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Hi, Vicki...Every once in awhile you can get the class from hades and no
matter what you try, it's nigh impossible to contain. I'm afraid I don't
deal well with too much noise. It must be a menapausal thing...ha. A few
suggestions you might try....
1. Music...elevator kind or soothing jazz...is helpful. The mid. schooler
might whine and complain about the style but they'd much prefer to listen
to any kind than none at all. I play it all the time as background. If the
talkin' gets too loud and I can't hear the music, the music disappears. If
that doesn't get their attention, we have 5 min. silent art. Anyone who
mouths words, makes eye contact, or whispers, etc. gets a detention. Severe
but it only takes one detention to do the trick. Then I put on the music
again and hopefully I have no more problem.
2. Make a seating chart. Make it "girl, boy - girl, boy". You've had the
chance to figure out the yoyo's by now so separate them to the four corners
of the room, and also split up best-buddies. Try it for a week. If it
doesn't work, make another seating chart. I had an 8th grade yr.-art class
last year that drove me bonkers and it took 3 seating charts before I got
the perfect blend. It amazed me how much difference just that little change
in seating arrangement made.
Although "treats" have worked for many teachers and students (and I'm
certainly not one to nix the idea), it just doesn't work for me. I find
myself nibblin' the treats and run out before the kids can get to them.
They don't seem to need them for re-inforcement and all I do is gain more
3. Ask your teaching peers what works for them. I've gotten excellent ideas
from them...and they KNOW the kids I'm having problems with too. They can
also tell you how far you can go with your consequences even better than
your principal will. I remember my principal telling me what I
"could/couldn't do" in the way of consequences and I followed his advice to
a T. It didn't work. I went to two of my peers, and they said, "Phooey, do
this, this, and this". It worked! so I'm telling you to do the same thing.
Peers have "been there, done that"...more than administration has.
Be well-prepared, organized, know your lesson well, tell them what you
expect in the way of a finished piece, accept nothing less, and then flunk
'em if they don't deliver. This will get their attention because..."Nobody
flunks art". Sometimes a rowdy bunch needs a little kick in the pants to
set them on the right path.
Good luck with your crew. Keep us posted. Cya.......
Bunki Kramer - Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Rd., Danville, California 94526