Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Día 37 - Take that, band trip!

So I teach in this miniscule school.  Perhaps we could call it a minischool.  Sure, I'm a language nerd.  That's probably why I like teaching a language.

Often times in my minischool, there are trips that students take like the band will go somewhere.  If it is a day like today, the students miss half or the whole day and I am left with less the half of my class.  I used to think, ok, we'll do a game to review the information.  I mean, why not?  It would be great.  One problem is that there are sometimes days when I have no idea that students will even be gone.  So as a result, I am left coming up with a game at the last minute and we've wasted another day for nothing!  The kids in the class could have learned something new that we could later throw into a story that would just give them a slight advantage over the other students.

This makes more sense to me.  In previous years if half of the class showed up, I might not really do much of anything with the students because my lessons were prepared in such a way as to not do the same thing twice.  It was my flaw in thinking and possibly apathy at the lack of desire on the students' part to learn from their attitudes on the days when half of the class is gone.  But that's high school students.

They've obviously learned this from someone to come into my room when 2+ people are absent and tell me "We need a free day because we're missing a bunch of people."  Well guess what?  If I give them a  free day, they don't know what to do with their time and  they want to cause trouble.  No no no.  The best classroom management tool even when half the class is there is to continue teaching.

I think it also sets a dangerous precedent to the class when not everyone shows up and I don't continue teaching.  It gives them the message that they are only important enough to teach when the whole class is there.  I want them to learn every single day.  With TPRS I am flexible enough to even come up with a story or do PQA (Personalized Questions and Answers).

But I want to give the message to my students that every day we can continue learning Spanish.

So today I did a Toma 2 (Take 2!) of my Dinosaur story from Friday.  I had smaller class sizes and we had gotten about halfway through the short book.  So I was able to circle while telling the story.  But this time I had the students form a circle.  It was more effective.  Some students resisted a little but we were able to have comprehensible input and finish the story today.  I have decided each day to try and focus on positive things about each student when possible and to let them know.  Hopefully I can encourage them to do well from the positivity and it can spread throughout the whole school!

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