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Friday, August 22, 2014

The Problem with Counting when your Students Don't Follow your Directions

Teaching Tip of the Day regarding classroom rules:
Have rewards and consequences for following or breaking your rule that says, Follow oral and written directions THE FIRST TIME GIVEN.

      When you ask your students to sit down and be quiet, make sure there is a consequence when they don't. Too many teachers say, "Sit down!" then start counting....."1.....2.....3.....4....5!" So in that classroom, sit down doesn't mean sit down....counting does. Here's a better idea using numbers if you're going to do that this year:
      For each number you get to after saying sit down....or whatever directive......there needs to be one second of penalty time. For example, if everyone is not seated until you get to 8, that means they took 8 seconds of YOUR time, so you will be taking 8 seconds of THEIRS! That way the counting actually stands for something.   Since your classrooms are often in rows or teams, you can hold them accountable to each other  by having different numbers in the for each row or team/table.  There are many special situations though that the consequence should only apply to individuals, not the entire class. This way the consequence is only for the students who are breaking the rules, not the entire class.
      I used to write the number 300 (five minutes) or 600 (ten minutes) on the board at the beginning of the week. That represented how many seconds of free time the students would earn on Friday afternoon when our week's work was completed. They would earn or lose more seconds throughout the week for things like behavior, homework, passing or failing, participation....whatever I felt was important to me! Many students are extrinsically motivated, and free time is the cheapest form of motivation! 
This should work for your students, children at home and even maybe your spouses!  ;-)
                                                                           Bill MacDonald/The Write Prescription

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