I’m seeing a lot of concern about discipline and “where are we” on the moretprs.net site, in people’s notes to me and in comments on Ben’s blog. People feel drowned by discipline issues in their classes and are beginning to flail as they try to put out fires. Today in my room, one class went really well, another ran out of time, and a third got completely out of hand. Why? Hmm…the first class had two quizzes (of which I will grade only one), the second had a very structured reading exercise, and the third was free-form weekend discussion with no quiz and too many grammar pop-ups (read: diversions into English). I see my problem and will fix that by having two quiz-writers assigned in the next class, as well as by having the vocabulary words for the day up there, whether we use them or not. One of my quiz writers is going to listen for vocabulary words that everyone should know by the end of class, and one is going to write a who/what/when/where quiz based on the Monday discussion.
My suspicion is that at this time of the year, more structured is better than less structured, and the next three weeks can only gain out-of-line momentum if we let them.
Here’s the link (copied from Ben Slavic’s blog) to Lynn’s multiple ways to make quizzes. http://russianrocks.wikispaces.com/TPRS#Lynn
Later: in the fourth class of the day, even though we never got to the vocab on the board, we did have one quiz, and because of that mind-set, things went pretty darned well with my 7th-graders. It is clear to me that setting up a structure makes a difference. Loosey-goosey free-flow may work again the second week of January, but it doesn’t work now.