"Even on your worst day on the job, you are still some child's best hope."
Working towards a common goal helps build classroom unity and create
feelings of connectedness. A group goal might be earning the total dollar
amount the Spanish Club needs to finance its spring trip. Or it might
be seeing if the entire class can get 400 spelling words correct on Friday's
spelling test. Further examples of group goals might be having all students
learn their times tables by November first, shutting out the opponent
in Tuesday's game, getting all permission slips in by Thursday, and getting
a "ONE" rating from the lunchroom supervisor three days in a row.
You pick the topic. Invite students to help set the goal. Challenge
them to pick a goal that is difficult to attain, but not so difficult
that it is impossible. Ask them to choose one that can be reached, but
one that will challenge them to stretch.
(Adapted from "Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child's Spirit,"
by Chick Moorman. Available for $24.95 from Personal Power Press at (toll
free) 877-360-1477, or email email@example.com.)
3. Sprit Whisperer Contemplation [back
What strengths do you see in this misbehavior? What is it about this
negative behavior that would be positive if used in a different setting?
Did you hear about the music teacher who tried to be a professional
musician? She gave it up. She decided it wasn't as noteworthy as being
a professional educator.
Indignant, Apprehensive, or Perplexed
Students often reveal their limited vocabularies when they attempt to
verbalize their feelings. Ask a student how she's feeling and you're likely
to hear, "OK," "Fine," or "Bad." This three-word range for describing
feelings can be attributed to two factors: first, children are not always
in touch with their feelings, and second, when they are aware of their
feelings, they lack the necessary variety of words to describe them accurately.
To help students recognize, name, and talk about their feelings, add
a variety of feeling words to your teacher talk.
"Sounds like you're feeling frustrated."
"Seems like you're furious with her."
"I can see the aggravation on your face."
"Exasperation is what I'm feeling right now."
"Looks like sadness to me."
"I'm apprehensive about this."
"You seem dejected."
By using an expanded vocabulary of feeling words yourself, you help
students identify and articulate feelings as well as increase their own
vocabulary of feeling words.
6. Teacher Talk Announcement [back
Chick Moorman and Nancy Weber's "Teacher Talk: What It Really Means"
has just gone into its eleventh printing. This run of 2,000 brings the
total number of copies in print to 32,500. To celebrate, we have decided
to offer a September/October special price of $10.00 (plus $3.74 shipping
and handling). Call for quantity discount prices.
Illegal Word Bursts
by Chick Moorman
Third grade teacher Mary Fullenwider had a problem. Not
a life or death problem. Not a critical problem. Not even a new problem.
Just a nagging, reoccurring, frustrating problem. Her problem was that
she had a handful of eight-year-old students who repeatedly interrupted
class discussions by blurting out spontaneous comments.
Her students weren't attention-seeking youngsters whose
comments were rude, humorous, or disrespectful. In fact, their intentions
were positive: to share a thought or ask a question about the topic under
discussion. It was just that these students spoke up without being called
on, disrupting the flow of conversation and frustrating other students
who were waiting patiently with their hands up.
Mary tried talking to the entire class about the problem
and asking for their cooperation. The problem persisted. She attempted
to ignore the outbursts. Only a minor improvement resulted. Finally she
decided to go to plan C.
"I decided to confront the behavior every time I heard it,"
she said. "I designed a confrontation message that identified the student
and the behavior, made it clear that the behavior violated our classroom
procedures, and described the behavior that was appropriate.
"I knew I had to be consistent or it wouldn't work. I memorized
the statement so I would be ready to use it exactly as I intended. When
Roland interrupted the next morning, I immediately implemented my plan.
"'Roland, that is an Illegal Word Burst," I said. 'It doesn't
match our picture of polite conversation. In our class we raise our hands
and wait to be called on. That way, we have time to think before we speak,
and everyone has the same opportunity to share."
Roland sat there a bit stunned. He wasn't sure what to do,
but he didn't interrupt again until midway through the afternoon. Then
I gave him my confrontation message again, almost word for word as I had
said it earlier that morning. Same result.
Now, only a few weeks into the school year, Roland and two
of his classmates have made considerable progress in remembering to raise
their hands. They know what is expected in this third-grade classroom
and realize their only hope of sharing in class is to follow the procedures.
Mary's confrontation message worked because she was constant
with it. She used it every time she heard an Illegal Word Burst. No exceptions.
Her students quickly got the message that this issue mattered to their
teacher. Because of her consistency and determination, their behavior
changed to match her expectations.
(To access similar articles check out www.chickmoorman.com.)
8. Respect and Responsibility Seminars [back
"Teaching for Respect and Responsibility" workshops are now being offered
around the country. The fall schedule is as follows:
Lansing, MI November 14th
Milwaukee, WI November 18th
Atlanta, GA November 21st
This full-day seminar will help you reduce power struggles in your classroom,
cope effectively with disrespectful behaviors, increase respectful/responsible
behaviors in your students, and help students assume increasing control
over their school lives.
For a full brochure and registration materials, call (toll free) 877-360-1477
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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