Friday, December 7, 2012

Week Thirteen - Dec 3-7, 2012

Wow, talk about exhausted!  So after attending the Ron Clark Academy the week before (you can check out more about my trip at http://ninjaroadtrip.blogspot.com) there were quite a few things I wanted to do differently in my class this week.  And man did they make a difference!!!

So for the first half of the week (Monday-Wednesday) I began my new expectations.  I began teaching the students the first ten of our new "Essential 55 Rules".  I also began implementing a more structured behavior expectation system.  After seeing how attentive, well behaved, and respectful the RCA students were, I knew there was much work to be done with my students.  Some of the new expectations I implemented were...

  • Must look at teacher while teacher is teaching.
  • Must come to class completely prepared.
  • Must enter room quiet and ready to learn.
  • Must look at other students as they are answering questions, talking, presenting, etc.
  • Must participate (I do a lot of "call-backs" in my class)
I do others too, but those are what's coming to my head right now.  Every time the students don't meet my expectations they have to put their name on my board.

  • Just name = warning
  • Name + check mark = silent lunch in my class
  • Name + 2 check marks = no recces and call home
  • Name + 3 check marks = call home and schedule parent conference.
I had already had high expectations of my students but I just increased those expectations this week.  I am already noticing a world of difference in my students.  I have already had MANY students in silent lunch or have to call home, and I already have two parent conferences scheduled for next week as well.  These students know I'm serious about this change.

I also had the students make their own multiplication flash cards (in addition to all the work we're doing in class) so that they could have something at home to study.  Multiplication facts are so very important and I'm trying to really instill that in the kids.  The amount of facts RCA students could do in  their heads was...wow.  I want my  students like that too.

I also sorted the students into their new 4 houses!  We used a randomized spinner and each student came up and spun and got their house assignment.  I've also really been focusing on teaching my students how to CHEER for others and really be happy for others.  It was so much fun to watch them cheer and get so excited about spinning to be placed in their new house.  I chose to name my houses after Texas Universities, so we have UT, A&M, Rice, and Baylor.  The students are already working incredibly hard to earn points for their houses, but I'm not giving them out easily!!

I also started teaching with more purpose and passion.  I think my students can really tell a difference.  I was passionate before, or so I thought, but after seeing RCA teachers in action, I knew I could do better.  Another thing that really stuck in my head from RCA was that the teachers aren't allowed to ever sit while students are in the room.  I've been really trying to follow that rule too here and am working on getting my desk removed from my classroom too :)

The rest of the week was spent with my students teaching more rules, and having them practice social skills, and getting up in front of the class and teach lessons.  We did a LOT of modeling this week, because I really wanted them to see how my expectations of them are now THAT much higher.

My whole "flipped classroom" environment has changed.  Students are working that much harder to achieve and my flipped classroom has taken on a whole new level of deeper learning and achieving.  I am implementing even MORE new things next week, and check out my blog next week because I have something HUGE planned for my students....can't say anything yet, because it's a surprise, but it'll be awesome...it's an idea I got from Kim Bearden!