Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Practice, practice, practice

The second week of school was a week full of PRACTICE.  I kept reminding myself to practice and not scold.  Boy, is it hard sometimes!  

By the second week of school the class was tired.  The novelty of the first week had worn off and the sleep deprivation from starting school at 7:30 am had set in.  Lets just say....they were not very energetic.  They were not following directions quickly or responding appropriately.  

My first line of defense is the scoreboard.  It is an amazing tool.  According to the +/- 3 rule, neither side should ever be too far ahead so as to maintain the anticipation.  There are some days, like I had last week, where I could have easily had 3 happy points vs. 15 frownie points.  However, I realized that it was important for me to keep the +/- 3 because...
  • it forced me to look for and celebrate positive behaviors.
  • when we were 3 frownie points ahead it gave me a big reminder to STOP and PRACTICE.  Continuing to add to the frownie points wouldn't be very effective.  The class needed time to focus on procedures.  
  • it has the ability to bring amazing energy to the classroom!  Maintain a fast paced volley between Oh Yeah! and the Might Groan and it draws the stragglers in.
Here is a little look at my scoreboard- its not pretty, but it serves its purpose and gets plenty of use!

Here are some ways that we practiced:
  • We reviewed proper procedures using Mirror.  (You should have seen my "How to wash your hands" lesson!  We mirrored, taught, non-exampled, exampled, and then actually practiced at the sink!)
  • Students taught their partner procedures using Teach-Ok.  (They told their partner many times what to do when the teacher says "Class".)
  • We pretended in order to offer practice opportunities.  (Pretend to talk to your partner....."Class, class, class!"...."Yes, yes, yes!")
  • We did things over, and over, and over again.  ("Page 32....I don't hear any voices, we need to practice again!  Page 32."   "Page 32, page 32, page 32," as they open their books quickly.)
  • Students modeled the wrong way and the right way.
I know that we will continue to practice as needed ALL YEAR LONG.  But I also know that intensive practice now will produce a smoothly run classroom later and a very happy teacher! :)

Check back soon!  I can't wait to tell you more about our new line up procedures and the Universal Homework Model!

WBT Intern, 2011-12


  1. It's the middle of our third term here in New Zealand and we've many interruptions to regular timetable with school swimming at the moment. I've been finding myself getting frustrated and grumpy! Thank you for this post, it's reminded me to make sure I put aside time regularly to practice and review what we've been doing! I enjoy reading your blog, thanks.

  2. Thank you Allisong - Day 2 for me and this is just what I needed to hear!!!

  3. Thank you for your kind words ladies! I keep thinking they should have it by now, and then I remember: we've only been in school for 12 days. I need to remember not to stop practicing the rules too!

  4. Thank you Allisong! Now I see that I'm not alone with facing the same difficulties. Don't scold - rehearse! I keep it in mind too and understand how important it is!
    thank you!

  5. Hi Svetlana!

    I hear you are doing wonderful things in Russia! :)

    I'm going to start the Super Improver's Wall on Monday. I'm sure that will encourage them to do better too.