Today was my first block day. Two hours with the same kids. What a challenge. Unfortunately, they were not as engaged as I hoped (actually, the best part was the microscope lab). Mr. B. started them out on their summaries, Cornell-note style. Then, I had them read an article, answer three questions on a piece of paper, and start a second worksheet. They were very ancy transitioning to the second worksheet. Plus, many students had questions about the article, or the worksheet. I was busy buzzing from student to student like a bee in a daisy patch. Meanwhile, the kids started conversing. Mr. B. and I had to use the timer a few times, adding up to 1:20 of time "owed" after class. That shut them up quick but was pretty severe negative reinforcement, in my opinion. When a couple of other kids talked after that, Mr. B. told me to send them outside. I sent the first one who I could identify. He had to go on a "time out", and he now gets a call home to his parents. Personally, that seems a little severe. If I were a parent, I don't think I would want a teacher to call me unless it was a bigger problem.
Anyway, after the worksheet, we had a great little discussion about the worksheet (my first one as a class--it was GREAT!!!). I picked 3 kids at "random" (the ones who don't participate much) to share their answers. I tried to implement examples. I'll have to think of humorous examples beforehand to be prepared. I can't think on the spot.
However, I learned A LOT. At the end of class, I gave out a survey so I
could get to know my students more. They gave great feedback. I need to strike a balance between firmness and leniency. I need to work in more positive reinforcement systems and creating more interesting lessons to instantly engage them. Avoid boredom at all costs!
Despite the fidgetyness of the kids, I personally thought they tried very hard. Maybe they would prefer to have homework in exchange for doing more activities in class, and not lectures, independent reading, or individual work. I know they want more labs, hands-on projects, humor, and rewards with candy or snacks.