Rebooting After the New YearPosted by Pamela Jones in Fair Is Not Equal on Jan 16, 2013
It's January 2nd and school is back in session.
This date would be inconsequential if not for this simple fact: it's been two or more weeks since your students have been in school. We teachers take one look at the mayhem ensuing and all we can say initially is "yikes!" The scene could include any or all of the following:
- You're talking; kids aren't listening.
- One student looks nearly asleep.
- Three students raise their hands, asking to go to the bathroom (which is odd, because your bathroom procedure states clearly that students follow the bathroom chain).
We could go on, but you get the idea.
Things are out of sync and you're looking for a way to get your classroom back on track. In short, it's time to reboot the classroom’s hard drive and get things back on track.
The good news? There are some steps you can take, and here they go:
Review the Rules, Procedures, & Routines: Don't assume that your students remember the expectations and routines. It's not that they have amnesia, but a break has a way of fogging up their memory. Instead of assuming that they remember to be safe, kind, and work hard, have conversations and role-plays about the norms so that it's clear what you all still expect from your classroom community. You may also want to meet individually with your students to revisit and revise personal goals.
- The Routines: Lining up; going to the bathroom; entering the class in the morning and leaving in the afternoon; accessing materials. We know you've reviewed these ad nauseum--but it's after the break and kids need reminders of how things work (and why).
Devote Time to Community-Building: When it comes to community-building, our mantra is "there's no such thing as too much." You can integrate these activities into morning and afternoon meetings but we recommend devoting time outside of meetings to building community. One good resource is Tribes and another is Adventures is Peacemaking.
Be Patient, Clear, & Consistent: Finally, be patient, clear, and consistent. You need patience because getting things back on track takes time. Clarity and consistency are vital when rebooting your classroom; speak clearly, choose your words carefully, and be consistent. The more consistent you are, the greater chances that your students will remember and adhere to the guidelines you've all chosen.
Rebooting isn't easy, but it certainly is doable. Be methodical, patient, clear, and consistent, and you and your students will reap the benefits.
Are any of you sensing the need for a reboot? Share your questions, concerns, and ideas; we'd love to hear them!tagged procedures, rebooting, routines, rules