Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Making Time For Class Meeting

I don't have time for one more thing! Isn't that just what we think when we are asked to do one more thing? But what if that one more thing actually gave us back some time? Wouldn't we do that?

That is the way it is with class meetings in my classroom. If "Class Meeting" is not on our schedule, someone always says, "Why aren't we having class meeting?" It's a big deal to the students--bigger than I realized because when we moved to our new room I was scurrying around, and there were lots of negative behaviors coming to the surface.

Here is how the meetings are structured in my room right now:
(This is determined by the types of students I work with and our schedule.)
  • Our meetings are usually 10 - 20 min.
  • We move our chairs into a circle--everything else is put away.
  • We greet each other--sometimes this is a different language or a smile--OR we greet the whole group by saying something like telling one thing about our weekend. Students can always pass and just say, "Hello."
  • I open up a topic or situation to look at--here are some topics we've covered in the past couple weeks--working with partners we don't particularly like, reading facial expressions, pushing ourselves to our best quality work, cheating, how to handle someone who won't leave you alone at recess, upcoming events we are anticipating, and so many more!)
How do I get the time back?

This dramatically reduces little squabbles that require teacher intervention--it's huge and I can't explain it.
Motivation to support and help each other and the teacher are way up.
There is more pride in doing quality work and having a neat learning environment.

Can you see how I get the time back? I probably have 10 - 20 minutes each day when I can do quick academic coaching for kids--show me how you did this math problem. Read your story to me. Here's what you missed yesterday.--this sort of thing is so much more what I like to do.

This does NOT solve all problems, but it reduces the time so that I can do more teaching tasks!

What do you do to build a positive climate in your classroom?

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