Kids, Choices, and Consequences

Successful teaching requires a “choice and consequence” system. These are my experiences and a few tips I have found useful in my 4th grade classroom.

I’m not sure any college can fully teach you how to become a teacher completely. There’s a lot of stuff you can only learn while doing it. A police friend I know has been shot at, threatened and scared half to death by some of the criminals he’s dealt with. Another fireman has almost destroyed his back pulling people out of burning buildings. So the issue is raised: What does it take to be a teacher? We deal with something every day just as ominous: surly kids. In my career I’ve had issues with kids that that few non-teachers will ever comprehend. I’ve had kids flat out tell me “no” to my face. I’ve had kids shout profanity at me. I’ve had kids tell me they are sending their dad, uncle or brother to beat me up. (yes that happened once). It can be difficult to stay focused and motivated toward teaching when so many behavior problems exist. The good news is, there are ways to get through them.

Along with the challenges there is plenty of good I must add. Teaching certification is rigorous for a reason. In addition to the small number of students who have tested me, many more have made me so glad and happy to be a teacher. Let’s talk about how to deal with these challenging kids, because teachers are always going to have them.

There are so many plans at your disposal as a teacher to control behavior in the class. You can have a warning/consequences chart, you can do positive reinforcements, you can even take entire blocks of time to model your rules and consequences. In my opinion, nothing works better than a certain type of psychology with kids who won’t behave, it is called “Choice and Consequences” teaching. Let me explain:

When a kid misbehaves it is usually either because 1) They don’t realize it and are just being “slap-happy” as kids are wont to do while young -or- 2) They know it’s wrong and they do it anyway hoping they won’t be seen or caught. You should only give consequences if the child disobeys or is defiant. The first consequence is: give them a warning. Make sure you state clearly the rule they have broken when you do so. ie;

Johnny, you kicked someone’s leg and they complained to me. You did not respect your classmate and that is rule 3 on our list on the wall. If you do it again, you will get a consequence.

Now the child knows what to refrain from. If s/he continues, it is defiance and deserves the next consequence. When they do it again, here is the only thing you should say:

Johnny (Jenny), I asked you to not do that and you did it. Now you have another consequence.

Do you practice “choice and consequences” in your class? There are sites for teachers discussing that right now. In fact, our discussion is below. I hope you’ll leave your 2 cents.

Best Reader Trophy

Do you give out recognition for your top readers? I do. We run Accelerated Reader at my school which makes it easier to run reports and identify who is passing their comprehension tests. In other words, we know who the top readers are. It’s important to publicly recognize these kids and on doing so let the school know that reading for meaning is worthy of reward. Continue reading “Best Reader Trophy”

Why You Should Get Accounting Homework Help

Why You Should Get Accounting Homework Help

Homework is considered as a positive activity for students to continue learning and recalling the lessons for day. It also gives them a glimpse of what will be discussed the following day by trying to answer questions or problems of the lesson in advance. Students develop their skills, gain knowledge, becomes responsible and disciplined when they have assignments to do when they get home. Although it lessens their time for play and television viewing, assignments are still considered as an essential requirement to assess the students’ academic development. Assignments also cause stress and weariness among students especially when they have to deal with difficult subjects such. Lack of proper accounting homework help can bog down students and make them lose interest in studying.

Seeking Homework Help Online

Students who are feeling distraught with their load of assignments in different subjects can seek help from websites offering homework help and assistance. They can assist students in completing assignments on a variety of subjects such as Geometry, Biology, Accounting, Calculus and many others. You can even seek help in completing your essays, book reports and other writing requirements. In the recent years, many students have proven the benefits of seeking online help for their homework. They can find registered tutors to assist them through effective methods of teaching, tutoring or coaching.

Academic Development

Seeking online help for your assignments is not just searching for ready answers to your problems. At you will have a team of tutors and mentors to help you find the right answers by analyzing, evaluating, teaching and explaining things about your homework that you do not understand. These people are proficient in various subjects so you can find experts in specific fields of study. Homework help should not only be a question and answer program otherwise you will not learn anything from it.

Competent tutors can solve your accounting problems but they will opt to teach you how to solve them first. Homework helpers could find a better approach to clarify concepts and subjects so that you can understand them better than the way it was discussed in the classroom. If you find the subject difficult, then there must be way for you to like it first so that you can understand it and be more motivated in dealing with your homework. These activities are geared towards improving your skills and knowledge on the subject thereby giving directing you towards better performance in school and higher grades.

Although you can find free answers to your homework, it is still a great option to have a personalized mentoring or tutoring for you to really get a grasp of your lessons in accounting. It is a subject that you can use in the corporate world so while you are still a student, you have to understand and be able to solve problems on your own. Online tutors and mentors provide individual attention to students seeking help for their assignments. They address the students’ weaknesses by focusing on what bothers them the most. Some student-tutor relationship also go a long way wherein tutors can monitor students’ progress and create personalized programs to cater to his or her specific needs, capability, learning style and academic requirements.


