We no longer have any readings to complete for Weinstein and Novodvorsky (2011), but everything they have said about classroom management and developing caring relationships with my students have truly stuck with me. The rest of the blogs on this page will come out more as case studies and reflections rather than research being seen in my classroom.
I would like to talk today about one of my students, who may feel like he does not belong in my class. In a class full of 10th graders, he is the only student who is in the 11th grade. This is because he recently moved to the United States from Canada and needs to take different classes in order to compensate for the different curriculum. In my class, he is regularly disengaged from the lesson and does not seem interested in me or the class at all.
So, I decided to try a few things yesterday to get him involved. First, I had him print out something from my personal laptop that I needed for the lesson yesterday. I told him, "Please print this out and cut out each scenario in its own little slip of paper." Without hesitation, he did what I asked, and took special care that it was done neatly and nicely.
Next, I allowed for him to look through the scenarios and pick the one that interested him the most. Once he had selected his favorite, I made sure that he got it in his group. It was one of the few times I was able to extract a genuine smile from him and it believe me when I say it was amazingly gratifying to see. For the rest of the lesson he was involved and engaged in the activity, and I am excited to finish the activity in our class tomorrow, just to see what he has to say about his scenario.
The small activity I had him perform made me realize two things. One, doing something small like this can make a big difference for students. I made this student feel special just by giving him a unique and mundane activity to perform. Second, it was less difficult than I anticipated it would be to break away and set up this small activity for one student. I was not distracted from the larger task of monitoring the rest of the student activity and my flow and transitions were effective.
I cannot wait for class tomorrow!