Monday, January 30, 2012

Dealing with Children who Try to Plead Innocence

Today, during the after school program, I was sent up to the auditorium. The auditorium is where all the older kids (i.e. 3rd to 5th grade) stay until from 3 to 4 pm. As I enter the auditorium, one of the 3rd graders ask me who the guy on my shirt is. So, I tell him that it's Bruce Lee. Afterward, I go to opposite ends of the auditorium to help some kids with their homework. Why am I telling you all of this? You'll see why this information is relevant.

Now, the kid who asked me about my Bruce Lee shirt goes outside to play. A few minutes later, he comes back in. This is how our conversation played out:

Student A: Mr. Auto? Are you mad at me?

Me:(raise eyebrow) No. Why?

Student A: Well, student X & Y told me that you said to come in because you were annoyed with me.

Me: No way. I didn't say that at all. Hey, actually, do me a favor. Tell students X & Y that I want them to come in here. Thanks.

About 5 minutes pass until students X & Y are waiting for me to talk with them. I talked with them after I finished helping another student with her homework. Afterward, I took students X & Y with me to somewhere more private.

Me: Student A told me that both of you told him to come into the auditorium because I was annoyed with him. Is that true?

Student Y: (appears surprised) No. We never said that. We just said that you said to come in.

Me: Ok. Well, even that's false. I never told him to come in. So, why would you tell him to do that?

Student Y: I thought you said that?

Me: How could you ever have thought that I said that. I never said anything about him coming in. All I did while I was here today was talk about my Bruce Lee shirt and help out two different students with their homework. I'll be honest. I don't believe you. I suspect that both of you are spreading false information. And, I need you to not spread false information. I need you to not spread false information because people act on what they think they know. Do you understand?

Student Y: Yea.

Me: Ok good. Thanks.

In retrospect, one way I could've handled that situation a bit better was by addressing both students. Student X stayed dead quiet. Lucky for her. She didn't have to get directly struck with my accusations.

So, in that situation, although I wasn't in the vicinity of the main event (the spreading of false information), I still accused her. I accused her because again, there is just no way that she could've heard me say that. So, it just gives me the impression that she was making stuff up. I wanted to shut it down. That's why I emphasized that instance. If I had said anything relating to a student coming in or even me being annoyed, I would've hesitated a lot more about responding to the false information that they spread.

On that note, by saying that they are spreading false information, I was being too generous. They were lying. I'm not sure why I didn't just say that. Perhaps I was still leaving myself open to the possibility that they did indeed think that I called student A in. But, the idea that they could've thought that I said that just seems so absurd to me.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Dulling of Repetition and Intrigue of Creativity

Every time that I have taught a vocabulary lesson in Mr. Agajan's 3rd grade class, I've always used "All Write Round Robin." (AWRR) If I had to teach a lesson on suffixes, I would use it. If I had to teach a lesson on prefixes, I would use it. If I had to teach a lesson on long A words, I would use it. Mr. Agajan recommended that I only use it about once a week. I neglected that recommendation.Until recently, I have had no qualms at all with making use of the same technique over and over again. That's because I have faith in the idea that my repeated use of a given technique such as AWRR will lead to my improved execution of it.

The last time before I used AWRR, one of the students asked me a question:

Student: "Mr. Auto?"

Me: "Yea?"

Student: "Are you gonna do All Write Round Robin today?"

Me: "Yea. Do you like doing it?"

Student: (She smiles at me... then shakes her head)

That using AWRR over and over again would make my students bored was in my blind spot. My students will learn something new everyday. That's a given. But, my presentation format is able to remain the same. Unfortunately, the lesson content is what is presented through that format. So, if they find the presentation format boring, they will necessarily also find the lesson content boring. It won't matter whether the lesson content is new. Unfortunately, if I retain the same presentation format everyday, then I will lose my students' interest.

What is the solution? Briefly speaking, the solution is to not present in the same way over and over again. At first, that might sound impossible. That's why I need to clarify that I'm not saying that a presentation format should only be used once and then never again be used. Going back to Mr. Agajan's recommendation, if I'm going to use the same presentation format, AT THE VERY LEAST, I should not constantly use it from one day to the next, to the next, and infinity. At the very least, perhaps I should limit the use of any given presentation format to once a week. That way, the newness or unfamiliarity of any given presentation format will be retained much longer than if I were to use it from day to day.

