Wow. This week is going to be a busy one! Besides all the (very, very) last-minute Christmas shopping and wrapping, keeping up with my house and my husband, and figuring out the classes I need to finish transferring my teaching license, I'm also subbing every day this week! Whew!
I'm really glad to have the work. I've been doing some deep thinking lately, about what I want from life, about my goals, about what I'd like next year to look like, and I know that I'd really prefer to have a consistent, full-time teaching job next fall. I have plans to get more connections in to another school district, and I'm subbing a lot at one of the nearby Middle Schools, and I'm praying that the connections I've made so far and the connections I will make in the coming months will bring about some fruit!
Anyways, amidst all the running around, I've been using a technique that's kept my 5th grade students behaving well and not talking constantly for me (even the last week before Winter Break!)
My students are on a 1-1 technology program starting in 5th grade, which means that each student has a laptop they use during class. I've noticed that my kids get really excited about listening to music (using their headphones) during work time, and not a lot of teachers allow it. I don't think I would allow it either if I were a regular classroom teacher, except as a special treat, because kids get much more work done when they're not finding the next song to listen to on their iTunes.
I write the word "MUSIC" up on the board. If I need to remind students about expectations, I underline the "C." That's a warning. If I remind them again, the "C" is erased. In order to have music during work time, the whole word has to be on the board. They can earn back the letters if they impress me with good behavior.
I like this tool because you can make the reward whatever you'd like, and it can continue as long as you'd like. I use the MUSIC thing each class period, but if you were there longer, maybe it could be the reward at the end of the week. The same thing would work for an extra recess, a short video clip, a joke...
It really kept my kids motivated, and the best thing was that I didn't have to raise my voice at all- I just walked over and marked a warning or erased a letter, and most of my students noticed.