No Idle Minds
Keep them busy every single second and use interactive resources as often as you can.
—Deborah Ann B.
Make Them Accountable
I use a behavior intervention form system that makes students reflect on personal behavior. Since I implemented it, I have had better behavior, excellent support from the administration, and better parental support because they see the behavior documented by their own child.
“We vs. Me” Challenge
I do a “We vs. Me” challenge. For example, I will challenge the whole class to work quietly for 10 minutes. If they succeed, they get a point. If one person talks, I get a point. All week, we do challenges. On Friday, we add up the points. If I win, the kids have weekend homework. If they win, I have to do something of their choosing for two minutes. Trust me, my kids work hard during the week to see their teacher dance.
Accentuate the Positive
Point out something great one student is doing and make a big deal out of it. The others will follow suit. If that doesn’t work, stand on a desk and do something silly to get their attention!
Keep Them On Their Toes
My kids never know
what’s coming next. I try to grab their interest before beginning each lesson.
Be firm and fair. And remember, sometimes just listening to them will get you further than giving advice!
Get to Know Them
Create a relationship with your students. Not friendship, of course, but mutual respect. Put them in positions they can use to exercise leadership.
Never battle a middle schooler. They don’t back down. Find a way for them to save face and you will have an ally forever!
Use that Cell Phone
I take pictures of the kids misbehaving and text them to their parents. I will start an e-mail to a parent and display it on the interactive whiteboard! I take no prisoners, and my kids
love me for it!
Allow Them Choice
Middle school kids like to feel grown up. I let them sit wherever they want while doing silent work or choose their own book for independent reading.
Give the Right Prizes
Teachers often give what we think the kids will like—stickers, ice cream, etc. Try asking your students what reward they would like to receive for good behavior. It might be shooting hoops or bringing in CDs to play.
First, if they know you care about them, they will listen to and respect you. What do your students like to do? What interests them? Second, I have procedures for everything, even sharpening pencils. If they don’t follow them, they face consequences. You can have fun with students but still let them know you mean business. I have a family.
I don’t have a class.