Another minor solution is to tweak a presentation format. So, perhaps instead of simply facilitating AWRR, I also add various roles to it. For example, one individual in AWRR could be a recorder of all the words that each member has and another individual could report those words to the rest of the class. In any case, it is undeniable that I cannot use the exact same presentation format for every lesson.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Temporary Partial Student Retention

I don't know what the actual term is for what I'm referring to, but "Temporary Partial Student Retention" is the best name that I can think dubbing it with. This hasn't actually happened yet, but I have heard it discussed between Mr. Agajan (a 3rd grade teacher) and a 4th grade teacher. It turns out that this 4th grade teacher has a student who is doing fine with all the other subjects in 4th grade, but is doing poorly in math.

In that case, it doesn't make sense to completely require him to take 3rd grade again does it? I say that it doesn't make sense. However, she has decided that she wants to send this student to Mr. Agajan's 3rd grade class to brush up on his math skills. Since he would only stay in Mr. Agajan's class to brush up his math skills, his retention in 3rd grade is only partial.

This 4th grade student would brush up on his math skills with Mr. Agajan (whether in private or as apart of a class) for as long as it takes him to master them to the necessary extent. Presumably, some of 3rd grade math is familiar to this 4th grade student. In which case, this student will not need a full school year to master the 3rd grade math which he needs for 4th grade. That the 4th grade student's presence in Mr. Agajan's class would be temporary is based on that presumption.

That's my understanding of how and why a "temporary partial student retention" would occur.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why I Won't Play Videogames with my Students

So... I'm still a bit of a gamer. A game that I had a very momentary excitement for was Super StreetFighter IV for the Nintendo 3DS. During recess, I talk to some of the students. And one of them also plays that game for the 3DS. He claims that he's good because he plays on the hardest level. Being a veteran gamer. I'm tempted to whoop his butt online. To do that, we need to exchange “friend codes.” A friend code is a 16 digit number. That's the only way that you can add people. I was tempted, but I decided against exchanging the codes.

Here's the deal. First off, he already talks a lot about videogames at school. That is, even though we don't play, he still talks about them a lot. I want to squash any conversation about videogames. He's really excited about videogames and I don't want to give him additional topics to distract him from class. If we were to play, that would just fuel the ammunition of his conversation for videogames.

Second, it brings me closer to his level. We become more like buds than a teacher to a student. It's easier to refuse directions from your bus than your teacher. Is there such a thing as a pupil who also spends quality time with his mentor? I would guess that there probably is such a thing. But, I don't want to take the risk of trying to control a relationship in which I am seen as more of an equal. Undeniably, intellectually, I'm not his equal. And, I don't want me playing videogames to overshadow that in his mind.

Lastly, it's my experience that kids tend to have big mouths. They will tell you that they will keep a secret, but it doesn't happen too often. They'll tell someone. What I'm worried about with that is that some students will get jealous. “How come you get to play with Mr. Auto? I want to play with Mr. Auto! So what if I don't have a 3DS. I can get one.” I would be giving this student personal attention that I would not be giving to any other student. I'm guessing that it would definitely appear unfair to some student. And, I can't afford to give that kind of attention to all students. So, since I can't give everyone that kind of personal attention, then to be equitable, no one can get that kind of personal attention.

And, those are the reasons why I cannot play videogames with my students. However, the morale is actually much broader than that. The morale actually concerns why no teacher can show any kind of particularly heightened interest for one student over another.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

How Mimicking Students Can be Counterproductive

Yesterday, in the after school program, one of my students was kind of annoying me. She was supposed to be playing chess with another one of my students. For some reason, she has this obnoxious habit of making loud noises like a moose mating call. Sorry. That's how much it annoys me. I told her to quit it. So, she says "quit what?" So, I mimicked the noise that she was making. That was an impulsive and counterproductive reaction on my part. It was counterproductive because when I mimicked her, it doesn't get her focused on what behavior she should be discontinuing. It gets her focused on her enjoyment of an adult copying her. She just laughed when I did that. But, why did I mimic her? Well, it was partly because I let her get to me, but it was also because I genuinely wanted to show her what she was doing.

