The First Three Days: What I Did
We started school last Wednesday, so I have now had my classes for a full three days. On Wednesday, I introduced the Class/Yes, Rules, ScoreBoard, and Teach/OK. I also had a brain model (thanks to our Anatomy & Physiology) and gave them an overview of WHY I teach the way I do. And I squeezed a demo in for my content (Physics). (It sounds like a lot, but I have 80 minute block classes).
I also started a PowerPix wall, though I had to cover up a whiteboard to do it. But it was one I wasn't using much, so maybe I won't miss it.
Thursday I taught them Teach/OK with SWITCH and continued with content. And on Friday, I told them they could only score points on the SCOREBOARD if I got 100% participation for Teach/OK.
How it Went, or, Mrs. Molnar Finally "Gets" the Leadership "Thing"
To summarize: This has been THE SMOOTHEST startup so far. (This will be my third year of teaching, and my second with WBT). And I think it's because this year I'm implementing the class evaluation method from WBT. Even though I haven't officially "scored" myself yet (its only been 3 days), as I walk around the room, I'm focusing more, at least right now, on whether my kids are engaged, than I am on the content itself.
Although it's taken awhile to sink in, I think I finally understand what Coach B means when he says we have to "unite the class behind our leadership." I wan the the kids telling EACH OTHER to get-with-the-program so that NO ONE ends up with the extra homework...(in other words, follow MY agenda, not the troublemaker who sits next to you).
So I'm really going to focus on MY leadership first. I am slowly implementing aspects of the Model WBT Classroom, but I have some doubts about using a "super Improvers Wall" at the high school level. It seems a bit childish. And it appears linked to SuperSpeeed Math and Super1000 reading, which I don't really do in Physics....I did, however, ask my kids to write down a goal for themselves (in their own notebook) for the year (about anything) and said we would revisit it from time to time to see how they are progressing.
And, as I teach Science, I'm not sure about a Genius Laddder for writing....I'll have to give that some though. I'm thinking that, before our first writing assignment or lab, I might spend one day going over it, and my expectations for complete sentences in their writing. But, really, they should KNOW how to write paragraphs by ninth grade! (AND they get explicit instructionall year in English)
No Trouble-Makers Yet?
So, here's the suspicious thing...none of the usual cast of clowns, chatty-types, and other assorted "disruptors" have appeared yet. Could I be merely lucky? Could it be I've gotten them in order in just 3 days? (Maybe a combination?) And I'm not sure who the leaders are yet. There are the usual few in each class who raise their hands to answer every equestion, and who, in turn, aren't afraid to raise their hands to ask insightful questions. But, is this leadership potential? If so, how do I get them to influence those around them to follow their lead?
Other teachers tell me it's too early to tell, but in my (albeit limited) experience, I can usually tell in the first day or two who my problem-students will be....
Now, if I could only find a 1-minute hourglass egg-timer to help me keep from talking too much...!