Just wanted to reflect on my day. I tried something new where I mapped out the entire day so that I would know everything I wanted to do and in the right order. I noticed that in my room there is a lot of down time for the kids to get into trouble because I'm not always prepared with what comes next, so I wanted to fix that this week. It ended up being 4 pages long, just for Monday, but it helped me stay on task and on track. We even managed to get through all of our subjects, from Morning Meeting to Writing to Reading to Second Step (violence prevention program) to Math to Specials to Science. So I'm happy that we got through every lesson. It didn't necessarily change the behavior issues I'm having, but there was more time on task than there was last week.
Another thing I did differently that helped end the day a bit more smoothly was do our class jobs and get ready for dismissal an hour before we actually dismiss. Since school began, dismissal has been one of the worst parts of my day because it has been so hectic and chaotic, especially with so many parents picking up their kids early. So today I had us dismiss (pack up our backpacks and whatnot) right after they came back from specials, and then we went into the science lesson and used that to finish the day. It was much smoother, so I'm going to stick with it.
I also tried to end the day with a final closure where we shared something we learned, but many of the students were mentally checked out so it wasn't as powerful as I had hoped. I will keep pondering over that.
Let's see...I also got rid of transition time, which was a 2-5 minute period where students could go to their locker or sharpen their pencils. Most kids took it to mean free time and were just chilling and getting into trouble, so I decided to nix it. Now I let students sharpen their pencils when they need to and just ask me before they go to their lockers. It worked pretty well, though the kids were bummed to lose their "free time".
Tomorrow I'm going to talk to them about what types of behaviors will make them move their color (we use a color chart with clothespins). My only concern is that so many students exhibit those behaviors so frequently throughout the day that it's hard to keep up with and sometimes I have to let certain things go. I'm nervous that now that these behaviors are written explicitly on a chart they will start to notice that I can't always keep up. For example, I can't always stop the lesson to tell someone who is talking to move their color because they are ALWAYS talking and I would never get through the lesson. So I tend to highlight the super disruptive ones who actually interrupt me, but it still feels inconsistent. I'm not really sure what to do with that.
Last thing, I'm often told that I always need to keep my voice level and not let the children see that they are getting to me. I find this to be extremely difficult for me because I'm a super transparent person and most people can always read my emotions. Even today, I got so frustrated that I told the class they were making me angry and I would have to start taking away their PE time if they kept it up. I just don't know how to hide it...I'm an emotional person by nature and I get irritated by all the misbehaving. Any advice?