I thought about it today. There's a better and more obvious way for how I should have reacted. This is how I would have reacted differently:

Me: "Stop making that noise."

Her: "What noise?"

Me: "You know what I'm talking about. You've been putting your hands on your face and making that noise with your mouth. Here's the deal. You don't need to make that noise to play chess and its distracting. If you make that noise one more time. You can't play chess anymore."

Why is that better than mimicking her? For starters, I'm not really giving her something to laugh about. Hence, it makes addressing her behavior that much more serious. Also, if she truly wants to play chess, then she'll have an incentive to stop making that noise. Otherwise, she can do something else which is welcoming of her making those moose-like mating calls.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Disrupt Ed: 1st Meet Up

On Saturday, January 14th, I met up with this guy in Berkeley. Together, we went to this meet up in Belmont. The name of the meet up is Disrupt Ed(ucation). The purpose of the meet up was for individuals who have their own ideas on how the institution of education can be improved to discuss and network. By the way, I understand that this post does not relate to what I did at the elementary school that I'm currently student teaching in. I'm just including it because its related to education.

Anyway, 35 people said that they would attend. The turn out ended up being about 22 people. To me that sounds pretty good since the group organizer was only expecting half of the original "confirmed" attendees to show up. To start off, everyone offered their own ideas of what they think needs to be changed. That served as their introductions. Unfortunately, I didn't take notes on the event. The best I can do is to tell you what I remember.

I remember that John Bennett suggested that students stop learning math after elementary. He suggested that instead, they engage with a collection of logic and sudoku puzzles to build their deductive and inductive reasoning skills.

Roman believes that at least university institutions will become obsolete at one point because of online education and because of the rising cost of tuition for public (and private?) universities.

Angela believes that high schools should be designed in a more similar way to universities. That is, high schools should consist of different colleges from which students can select the classes that they are interested in.

And of course, there's me. I said that in roughly 20 years, I want to create an elementary school that offers classes in logic & reasoning for K - 5. Several of the attendees thought that I could complete my goal in a shorter amount of time. I firmly disagree with them because I don't think that they can argue with my numbers: I'll have my credential by April, so I'll exclude that from my calculation, 3 years to master the skill of teaching, 6 years to offer free classes in logic and reasoning for each grade from K - 5 (as a means of testing the efficacy of my classes), 2 - 3 years to obtain a PhD in Educational Leadership, 3 - 5 years to master the skill of being a principal (i.e. organizing and operating an elementary school), and 2 - 3 years to create the elementary school itself. How many years is that exactly? It is 16 years at best and 20 years at worst. If you can't argue with the numbers, then you have no argument against my plans as far as the timeline is concerned.

Now, unfortunately, I didn't remember too many of the attendees ideas. I didn't remember too many of them because there were only a few that were most related to me. I want to elaborate on why. I could sympathize with John's ideas to an extent. I sympathize with the idea that students should not need to learn math that they don't need. That is, not everyone needs to know how to use a quadratic formula. Ken suggested that some of the math may not be done for the necessary skills that are acquire but rather because of the cognitive skill that is involved in solving the problems themselves. I disagree with that notion. This is the first thing that I would ask. Exactly what cognitive skill(s) are involved in solving a quadratic equation apart from those skills that are observable. If you don't know, then you literally don't know what you are talking about, and thus, your argument is entirely speculative. Come back to that argument when you aren't relying on conjecture. In the end, when someone uses a quadratic formula, all you really know is that that person knows how to use a quadratic formula. Anything beyond that is a derivative of conjecture.

Going back to John how he said that students should be given a collection of logic and sudoku puzzles, I'm not sure what the point of that would be. I'm not sure that giving them logic and sudoku puzzles will improve their deductive and inductive reasoning as opposed to some formal instruction that actually addresses those subjects. I would think that formal instruction that addresses those exact subjects would be a better way to get students to learn how to deductive and inductively reason than merely giving them logic and sudoku puzzles.

