I haven't posted lately because I didn't want it to turn into a pity party. The behavior in my classroom has not been very, um, how do I say this nicely? Not good. It hasn't been good at all.
Well yesterday was the straw that broke this camel's back. First of all, what should have been a ten minute writing workshop mini-lesson lasted for twenty-five because of many interruptions: talking, moving around, getting in other people's desks, etc. I know because I timed it. Then, after one station rotation, this was brought to my attention:
If you'll look carefully, you will see that the "play" button is missing, the tape cover is crooked (it won't close), the cassette is cracked in half, and when you shake it, it makes beautiful music from all of the broken pieces rattling around inside. It's not like this is an ancient CD/tape player. It's been in my classroom for a month and a half. A MONTH AND A HALF!! Plus, it was brand new because I BOUGHT IT!
Last night I got home and decided that I had had it with what had become my circus of a classroom. I bribed my husband to take my youngest to his mother's for me this morning so I could get to school early and fix a few things.
Ms. Viola Swamp was going to be joining us today.
The first thing that I did was completely rearrange my room.
It used to look something like this:
Now I have them broken up into four groups with shelves for the book boxes. Here is an example:
I then put away anything "fun." Puzzles, games, etc. I wanted the change to be very noticable.
I also brought back something that I used to use, but had forgotten about it. The Competition. The competition is very simple. The four groups work to earn points by using good manners, following our classroom and school rules, etc. I keep a tally of the points earned during the week, and on Fridays the group with the highest points gets a small prize. I keep track of the points in a notebook that I keep on the top shelf of a cabinet that I normally rarely go to during the day. They have already learned that when I go to the cabinet to get the notebook a group is either earning points OR having points subtracted.
You could hear a pin drop in my room today. They were much improved walking in the halls and were very well behaved in the lunch room.
It didn't hurt that I adopted some of Ms. Viola Swamp's character as well.
Hopefully, we will get ourselves back on the right track soon!