Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It is so good to be back on track in the classroom. I usually write about the week as it is just finished but this week I am going to write about my Monday. If you teach in Florida you know all about the FAIR test and how time consuming it can be. At my school we get a substitute for one day so that we can get all of the testing done quickly. Well my testing day was on Monday. What a strange thing it is to be in the classroom but not be in control of what is happening.
In the morning before the students arrived I was able to explain some of my classroom procedures to the substitute. I had everything written out for her in my sub plans but I wanted to make sure she understood how I run my classroom. It can be so disruptive for someone to come and disregard your classroom procedures, not to mention it is unsettling for the students.

I run my classroom the whole brain way so in about 5 minutes she got a tutorial on WBT. I told her about class/yes and the line procedures. I also explained that I don't have numbers to pull or colors to change for "bad" behavior. I told her that in my classroom I take the time to teach my students how to make smart choices. We talk about the choices they are making. If they are not following the rules I ask them about the rule they are breaking and then ask them to fix the problem. They always know what they need to fix and usually know exactly how to fix it. I believe that by having them think about their actions and then immediately fix a problem they are learning how to behave in society without facing negative consequences at every turn. I told her about my experiences with children who would always go home on red or yellow and who never demonstrated changed behavior. They were not learning how to identify and fix their behavior mistakes and negative choices. I tend to get very passionate about this subject and can ramble on. Well I talked so much that I forgot to tell her about the score board.
I am still amazed at how well the day went. The substitute did a great job of using the whole brain strategies that I told her about. My class is well trained and responded to her as if she were me. All day long I heard class, class, class/yes,yes,yes (she said class a lot each time, I think she liked it.) My students used soft voices, were engaged during instruction, completed their work, and demonstrated respect. When the students did not follow the rules she would ask them what the broken rule was and have them correct their error.
I was able to finish my testing (except for two absent students.) Wow wow wee wow! I still can't believe that I was able to test all day long without intervening to correct behavior or to remind the students to show the sub respect.
After the day ended the substitute and I discussed the day. Of course she had questions about Whole Brain Teaching. I told her all I could in a short amount of time and then told her to look it up because it would rock her world. We talked further about the differences in two styles of management: negative consequences (pulling numbers or changing colors) and WBT. In my classroom I am never taking away things from my students. I am always giving. Even if they need reminding to follow the rules or to show respect they get a point. Okay, it goes on the sad face side of the scoreboard but still they are receiving. Also, if they need more reminders (a more personal approach) they earn laps around the playground. This idea of always giving has done a wonderful thing for me. It has given me a sense of peace. I am never mad at my students so I never take things away out of anger. The substitute commented that she noticed she was calmer in my classroom than in other rooms. Her positive day makes me smile every time I think about it. And when I think about the fact that she did not use the scoreboard all day long my smile gets bigger. My students rock! Whole Brain Teaching rocks! I love the successes that are happening in my classroom every week! First grade rocks!!!