look hard enough, long enough, often enough. Because the 'bad kids' hear so little positive, you'll be surprised how far it goes with them, and once you win them over, they can become some of your best students, even if not necessarily academically.

My 27+ years in the classroom was with the 'difficult' kids -- as an In-School Suspension teacher at the JR HS level, for about 10 years, and then working with lower-achieving students in the HS, teaching English. I learned, that within reason, you -- the teacher -- could make more of a difference in those children's lives than what you might ever realize, if only for that one hour every day.
Goes along with a reminder I have hanging over my computer at work:

"Find the good and praise it."

I admire how you are getting to know your students personally & connecting with them on that personal level,RDSLOTS. Kudos!
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:06 PM
 
Location: Piedmont NC
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Default Origami

I stumbled upon a great origami book with very clear instructions, and diagrams, and used it for two activities with my HS students. It fit nicely into the curriculum for just about any grade level, but I used it with 10th graders in World Lit, and my HS Seniors in British Lit/SR Project.

The 10th graders made cranes, in conjunction with the culmination of the Holocaust unit. We'd end the unit with Hersey's Hiroshima, and the children's book, The Thousand Paper Cranes (or Sedaka's 1000 Cranes, which is actually a monument in Japan).

For the Seniors, and sometimes 9th graders, when I taught a section or two, we made eagles usually the week of Homecoming (our mascot was the Screamin' Eagle). It was a fun activity in celebration of Homecoming Week for them, and I turned it into a writing assignment.

For both classes, or any that you choose to do it with: the objective(s) included independent work, no assistance from me whatsoever. I would not interpret the directions, nor give pointers or tips. A little frustrating for that kid who wanted a teacher to do things for him, but hey!, that was exactly part of the lesson. For the students who mastered it, and produced the crane or eagle, they could help a fellow student, struggling with the assignment, but could not make any fold, etc., for the other student. I walked around the classroom, monitoring their progress.

It was an e-a-s-y grade -- the finished product was a 100. They wrote their names on the crane (or eagle) and turned it in to me. Pass or fail. It could easily be completed within our 90 minute class period -- most did it in about 40-50 minutes.

The second part of the assignment was to write about the experience. Most began the writing in class, and finished it for HW; due the next class period. We also talked about the experience. Extra credit if the student chose to take home the instructions, and the paper, and teach someone else in the family to make one.

To complete the lesson, I ran off enough copies of the directions, one for each student or a class set. I also pre-cut the paper using the school's paper cutter as I didn't want them messing with the cutter, and getting sued when one of them lost a finger or chopped-off a classmate's. (The things kids will do, no?) So, I had plenty of pre-cut paper in the sizes needed, colors, whatever. The stacks were on a small table at the front of the room. I passed out the directions from the book, and explained they were to make an eagle (or the crane, depending upon the class). I also had several samples on-hand, that I had made, for hands-on examples.

NO talking, so they could read for themselves, and concentrate. There was some talking, in low voices, as some helped others (but they had to have completed their own first).

To get a grade, they had to have a finished product. Pass or fail. 100.

Then, they had to describe the experience -- and that part of the assignment was a little open-ended. Some chose to describe more how-to make an origami crane/eagle; others also wrote of their frustration and/or success, and some even discussed being successful at something they'd never done before. We talked about 'following directions' and learning things for ourselves.

The eagles we displayed in the hallways, on bulletin boards, or took to the Media Center for display, for Spirit Week. Other kids would come by the room, wanting to make eagles. The administrators got a kick out of it.

The cranes were mailed to the Pediatrics Unit of a local hospital, generally, with a copy of the book, The 1000 Paper Cranes, to share with the young patients. So much better if students took them (sometimes we had students in the Med Ed classes do this). Following September 11th, we mailed them to the rescue units we got addresses for, in NYC, along with letters the students wrote.

The origami lessons were great for a number of activities, and great 'fillers' of sorts. At times, the kids could fold holiday items for display, or make things to include in their own family cards and greetings. A science/biology class could make many of the items, as the book included instructions for all sorts of birds, fish, a crab, etc. The lesson always revolves around independent learning/work, and can be followed-up with teaching someone else, and writing about the experience. With pre-cut paper, even in construction paper, little ones could do this, have something to display, and write about the assignment -- or the origami creation.

I found the paperback book (large format, maybe 8.5 x 11) in a B&N, but have seen similar books in libraries, and I think you may even be able to access directions online. You can use copier paper, construction paper, wallpaper books, etc., depending upon what you are after. No other materials necessary, other than maybe a glue stick to hold some piece in place (our eagles' heads, I think). The cranes were white, while for the eagles, I cut squares of yellow/gold, tan and white. The other neat thing is the size(s) of the paper is proportional in that you can make the item as large or as small as you choose -- great for the skill level or age of the students. One eagle I made was roughly 8 x 8 inches (for illustrative purposes); the ones the HS students made were closer to 3 x 3 inches or so.

