November 10, 2004
If you have an out of control classroom where many, but not all, students don’t want to stop talking and won’t behave, I’d like to share some thoughts with you. Have you reviewed your instruction? Are you reaching the students with relevant, interesting activities? Are the students bored? How about rewarding the students who are acting appropriately with praise and concrete prizes such as homework free passes or free time at the end of the class (5 minutes) to talk with friends or listen to music (use what the kids are interested in catch their attention). Have a class discussion using some of the Responsive Classroom guidelines for setting up whole class expectations. Students will follow our lead and their reaction is almost always an indication of our feelings. If these kids think you don't like them, they will prove the point. Find something you like about this bunch and let the kids know. Take the worst kid in the group and spend at least 5 minutes every day for 2 weeks talking to this student about anything and everything except schoolwork. Show you are interested and things will change.