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    Classroom discipline

    This is our first year as a CLSA cottage school and we have a total of 20 registered students taking various classes. I would appreciate any resources on classroom management. During the teacher training, we saw a very orderly, structured system, but most of our students (and teachers!) are new to this and we are having trouble achieving this in our classes. Specifically, we have some students that might be dealing with ADD and sitting in classes for the whole day, even with breaks, has proven to be a huge challenge. We have tried adding games and breaks but they still lack focus. Is there anything or anyone you can point me to?

    Many thanks,


    Maria
    St. Nicholas Cottage School (CLSA member, not a HLCS), Manassas, VA

    #2
    Re: Classroom discipline

    Originally posted by MariainVA View Post
    This is our first year as a CLSA cottage school and we have a total of 20 registered students taking various classes. I would appreciate any resources on classroom management. During the teacher training, we saw a very orderly, structured system, but most of our students (and teachers!) are new to this and we are having trouble achieving this in our classes. Specifically, we have some students that might be dealing with ADD and sitting in classes for the whole day, even with breaks, has proven to be a huge challenge. We have tried adding games and breaks but they still lack focus. Is there anything or anyone you can point me to?

    Many thanks,


    Maria
    St. Nicholas Cottage School (CLSA member, not a HLCS), Manassas, VA

    Hi Maria,

    We deal with this as well. We’ve found that the kids do best with no more than 60 minutes of class time between breaks. Our more fidgety kids will start having greater difficulty around the 45 minute mark though. To help during class you can offer the following options:

    1. Discreet “fidgets”. My son has a “fidget cube” that he uses. This stops the constant pen clicking. We also duct taped the clicker portion of the cube.

    2. Give them opportunities to move during class: call people to the board to work sample sentences, practice declensions or translations, draw a timeline, etc.

    3. Encourage the parents to purchase a seat cushion. The squishiness gives extra sensory input which can help reduce fidgeting and chair-tipping. We have two kids who constantly tip their chairs during class and even after they fall over (!) they go right back to chair-tipping. My son’s OT said the chair-tipping is a sign of anxiety for him and recommended the chair cushion.

    4. Make sure that tummies are full. Let the kids have a protein-based mid-morning snack at one of their breaks.

    5. Make sure temperature is comfortable and that things are visually uncluttered. Distractable kids are often more sensitive to things like noise, temperature and clutter in their environment and that will lead to more distractions.

    6. Post the day’s schedule in each room, preferably on a large easel chart or a side section of the whiteboard. This helps them know exactly what to expect and when.

    7. Have the teachers enforce these two rules with the entire class: “No student guides open until I say. If you try to work ahead, your book becomes mine until needed.” and “If you tap, click, or doodle with your pen it will become mine until needed.” At one point I simply collected all pens at the beginning of class as a preventive measure.

    HTH!
    Jennifer
    Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

    2019-2020 Plans:

    DS16
    MP10 Lit, MP-Holt Biology, Light to the Nations II, Spanish
    MPOA: Algebra I, High School Comp II

    DS15
    As above, plus:
    MP Greek Tragedies; no Spanish
    MPOA: Fourth Form Latin

    DS12: 7M subbing Sea to Shining Sea for American history

    DS11: Simply Classical Level 4

    DD9: 3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

    DD7/8: Simply Classical Level 3

    DD 4/5: Simply Classical Level C (NT using SC for two-year PreK due to January birthday)

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Classroom discipline

      Jen has already given excellent suggestions here. Can you comment on the ages of the students and what your class day is like? When do you start/stop, what courses do you teach, any primary students, high school?
      Can you describe the classrooms? What sort of chairs you have? Desks? Tables, and what shape? Are you in a church or home? Are the walls clear or decorated? Do you have lunch together? Do the breaks you are having now have physical exercise? Do you have access to a gym?
      Last edited by pickandgrin; 09-22-2018, 10:04 AM.
      Festina lentē,
      Jessica P

      SY2019-2020 · 8th MP Year
      @ Home, HLN, & MPOA
      S · 10th, MPOA Henle 3
      D · 8th
      D · 5th
      S · 2nd

      Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Classroom discipline

        Ban click pens.