Fun assignment I could get several objectives covered, and several grades for, including class grade, writing assignment, HW grade and extra-credit.
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:47 PM
 
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How touching! We need more teaching of compassion, unmeasurable on a standardized test.
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:21 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
9,250 posts, read 15,188,825 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RDSLOTS View Post
I stumbled upon a great origami book with very clear instructions, and diagrams, and used it for two activities with my HS students. It fit nicely into the curriculum for just about any grade level, but I used it with 10th graders in World Lit, and my HS Seniors in British Lit/SR Project. . .
I love that idea and plan to steal it. I guess I better figure out how to fold one of those darn things first--seems like I tried to once and gave up. Maybe I need that exact book.
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepka View Post
I love that idea and plan to steal it. I guess I better figure out how to fold one of those darn things first--seems like I tried to once and gave up. Maybe I need that exact book.
I agree, it's a great idea! You can find origami patterns online - here's an easy-to-follow site: Paper Airplanes | Origami-kids | airplane
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Piedmont NC
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Glad you like the origami lesson. It was fun for me and my HS English classes. I also did not tell the kids ahead of time that we were even doing it -- just sprang it on them Spirit Week, and for the 10th graders at the culmination of the Holocaust Unit.

For me, World Lit (at the 10th grade level here in NC) was always a challenge, finding lit to which a 15-year-old, generally unWORLDly kid could relate. The first selection of the semester, first day of school, accomplished a number of goals: intro to World Lit, vocabulary different from our English, customs and life-in-general from another culture, and the idea that as people from anywhere on the globe we have much more in common than what we realize.

On the OV, I had the quote from Shakey-Baby's Romeo and Juliet: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet." For the first 100 of the Day for the Semester, I'd ask the kids to ID the quote, give us the reference, blah blah blah. You could just as easily use a 2-3 minute video clip from any of the multitude of films made from Shakespeare's play, including Shakespeare in Love (if it's in that), the Zeferelli film, or even Baz Lurhman's Romeo + Juliet (which the kids 'dig').

Then, I'd pass out copies of Santha Rama Rau's short story, "By Any Other Name," and I'd read it aloud, up to a point with the class. It is great for kids because they can see themselves in it -- prejudice(s), the value in one's name, making friends in new situations, trying to fit-in, etc. It is the story of two Indian girls at an Anglo school (in India) who are badly treated, even from the first moment they step into the headmistress's office, and she changes their names from Premila to 'Pamela,' and Santha to 'Cynthia.' The story only covers a week, and goes from bad to worse to totally unacceptable for the two sisters. It ends on a beautiful note.

While I used the selection in 10th grade World Lit, it'd really work for most any age group, depending upon how you approach it, and some great 'character lessons' can come out of the story. So sad that character-building even has to be mandated in schools these days, no?

For HW, the kids had to research their own names -- where it came from, both within their family and historically, whatever. . . why the parents chose it for them, and who else in the family, if anyone, had ever had the name. Even if it was a name 'created' for that child, there was some family history, and I luckily found websites that took names apart to explain, as best as could be done, what the name might mean. We also found other versions of their names, in other languages -- Patrick, Padraig, etc. Some chose to find famous people with their given names, as well. They made mini-posters, with their names done as creatively as they chose, with the info under the graphics. These were displayed in the room, or just outside the classroom on the walls.

We also had neat discussions centered around 'what's in a name?,' conducted class polls on how many liked their given name(s) v. what they might have chosen for themselves.

A follow-up, often for extra credit, was to research a last name, including the concept of where last names originated, including country, culture, and the like. It was interesting, too, to come back to, following the Holocaust unit, as so many Jews gave up their 'Jewish' names for any number of reasons, following WWII (some even before that period in history).

Santha Rama Rau's story was a good choice, too, in that the selection introduced these kids, who'd be studying World Lit to new vocabulary, habits, foods, way of dress, and living-in-general, unique to another culture to them; for example, eating chapattis, wearing a sari, taking a midday nap, having servants in the house, etc. We made Venn diagrams of what set the two Indian girls apart from the Anglo children, and what things they had in common.

And because I always used as many a/v sources as I could, including a lot of music, I'd have Ravi Shankar playing in the background, or some other music. I'm sure the kids would really enjoy a clip from any of the Indian films made popular in the last several years. You could easily put something with curry in a crockpot for the smell, or patchouli, and if you have friends and neighbors, try to borrow a sari for display, or Indian silk, artwork, etc.
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