What time is lunch? What are we doing? Can I tell the class about my puppy? A perfectly executed classroom lesson comes to a complete stop. Now you have lost your momentum as well as your composure. GRRR!
This happens in our classrooms all to often. Your classroom lessons are stopped by a student who's mind has wandered off. No matter how many times you tell your class to only comment on the topics at hand, the topic tangents come up all to often.
What If I told you I had the solution of a lifetime. After you implement this you will never have to deal with the time thieves any longer. What if the problem is taken out of your hands and students take over to remind the others to stay on task. What will you do with all the free time? Ok maybe that is too far but it does make life easier. Here is what to do.
1st- Define Tangent. Anything that is off topic and takes us away from our lesson. Then write tangent on the board. I end up leaving it up all year.
2nd- Tell your students that if they go off topic or someone asks something that is a tangent we all do the cheer.
3rd- Teach them the cheer. Someone says "Tangent", it may be you or a student. Everyone then chants.
Lets get back
Lets get back
Lets get back on track
(2 claps) Clap clap
4th step go right back to the lesson.
I know this sounds simple but it works. Students love to point out if a tangent comes up, they also love the chant. This saves you from going over tangents over and over again.
After a student points our a tangent I love to give a class point or some type of reward which solidify they deal. Give it a try and enjoy less stress.
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I remember the fire and vigor of my first few years teaching and often wish that it would have stuck around for years to come. Unfortunately hearing the same "Do we have to do this?" type question day after day and year after year, a teacher has to fight to keep up their stamina.
To avoid going through the motions or falling asleep at the wheel I try to do new weird things as often as possible. I love to try new things, sometimes they pass, sometimes they fail. I want to share with you the fun ideas that work and give you some tools to make each day fresh and fun.
Before long you will be trying something new and different and witness the benefits for both your students and your own sanity. To top it off you'll have a blast and you find yourself distracted by some new fun things that will enhance your classroom. Education never had is so good as a teacher ready to play and learn.
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