I wanted to finally make a positive post. I actually had a good week!
I can't tell you how relieved I am. I'm on such a high because I
hardly even raised my voice this week. My new group of middle school
students are okay. I mean, there are some of them who might pose some
problems, but I haven't had any main issues yet. No one has run around
my room, they come in pretty quietly, they sit down and work. I
started off the week really easy. I explained my expectations and
asked them to write down theirs. I made a huge effort to let them know
that I was interested in them and what they thought.
Students told a little bit about themselves, and the class chose
expectations for behavior. I had the kids work in groups and create
posters for the expectations. They worked really hard on them for two
days. Many of my boys are really good at letters, so it was a chance
for them to show off. Then the class voted on the best poster, and
those students got a little treat.
Yesterday they made their portfolios, and today we started with the
first lesson. I briefly discussed art and how they will become artists
in here, and then I taught them about mandalas. During my lesson, the
sixth graders were pretty good. The seventh and eigth graders were not
as good. While more than half of the class was paying attention, at
least three tables were not. As I talked, I wrote the names of those
students on the board. After I was done, I called up those students
and told them that they had to write the rules for me for homework. I
had to give out seven contracts to be copied. I simply explained why
they were getting it and asked if they would please think next time and
be respectful when I'm giving a lesson. I added that they surely
wouldn't want to fail a possible pop quiz because they weren't paying
attention in class. No one gave me attitude, which was good.
I already had a student come up to me and tell me that he liked my
class, that he thought it was fun. Another one even took his
portfolio home to work on it and came to me this morning. He wanted to
tell me about his love for graffiti and his father, who is in the army
but also an artist. He told me how he hasn't seen his father in six
months and how he never saw him much as a child. He went on to tell me
that his father was coming into town to visit today and that he was so
excited and anxious to spend time with him. I was very flattered that
he wanted to share this with me. Other kids have come to visit me in
the morning and after school...already! I'm taking it as a sign that
I'm doing something right.
So, I'm feeling positive. I'm really want this nine weeks to be a good
one, and I want to keep the kids inspired. I'm going to do a lot of
thinking this weekend about the future projects...I'm trying to be
super enthusiastic and give more rewards...such as time outside to
draw, free time and candy. I even started by allowing them to choose
their seats, something I have never done,...so that they have something
to lose. If they can't behave, then I'll assign the seats. It seems
to be working so far. I've already threatened one table with moving
their seats...so we'll see if they shape up. Most of the kids have
worked really well.
Thanks for all of your help. I'm only hoping that this isn't a fluke,
that things won't fall apart next week. I'm so afraid of that. Two of
my students have already been suspended for fighting, and they will be
back next week...so I'm hoping that there won't be problems. I'm
going to stay optamistic!