I've been noticing that my passion is not with Junior High students. I messed up by not knowing enough about TPRS this year when starting with the Junior High. I've tried some different things but if I try to start with some materials now like Amy Catania's Cuentos Fantásticos, I am met with such resistance by the class.
Classroom management is something that is hardest for me to accomplish with the middle school kids. Yelling is not something I like and it is not incredibly effective. Yelling is basically a bluff and could be equated with nagging except for the fact that it might be louder. Kids probably realize by middle school if not before that yelling isn't the way to get them to do things. They fear punishment. Well some do. Others don't fear much.
I have some repeat offenders who want to distract the class and I tried being positive and told them to write me a letter of apology during class because they were being very disrespectful of me and I could not believe that they would treat me that way. They wrote me nice letters but the next day the problem persisted. Writing obviously is not a genuine representation of feelings and/or intentions at that age. It's understandable. I was simply trying it to see what would happen.
Sometimes I show them goofy things at the end of class or at the beginning. At that age, they love anything silly or weird. It's great fun. So I showed them a text-to-speech program and I blabberized a photo of myself. Then I let them draw on the faces of famous people with my Smartboard-like setup involving a Wii-remote and a projector. Yesterday the kids wanted something at the end of class and I was unable to finish my lesson because a few were being too distracting. So I told them at the end of class that there was no excuse for that type of behavior and I would not reward bad behavior with some incentive. I thought doing that would be effective to help them self-regulate but the other kids cannot peer pressure two of the students enough to stop talking and pay attention. Any attention is attention for these two students and they will simply act up.
A fellow teacher suggested that I try to offer something at the end of class and give it to those students who do what they are supposed to do in class and have the students who did not do what I asked to watch the activity.
So today I will give them 5 Señor Bucks at the beginning of class and if they do well in class they will cash that in at the end of class to do the activity. If they do not follow the expectations that I point out to them during class, I will take away their Señor Bucks during the infraction and they will no longer be able to participate at the end. I think the activity will be where I have the students draw on the face of a famous person at the end of class and the students who do not follow my instructions will not get to participate in the activity.
Vamos a ver... (we'll see)