Tuesday, September 8, 2015

100 Percent: Except Nothing Less

Excellence in Education : 100%
Before I discuss this strategy from Teach Like A Champion and one I saw used in Ms. Orme’s class, please allow me to share what happens when it’s NOT used.

Last year, I was sitting in a class next to a hard-working student who struggled academically and emotionally (I’ll call her Emily). Students were working on an assignment that required them to have multiple pieces of paper on their desks. Working diligently, but still behind her classmates, Emily was already a little frustrated, so when the teacher said, “1 more minute,” Emily began to panic and became more frustrated. When the teacher announced, “Time’s up,” Emily let out an audible, “PHEW!”

Then, matters became worse when the teacher within the next minute and in front of the whole class made two statements, “Emily, you need to have your desk cleared for this next assignment,” soon followed by, “Emily, we’re not going to be able to wait for you.”

Knowing Emily pretty well, I asked her to come into the hallway with me, prefacing that she wasn’t in trouble. I used the opportunity to boost her confidence and calm her down (she was almost in tears).

So what did the teacher do wrong?

Let’s see instead how Ms. Orme dealt with a similar situation.

The assignments were remarkably similar and as students were wrapping up their first assignment, they’d be transitioning to a second assignment with a significant state change. Like the other teacher, Ms. Orme provided a countdown but when students weren’t 100% compliant, they diverged.

While both teachers recognized there’s only one acceptable percentage of students who need to follow directions: 100% and neither was willing to move on without 100% compliance, Ms. Orme proceeded in a different manner. First, as she began the “countdown” she weaved her way through the classroom and provided nonverbal interventions. She then returned to the front of the classroom, where it was easy for her students to have eyes on her and vice-versa (I can’t tell you how important this is, but let’s just say how I learned from my own experiences).

She then provided positive group correction. “I have almost all eyes on me.” Followed shortly, by I still need 1 more set of eyes.”

Simply, Ms. Orme required 100% compliance by
  1. Using proximity
  2. Providing positive group correction; not singling a student out
  3. She made it easy for her students and herself by giving clear directions, “I need your desks cleared except for your composition books.” This made it easy for her to check for compliance but also made it easy for students to follow the directions.
  4. She followed through and “demanded” it from all of her students.

Weekly Shout Out
Thanks to all the students and staff who put in extra time to make our 1st pep rally of the year successful.
Mr. Dove who did a great job of MCing.
Ms. Price Thomas and Mr. Coston for leading the cheerleaders and the band, respectively
Ms. Seale and Mr. Pearman for organizing the athletic side of things
Ms. Johnson and Ms. Meade for the signs and organization
Our attendance office, Mr. Hunt, our counselors, Mr. Waller, and Mr. Morris for helping with check-outs and sweeping the grounds.

Need To Knows
We’re working on “cleaning up” the hallways during all classes, especially during Mustang Morning. Thanks to those of you who have peeked your heads out of your classes to move students along and have let us know of problem areas/times.

Calendar Items
September 9: Back to School Night (6:30-8)

          Senior (retakes) and Transfers Math, Science SOL Testing

September 10: First Senior/Long Lunch
Senior (retakes) and Transfers Reading SOL Testing

September 14: US DOE CTE Visit

September 15: Senior and Transfers History SOL Testing

September 16-18: Senior and Transfer Make-up SOL Testing

September 16 (5:30-8:30): College Planning Night  

September 17: Faculty meeting (afternoon only)

Worth Your Time

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