Friday, March 8, 2013

Inquiry Question

at 8:18 PM
In order to become a teacher in California you have to jump through some hoops. While I understand the need to screen potential teacher candidates, I think that the requirements needed to become a teacher should be more efficiently created to weed out the improper teachers and involve less paperwork.

One of the ideas i have for the progression of my career would be to somehow get into the creation of new teacher trainings. Someday.

After a 1-2 year credential program, the completion of multiple tests and 4 Teacher Performance Assessments (similar to benchmark assessments in high schools) you receive a preliminary credential.

You then have 5 years, while teaching, to complete a program called BTSA. BTSA is supposedly designed to help new teachers in their first two years. Through BTSA you have a BTSA coordinator and are assigned a mentor teacher. That part, I love! My BTSA coordinator is the teacher I took over for at my school. I have his old classroom, and all his old notes and curriculum binders. He knows my administration, department chair, and mentor teacher very well. And having a mentor teacher whose classroom is right next door to mine, who teaches the exact same subject as mine, is awesome.

I would not have enjoyed teaching without that support, this first year. And since I taught last year without any of this support, I can say this with assurance.

BTSA has some parts that I see as tedious and, sometimes, even downright useless. However, the part we are at now I see and love the idea of.

We are at Inquiry. There's one this year, and two next year. Inquiry is very very similar to QUEST, our senior benchmark. Which, while I hated at the time, I totally appreciated the skills I learned from completing that project as I continued on in college, and in my career.

I just wish I had more time for it! Haha.

My first inquiry question is:

What strategies can I incorporate into my classroom to help my students with ADHD-like behaviors succeed academically without disrupting the learning of my other students? 

We need a minimum of 10 sources of research, but that can include professional development, reading blogs, and talking to veteran teachers.

I know a lot of my teacher-friends will have ideas or articles that they've found effective, and I'd like to ask you to share them with me. Or anything else you can tell me to help me with this problem!

I have one class in particular with about 5-7 students exhibiting this behavior.

Some strategies I already use, and some of the reasons I'm having issues with them:

-silly putty/clay In junior high, every one gets into everyone else's business, and wants to know why they can't play with things too. As much as I go over the idea that "Fair isn't everybody getting the same thing, it's everybody getting what they need to succeed," the issue still arises. Also, I've tried this strategy with some students, and it works very well, but on Thursday I handed the silly putty to a student who looked at it in awe - he'd never seen it before. He then started to play with it, to the exclusion of his work, instead of simultaneously. It did, however, stop the pencil and book tapping that was distracting other students.
-headphones in Same issue as above, for the fairness factor. And also, it's against school rules. I do sometimes allow it during individual work time, but it's not the most ideal situation. Especially since they won't be allowed it during standardized tests.
-sitting on desk/floor/whatever as needed or walking around as needed I know some students just cannot sit still in a chair for an hour, let alone all day! I have one student who is allowed to move to any open seat at any time. Another who sits in the back so he can stand up and walk. I have one student who always sits on his desk, so I put him in the back so he could do so without blocking other students. This didn't work for him, he wants to sit in the front, so it's a good thing he's short... I have some girls who prefer to lay on the floor in the hallway to do individual work. I loved the idea that one of my high school teachers, Mr. Richards, had, where he had various bits of furniture in his classroom including stools, pillows, couches, regular desks, etc. But it's not plausible for my classroom setup, nor while I'm a new teacher. 
-Class Dojo Using it to praise is ideal. Using it as an attempt to curb certain behaviors works for some students, but not my student who is constantly calling out right answers because he can't help himself... someone, somewhere along the line, told him he wasn't smart. So he has a really hard time believing it. I hate having to take away points for calling out, or having to correct that behavior, when his answers are right and I want to praise him for paying attention and giving the right answer. It's a fine line between allowing the behavior and getting him into a funk where he mutters "I'm stupid, I hate school." 

I use a lot of projects and hands-on activities, too. And my goal is to continuing incorporating more, like for next year, especially since I know the curriculum better now.

My idea is that, as I research strategies and try them out, I will write about them and assess and reflect here, in my blog.

Please feel free to give me feedback, ideas, strategies, and article or book suggestions to help me in this inquiry process.


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