image used from flickr
It's nearing Spring Break...which means it's getting closer to the end of the year...which means my fifth graders are preparing to become sixth graders/middle schoolers. Lately we've been struggling as a class to put learning time ahead of socializing time. I know it's something so many teachers struggle with and this time of year seems to be prime time for it.
Teachers have a variety of different strategies they try to get kids to stop talking and focus on learning. From taking away recess minutes to erasing letters of a random word on the board to having them put visual reminders on their desks to who knows what else.
My biggest struggle has been how to get the students to intrinsically monitor themselves instead of me being the external reminder voice that feels like a broken record at the end of the day.
I'm going to be experimenting with something over the next few weeks in an attempt to turn it over to them. It's something I've talked over with some colleagues, and I'm going to give it a whirl. Students at this age are very aware of what appropriate behaviors look like in the classroom, but sometimes just become oblivious to what they're doing in the moment. I hope to come back here to share how it went, and maybe it can be something you can try! So, come back in a few weeks and I'll post about it then.
How do you help your students internalize the importance of the work they need to do? I know socializing is necessary. I know it's important, but how do you balance it with the learning priorities in your classroom? I'd love to hear some things you have tried. What has worked? What has flopped?