Sunday, July 16, 2017

How a Routine can Save your Sanity

After 15 years in the Music Room, I thought "I've got this!" Yes my urban school had definitely evolved into a different place - kids were tougher, teachers were more stressed, high stakes testing was in place. But hey, I was still happy in my little classroom. Until it hit...

That year I had significant groups of students who just seemed to test me ALL THE TIME! The lessons that I had planned for them were constantly interrupted and I felt like I was losing control of some of my classes. I dreaded them!! And of course so did the P.E. teachers, art teacher and even their classroom teachers!

I managed to get through 2 more years like that. I would worry all summer about the behavior of certain kids and how I was going to handle them. It was haunting me and basically I was burning out.

So by February recess one year, I was at my breaking point. With a really tough schedule and some challenging kids, I'll be honest - I wasn't sure how long I was going to be able to force myself to go into school. was bad. BUT...I was determined to WIN this "battle". I re-read Harry Wong's " The First Days of School" and decided that it was time for some SERIOUS structure in my classroom. My students needed a new seating configuration, new routines and a no-nonsense teacher. They got it.

Fast forward to now. I essentially have kept the same routines from that year - tweaking here and there. I've added elements from "Teach Like a Champion" and but the ROUTINE is in tact.

So here it is...

     (I greet everyone of my students as they walk in to my room - a hand shake, a fist bump or a hug)
Brain Hook-Up
     (In order to get the class focused within my room, we start with a few seconds of that - link to video)
Rhythmic Reading
SQUILT / Musician in the Spotlight
     (Super Quiet Un-Interrupted Listening Time)
Earned Game Time
     (based on WBT scoreboard strategies)

This super structure allows the kids to be less stressed and more in control of themselves by making it predictable. A poster with each step is posted in the front of the room. The students are also leaders in most of the steps (see my previous post). And saved my career.


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