As for Roman, I can't really argue against him because I'm not too sure what his beliefs regarding the future of higher education is based on. All I can say is that I'm skeptical of the idea that online education will ever be considered a permanent replacement for public universities.

As for Angela, I actually agree with her. I agree with getting students acquainted with their interests earlier. By giving students more control like that, it gets them more interested in their own education. Why? Because they think about which subjects they want to learn about. So, I would guess that the likelihood that they would drop out would decrease. Also, it gives students time to mess up early in terms of choosing/exploring their careers of initial interest. All I would add is that I wish there was some recurring method to track a student's interests as early as possible. The earlier a students' interests can be discovered, the earlier it can be insured that their interest in education will be sustained.

Ok. That's all I have to say. Here is a pic from the meet up:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Some Work is Rewarding

Some in class work can be used as a reward. That is, there is some work that students actually desire to complete, but then again, I don't think that they see it as work.

Right now, the current theme in Mr. Agajan's class is imagination. As soon as you enter the classroom, on the wall closest to the door on the right and slightly above head level, he has big letters stuck to the wall that spell out "Imagination." Under this series of letters, there are several post its that the students posted. On these post its, students write questions that they had about a story that they just read. Whenever they write these questions, they first do a rough draft, and then they either bring it to me or Mr. Agajan to edit. After that, they rewrite it as their final draft and then post it on that question wall under "Imagination." They're given between 10 to 20 minutes to do all of this. It's rare that everyone finishes the rough draft, my or Mr. Agajan's editing of it, and their final draft all in one session, but some do.

For those who finish early, we give them more work to do. But, it's hardly work. They take one of those giant letters that spell imagination and they decorate it. They color it in and draw pictures in and around the letter that they select. They love it. I would guess that some of the students want to complete their questions so that they can decorate one of these letters. I assume that because so far, every student from every grade level that I've ever encountered loves to draw.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Omnipresent Sweets

I have a weakness... They're called sweets. One of the best/worst things of being a teacher is all the fricken sweets that are available to you. It's one of the best things if you love snacks. It's one of the worst if you are trying to watch what you eat and it takes you great effort to do so. There were sweets everywhere on Friday.

I start my morning at Chabot Elementary around 7:30 am. Around 8 ish am, one of the teachers brings in this red tin of chocolate covered cookies and leaves them on a table in the teacher's lounge. My gut reaction was to walk over. I stared at those cookies for the longest time. I just kept staring at them. I was hoping that my desire to eat them would go away. Believe it or not, eventually, that's what happened. Victory!

Now, I go to Mr. Agajan's classroom. Class hasn't quite started yet. This one student knows that I love cookies. Every day of last week, she brought me a homemade fudge cookie with white chocolate chips. They tasted really good. Smart thinking. Apples are so antiquated. This time she brought some figs. I'm not very picky. I'll eat figs too. But, the more I eat, the more calories I consume. "No no... That's ok. I'm really trying to watch how much I eat. Thanks though."

On to lunch time. I go back to the teacher's lounge. Another teacher went on a field trip to this organic farm. They made oatmeal raisin cookies. Oatmeal raisin cookies aren't my favorite, but these cookies looked so beautiful. You could bend off a piece so easily and the cookie wouldn't crumble. On top of that, those cookies were colossal. If the Hulk died of sunbathing and reincarnated as an oatmeal raisin cookie, these are the cookies he would come back as. Again, I had a staring contest with those oatmeal raisin cookies. "God... please... no no. Just take them away." I didn't give in.

