I haven't been paying a great deal of attention to this thread, but wanted to share something. This is a little long, but this has worked wonders in my room.
This year three of my six daily classes were having a heck of a time getting into the room, getting out art folders and sitting down so that I could start the class. I was growing more frustrated because one class took forever!!! 8th graders.
I'm going through a required training for the district that involves using data, charts, and little "tools" in your classroom to make it run smoother and improve productivity. It's called Baldrige. I went to someone who is an expert on this and explained my dilemma.
So I started "Target Times". I have a graph on an overhead (but I'm making them on paper next so that it can be tracked long term) Each day students have 2 minutes after the bell to put books away, get their art folders out, have their pencil sharpened, and be in their seats quietly waiting for me to start class. At first I thought it wouldn't work, but there is some magic about actually putting it down on paper. At target time I count how many students have not followed the program. If someone has a huge stack of books on their table instead of in the cabinet, that's one- out of seat, that's another, etc. I just put a little dot where they are on the chart. At first there was no extrinsic reward at all. They started looking at where they were compared to the other classes and one class was shocked at how poorly they got it together. One sixth grade class relished that they beat out everone else. After the first two weeks I announced that anyone who earned a zero target time for 5
days in a row would listen to the radio on the station they vote on. Now I hear my 8th graders say "Man, sit down!" "Put your stuff away! Let's go!". It's working great, takes very little time - actually saves time in class because we start faster- but the best part is it totally took the responsibility off of me. It puts the control into the students hands so even days when we have some people not ready, it doesn't stress me out. Weird.
One sixth grade class was the worst- there are 15 special needs in there- so we looked at what we had to do to reach target time and made a flow chart, one for clean up too, and put it big on the door of a cabinet . Now those kiddos are doing great since they have a reminder. Flow charts- another Baldrige thing. Just my two cents guys.......more like dollars. Sorry so long
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