        Check out some chair bands. https://www.got-specialkids.com/Boun...irs-p/3603.htm

        Ditto on visual clutter.

        Are windows too bright?

        Rooms should error on the too cool side than the warm side.

        What about standing desks?


        I would love a seat cushion recommendation, my son complains that they're too pokey on his butt.
        Married to DH for 13 years. Living the rural life in the Colorado mountains

        DS10- Simply Classical 4 / Grade 3 Classic Core,
        DD8- Grade 2 Classic Core,
        DD 6- Classic Core Kindergarten

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Classroom discipline

          Related question...Is there anything "unclassical" about standing desks, bands, or wiggle seats (bouncy cushions)? A teacher that I know told me that she used to let her students stand on balance boards while she was teaching "as long as they were listening." (It wasn't a classical school, but it make me ponder the issue for our cottage school.) That just didn't sit right with me, from a classical pedagogical perspective, but I can't explain why.

          We're trying to build academic stamina in our students. I don't always want to make things easier. I want to raise the bar. But I think we do need to scaffold and help them achieve higher and higher goals on their own. It does get better as we train them. Like all good things, it takes time.

          One idea I use in order to help students learn turn-taking behavior in class: I give the students some pennies. The pennies must sit in a row in front of them (they are not allowed to touch them). The number of pennies I give depends on the age of the child. Right now I'm giving my distractible 6th graders 6 per class, which lasts 2 hours (they have a 10 minute play break in the middle). Every time a student talks out without raising his/her hand, I silently take away a penny while continuing to teach. It is an excellent visual reminder to the student about the behavior I expect. I'm always very positive and encouraging about ending class with some pennies left. I cheer them on to learn appropriate classroom behavior. I don't reward for the pennies, but I suppose you could.

          This may seem quite obvious, but I don't allow questions or comments during recitation. They're usually just comments (especially from the younger children). They have a hard time deciding whether their comments are related or timely. During recitation is definitely not the right time for any question or comment. Keep your recitation moving at a good pace to discourage boredom or interruptions.

          I agree with Jessica that we need to know more about your location and schedule. I'm curious about that, since our cottage school will be all day next year. I've not faced the problem full-force yet.
          Tracey

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Classroom discipline

            Tracey,

            In a traditional classroom, students need to sit straight in their chairs with good posture and their feet on the ground. They are in class to work, and the most efficient way of getting work done is sitting up straight with attention. Can you imagine if I sat at my desk on an exercise ball? I do think I would enjoy that, but I would not get the same respect that I do when I dress and act professionally. School is the students' job, and this job should be respected. We do students a disservice when we make the assumption that they can't perform in a traditional classroom setting. They will rise to meet our expectations if we are firm and consistent with them. I have been in schools where teachers are lax in this area, and it appears to be some kind of feeling that being permissive makes up for the hard work they are having to do. But why do we need to make apologies or give rewards for requiring hard work? Completing the work well is the reward and, in my classroom experience, satisfying to students.

            Tanya

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Classroom discipline

              Originally posted by pickandgrin View Post
              Jen has already given excellent suggestions here. Can you comment on the ages of the students and what your class day is like? When do you start/stop, what courses do you teach, any primary students, high school?
              Can you describe the classrooms? What sort of chairs you have? Desks? Tables, and what shape? Are you in a church or home? Are the walls clear or decorated? Do you have lunch together? Do the breaks you are having now have physical exercise? Do you have access to a gym?
              Thank you all for the multitude of suggestions. We meet at a church, in a classroom with a small window. Rectangular Tables, normal chairs, not much on the walls, except the white board, the timeline, and a chart. The students in the classroom I’m referring to are 6-7th grade. They are in the classroom 3 days a week from 8:30 to 3-4:30. There are usually 3 of them, except on Tuesday afternoons they are joined by 8 other students. They do have small breaks between most classes, plus a 45-min lunch/recess. We do eat together. I try to send them outside to run around at most breaks. No gym. Not sure what I will do when the weather is bad. I will have a teacher meeting this week and I’m trying to come up with strategies to discuss.


              Maria

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Classroom discipline

                Another question for you- those are long days for homeschoolers. I'm curious if you need all the time you are meeting to cover the material. Could you shorten your days at all? Especially the day that goes to 4:30? Are they getting all/most of their schooling with you (and are therefore not really doing any instruction at home, just work)? Maybe you could get the same amount done with more concentrated time?

