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Home : 2004 : Aug : 17

    By Carolyn

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    One of the pitfalls I think a lot of new teachers fall into is that they don't realize just how long it takes kids to understand procedures and that procedures have to be made up for EVERYTHING you do: how you're going to line up, how you're going to get them to stop what they are doing to listen to you, and so many other things. I would suggest that you sit down and reflect upon just what wasn't effective, and what you can do to correct the problem. I am working with kids in grades K-5 right now, and I can tell you that the younger they are, the more you have to spend training them. Even the littlest things that you may think they should know, they actually don't.

    If they are working and chatting away and you want to get their attention, you might try a couple of things. I tell the young kids "One, two, three. Eyes on me." I ask them to raise their hands in the air. When have to raise their hands into the air, I have them wiggle their fingers to show that they aren't still holding a crayon or scissors or whatever and are actively listening to me. Then I am able to have them listen to directions and do what I want them to do next, which might be put away crayons and scissors,etc. I have also told them that they have to do what I ask the first time I ask. If they don't begin putting stuff away and continue coloring, then I make sure I follow up with a consequence.

    Also, make sure that every single child is looking at you when you begin to teach. If you have somebody, even one, who isn't listening, you can say something like, "I have ALMOST everybody's attention. I am still waiting for one." Wait. If you allow anybody not to listen and get started before they are actually ready, they might think it's not important to listen every time you try to get started. Make sure that you let them know that you expect everybody to listen and that you won't start until they do.

    Take your time. Don't hurry to get to a lot of teaching just yet. It is very important to establish what you will expect from the kids for the rest of the year at this time. The time you take right now will be painstaking with so much repetition, but eventually the kids will do as you expect them to.

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