You should check out the book "Setting Limits in the
Classroom". It talks about the "dance of classroom
management". I sometimes fall into that dance where
you tell a kid 5 times to do the same thing (like stop
drumming a ruler). When does he finally stop? When
you say, "Please stop tapping the ruler, or the ruler
becomes mine." So he still doesn't stop tapping?
take away the ruler. The biggest thing I learned is
that kids don't respond to nagging. They respond to
action statements. I lose track of who I give a
warning to unless I write it down. I teach elementary
kids, but I have taught middle school before. I have
a "warning" board, which is a dry erase board. If a
kid is disrespectful or breaking a rule, he gets his
name on the warning board. If he breaks a rule again,
his name gets circled and that means "time out". 3rd
time in one class and he misses recess. Let me tell
you that when I write one name on the board most of
the time none of the kids act up again. Of course,
some classes it takes a time a couple time outs or
recess taken away before the kids fall into line.
With middle school, I would do a similar thing with
the dry erase board and have them write the
essay/rules during their OWN free time. Like, during
break, or lunch or after school. I have trouble with
my noisy classes too and I've been doing a stop light
thing. If the class volume level gets too loud, the
class moves to "yellow" which means they are only
allowed to whisper. If I hear someone talking in
their regular voice, they get their name on the
warning board. When they are quieter I've found their
behavior is SOOOO much better, and they are much more
serious about their work. I'm thinking about next
year just having the kids only whisper at their
tables, because they work so much better when they are
focused. Another thing I've done is a "count down".
Let's say the whole class is loud and goofing around.
I will say, when I count to 5, everyone needs to be
silent or they get a "warning". Count to 5 and anyone
talking at all gets their name on the board. I get
very dramatic and draw out the numbers. I agree with
the no-lecture thing. The kids will not like it much.
Good luck! I know you can do it, because it took me
quite awhile to get the hang of discipline and I am
still working on it! Marcia
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