Week 8: Tickets and Brain Gym

One more week down, two days of which I was out sick, which was followed by one day of punishment by the hordes for having been gone.  I wonder if others notice that.  My kids used to do the same thing.  After behaving well for someone else, they would fall apart as soon as I picked them up.  My students kind of do the same thing.  After two days out, they are off the wall rowdy for a day, and then settle down.  It is definitely a good reason to never miss school!

So, on Thursday, I came to class armed with my yellow refocus cards, as well as a strip of tickets.  As I walked around the class, observing and commenting on their work, occasionally I’d tear off a ticket and put it on their desk, saying “Write your name on it and give it back to me.”  No announcement at all,  just a ticket and a quiet instruction.  After a while, some kids began to ask what the ticket were for.  “Fabulous prizes,” was all I said.  Interestingly, I haven’t had to give out a single refocus card yet.  I’m not sure if they are hoping for a ticket or if I am still too hung up on the refocus being a punishment.  I’ll wait and see about that.

Today I noticed that Gerardo, the active boy who would rather make a Sumo wrestler diaper out of paper towels than do his class work has been way quieter for the past couple of days.  I told him I’d noticed and how much I appreciated it, and asked him what’s different.  He just smiled and said he didn’t know.  Thought it funny when I asked if he was eating or sleeping differently.  But before this conversation, we did some Brain Gym activities.  These are activities designed by Paul Dennison, PhD. which are intended to help improve the connection between the receiving and expressing sides of the brain, help students focus, and a host of other things.  Before we did these hilarious activities, I’d introduced them by saying that sometimes we learn things and we understand them perfectly well, but later have a hard time repeating them on a test.  Gerardo pointed at himself and said, “That’s me right there.”  I went on to say that sometimes we have a hard time sitting down and focusing in class, and again he said, “That’s me right there, too.”  So I had his attention, and he was the first to get up and try the activities.  Helping him would be a huge step toward setting a better tone for this class, so I’m hopeful I can make a little progress there.

With regard to the rest of the class and the brain gym activities, it was a very boisterous class period, as they pretended to be owls and elephants.  Some of them even went to their AVID class later on and demonstrated them there.

Oh, but what about teaching them something, you ask?  More on that later.  We might be making progress there as well…I have to think it over.  Have a good weekend.  I’ll be grading papers.

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