Monday, October 10, 2011

I Submarined Today

Today started off fantastically with a lively discussion about pioneer life (kids loved learning about out houses). but when we started reading after PE things began to take a turn for the worse. You've been there, I'm sure...kids are less than enthusiastic, not participating even when I try to use active participation strategies.  They're half listening, unfocused, and uninvolved. It's like pulling teeth to get them to talk with me or with their partners. I had just about had enough, so when I noticed that only 2 children were on the page I asked to them look at, I had a choice. I could have redirected them. I could have changed tactics. I could have done numerous other things. Instead, I chose to reprimand them. They had chosen to not be involved in the activity, so I assigned them an activity in which they HAD to be involved to complete: read the text and answer questions. I gave them a stern talking to about listening, paying attention, doing your best, working hard, etc...I took the "we can do this YOUR way (lots of hard work) or MY way (collaboration, group work, talking, projects) approach with them.

Now, don't get me wrong...I believe children should be corrected when they misbehave or disobey. And sometimes there are consequences or punishments that go along with correction. But the reason I feel like I submarined is because I know there are better ways to motivate children. Thinking back on my response today, I know I could have made a different choice and still maintained a positive atmosphere in our classroom.

I think that's what bothers me most of all. The negativity. I could have responded in so many different ways. Next time I can:

  • Change activities: have students move somewhere different, work with someone else, or respond in a different way.
  • Move on to something else, then come back to it later
  • Take a brain break (maybe that's what they needed)
  • Tell a joke
  • Have students do a quick, physical activity such as a few jumping jacks
  • Have a class meeting
All of these things will give the students a chance to refocus, while maintaining the positive atmosphere that I strive to keep going in the classroom. 

And while I DID submarine today, I hope to make a better choice the next time I am in a similar situation.

1 comment:

  1. You are a fantastic teacher! We all lose it sometimes.

    ReplyDelete

 

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