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Home : 2004 : Feb : 5

    Teaching the Rules
    By Chuuuz

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    Some students haven't learned any social skills.

    We figure that by grade 1, most children know how to be polite, etc. Usually parents teach these skills. But some parents don't do the job.

    So it falls to us.

    When I got my grade 8's this year, they came charging into my classroom like a herd of orangutans on crack. Didn't even glance my way. I could have been a palm tree. They banged chairs around, screamed across the room, threw stuff around, sat where they wanted to sit.

    I walked to the front, put my hand up. Waited. A. Longgggg. Time..

    Finally, a few of them stopped and went "shhhhhh."

    Then the lesson began. Not the one I had planned.

    My *other* one.

    I told them my classroom is like their living room. And they will treat coming to my room like they were going to visit me. When you go visit someone, you don't kick their door down, shove past them, root in their fridge, kick their cat, grab the remote and heave couch cusions around the room.

    Right?

    The looks on their faces read... "what the beep is she on about?"

    I told them...the way to come see me is:

    You walk quietly down the hall, carrying ALL your work for my class. Knock quietly on the door. I open the door. You greet me by asking "how was your day so far, Mrs. Niceandeasy?"

    I reply:

    "Ah, so far it's been great." or "I have a splitting headache the size of Florida."

    And they say:

    "That's good."

    or..

    "Aw too bad."

    Then they go to their desks, look at the menu on the board, take out their backup books and start reading quietly for 10 mins.

    They also put their homework on their desks for me to walk and check.

    Of course it takes a loooong time to establish this procedure. By now, most of my kids are on task.

    I also draw a big box on the board and head it:

    "A date for lunch with Mrs. Niceandeasy."

    After 2 warnings to get busy, names start appearing on that board.

    Lunch time D's happen at the same time I'm on hall duty, so it's no biggie to meet my kids in that hall where there are desks set up for detention servers.

    The other thing is... I tell them where to sit. I'm the sarge, they're the privates. I have a method of placement. No friends sit together.

    No way.

    Today, I started a new novel..2 students sat in the back and laughed, poked each other, played around. Their names went on the board...and the consequence was to copy the first 4 pages of the novel before I see them again.

    It's over halfway through the year. I'm taking no prisoners.

    We've got to be consistent and strong. But loving.

    "She blinded them with science!"



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