Well That Didn’t Work…

What was it that didn’t work? It was my retoolling of my schedule. In trying to make the classroom a better place for my students I tried going back to my old methods from last year. I cut down on the strict schedule. Instead of being so regimented and scheduled, I gave them time to talk and move around like I used to last year. Can you guess what the result was?

It was total chaos. There were about 4 fights today. I don’t know how, but I somehow forgot that last year the students fought so much because there was so much unstructured time. During this past 3 1/2 weeks of school, there had only been 2 fights in the classroom. Today, that number doubled.

I tell you what, tomorrow I am going back to my totally scheduled way. I will do this until I find a happy medium where they are on a schedule and they’re having fun. Until then, I will stick to my schedule posted earlier in the week that barely gives them room to breathe. They may not have had much fun, but there was not chaos in the class and they were definitely learning.

I’ll keep you updated as the situation progresses. Until then, here’s to continued success!

My Dilemma

I have a dilemma. This has to do with the schedule of my classroom. I posted it yesterday. I like it but it’s a totally different one from last year. Last year I did not stick to any schedule. If I planned a lesson for 25 minutes and it ran over because the children were extra chatty and excited, then it just ran over. I took a constructivist approach and let the children direct the instruction to a certain point.  I still kept control but they had a little bit more say than they do now.

Now, I have so much to do that I shuffle them from activity to activity with only a 2 minute transition period. Last year, I kinda’ had an excuse since I was new and hadn’t had any training. Now that I’ve had the training, I have responsibilities that I take pretty seriously, and I need to live up to them.

That’s why I have the dilemma. I know that I still need to live up to my responsibilities, but I know that my students need to move around and have more choices than they’re currently given. Last year, I didn’t have a real set schedule but my students made remarkable progress. This year, I do have a schedule and we’re getting a lot done. Their writing has improved immensely, as well as their knowledge of the S/S cards spelling cards and consequently their spelling. But they are not having as much fun or experiencing as much freedom as they did last year. I need to find a happy medium. Somewhere in between my chronically schedule breaking self last year and my overly scheduled self this year is where I need to be.

I really need help. Is there anyone out there who can give me some pointers or some helpful suggestions? I would appreciate it so much.