It's after lunch. It's a 3rd grader's birthday. You know what that means? They bring in snacks... So, her dad brings in this variety of ice cream sandwiches. There's mint, cookies and cream, napoleon, and strawberry. So, she offers me some. At first, I'm just kind of feeling the ice cream sandwiches (Don't worry. They were still wrapped). Then, I back my hands off. "Uhh... That's ok. I'm good. Thanks." You remember that girl that brought me the fudge cookie everyday of the week? So, she picked up a mint ice cream sandwich. And, she knows that I want one to. She unwraps her ice cream sandwich, stares directly at me, and slowly... she bites into it. She was teasing me! How evil! :-(

Ok. So, class is over now. I head over to one of the portables because that's where some of the students go for their after school classes and that's where I work after the school day is over. So, I think that I'm home free. No more snacks are available to me. I've succeeded. I go to the very back of the portable. I see this white square cardboard box with this plastic window. There's this assorted fruit pie sitting in it. On the border of the box, it says, "We love those after school teachers." So, again, I have a staring contest with the pie for a while... But, I lost. "Damn it! Screw it! Fine! I'll have a fricken slice of pie." So, I take a slice and duck my head under the counter as I eat it.

You must have an iron will or no desire for sweets whatsoever to resist all the sweets that you'll encounter as a teacher.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Going a Little Further Than Raising One's Hand

Originally, when a student responds, my inclination is to respond back. But, sometimes, more than one student responds at once. And, if multiple students respond orally, it can be difficult to make sense of who to respond to first. On top of that, it just makes the classroom noisy. So, these are a few signals, which if utilized, will minimize the amount of noise that occurs in the classroom.

In the current classroom that I student teach in, Mr. Agajan uses a signal for "I agree," "I disagree," "I'm confused," and "speak up." "I agree" is simply signaled by giving a thumbs up with both one's left and right hands. For example, I will show a student's work under the docucam (such as math homework completed in a math workbook). For each answer that is covered, it is asked whether the class agrees, disagrees, or is confused. So, instead of everyone yelling out their response, they may give a thumbs up.

This is how "I disagree" is signaled. The palm of each one's left and right hand are facing towards the ground. They are at about chest level. One of the hands is slightly higher than the other. They are about one hand's length away from each other. While the left hand and nothing else repeatedly swings from left to right, the right hand and nothing else simultaneously and repeatedly swings from right to left. If it helps you understand it better, it looks similar to repeatedly doing the alternate possession signal as a referee would do. In any case, again, while going over the homework, if one student got a different answer than another student, then the student with a different answer would use this signal. Then, the disagreeing student would be addressed in order to determine what it is that that student disagrees with.

This is how "I'm confused" is signaled. Basically, a student just swipes his/her hand back and forth above their head with their palm facing downward.

Finally, for "speak up," a student simply points their ear at the speaker, puts their hand behind their ear, and bends the rim of their ear forward. So, say that a student is giving a presentation or a speech. Then, instead of merely raising one's hand, yelling speak up, or waiting until the presentation/speech is over to say that the speaker was too soft, this "speak up" signal can be used.

So yea, signals are a lot more diverse than a mere raise of the hand. That is, a lot more meaning can be conveyed than simply "I have something to say" as raising your hand simply implies.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

If a Calendar was an Obstacle Course

The calendar is a combination of mathematical exercises. The calendar activity will require some explanation. It is kind of complex. Mr. Agajan assigns many kids jobs. First, he assigns someone as the card flipper. Every day, a card is flipped on the calendar. After the card is flipped, a shape is revealed. After so many days, a pattern can be revealed. However, there are more patterns than just looking from the left side of the calendar to the right. Some students might notice patterns in multiples of 3, 5, and etc. Or, some students might notice patterns in diagonals.

All other students who do not were not assigned a job will make predictions about what the next shape will be. The illustrator will draw the expected shape on the whiteboard. While this is happening, another student is writing the school day of the year. If the school day number is odd, the post it which it is written on is yellow. If the number is even, the post it which it is written on is pink. If the school day number is a multiple of 5, it is underlined. If the school day number is a multiple of 10, it is circled. Each row consists of 10 numbers, then the next row continues, and so on.

From day one, a bank is established. In this bank, fake money is deposited. That is the depositor's job. The amount of money that is deposited simply depends on the school day. If it is school day #1, then 1 dollar is deposited. Once it is school day #2, then 2 more dollars are added. Once it is school day #3, then 3 more dollars are added, and so on until the end of the year.

