Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #136
STRATEGICALLY GO OFF ON FUN TANGENTS
Kids love for you to stop teaching. It’s usually a sorely needed break from academic rigor that is sometimes less than exciting. Students will often give themselves one of these breaks by using negative behaviors in order to get you to stop teaching. One way to combat this is to beat your students to the punch by first noticing how hardworking and/or quiet, and or efficient they are. After that, you can tell them that because of these positive behaviors being exhibited, you have time to tell them about the time you once ate live octopus in Japan or you fell out of a third story window. Only do this after you have noticed your class exhibiting the aforementioned positive behaviors. This will increase your students’ time on task, even with the storytelling.
Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #137
GO OUT OF YOUR WAY TO DO YOUR STUDENTS A SOLID FOR NO REASON
Perhaps the only thing I did right during my 1st year teaching at Hickorydale Elementary in Dayton, Ohio involved chicken wings: After a big teacher luncheon, there were a ton of delicious chicken wings left over. Someone was about to throw all of them away. Averting this tragedy, I saved the wings, found some plates and napkins and we had a ten-minute chicken wing party in my 5th grade classroom after lunch. It was not a “reward”, it was just me doing something nice for people that I liked. Though confused at first, my students were so thankful that someone had done something nice for them and expected nothing in return. Whenever you can do something nice for your students, do it, but DON’T TRY TO “USE IT” AS A REWARD!!!
Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #138
Arrange your schedule so that it is possible for your students to finish working. When kids get done with everything they need to do, allow them to be done working and have your room set up so that students may do other educationally relevant things that they would rather be doing. Kindergarteners can play with phoneme blocks; high school seniors can read Sports Illustrated. If your entire class gets done with everything you planned, STOP WORKING!! Great job! Sit around and relax! In real life, we relax and play when we are done with our work. That’s a big reason why we try to get work done. Why should it be any different in school?
Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #139
ADJUST ACADEMIC EXPECTATIONS
I sort of hate to bring this up because it is an overused tip for behavior management, but, as I’m sure you have been told, kids often will exhibit negative behaviors in order to avoid work that they can’t do. Again, I hate to tell you to differentiate instruction, because this advice is also overused and differentiating as much as “experts” tell you to is usually not realistic, but erring on the side of making work too easy for kids is a good idea, especially at the beginning of the school year, and especially with difficult kids.
Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #140
The first three weeks of your school year should be spent on building relationships and learning procedures. Academic learning should not be extremely challenging so that kids can equate the feeling of success with their new teacher and their new room.