Thursday, December 3, 2009

De-stress Your Class

stress Thanks to Meaghan Montrose from TutorFi for sharing The Positivity Blog’s list of 7 Tips to Lift the Stress Out of the Morning in her post 7 Tips for Stress-free Mornings .

I thought about these tips and how I could apply this in the classroom. Simple steps like this can help the student and the teacher from being stressed out. Let’s face it, sometimes chaos happens but the little routines we have bring some sanity to our lives. The tips suggested are in bold italics and my comments follow the tip. I hope these tips help the class be more successful on a daily basis.

  1. Plan the night before. I think it is good to let the class know what is in store for them. If I know each day’s activities, I try to post them on the board or a sheet that is posted for them to refer to. Some of my students get the schedule for the week given to them so they can refer to it when they need to.
  2. Pack your bag the night before. I try to help my students plan what they will need for the next day. Just like writing a grocery list before we go shopping, I think it is important to know what materials are needed so everyone can plan to bring them. Making a list helps many students come in more prepared than they would without the list. Before they leave home, they can check the list to make sure they have everything they need.
  3. Make your lunch the night before. Encourage students to get assignments done as soon as they can. How many times have we all thought that we would get to it tomorrow, or the next day, or right before it is due. Once it is complete, it isn’t hanging over our heads and causing stress. It actually can feel good to be ahead of the game.
  4. Don’t forget to just relax. Enjoy learning! Be excited about any new knowledge you might learn today that you didn’t learn yesterday.
  5. Get enough sleep. Let’s face it. Sometimes our students have busy active weekends and are tired and cranky when they arrive on Monday mornings. When I notice that the students are not focused and seem tired, I am usually spinning my wheels by trying to teach something new. I actually stop teaching and give us all a 5 minute time out. This allows so students to put their heads down, some to just refocus. I ask that no one talk and find something to do quietly for these five minutes. It really seems to help them. When the five minutes are up, I try to do a review before we start into any new material.
  6. Use a morning routine. I have a daily class routine that we follow. When the students’ lives are in chaos, this steady routine can have a calming effect. I would usually have 5 minute journal writing after the bell rang. I give a suggested topic, quote, or they may write anything they want. After I have collected all the journals, I collect homework and discuss the answers. Next we review what was learned yesterday and then transition to new material. The last five minutes of class, I assign new homework and we straighten up the classroom. No one is allowed to leave until all trash is picked up off the floor.
  7. Keep everything in its place. Take the time to file papers as I get them. Once I let things pile up, I tend to get overwhelmed. I teach my students how to organize their notebooks. I have them have a section for notes, a section for handouts, a section for graded work and a section for homework. At the end of each week, I give students 10 minutes to get their things organized. I know this takes class time, but I would rather do this and help my students be successful than rant about how it isn’t my job and let students get more and more discouraged. After we do this the first two months, the students have learned a new habit and it doesn’t take as much time to do this. By the second semester, they are doing it on their own and I don’t even have to plan class time for this activity

Original image: 'Day 79 - f o c u s' by: Margo C


Anonymous said...

I just love all your tips on how to have a successful de-stressed class. I am going to be a new teacher next fall and will definitely book mark your blog for some tips and encouragement. I believe most of the stress in the class is caused by assessment. I really believe how you assess a students piece of work is almost as important as the actual piece of work. My personal key points are to be subjective, focus on positive points, use rubrics so the expectations are clear, assess students as often as possible, and try to relieve test anxiety. You must be subjective when assessing a students work because every student is individual in their thinking. I know all students aren't going to be experts at everything but I believe if you focus on the good points in their piece of work, they are really going to get a boost in confidence which is truly important when writing. I really believe a student must feel comfortable and confident when writing something someone else is going to read, otherwise their piece of work will be a dud.
Thank you for your thoughtful blog post, I printed it out and will keep this with me in my teaching adventures!!

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