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Teaching Tips to Try Newsletter January 17, 2010

Teaching Tips to Try Newsletter January 17, 2010

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Published by Linda Cordes
More tips for managing that "Class from Hell."
More tips for managing that "Class from Hell."

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Published by: Linda Cordes on Jan 17, 2010
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06/12/2010

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 Teaching Tips to Try Newsletter
 January 17, 2020From Linda The Math CoachGo Beyond the Theory. Apply the Research. Make it work!
The Class From Hell Part II
More ideas for a class make-over
 Your “Class from Hell.”
Rome was not built in a day. Don’t expect your Class From Hell make-over to doso either. It takes time, and you will sometimes experience relapses into pastbehavior patterns. If you remind yourself that you are trying to form new habits of thinking and doing, it’s easier to take it in stride and continue on with faith thatyou can eliminate old patterns and establish new ones.This goes for you and your students. Also, the less you focus on what you do notwant, the sooner it will fade away and give you time to focus on what you dowant.Take a minute to remind yourself of these principles of transformation:
Transformation Principles:Principle A
Your current situation with any class is the result of your past thinking whichdetermined your past actions.
Principle B
Your past actions caused or allowed your current situation to develop.
Principle C
You have the power to change your current thinking, your current actions, andtherefore your current and future results.
Principle D
If you don’t accept Principles A, B, and C, then you are powerless to transformyour current situation.
 
Forging Ahead To Model and Employ Your New Protocol
Last week I gave you some steps to take for transforming your class.You can read here if you want to review or if you missed it.This week we are going to focus on step 3 and 4. I am going to give you somepractical tips on how to make these steps work for you.
Remember these are your new rules we now refer to as protocols.1.What we say and do is always positive and learning focused.2.We always view mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow.3.We always give 100% of our effort to help ourselves and others learnand grow.
Here are some tips for modeling these protocols.
Affirm the Protocols Daily
Be different and make your class feel different from the start. Begin each classby pointing to these rules and reading them aloud as a class as you would readaffirmations.
Greet students with positive comments.
Stand at your door and make a positive comment to each student who entersyour door. Make it a personal game to reach 100%. I have even tried it where Itold my students my goal. I kept a tally on the board of the days I wassuccessful. I told the students that when the tally reached 30, I would have asurprise for them.It was amazing how they began to make it a point to greet me at the door andwait to hear their comment. It really began to get fun, and I even started lookingforward to the coming of this former CFH! I still have to chuckle when Iremember Devonte H. who would actually supply me with his own commentabout what he had done positive. “You can tell me how I have my homeworktoday, Ms. Cordes,” or “ You can tell me that I look ready to learn today, Ms.Cordes.” Some students even began to come and tell me what their moreinfamous classmates were up to so I would be sure not to run out of things tosay. Do you see how this could really begin to build a “community” of learners?After we reached our 30 days we would celebrate with a class treat and music
 
while we worked our practice problems. Then we would start all over again. Icouldn’t help but wonder if the very practice of this one simple routine made mystudents become more consciously aware of their own behavior choices. I hopeit does this for you!
Remember to Welcome Tardy Students
I remember having lots of tardy students and stopping my lesson to fuss at them.I stopped doing that. Protocol 1 made it necessary to greet tardy students in amore productive and learning focused manner. I learned to acknowledge themwith a “Welcome, I’m glad you made it here.” (sincere, not sarcastic) If I was inthe middle of instruction when they arrived, my acknowledgment was nonverbal,but I would make it a point to meet the tardy student at their desk with thenecessary materials as I continued talking to the class. The funny thing is when Istarted putting these ideas into place, the former big deal disruptions that I wasall ready for just seemed to melt away into no big deal at all.
Apply Protocols to Diffuse Fights
I also remember having to separate students who were “fix’n to fight.” I even hadto break up a few classroom fights. Those are not fond memories! I learned touse the protocols to diffuse and resolve these disruptive conflicts.First of all, when you start creating this positive class environment, any negativitythat does enter is much more noticeable. In the past it would have goneunnoticed among all the other mess floating around. You will find that studentswill even come to you and give you a heads up notice of oncoming conflict. Theyprefer the positive climate you are trying to establish and trust you to maintain it.So use the conflict situations to your advantage by turning them into a learningsituation. I told my math classes that math was all about solving problems, anyproblems. I told them that their real life problems could be solved just like theproblems in the textbook. We made it a point to apply the problem solvingmethod to the situation which otherwise would have broken into a fight.Yeah, right! Get real! Stay with me here. Remember, this didn’t happen on dayone of transformation. I think the reason why this worked so well was because Iwas jolting them out of the “fight or flight” part of their brain and into the logicalreasoning portion. (I didn’t know all that brain research mumbo jumbo at thetime, I just knew that it worked!)Anyway, it goes something like this:Step 1 Understand the Problem.Each person states their side of the story
in appropriate language.
You askthem what they want to happen to solve the problem. What do they want the

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