“Adult” Types of Projects and Lessons

One thing I found works really good for keeping intermediate grades focused/interested in their lessons is to make them seem sort of meant for “adults”. For example, create their own cheques/chequebooks when learning about financial literacy; going through an actual catalogue to “shop” and budget; allowing them to “buy” and design their dream houses, etc. It gives them a sense of responsibility and importance, as they are doing “real-world” activities, and they get to be creative and have fun with it at the same time!

They like to do more “adult” things, but still like to enjoy things like kids so you can actually have a lot of fun with planning lessons!


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AES Christmas Concert

Tonight (December 20th) was the AES Christmas concert. I volunteered to help out with the concert, and was assigned the job of being backstage behind the curtain managing the grade 7’s by myself. This entailed making sure they were on-task and silent while the concert was happening on the other side of the curtain. I had to make sure they were seated, and not talking, as the people on stage, as well as the majority of the audience would be able to hear them. I also had to make sure the right people were transitioning onto the stage at the right times when it was their turn to talk (concert was student-led by grade 7’s). I was super nervous to do this particular job, as I have had zero prior experience with grade 7’s, and the Christmas concert is a huge deal at my practicum school, so I had to make sure everything went smoothly backstage!

It went a lot better than I had anticipated it would, which was great. I found that grade 7’s are EXTREMELY chatty, but that I could manage them similar to how I have been managing my 4/5 class. You have to be firm, but fair with them. I explained my expectations of them during the concert, and why it was so important to follow these expectations. There were a couple of times where I had to walk over and tell a few “reindeer” to quiet down, or give them a “look”, but overall, it went really well. It is really important to start off firm, as it is way easier to back down from there than it is to become firmer as time goes on. It also helps that they are at an age where they’re old enough to know better/know how important the concert is, so when i’d tell them to stop doing something, they would.

Everything was going great, and then at the very last song of the night, where the choir comes up and sings a version of “Joy to the World”, a member of the choir fell backwards off of the bench and almost tore the whole curtain down! So of course when that happened, the entire room of grade 7’s started cracking up laughing. I had to silently run back and fourth trying to quiet everyone down while some of them were literally rolling on the floor laughing, while the choir continued their song (the curtain never fell down). Thankfully they were able to get a hold of themselves, and the concert continued on without anyone seeming to notice what was going on backstage! Where’s Rudolph? was a success, and I got a taste of managing a bunch of grade 7’s!

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Og Auction

Our class has been doing a novel study on The Secret World of Og, and as a fun way to wrap it up, we decided to have an “Og Auction”. This is where the students would bring in new or gently-used items that they no longer needed, and donate it to the class’ Og Auction. The more items donated, the more for the class to choose from come auction time! We had so many items donated! We held our Og Auction today (December 14).

This relates to a form of classroom management as the students “purchased” their items with “Og Dollars”. Og Dollars are slips of coloured paper with varying dollar amounts on them. Students who are on-task, do a good deed, have a good day, etc could receive one of these Og Dollars. It worked as a sort of rewards system; students wanted to collect as many Og Dollars as they could, so they were usually trying to stay on task incase we may be handing some out that day. It also worked where as soon as one person (usually someone who got straight down to business and were focused on their assignment) was granted an Og Dollar, the rest of the class would miraculously be on their best behaviour! Funny how that happens!

We made three different bill amounts: $2, $5, and $8. Even though only some students may have received them on one day, we always kept track of how much “money” each student had so it was for the most part equal when it came time for the Og Auction. We also made sure that we only handed out one $8 bill to each student, to keep things fair.

Today my sponsor teacher and I set up the classroom during recess when the students were outside. We organized the items on four different tables: we had a $2 section, a $5 section, a $10 section, and a $15 section. When the students came in, we had them sit in the centre of the room with their Og wallets, while we explained the rules and how the auction was to work. It was supposed to be a fun event; that it was okay if someone got an item that you were after. Students walked around the tables and picked what they wanted to spend their hard-earned Og Dollars on, and then took them to the banker (myself or my sponsor teacher) to hand in their money and get a shopping bag.

At the end of the auction, the students took a seat again in the centre of the room and we all had a class discussion on how they thought it went (what worked, what they may have changed, etc). They self-evaluated, which worked really well with this activity.

I can’t wait to do another activity like this in the future; it was a total success, and fun for everyone!

 

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Practicum class

For my practicum I am in a 4/5 split class. They are such a lovely group of kids, with such a high energy and spirit. I am also extremely lucky to be placed with such a great sponsor teacher; she’s the absolute best!

For classroom management in our room, my sponsor teacher uses a “nugget” method. At the start of the year, the class has a certain amount of imaginary golden nuggets. This number is always written on the board, and will go up or down depending on behaviour. If the class is on task, listening, does really well at something, etc, we will write a “+1” (or however many “nuggets” they get) on the board. However, if they are not on task, fooling around, not listening, etc, we would write a “-1” (or however many they lose) on the board. At the end of the day, the score would be totalled up, and we would switch the main nugget number on the board. It works like integers- the “+” numbers that the students earn work to bring the overall nugget number down to their goal of 0. The “-” numbers actually hike the overall nugget number up at the end of the day. If the class gets the number to a 0, that means a class party of some sort. It could involve a pajama/movie day, pizza party, etc.

This system actually works extremely well in the classroom. The class responds to the nugget system, as they want to work toward a class party. One way that the nugget system is used a lot is when we need to get the class’ attention/get them to quiet down so we can speak. We could count to 5, and hold our fingers in the air as we are counting. The class has to the count of 5 to settle down and pay attention. Every number over 5 means a “-” number. So, if we had to count to 7 before the class settled down, we would put a “-2” on the board. I have never seen it where we have had to count past 6; it is usually completely quiet by 5, and if it ever gets to 6, they work really hard to try and work that negative number off.

This strategy is so successful that it is really the only one used in our classroom. I would still like to learn a variety of techniques however, so I can have them and possibly introduce one or two of them during my practicum to switch things up a bit.

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