Then, there is the algorithm specialist. The algorithm specialist adds the bank deposit (i.e. an amount equal to same number as the current school day) to the money which is currently in the bank. So, if there are $6 dollars in the bank and it is school day #4, then the algorithm specialist will do the math of 6 + 4. Right now, they're at school day #79 and they're doing math in the three thousands.

I haven't really led the calendar yet. It's been kind of daunting to me. But, I think I have a pretty good idea of its structure now. So, I expect to tame this beast of a calendar activity soon.

Monday, January 9, 2012

"All Write Round Robin"

Mr. Agajan taught me a new teaching procedure. I'm trying to master it. As the subject makes explicit, it's called "All Write Round Robin." Tomorrow, my supervisor, Peter will observe me facilitating this procedure. Tomorrow, I will teach a lesson on suffixes. 

First, I will show them a sheet of paper. I will grab a long side of the sheet of paper and fold it in half. The base words will go on the left side of the crease and the suffixes will go on the right side. I will give my students an example of how a suffix is used. For example, I will first provide the base word "fear." First, I will put "fear" on the left side of the sheet. Then, I will put "ful" on the right side. I will move on to the next word. I will write "fear" on the left and "less" on the right. On to the next word. I will write "fear" on the left and "lessness" on the right. I write "fear" each time since each instance reflects a new word. After I finish giving them that example, I will give them a new word such as "help." I will not provide them examples for that word. On to the "All Write Round Robin" part of this lesson.

I will give all students 1 minute to write down as many words as they can. That is, they will write as many of the same base words with suffixes attached. After that 1 minute is up, I will give them an additional minute for another activity. Everyone sits in groups of 3 or 4. Everyone is only working in their own groups. The first person in a group reads one word from their list and then, the second, third, and fourth. After the last person in the group reads their word, the cycle continues until everyone has the same list of words. If a word is read off which a student in a given group already has, then they merely check it off. If a word is read off which a student in a given group does not have, then they write it down. I think that is why this teaching procedure is called "ALL WRITE ROUND." The "Robin" part just seems to have been added for cuteness. * cough *

After all students have finished sharing their words with each other in their respective groups, I will take a couple different students recorded words. I will display those words under the docucam. And, I will list them off in case other students did not also record those displayed words. That's basically how All Round Write Robin works.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Neglecting the Positive

I made a mistake before I left Mr. Agajan's class yesterday. I don't think that I always do this. But, the mistake I made highlights something that I need to make sure that I do on a regular basis as far as recognizing student's behavior goes.

Art class was extremely difficult for Ms. Hall to control. According to her, the class was more difficult to control than usual. I mentioned this to Mr. Agajan. He suggested that I make an announcement to the class about it. He said that I was in a better position to comment on the behavior then he was since I was in the art class at the time and he was not.

So, right before I left, I made explicit that there were some students who were blurting out questions without raising their hands or talking were over Ms. Hall while she was reading her children's book on Picasso. I was about to leave it at that, but then Mr. Agajan jumped in before I was about to end. "Mr. Auto? Can you name some students who you thought did a good job in Ms. Hall's class?" That kind of caught me off guard. So, I just named a boy and girl student who I could vaguely recall did a good job. Then, I wished everyone a good weekend and went on my way.

In retrospect, I feel like a dork for almost leaving the classroom on a negative note. Why? Well, first, I'm pretty confident that it's not the case that everyone in Mr. Agajan's class was disruptive. Some students were disruptive, but other students were cooperative. Second, if I'm going to give examples of students who were disruptive so that they know how not to act, I should give them the other side of the coin. I need to highlight examples of what specific students did so that they can replicate those behaviors. Third, if I only give explicit recognition of disruptive behavior, it makes it seem pointless to do good behavior. So, it discourages those who are behaving in a cooperative way to continue doing so. Lastly, I'm just imagining how these students would feel about me if I always left them on a negative note. I'm just thinking about the worst case scenario and the most expedient way to get there. If I always left them on a negative note, they would hate my guts. Why? I would be known as the teacher that dislikes everything they do. It's not exactly a confidence builder. So, if always being negative would be the fastest way to get them to hate me, then doing it less will be that much slower of a way to get them to hate me. I don't think that means I must strictly always be positive, but it means that I must show that I'm aware of when students are disruptive and cooperative rather than just one or the other.