Questioning Authority Trend

pencilsAs an educator of 10 year olds, I have noticed a trend in recent years that is half good and half not. There seems to be a defiance of authority more than ever before of varying degrees. Of course with children, rules are often broken and then reviewed individually or with the class. This is normal but it seems many kids of today live to break the rules. Have parents forgotten the importance of teaching allegiance to teachers and schools? It sure seems that way. It may even be because parents themselves have lost trust in our system. I find that sad. I work everyday to prove myself worth of family trust. In my life, teachers were the most trusted people I knew, even more than the local news. So now that I know this exists, how can I handle it as a teacher. I have a hard time teaching kids to pay blind allegiance to anything, even the teacher. In this manner, you can see their questioning of authority as a positive. Unfortunately, they are too young to be doing this much. I guess that’s where I’d like to see more respect. Not blindly following a teacher’s rules but paying respect to the position of leader that the teacher holds in society. Follow rules, even when they may seem silly.

An example: when my class walks somewhere in a line, I have them all put their hands behind their backs. I do it because it choreographs them in a certain sense. It gets them flying in formation in at least that one small way. Other expectations follow suit but the hands behind the back is something I have chosen as my signature “Riley line” feature. This also keeps their hands to their selves which is an added bonus. Still, after weeks and months, some kids still refuse to do it without me telling them. When I remind them, they do it right away. This is the sort of questioning authority I am talking about. If my teacher asked me to do this in elementary school, I would do it without question. Maybe there is a little too much questioning of authority for our own good in elementary schools these days.

Teach How to Play

In teaching, it’s easy to get caught up in the demands of the day and the district, and your principal, and the pacing guide … it can feel like too much sometimes. If you feel like that, as an educated adult, imaging how it must feel for your students. I think it’s important for a teacher to know how to have fun. I know teachers who do it through giving out MnMs. I know others who show a science video once in a while and have their kids write about it. I know a few games I like to play with my students to help them learn their multiplication, and then of course, there’s kickball. The point is, these little guys don’t know how to have proper fun. They look to you to not only educated them but expand their thinking through play. Continue reading “Teach How to Play”

Believe in Students

This is just a brief reminder of what I’ve been relearning lately: to believe in students.

When kids tell whoppers, it doesn’t hurt to believe them.

Let me explain: since beginning my new assignment teaching Read180 to pullout rotations, I’ve been challenged with learning 70+ new names in grades 3, 4, 5 and 6 and the student personalities that go along with them. As they’ve come through my classroom, many have given me stories I don’t necessarily believe. Rather than challenge what they say, I’ve chosen to take them at face value and it seems to be making the whole class trust me more than ever in my career.

I seem to gain trust by believing a “whopper” like “My mom knows the President” than by taking valuable time asking more questions. This may seem obvious but I know that by erring on the side of believing in them, it sends a message that I am open and accepting rather than critical and exclusive. I’ve even noticed later that some kids with the biggest stories come back and clarify later, which gives me an opportunity once again to show they will not be rejected but embraced for sharing no matter what they choose to say. This is something I chose to write about today as an observation I have made recently in the classroom. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Feel free to leave a comment.

A Flight Simulator, a Briar Patch to get our Kids Ready

brerrabit3The fear and reverence of Common Core is all around. It permeates education. Kids who are gifted and self-starters will likely welcome the opportunity to answer high level thinking questions on a computer screen. They also will not mind the copying, pasting, bulleting, and other technical aspects of the tests. But for the rest, it’s going to come as a shock. Some kids will just give up and type nonsense into the answer boxes. Others will flutter the screens as they learn to select text and not much more. What can we do for these students? I have a suggestion.

Just like flight students work in a simulator to decrease the affect of flying, so we should put kids in a simulated session of the Common Core test. For us here in California it is called the “Smarter Balanced” or SBAC Practice Test. It’s totally free and akin to the released questions the cde used to offer on their site. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s too bad there is no way to download it in case they ever upgrade or otherwise choose to take it down. I still have all my material the cde put out for the “1997 standards,” or so they are now called. It comes in handy sometimes. But this is more valuable than any of that. It gives the child a chance to click around within the framework and interface of the common core test that will shine before all students’ faces in April/May. If you don’t use this, make sure your test prep includes something like the interface they will be in. Remember Brer Rabbit when he got caught? He cried and cried for them not to throw him into a briar patch. When he escaped, he yelled “I was born in a briar patch!” laughing his way out of sight. We need to get our kids exposed to the common core test. Of course, daily instruction in the standards is the most crucial thing but after that, we need a flight simulator, a briar patch to get our kids ready for success.

