Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Approaches

The purpose of tonight's blog is to take a look at the progress I have made as a teacher. I am four weeks into my second year and though it's not easy, it is worlds different from last year. Monday morning this week, I was teaching a math lesson on ordering decimals. To make the lesson more concrete, I wanted to stretch a numberline (a piece of string) across the room and have the students hang decimal numbers on it so we could practice putting them in order. I realized the only place that would not be too high or too low for hanging it was an area that every student passed through on their way through the door in the morning. I have taught fifth grade long enough to know what a fifth-grader will do if they come in contact with a string. My string was going to be toast unless I devised a plan. I smiled as I KNEW what I would have done last year. As my kids came in the room I would have said, "Please don't touch the string. Please don't touch the string. Don't...don't...DON'T! I told you not to touch the string!" I would have felt betrayed by my students who would have touched the string when I went to all the effort of hanging it for them. But this was not last year. No, I am more seasoned, more practiced, better prepared. I have a prize box in my classroom full of things I picked up at the Target dollar aisle. Pretty darn good stuff. The kids earn tickets all day long on an individual basis, I constantly have them on hand and pass them out to encourage follwing my directions. We have a drawing at least once a day, and sometimes more, if they earn it. It only took me a moment to decide that if it kept my kids from touching the string, a trip to the prize box was worth it. Ten minutes before the first bell rang, I hung the sign (above) on the door. I assigned a student to stand by as the class entered to hand out tickets to non-offenders. They entered. There were no offenders. I had headed them off before the thought could even enter their minds. No one touched the string. And yes, I'm posting this entry two days later because I am still thrilled about it.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

What a triumph! Very good. I'm looking forward to becoming more "seasoned" My First year is totally crazy! Enjoy your class:)