This is the bottom line. Whenever I show explicit recognition of students' disruptive behavior, I should also show some recognition of their cooperative behavior. On the flipside, whenever I show explicit recognition of their cooperative behavior, I do not necessarily need to show explicit recognition of disruptive behavior.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Potential Behavioral Management Plan

This is how I've organized my behavior management system. Basically, the following is my personal notes, but I don't think you will have difficulty interpreting it.

Behavioral Management System

Fixed Factors
  • Tables
    • 6
  • Students per table
    • 4
  • Points per lesson
    • 3 (for beginning, middle, and end)
  • Prize
    • Pizza Party

Varying Factors
- Lessons per day
  • 2 (for 7 weeks)
    • Total Possible Points: 42
  • 3 (for 7 weeks)
    • Total Possible Points: 63
- # of Behavioral Expectations
  • 1: Raise your hand (i.e. Don't call out) (2 weeks)
    • First week with interval prompts
    • Second week without interval prompts
  • 2: Eyes and ears on the speaker (2 weeks)
    • First week with interval prompts
    • Second week without interval prompts
  • 3: Keep your body and objects to yourself (3 weeks)
    • First week with interval prompts
    • Second week without interval prompts
Basically, from now until April, the students I teach need to follow these rules. Every time they follow them at the beginning, middle, and end of a lesson, I give them points. By April, if they have at least a total of 100 points, then they get a pizza party. I'll have to double check with my students to make sure that this will be desirable to them. I'm pretty sure it will. Pizza parties for kids are like string for cats.

For the most part, I will pursue this behavior management system, but I suspect that there is one shortfall with it. The shortfall is that there is not really any short term reward. An example of a short term reward is Mr. Agajan and his fruit roll ups. They get 5 stars for completing their homework for every school day each week. In which case, they get a fruit roll up. It's surprising how much it drives them. I can't do exactly the same thing as Mr. Agajan. But, I must find some reward to give them for following these rules each week. That's something that I'll need to think about over this weekend. Why?

It's a long time from now until April for a pizza party. So, the weekly reward is just something small to keep them going. Anyway, I'll begin implementing both my short and long term reward/behavior management system next week. Let's see how it works out.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pacing One's Progress in Instruction

Winter break just ended. I decided that instead of doing 1 lesson a day as I have been for the past.... 3 semesters, I will begin doing 2 lessons a day. This is my final term. Assuming that I complete my term successfully (I feel silly for treating that as an assumption... Whatever), I will receive my credential by April of 2012. I will be in class everyday of the week for this last term. For my final 2 weeks, I must teach full time. That is, in my mentor's class, I must teach every lesson. It's a temporary take over. It seems like kind of a strange to jump from 1 lesson a day to every lesson for every day. So, I'm trying to pace myself for this last term. I have about 16 weeks for this term. This is how I will pace myself for this term.

I will teach two lessons each day for the first 7 weeks, three lessons each day for the second set of 7 weeks, and I will teach every lesson for every day for the last 2 weeks. That is much closer to a progression than 1 lesson a day to every lesson for every day. On that note, I'm having a belated regret about how I have structured my progression.

Despite only teaching 1 lesson per day for 3 semester, I have still gone beyond the call of duty. That is, instead of volunteering as an instructional aid for 15 hours a week for 1 year, I had volunteered as an instructional aid for 32 hours a week for 1 year (but, 15 hours a week for the third semester). Nonetheless, I could have initiated this progression structure much earlier. Had I thought of it, this is how I would've structured my progression.

I would've taught 1 lesson per day for my first semester, 2 lessons per day for my second semester, 3 lessons per day for my third semester, and 4 lessons per day for my fourth semester. Why? Well, the time devoted to each stage would've been more evenly distributed. Instead of devoting majority of my days to 1 lesson per day as I did, the frequency of days spent teaching 1, 2, 3, and 4 lessons per day would have been roughly equivalent (i.e. since the number of days in each semester is roughly equivalent).

Oh well... on the chance that this lesson will be literally or analogically applicable to me (or anyone else reading) in the future, live and learn.