                In my experience, small classes are harder to keep decorum high because they naturally feel more casual. I've had a class of three before so that's been my experience. The teacher should still treat it as if it were twelve or fifteen: stand at the front of the room to teach, read, etc. You might already have this happening. It might be a time for a talk about stepping up in maturity with these students individually and as a group. They need to work together on this.
                Festina lentē,
                Jessica P

                SY2019-2020 · 8th MP Year
                @ Home, HLN, & MPOA
                S · 10th, MPOA Henle 3
                D · 8th
                D · 5th
                S · 2nd

                Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Classroom discipline

                  Any tips for some pretty wild 6-8 year olds? I have a group of 10-12 of them. I only have them for an hour a week doing the Kindergarten Enrichment.

                  I changed from carpet squares to small chairs, but they never stop talking and they are constantly touching each other, falling off they chair, laying down, etc.

                  We do have a schedule posted. After we say the pledge they each get to hold a designated toy and share something with the group. Do I just need to be persistent? They are mostly homeschoolers, but I do have 1-2 older preschoolers who are 5 (they are good).

                  I have had had much larger classes than this in a variety of ages, so I really need to some tips specific to this age group. Thanks!
                  Bean. Long time MP user.

                  DD- 9th grade aerospace enthusiast. Using a mix of dual credit, online and classical materials for 2019-2020.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Classroom discipline

                    Since you are only covering Enrichment, begin with doing the Read Aloud as carpet time with you in a chair and the students sitting criss cross applesauce on the floor with hands in our lap. You may need to demonstrate how you want them to sit when it is time to listen. Also think of common mistakes, demonstrate those and talk about why those behaviors are not ok. Taking the time to do this lets students know and think through expectations. After this discussion, insist students maintain the correct position through the reading/discussion time. If a student forgets and sits on his feet simply remind him ‘we sit criss cross applesauce during the story’ matter of fact and follow through with the expectation. If students present with a new behavior that distracts, doing and undoing a noisy Velcro shoe, for example, again very matter of fact tell the student -by name- to stop doing the behavior and why. For the shoe example I would just say, “Susie, stop making making that noise with your shoe because we are trying to listen.” Of course this would be in a whisper voice to Susie, but loud enough for others to hear. Should it occur again, stop reading and use your angry eyes. Don’t try to continue reading. Stop. Address the issue and once you have the correct behavior start reading again. If multiple stops are needed that is ok. I would sigh heavily and say “I hope I get to hear how the story ends today” or “I hope we can finish this story soon because we have a really fun craft to get to,” or something along those lines.

                    Students this age control their behavior during a story and discussion. Some years it took several seating assignment attempts to find that perfect one bit that is ok. Do assign students a placement at circle time. Be persistent! When dealing with young students persistence is key. They can do this and so can you!

                    Blessings,
                    Michelle T
                    Last edited by Michelle T; 11-02-2018, 03:04 PM.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Classroom discipline

                      I'm trying to picture Michelle T with her "angry eyes". Bwahaha. Made me laugh out loud.

                      I would also eliminate chairs during crafts. The falling off of chairs or folding up inside them is enough to drive me crazy.
                      Married to DH for 13 years. Living the rural life in the Colorado mountains

                      DS10- Simply Classical 4 / Grade 3 Classic Core,
                      DD8- Grade 2 Classic Core,
                      DD 6- Classic Core Kindergarten

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Classroom discipline

                        Originally posted by Colomama View Post
                        I'm trying to picture Michelle T with her "angry eyes". Bwahaha. Made me laugh out loud.

                        Funny that's what I was thinking, too!

                        I would also eliminate chairs during crafts. The falling off of chairs or folding up inside them is enough to drive me crazy.
                        I think I will eliminate chairs and carpet squares. I've got one who rolls himself up like a burrito with the squares. I keep the crafts fairly minimal, anyhow, since we only have an hour.
                        Bean. Long time MP user.

                        DD- 9th grade aerospace enthusiast. Using a mix of dual credit, online and classical materials for 2019-2020.

                        Comment

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