Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 86

Wow, things simply deteriorate! The 8th graders are down to the wire. Many have been at the March since 1st grade, and their goal is to tear the building down before they leave. This morning a haggard AP came to my room and pleaded with me: "Please, just keep them in the room. Whatever it takes!"

It takes me standing by the door and pushing them away when they make a move to exit. Forget teaching a damn thing. They won't even watch a DVD at this point.

At least there are lots of activities scheduled: skating trip yesterday, Lion King in NY today, picnic in the park tomorrow, prom Friday. For big chunks of the day many of my 8th graders have been elsewhere. Of course I've been getting a lot of the students whose behavior prevents them from going on trips. VERY interesting! I ended up with a mixed class of 8th graders and 6th graders first period: an administrator took me over to the gym with them and locked us in. Concurrent games of football, dodge, and basketball kept them busy.

My last-period sixth graders are also getting more rowdy again. I've had them pretty well in line for a couple weeks. I gave up on phone calls home, detentions, and all the other exotic punishments required by the administrators, and started instead an incentive program with treat rewards. Everyone who is on task gets an initial, small treat (a sucker or a couple peanut butter cups) at 2:00. Then, at 2:30, everyone who turns in all their work and has not gotten on my nerves gets a second, more substantial treat (chips/cookies/juice/soda). This worked like a charm until today, when only two kids behaved well enough to earn their 2nd treat. There was a revolt when I stuck to my word. To those who complained, I sung my little ditties: "Name on board, no reward!" or "Out your seat? You get no treat!"

Tomcat was angry because several of the kids in class wrote letters to the principal calling her a bully and saying she was bossy and threatening all the time. She got up and started cussing out and threatening everyone. "You all are petty liars for writing letters saying I'm a bully. Each one of you who snitched on me is gonna get beat. I am not a bully!" Hilarious. A true teaching moment.

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