Do you or your students have Spring Fever? How do you survive?
As the weather warms up, I want to be outside or at the beach, not telling kids to sit down and do their work. Am I alone? I doubt it.
I want to hear what you do to survive Spring Fever.
I’m big into routine. I think days run so much smoother when the kids know what to expect but by now some things are getting a little old.
You know that part of the day that is bugging you? Yeah, that’s the one to change.
I have fifteen minutes with my homeroom kids between my ELD class and my last math block. Sometimes, schedules just work out that way. I was using it to check their planners and have them read. They come from 5 different classes, never at the exact same moment and each time a new set comes in, the kids want to stare at or talk to them as they enter. Then, it’s time to go. It was my least favorite part of the day.
So, one day, I had a headache and didn’t have the energy to tell them to stop talking. I told them all to grab their books and I walked them out to our field and spread them out far enough so they wouldn’t talk, and we read on the field. Now we do it every day and I look forward to it.
I’ve actually been able to sit and read as well. I spent to much time managing the kids to do that when we were inside. We’ve also had a few special surprises being outside. We’ve been able to watch a red-tailed hawk that is spending its days in our trees looking for gophers. (The kids were convinced it was an eagle so we had the opportunity to research and come to a decision based on evidence.) We’ve also had our student that has found two four leaf clovers. Of course, this is evidence he isn’t reading. At 12:50 in the afternoon and a 10-15 minute block of time with this group of kids, I’m OK with just a few minutes of calm.
Are you using a clip chart? Do your students and parents still care as much as they did at the beginning of the year?
My 5th graders need a reason to care when I give them a warning, and clipping down doesn’t seem to matter to them as much as it used to. Before winter break, we had the same issue. Enter the carrot. Before winter break we had craft day to create parent gifts. At this time of year we have all kinds of special events coming up. We created a system to encourage positive behavior.
At the beginning of each day, my clip chart helper records where people ended up on the clip chart for the previous day. If they are on ready to learn, they get zero points. For each spot up the chart they get a point. For each spot down the chart, they get a negative point.
We set a time period during which all of their points need to end up adding up to a positive number. The kids that are always clipping down, suddenly need to have some good days to balance out those rough ones. This means that as long as they don’t wait too long, even the most challenging students have a chance to reach the carrot (reward).
The students first question is always, “What if we stay on green every day?” I tell them that we’ll except a total of zero as being an indicator of positive behavior. I don’t want the well behaving, under the radar kids to be punished. The goal is to get the kids that are constantly getting warnings a reason to be well behaved.
Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear from you!
What are you doing to survive spring fever? (Yours or theirs)
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