After last week's fidgety block day, I'm trying to brainstorm ideas to get students' attention without using negative reinforcement. Keeping them after class is a pretty severe punishment, and I predict it will cause resentment if used too much.
I tried clapping in sequence and having the students echo back the clap to me. That worked a lot better. I can also flick the lights. Another idea I have is to give raffle tickets to students who are paying attention, taking good notes, participating, or excelling on homework. Students can draw from a prize bag at the end of the week, upon a raffle drawing. Alternatively, I can tally up the points and award students who scored the most prizes. I can also take points away. I like the idea of giving points and also being able to take points away. Maybe I could even do it by lab station to encourage good group work. Anyway, those are my ideas so far.
This morning was a staff meeting to discuss CST scores and form "SMART" goals. The data from year-to-year is relied on so heavily to assess how teachers are doing. It seems a little unfair to base so much on an arbitrary test. I can wait until we switch to Common Core Standards. How do you get low-achievers to try harder? I thought extra tutoring after school would be helpful, but most won't show up. Mr. B. said academic referrals work well. Again, I wish there was a way to motivate them without negative reinforcement.
Another issue I'd like to research and discuss further are the Props in the upcoming November election that are monumental for teachers. Prop 30 and 32.