The year with my Grade 6 was full of experiments and disappointments and also some positive memories.To tell the truth,it was me who asked to be given a middle school class as the principal would keep suggesting giving higher grades and I would refuse.So when a colleague decided to resign I asked for it.
WHAT WENT WELL
Famous Person Description guessing game (find it here),
Mother's Day Project (find it here)
Valentine's Day Project (they were supposed to make a Valentine's card and write the lyrics of their famous love song or a love poem).Here there are some photos.
I would assign the homework 5 minutes before the bell and would tell them they had time to do it in class.Many of them would have finished it by the time the bell rang thus not nagging about the homework no matter how big it would be.
3.HUMOUR IN CLASS
I used to be very tense with them at the beginning of the year and took every misbehaviour incident personally but once I started using some humour in class and be cool,things changed to the better.I was less stressed and my students would communicate with me more.
One of my sweet students created a Group of his class on Facebook and I was a member in it.So it was another way of communication.Like after the dictation I would post on the wall "GOOD JOB GRADE 6,I'M VERY HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS" and they would keep asking their grades...or I would post a quote,etc.It was fun...
Once in a while I would surprize them with an unassigned quiz and would tell them that they were told to study,so this was a way to check who had studied and who hadn't.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK WELL (sigh...)
I kept thinking all the summer how I was going to treat them,how to encourage or how to punish and would not come to effective classroom management.The result was I started the year with unclear expectations and classroom management and had to create them in the run.
I would not want to treat them like kids so I was always hesitant to act and as a result I had lots of incessant talking in class and some discipline problems.
2.KEEPING TRACK OF THE HAPPENINGS
Spending only 2 hours per week in that building I was out of their everyday events and unaware of some important class news.
I also kept wondering if I needed to encourage them and award them and how.I was thinking of giving FUN END OF YEAR awards but I am still dubious about it.Would you do that if you were in my place?
Summing up I found out that I am not a middle school kinda teacher and I like my kiddos more who would tell less lies and who would admire their teacher and be more enthusiastic about school.