At the beginning: Status of the class.

My goodness, it’s another year of seventh grade, and the students have started out just about like those in the two years before this. They are all nice kids, all seem to want to do school and this year I finally managed to separate them into two different levels. One class is slightly ahead of the other. The lower class has some more challenged kids, several of whom who have IEPs, and couple of others I wonder about. The higher class is a little higher functioning overall. The past two years I’ve definitely seen two levels but they were mixed between my two classes. The separation is cleaner this year which makes it a little easier to level the instruction to more appropriately fit the needs of all the students.

I still struggle with their behavior in both classes. It is hard to get much teaching done sometimes because they are so noisy and active. I have such a hard time keeping them all in sync. Or even a few of them sometimes! I know that by about February they will have settled in and I’ll forget this time. Also that by next year, I’ll expect June behavior rather than August and September behavior. Is there any way, I wonder, to affect a change earlier than the second semester? What part does my behavior play in the overall synthesis of the groups? I never had these issues when I taught high school, but I do remember people often told me I was too nice. And I am pretty certain I’m wearing rose-colored glasses now when I remember the mellowness of high school teaching. I have definitely become less nice, and more strict working in middle school, for all the good it does.

As I begin this project, I need to think carefully about what I’ll be looking at. Will it be something about behavior? Something about vocab development, or teaching with an interactive whiteboard? That sounds like lesson plans, and I’d like to look a little deeper. I’m very interested in developing a system of literacy centers in my classroom to move the kids around a little, change it up from me in front, them in seats. I could try something like this and see what changes in my class as a result.

We are using the book Living the Questions, by Hubbard and Power, and I hope to find some ideas that will lead me to whatever it is I want to focus on. Guess I’d better get started reading it!

Take care and stay tuned! Thanks for checking in.


2 thoughts on “At the beginning: Status of the class.

  1. Delaine Zody says:

    Seventh grade is probably much like sophomore year in high school–boot camp. You have to train them to get them to a place where they can function and learn. My sophomores always thought I was so mean, and then when they came back to me in their senior year they thought I was so nice. I just had to be two different people because of their behavioral needs. They could see it, too, when they became senors and would often go to talk to the sophomores and tell them to listen to me, that I knew what I was talking about. So funny.

  2. lynnjake says:

    I think you’re right about the boot camp! The seventh graders do get better after the long winter break. My favorite grade ever is Junior year, I think.

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