Common Core – The National Word Problem

1619_131794753693811_1561166653_nIn most math programs in California, you have two types of assessment of the standards: a multiple choice format and an open-ended word problem. Most teachers are too busy to grade a lot of written answers for math so the multiple choice assessment has been the mainstay for teachers. In Language Arts, the same has been true. Why assign 2-3 long written answer assignments when you can just feed multiple choice tests through a scanner and have data immediately … in colored charts. After some more exposure to Common Core, I have come to see it metaphorically as the long written response. It will be harder to grade but the states have stepped up and hired graders to do it. As a parent, I think this is great. It is preparing my kids for the real world. As a teacher, I recognize that the days of the bubble sheet are all but gone.

We can use bubble sheets to build the skill necessary but synthesis of those skills is a year-long revisiting. Practicing connecting standards and identifying them as such will be our challenge. I could almost always show growth when the assessment piece was standards based and each question like a sample of the standard. I actually loved teaching that way. I used EDI to cover every standard and item by item I could see what was strong ad what needed revisiting. Common Core takes that way of teaching about 3 steps beyond. My that I mean, what was “1D” is now “4D” testing. It is no longer multiple choice. We are catapulted into a “national word problem” if you will. I predict national scores will drop the first year. The second year they will rise a little as teachers and students get used to Common Core. The third year, I think we will see growth in the classrooms where teachers are willing to take up the challenge of casting away multiple choice and embracing testing that is more akin to word problems. But what about the kids that don’t do well with word problems? As Bruce says in the photo in this post, “People outside of that structure get lost.” Will we reach more kids or less with word problems? Time will tell.

A Neighboring Teacher’s Noisy Class

This post was published first on Damien at the Speed of Life.

It doesn’t happen that often and in fact hasn’t happened in a long time but as a teacher, I cringe when I hear another teacher lose control of their class. I’ve been in this line of work since 1997 so I completely understand the frustration children can cause when they are breaking the rules on purpose. Especially, of course, when they “won’t shut up.” However, when I hear a teacher yelling, not just raising her/his voice, it makes me cringe. A part of me even feels the urge to step in and assist them with their probably unruly class. I never do though. Each classroom is the sole responsibility of its teacher and stepping in is, to me, a bit of a sacrilege. I’ve had many cringe-worthy moments on the job throughout my career. It is indeed hard to see a fellow professional do something regretful. The following example happened to me when I taught down South years ago.

One year I was occasional exposed to another class where the teacher literally had no control. When we were in a certain room on occasion the kids would bang against the wall we shared. It took everything in me to not go over there. A couple times it was unavoidable. I remember once going in there and seeing kids standing on desks. I asked the teacher to speak with her/his class because the noise level was affecting my class. I actually couldn’t blame my kids for laughing the sounds were so outrageous. You can’t help but cringe when you see another teacher who has lost control of her/his classroom. The worst part of that particular moment was after I spoke to the teacher, he/she said they were sorry could “I” speak to them. Wow, a cry for help and I only a second year teacher at the time. Then one of the kids looked at me and said “Cand ‘YOU’ be our teacher?” That was harsh. I made sure to talk to the teacher later offering my support. It was definitely a cringe-worthy moment but I learned a lot. To this day, I only step in for the most serious of reasons.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Cringe-Worthy.”

pingback test

So You’re #Teaching #AVID Are You Gellin’ ?

Me at Laguna Beach Daring to Gel
I just got back from a training on AVID. If you work with kids from a low socioeconomic strata, you either have or will have heard of it. AVID focuses on college readiness and habits. It boasts of graduating a number of seniors to colleges every year. For that reason, AVID is good in my opinion.

Where AVID falls into suspicion with me is when it starts putting extra expectations on kids who are already struggling academically.

As teachers, we should pay attention to this so our kids dont get overwhelmed. This requires ALL our sensitivity, wit, and candor. One way to be true to that and sensitive to the way AVID is presented is to pay attention to our own level of stress as well as our students. How can we be sensitive to the needs of others, nsmely our students, until we are in touch with and fortifying our own?

Its important to practice stress relieving activities if you have medical issues. For example, if you have TMJ you are grinding your teeth too much. If you have high blood pressure you need to get yourself to a doctor and get it down. What good is a “type A” personality teacher to any child if she/he has a stroke.

I have grown to love the idea of relaxation as a teacher as well as to despise with a passion the type A trainers like the ones I had at AVID and that school districts seem to praise the most.

The question is not how many things you can train a child to do but rather are the ghings you train a chold to do relevant to a tranquil, happy, real life?

I’m asking YOU teachers out there, are you taking time for you? Perhaps you have lost track of how you once did it. You are not a year round contracted employee. You work about 185 days a year. That leaves a lot if time to relax and “gel.”

As you take time to relax, you become stronger for your students and thereby stronger for your boss, bosses, State, and the tax paying families that are all expecting things from you, like AVID.

You’ll do way more with any program if your physical body feels good. So you dare to be a psycho type A, big deal. I dare you to gel Ms/Mrs/Mr Teacher.