Thursday, October 21, 2010

Simply Amazing!

Two weeks ago I was at my wits end with my third grade religious education class.  Despite having posted classroom rules and going over them at the beginning of each class most of the kids acted like it was playtime at the zoo during my class.  I seriously began to question if I had made a mistake in stepping down from my seventh grade class and teaching this younger grade.  I liked teaching seventh grade, but it was wrought with challenges.  Those challenges were what led me to the decision that I should give third grade a try.

One night while brainstorming about the ways I could get the third graders to behave like third graders I got the brilliant idea to make a stop light for the class.  The first week we met for class a student asked me if the stop light that is for the Catholic school classroom was for our class.  When I told him it wasn't he was very relived and began to act up.  I thought back on the moment and decided that I needed to create my own stop light.  I was skeptical that it would make any difference but I figured it was worth a try.  It turns out that it works with amazing results.

Last week I implemented the stop light in the class.  Students who break the posted rules will have their clip moved from green to yellow and if they persist in breaking rules they will move to red.  Kids who move to red will have a note sent home to their parents detailing why they were on red.  When I told the class how it was going to be they instantly grew quiet.  None of them wanted their mom and dad to know that they were goofing off in CCD.

I think you could have knocked me over with a feather last Thursday night.  The kids went from rowdy to perfectly quiet and eager to participate in the lesson.  It was nothing short of a total surprise.  I was thrilled with how the class behaved but I figured it wouldn't last.  I braced myself for chaos when I set up my classroom tonight.  Before the lesson began I went over the class rules and asked a student to remind the class how the stop light worked.  I reminded them of what happens if you wind up on the red light.  And then, it happened again.  They behaved like a class filled with little saints.

I can't believe that three paper plates strung together with nylon cording can have such a remarkable effect on a class of sixteen children.  I think it's nothing short of amazing that my class has changed so drastically for the better.  And even more amazing is the fact that my trouble makers are now some of my most eager students.   God is so good!

1 comment:

  1. That's great! Isn't it amazing how the simplest things can be so effective?


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