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Learning Attitude - 33 kids - Clay - Justin

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From: Michelle Kee (m1kee2_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Mar 22 2004 - 21:28:04 PST


My students must have "learning attitude" to succeed in life, jobs,
everywhere. When students give me the usual - it's my work, this is the way
I want to do it... then I walk away and model learning attitude: "Class
learning attitude is: "What a great idea (teacher's name) I always do it
this way, now I am going to try to learn how to do it differently." I try
to always give positives, my first two lessons are fail proof, easy, can I
talke this home now lessons. 100% success. It's kinda like a birthday
party, everyone comes, partakes in something, walks away with something
special and prized. We alternate 2-D 3-D so everyone can have some level of
success, and I tell them I don't expect them to be Rembrandt. When they say
they are frustrated, I hear them and do the reflective listening thing.

I come from elementary to middle school so high esteem is very important
because most of these kids beat down upon themselves and hear negatives.
Teaching them to speak kindly to themselves is important. Everything is
related to themselves, their name, their symbols, wonderful attributes that
describe themselves, their heroes, things that celebrate them. My lowest
schema is 2nd grade, if the student fulfills the requirements to the best of
his/her ability - kudos. Their work is themselves, and they grow,
challenged within their reach, just as you and I.

I ask for complex solutions. If their solution took 5 seconds, then it is a
simple solution. I also list the criteria - no surprises. Sometimes I'll
say that's a good start, nice warm up, now take it to the next level of
sophistication (give hints). Make the artwork worth $100,000, you are a
professional artist - go for it.

Listening to school appropriate rock, rap, sitting with their friends,
talking while working, all are privileges they absolutely love. No one
ditches, old students return - "please fix it so I can come back into art, I
miss this class" (some are my tough headache guys). It's a happy
environment and it gets them through the duller moments in art - or the ugly
stages in the work.

I say "I love you, love this class, you are a pleasure to have" as often as
possible, I give lots of positive feedback, always try to find something
constructive - cool about their artwork and let them celebrate it. I get to
know the students, what did you do this weekend, you're in love - that's
great, I'll check them out at the dance, am invited to their games, greet
them everytime, love these kids.

I learned from my mentor teacher (last semester was a toughie) misbehaving
kids truly want you to discipline them, they hear and respond to that. I
make sure the class knows up front I offer positive rewards, positive
environment for the majority, and for those who can only hear negatives -
unfortunately the multi-step procedure/talk/lunch det/after school
det...etc. One student now takes his work to the time out area for the
remainder of the week. The class functions better.

Yes, I stand there at the beginning of class and say Yellow table you are
already working, good job full points, (drama queen) do this for clean up, -
important moments. Friday - if 2 tables earned max points - they are
rewarded. Kids love candy - Price Club has cheapies. Precious soda pop is
their all time favorite. Occasionally I will reward all tables when I catch
everyone being focused, wonderful, so not everyone feels punished, or left
out, or that its impossible to be good.

Another thing I teach is active listening skills: turn the body to face the
speaker, eyes on the individual, still the hands - things they need to do to
impress their boss and keep their job. Always relating it to their
present/future real world.

The notepad for points is public knowledge, kids come up and check to see
where they are, I guess it helps that I started this program at the
beginning of the semester.

I am still learning, struggling, and developing my teaching style.

>
>Michelle, do you inform the students about their points and progress. I am
interested in this system but suspect that it will not work in current
location. All classes except those at the top of the list wouldn't care and
in some situations compete for bottom position as this would also provide
them with some "status". I am finding reward systems just don't work -
apathy and contempt is the flavour of many year levels. Student are
generally showing little regard for their work and appear to be very needed
and greatly lack independent thinking skills and problem solving ability -
my senior classes are the only contradiction to this.

>
>Michelle, do you inform the students about their points and progress. I am
interested in this system but suspect that it will not work in current
location. All classes except those at the top of the list wouldn't care and
in some situations compete for bottom position as this would also provide
them with some "status". I am finding reward systems just don't work -
apathy and contempt is the flavour of many year levels. Student are
generally showing little regard for their work and appear to be very needed
and greatly lack independent thinking skills and problem solving ability -
my senior classes are the only contradiction to this.

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