Friday, March 15, 2013

Class-Yes? Uh, not exactly...

Program #514: Teaching Challenging Students 101, Class-Yes

The Class-Yes? Uh, not exactly.

You can’t teach until your students are listening.—C. Biffle

For 16 years, I was a home school teacher, and then the inevitable happened: I ran out of students. Now, I am in my third year of teaching 5th grade Science in a Title 1 school. When I transitioned to teaching in a public school, I knew I had to develop my classroom management skills. Nothing I have seen or tried worked as well as the Class-Yes for getting students’ attention.

I teach in a South Texas, rural school where most of the students are Hispanic. As you may know, respect is built into every Spanish verb ending, so within the our community, respect is not an option. Our students are expected to answer “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir.” A “yes” or “no” is not acceptable. I could not use the Class-Yes in the WBT style. 

I first tried “Class-Yes, ma’am”, but variations were awkward for the students to follow. For example, “Classity-Class” was answered by “Yessity-Yes, ma’am”. The phrases did not have the same number of syllables, and the students struggled to compose the right response.  On the spot, I said, “Class Now” and they easily responded, “Yes, ma’am”. “Classity-Class Now” got the response “Yessity-Yes, Ma’am”. Once we had the same number of syllables, it clicked and we were on our way.

As other teachers saw the “Class Now” in action, they were impressed. I can walk into a crowded gym, say, “My triad, ‘Class Now’” and 60 students answer “Yes, ma’am” and pop to attention. A veteran teacher has begun using it. He is amazed at its simplicity and effectiveness. Actually, the “Class Now” is so effective, it drives me nuts that it is not used school-wide.

Of course, I use the “Class Now” to call the students back from “Teach-Okays”. They laugh and enjoy the variations. I learned new variations during this webcast. I look forward to trying them out when I return to class next week. The students need that Golden Thread of Fun because we are so close to our high-stakes testing season. That’s another great point about “Class Now”: It makes students smile.

No comments:

Post a Comment