July 21, 2018 at 4:14 PM #50668Betty Yoder@bettyyoder
I just finished reading Shari Zook’s excellent blog on Getting Children on Board and am pondering that second point so aptly made: “When children are given real responsibility, they tend to rise to the challenge.” It reminds me of especially one group of students who taught me a lot about the value of delegating responsibilities in the classroom (beyond their own studies). It builds a sense of ownership and belonging and it eases my load! What kinds of things do you delegate? Do you have a “hospitality team” responsible to quickly offer chairs to visitors, a “nurse” who has regularly gets the ice packs and Bandaides, etc.? I would love to hear your ideas.
July 23, 2018 at 10:21 AM #50683Peter Goertzen@petergoertzen
My wife gets credit for this one: When there is a dispute between children, create an opportunity for them to find their own resolution instead of acting as a judge between them. It works very frequently both at home and at school, making each child responsible for getting along with others instead of trying to convince an adult to take his side.
Billy: “I was playing with that ball and he stole it from me!”
Bobby: “He was hogging the ball and wouldn’t let me play with it!”
Teacher: “I’m sorry to hear that. Give me the ball, and stand right here until you have made a plan for sharing the ball that you are both satisfied with.”
Billy and Bobby will usually come up with a mutually acceptable plan in a matter of moments, and get the ball back and happily scurry off after the teacher’s approval of the plan. The conduct of an investigation and trial unlikely to satisfy anyone is avoided.
I must emphasize that this is not always an appropriate course of action. It only works when all children involved are on the same basic level, and in matters of dispute as opposed to incidents of wrongdoing by one child against another. It is important to ensure that one child is not taking advantage of the other, and that all involved are truly satisfied with the outcome.
July 30, 2018 at 7:48 PM #50738Carolyn Martin@carolynmartin
I really like this, Peter. I hope I can remember it in the midst of first and second grade recess dilemmas. I do not like to play referee in their petty, selfish squabbles but haven’t quite figured out how to get them to peacefully resolve the issue. It can often end up that the peace-making student just gives in. This calls them both to better responsibility.
July 30, 2018 at 8:05 PM #50739Carolyn Martin@carolynmartin
As for delegating real responsibilities – We have students responsible for cleaning chores. Every evening one students empties the mini trash cans (that sit on the class tables) into the larger classroom trash can. We have a pencil collector that that collects all the pencils at the end of the day so I can sharpen them (and yes, I sharpen them. Six-year-olds waste pencils and are hard on the pencil sharpener.) Once a week all of the students pitch in and help clean our classroom, doing specific jobs that are assigned to them. After lunch a student is responsible to wipe off the table and another student is responsible to sweep under our lunch table.
Other things happen at random depending on the responsibility and students. I’m in charge of the school phone so sometimes I need to give messages to other teachers or students. Depending on the nature of the message or time of day, I may send a student with a note. I try not to make many trips to the school dumpster but send students out with trash or boxes. Often times these responsibilities are given to a student who needs to get out and do something.
I should look at more ways to make the students responsible. Sometimes I am a “lazy” teacher and will get students to do things for me. Other times I’m too particular and it is just easier to do the job myself.
Does anyone have ideas on how to help irresponsible students become more responsible for themselves? Such as the 6th grader who can still walk out of the classroom without his homework even though he’d had it in his hands two minutes before the dismissal bell went?
August 29, 2018 at 10:33 AM #51664Jonas SauderModerator@jonas
Giving students responsibility for practical “daily operation” activities is helpful in several ways, such as…
–building camaraderie in the group
–maintaining a sense of order, cleanliness and purpose in the daily routines
–experiencing the value of contributing “real work” in simple routines.
With some imaginative concentration, the staff can generate lists of things to assign individual students. Some ideas (which must be adapted to specific settings) might include…
Unlocking/locking doors other than the front door at the beginning and end of the school day; keeping clocks adjusted; keeping paper towel dispensers full; keep playground equipment storage area in neat order; checking that no playground equipment is left outside at end of day; keeping tables, chairs, etc, in place; answer phone/deliver messages at teacher’s direction; shut down computers at end of day, turn appropriate lights on/off.
Think about routines that should be happening to keep things running smoothly.
Also, don’t forget a supervisor. There’s probably some student who has the gifting to keep track of what should be happening and see that others are “doing their thing” without nagging them. This type of person can also help the “irresponsible” person remember to take his homework home. One of the “jobs” could involve a student announcing at a set time over dismissal–“Let’s remember _____________ for tomorrow” He/she could also be assigned to specifically buddy/mentor that “forgetter” student who has his workbook in hand to take home but somehow manages to leave it behind.
The bottom line…Cultivate a sense in your classroom that we do these things together.
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