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BLOG REVAMP! I am moving to Arizona and starting a new job as a 5th grade teacher in Phoenix with 65% ELL, 95% Hispanic population, and almost 100% living below the poverty line. I hope all are still interested in hearing my wonderings as I begin my career in my own classroom.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

line leading - harder than it seems!

During the first week of school, I found that I had many more responsibilities than I thought I would right off the bat. One of the most thought-provoking experiences of my week was taking the class through the halls to lunch, specials, or recess. I completed this task probably six times by myself and a few times with my mentor. Cheryl showed from the first day what she expected from her students as they walked in the hallways. She used a lot of praise and positive reinforcement but also would stop the students in the hallway if her expectations were not met. I learned a lot from watching her and tried to use many of the same management strategies that she did during walks through the hallways.
            When I would pick up the class or take the class somewhere, I tried a few different management strategies. An effective strategy that both Cheryl and I used was the call-and-response of “Ducks in a row” “Quack, quack, quack quack.” This was fun for the students and insured that they were paying attention. Another prompt that I would use while walking was to tell the students to be looking at the head of the person in front of them. I stopped them at several “checkpoints” each time and had them check themselves for the way they were behaving and standing. One time, I had to pick them up in the lunchroom where it was very noisy. I got their attention by using the prompt, “If you can hear my voice clap once, etc.” I walked down the line to make sure everyone could hear me and waited for their attention. When they did walk quietly and respectfully through the halls, I would smile, give a thumbs up, or give verbal praise. Often, I would publicly compliment them to Cheryl once we got back in the classroom. Even though it sounds simple, it was challenging to lead a line through the hallways. I was never sure if I should be leading the line, or turning around to check on them, or standing more in the middle of the line to have a better check on behavior. It was also difficult to manage the students because they would get distracted, start running, or be too loud in the hallways. I didn’t want to raise my voice in the hallways to prompt them, because that would be a little counterintuitive. This is where Cheryl’s strategy of checkpoints became helpful. When they stopped and lined up against the wall, it was easier to remember what the appropriate behavior in the hallway was. I think that it will be helpful for me to practice leading lines of my students through the hallways and that I will find even more effective strategies as time goes on.

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