Question Detail

First year teacher help?

Feb 8, 2013 1:03pm

I am having difficulity in my classroom with discipline, differentiation, motavation, organization, homework, center ideas, and lesson ideas. I teacher reading/social studies to 6th graders. I am at a loss to make a decision about what I need to do. I am grateful for any advice.

  • English Language Arts / Social Studies
  • 6-8
  • Behavior / Differentiation / Engagement / New Teachers / Planning


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    • Feb 16, 2013 10:27pm

      Think of discipline as, "Pick up one or two at a time." One method will not reach them all. Pick up a few at a time. Start with the "ringleaders" that create more issues. Chat with them, learn their interests, share appropriate personal stories that form connections and commonalities with them.. No only will they stop leading others against you, they will put others in their place and sand up for you when they believe you truly care about them.

      • Feb 18, 2013 3:10pm

        Hi, Matoya. I've found that incentives work well for students with regard to homework completion. I carry "tickets" on my ID badge (can be purchased at WalMart). When students, or group tables, are on task, I award a ticket. The students place their tickets in a plastic container to be eligible for the drawing. I pull two names per day (four on Friday). Students can cash in their tickets for a lunch pass (eat in the room), a sports card (purchased at the flea market), or a pencil. For students who complete their homework all week, they are invited to eat lunch in the room on Friday while enjoying a movie.

        An idea I implemented this year, is the "Mystery Student". I place an index card in a laminated tab and pull the student's name at the end of the day. If they have followed all expectations (academic and behavioral), they are awarded a gem that they place on a plastic cup on their desks (used to store pencils).

        • May 30, 2013 1:57pm

          Have you considered using Class Dojo? It is free. You award positive and negative points to the students based on customizable behaviors. Each Friday reports are e-mailed to parents who have signed up. You could tie the points into some sort of behavior contract with individual students/whole class if you like. Also, perhaps you might want to consider reading Fred Jones's book Tools for Teaching. He discusses the importance of moving around the room so you use the proximity of your body to control troublemakers. Also, he talks about an idea called Responsibility Training. Essentially, you give the children some time for a preferred activity (maybe a learning game). Say, 10 minutes at the end of the period or 30 minutes at the end of the week. Then, you add onto this time or subtract away from this time as the class cooperates.

          • May 30, 2013 1:59pm

            Part 2 You may also like Harry & Rosemary Wong's The First Days of School. Also, you might like The First Six Weeks by Paula Denton and Roxann Kriete. Finally, be sure you have CLEARLY taught and reviewed your expectations. When students don't follow procedures/meet expectation, have a logical consequence, such as do it again. It is frustrating, and it seems to take forever, and I worry about what the other teachers/etc. are going to think as I am taking 10 minutes to get to the cafeteria because we are doing our line over again and again. However, it is worth it when my children enter and exit calm and ready to learn, cooperate, follow directions, etc. In teaching it is "pay me now or pay me later". You either spend time now teaching expectations, or you get nickel and dimed to death all year constantly correcting behaviors.

            • Feb 16, 2013 3:53pm

              Once suggestion is to look at the procedures in the classroom that are creating the most difficulty. Is it transitioning between activities, gathering equipment, arrival, departure? Identify what procedures you have in the class and then look at do students know what the expectations are for these processes? Asking them to help identify and clarify the actions they need to take can also help with making sure everyone is on the same page.

              • Feb 16, 2013 8:32pm

                Contact your district or complex area level office to see if trained instructional mentors are available to you as a new teacher.

                • Feb 18, 2013 11:32am

                  Take it one day at a time. I suggest that you start with ohe of the issues. Plan each item at a time. For example, how do you wnat the classroom to look and function? organize based onthe maintopics that you teach, locate items for eachsection in those areas. Teach students where you want thing to go and where to collect items to take home, HW. Label all areas, boxes, containers used for keeping documents so that they are visible, then explain to the students the function of the classroom. Your classroom organization will help with the students discipline, you just have to know what, when and where you want thing to happen.