The contracts we focus on here help teachers assess students’ understanding of the objectives of a unit. Contracts can help younger students grasp the basics of setting a goal (the contract) and dealing with the smaller pieces needed in achieving that goal (the projects). Older students can benefit from the process by realizing a greater state of independence and responsibility in school lives.
Because of the many different approaches people can take on this matter, most of which are effective, we are not going to tell you one tried and true method that will keep your students in class with open eyes at all times. No such panacea exists. We will, however, give you a few ideas from our subscribers that have worked for them.
Almost everyday, it seems, a new student is admitted into our school. They transfer from other districts in other cities, states, even countries. They make new friends; adjust to the new scenery. But these children are also forced to start over in a curriculum that may prove worlds apart from the ones in which they were previously immersed.
Poor attendance by students is a difficult problem to tackle. However, it is increasingly important to deal with it due to the simple fact that if students aren’t in school, they are not learning what is being taught. It is also problematic in the sense that chronic poor attenders often drag down attendance and performance data for schools. In an era of increasing accountability, this is exactly the opposite of what most districts need.
One great way to monitor discipline is to involve your kids in the process. I work with older kids, so their need for “justice” helps contribute to its effectiveness. I hold Court once every two weeks. Kids are required to “dress for success” on the day of court. Otherwise, they are held “in contempt of court.”
Tattling or “telling on” is commonplace for many 5-10 year olds, and for many teachers it can be a real annoyance! As children, we were taught that we shouldn’t tattle on others, so it only stands to reason that we would continue to enforce this belief with youngsters today. But why? What harm does tattling cause us? Is it because we just don’t want to hear it right now? Perhaps before you institute “no tattling” as classroom policy, you should consider what tattling is, and more importantly, why children are often so eager to spout off about what little Kimberly or Scott is doing on the other side of the classroom.
Having a reward-earning system in place is key because it means you and your students have something you can count on. The basics are simple – good behavior of some form on behalf of the students = reward for the students given by the teacher. We’ve compiled some ideas to help you set up your own rewards system, but keep in mind that rewards aren’t always free time or parties.
You can use the Six Thinking Hats in almost any problem solving activity that you might encounter in the classroom (or in life in general!) Here is an example of a problem solving exercise that I went through with my students two years ago. Its a problem that many teachers will be able to relate to.
Oh, the excitement of a new year! Imagine those hallways the first day back… everyone talking, laughing, comparing schedules, comparing lunches, greeting old friends and meeting new ones. With all the hustle and bustle, how in the world are you ever going to get them to be quiet once the bell rings? Everyone can probably agree that on the first day, you might not get them quiet right away! But as the year starts up, now is the time to get into a groove, and form habits that will be healthy and helpful for everyone involved.