Saturday, March 04, 2006

For the past week, I have been working on speeches with my sixth graders. Teaching them the structure was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be and surprisingly they learned a basic essay format from doing a speech. Anyway, their topic was what they wanted to change in the world. Their speeches were awesome! Here is a sampling of some of the things they wanted to change:

Stop killing black people
Clean up the city-- too much broken glass and trash
More trash pick-up
Too many kids on the streets
Get rid of Bush
Stop the war (and in particular stop black people from getting sent to war)
Give everyone a mansion like Usher
No more beatings at school
Fix up the school and classrooms
No more uniforms
Stop children from being kidnapped and raped
College should be free
Make it so adults don't have to work two or three jobs
Going to the doctor should be free
Too many guns on the streets

These are eleven and twelve year olds....talk about critical thinking skills....

Classroom management

I have tried so many new things I don't even know where to begin. My new reward system is working out well. My students are always singing that song, "Betcha can't do it like me"-- so I decided to make a game out of it. I made a chart for each class and they earn a betcha each time they complete an activity quietly or go a whole class period without any name-calling. For every 12 betchas they successively get a different reward. The culmination will be watching a movie and doing the betcha dance. Although it doesn't solve all problems it has helped. Moreover it has helped me be able to award good behavior instead of simply disciplining bad behavior.

Another thing I have tried is playing a review game at the end of each class. I throw a small beanie frog to any student who can answer review questions to lesson. On days when I do this, my students have actually groaned that the bell rang!