Monday, September 30, 2013

Having some fun for spirit week!


Quote for the day!

The greatest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.  William James

Let's show our students we appreciate them today!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Creating the weather

 I'm going to get in touch with his Mom and let her know how her child behaves.

Many middle school teachers have said these words… Including me. 

I have a child in one of my classes who is very excited about learning.  He has many learning disabilities, but none of those issues keep him from enthusiastically wanting to answer questions in front of his peers. I would estimate that gets the correct answer about 50% of the time.   He smiles. He is engaging.  It is so obvious that he loves learning and wants to contribute positively the atmosphere in the classroom.

 … I'm going to let his mom know today.  

So often, we arr so focused on the negative behaviors of our middle school children that we forget that we need to positively recognize the correct behaviors. 

 I can't wait until his mother receives this email!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Creating useless stress

As a young middle school teacher, I often failed to realize how my reactions to student behavior would cause a situation to escalate. I remember in my first year teaching, the students were misbehaving because I was delivering the material so poorly, and I came down way too hard on them. I yelled at them repeatedly with lots of negative comments and finally, I stopped teaching and made them put everything away. For the rest of class, they weren't allowed to talk. It was an oppressive and unhappy 10 minute period in my teaching career that I can remember vividly. When the children were leaving the room, I remember a girl named Pat said, "I hate that teacher. Anybody got a gun?" Nice. .....all my fault and utterly avoidable. It was 1989, and school shootings weren't so commonplace. ....but I digress. The moral of the story is that we have to handle this age group with care. We have to recognize when a situation is worth the expression of negative energy or anger and when it isn't....and most of the time, it isn't.  

For example… Here is a simple and very typical scenario:  a student enters the building before students are allowed to be inside.  You see the student.   How do you handle it?  

I have seen this situation numerous times during my career. More often than not, I have seen the teacher yelling at the student in a very aggressive manner.   "Getting in the face" of the student.....And depending on the nature and background of the middle school child, it often can turn into a terrible and stressful situation for the teacher. Because children in this age group recognize when we cross the respect boundary, they are very likely to interpret a situation that is handled like this one as such. This would be an easy scenario for a middle school child to manipulate. It would be simple to make the teacher be seen in a negative light..and perhaps, rightly so. We are the adults. We must behave as such.    

When a situation as simple as this one is handled in the way I've described, it does nothing productive for anyone involved. All it does is to cause the teacher's  blood pressure to rise and the student to resent the way he is being treated.   It is a total waste of energy, and it does not create mutual respect....which, in the end, is the single best ticket to "ease of execution" in classroom management at the middle school level.   

The solution is to tell the student in a very calm way that he should not be in the building and to escort him outside.  Obviously, if you see the same student on numerous occasions engaging the same behavior, we have to escalate the consequences, but we never, under any circumstance, disrespect the child. We can think in our heads that he should behave better. We can wonder where his parents are and why they haven't taught him to respect rules and follows them....but to do anything in the moment like yelling at or embarrassing the child is a poor strategy and will not serve us well.     We should never break the respect barrier with anyone but especially with middle school students.  

When we handle middle school students with a respectful and caring attitude, we get one in return almost without fail. In doing so, we get the students to play on our team. The results of having our middle school students want to cooperate with and work with us are enormously positive.  We create or destroy that atmosphere with every public interaction in our classroom or in the hallways with our middle school students. They watch and react to how we deal with every stressful situation. We can avoid adding stress to our lives, and we can gain cooperation and positive energy when we remember one simple rule: Treat children respectfully....always.  




Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chaos!!!!!

...can actually be used to teach lessons! Here is my latest offering for S-Cubed: Successful Sight Singing For Middle School Teachers http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Lesson-6-CHAOS-S-Cubed-Successful-Sight-Singing-for-Middle-School-871256

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A pic!

Sharing ourselves....Classroom Management for MIddle School Teachers...

Well...Classroom management is more than rules. It is about relationships. What do our middle school students want from us? It took 22 years, but I think I've figured out a few things that have helped me be more effective with my 300-plus choral music students.... ...They want to know we care about them. ...They want to know that they are safe when they are in our room. ...They want structure....more than they would ever admit....and they NEED it. They thrive on it. ...They want us to be fair...If our actions show that we are not fair, they notice. We will lose their trust, and it is very difficult to win it back. ...They want us to be good at what we do, and not to blame them when we aren't. If a lesson fails, it is always best to just admit it, laugh along with them at how bad it was and move forward rather than blame them for talking, or misbehaving while we were ineffective at delivering the material in a way they could understand. It's our responsibility. We are the adults in the room. ...They want to know that we are willing to share a little piece of your true selves with them....not to excess....but they want to know we are willing to really show our passions. We are better teachers when we do. They like seeing US be US. We need to reveal the passions within ourselves because we are more likely to ignite the passions within them. That's all! :) Have a great week! Check out my blog!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Parent communication

Parents are a critical part of public education.   We need to nurture and celebrate their involvement in the education of their children in every way possible. Over the coming months, I am going to share some of the ways that I help encourage and develop parental involvement.   With over 300 children in my chorus program, there is no way that I could do the job without them.   More to come… Have a great day.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Another new Sight Singing Product! Lesson 5!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/S-Cubed-Lesson-5-Training-the-Eye-865302 Lesson 5 just hit the store! Training the Eye!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Just added a new product!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Lesson-4-Reading-Pitch-863848 Copy and paste to see the link and description!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fun YouTube link to help students audition for Musical Theater stuff!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGPjR8DqibU Copy and paste the above link for some guidance aimed at helping young inexperienced students audition for musical theater stuff!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Quick thought of the day...

Our students hold within themselves enormous potential. Our job is to find every way possible to help them release it.
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