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Re: Attention getters and discipline ideas

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From: C Gaul (allgaul_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Oct 12 2003 - 08:30:00 PDT


I love all the suggestions for keeping the classes on track. I am definitely
going to try reading to the kids at some point. I do have a fun book on tape
that I know the younger ones will enjoy. At home I have a really fat cat
with an attitude. His name is Hobie, he weighs 25 lbs and counting, and it's
Hobie's world and we just live in it at my house. They love hearing 'Hobie
Stories'. I have the tape 'The Cat Who Came in From the Cold" by Deric
Longden. It's the sweetest story about a man who adopts his neighbors
neglected cat and how mayhem ensues...That will be the first for me to try.

I hate the flicking the lights or ringing the bell thing. I used to blow a
whistle early on and that was obnoxious to the kids AND me.
The attention getters I have established that all my classes know goes like
this:

I tell the kids in the beginning of the year that I am a very selfish art
teacher. I am the star of the show when they come in and I expect them to be
a good audience. I explain what 'active listening' is, where they are
listening and looking at me and doing NOTHING else to distract
themselves-not playing with a pencil, a hair band, scissors, picking at glue
on the table, etc. I tell them the selfish part is that I always want my
turn first (to do the teaching of the lesson) and if I don't get my turn,
they won't get their turn to talk during the working part of the class.
Since I teach the classes for a minimum of an hour, I need them to be
engaged in the beginning, but the lessons usually require step 2 or 3 to
avoid information overload. So to get their attention during work time, I
start counting backwards from 5 in a normal voice. When I get to 1, everyone
is expected to have their eyeballs on me. They do not have to be in their
seats, they just need to stop doing work completely, stay where they are,
and see what I need to tell them. It might be for instruction for step 2 if
enough kids are ready for it, it might be another instruction if I am seeing
too many kids spinning their wheels with a step, not knowing how to proceed,
it might be clean up time etc. If I have to count again because not everyone
heard me the first time, they know that by the time I get to 1 and there are
still people not looking, they get 'silent art' for the rest of the period.
It seems to work and only a few times have I given the silent treatment to
the kids.
This year I have a 5th grade class born to chat. They cannot settle for love
nor money and they are a really nice bunch of kids, but oy, the talking and
visiting! I am tired of having to interrupt their gabfests to pull them back
on task, so I started the suggestion of A R T on the board. If I see too
much socializing (I call it fingermouthitis) I erase a letter. When art
disappears, so does their art time. They are told that they will sit in
silence thinking about how nice it would be if they could be working on
their projects and we can try it again the next class period. So far only
one class has had 2 letters erased. I told them 3 strikes was plenty of
warning, overly generous on MY part....*grin* Funny, they all agreed! So
that is my latest strategy!

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