martes, 26 de junio de 2012

Another reflection...

Classroom organization is something I explicitly work on with my students since the very first day of classes every year. I strongly believe that the classroom has to be in order for learning to take place and that there has to be a "routine" to follow every single day so that students become more and more independent and know what is expected from them at each different moment of the afternoon.
It was not easy for the group I am teaching to get used to doing things in an organized way and to follow my word on this aspect. As a result, I came to the conclusion that I had to come up with a different idea this year. That's when I decided to systematically implement the helpers system with some changes. As it was very hard for them to make silence and get organized when the day started, I asked them to complete a file with some data about them so as to play a game every day ( FILE: My fav. colour is..., I live with...., I have got_____, _______, and ______ hair; my fav. toy is.... and my schoolbag is....). As they loved the idea of playing a game everyday as soon as they enter the classroom, they enthusiastically devoted themselves to writing their files (which were also good for some revision as well!!).
In this game, which we still play nowadays, the teacher takes two of these files from a pile and reads them aloud for the children to guess who these two people are. As they all want to be the helpers, they all pay attention and sit down and make silence. Apart from the typical tasks helpers do, they are in charge of asking their mates about the day, date, weather conditions, season, etc. and writing it on the board (one helper asks the questions and the other writes the answers on the board). Besides, the helpers are in charge of checking, during the day and before we leave, that the classroom is in absolute order, that there is no rubbish or pieces of paper on the floor, that the fan is off, that the material is placed in the appropriate place, etc. 
This system has helped classroom dynamics a lot. The students enjoy helping the teacher and love being the ones who are “in charge of taking care of the classroom for the day”. Besides, as they are the ones who have to ask for silence, pick pieces of clothing from the floor, check that every single day everything is in order, etc,, they start becoming aware of the fact that, if they get organized and do things the way we should, everything is much easier and things work better.