Rick Morris will share exciting, innovative techniques for management, motivation, more! This month: how to triage other students' needs so you can work - uninterrupted - with small groups, and using a moment of calming silence.
by Rick Morris
New contributor to the Gazette
March 1, 2008
When I’m working with a small group of students at the reading table, I don’t like to be interrupted by other students. Nonetheless, there will be three or four of them who feel it’s critical that they share some need, issue, or concern immediately. And although you would think that just asking everyone to not bother the group would do it, experience has taught me that it doesn’t. So, as opposed to trying to suppress their energy for sharing their needs, I figured out how to redirect it instead.
A student writes what he was going to tell me on a post-it, sticks it on the edge of our small group reading table, and then returns to whatever he had been doing.
Here, completely unedited, are the concerns being shared by some first graders in a friend’s classroom.
As I continue to work with the group, I’ll glance down at a newly posted note. Based upon what I read, I am able to make decisions.
I am not Felling well (Mikaela) [As long as she’s not puking, it can wait a bit.]
Kenny is Bothr’n me (Eileen) [Yeah. Kenny bothers just about everyone. Get over it.]
I can’t find my Read Book (Donovan) [He should be able to solve that himself.]
The computer is not working (Louise) [Dang. One of the groups needs it for testing.]
Leave the small group with something to read and discuss, go fix the computer, and then swing by Mikaela’s desk to check up on her. Later, after the group has been dismissed, call over Donovan and Eileen to see if they were able to solve their problems.
Bonus: An advantage to the post-it notes—with the names of the students who are sharing the concerns—is that I’ll be reminded to call over anyone I didn’t see during the group’s time. The ability to follow-up will encourage my students to trust the Post Me strategy and not see it as some kind of a “brush off ” move.
Award-winning educator Rick Morris is a recognized specialist in the field of student management, motivation, and engagement and the creator of New Management, a highly acclaimed program that is revolutionizing teaching and learning. Based on his thirty-one years of classroom experience, Rick’s up-beat, on-target workshops have inspired thousands of teachers to incorporate his innovative New Management tools and toys into their classrooms on a daily basis. In the words of David Smollar, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, “Morris is well known for the energy and creativity he brings to teaching.”
Rick now divides his time between presenting New Management strategies to educators throughout the country and writing about simple, yet effective ways to transform today’s challenging classrooms. In his new monthly column, Rick will be sharing ideas from his book, Tools & Toys: Fifty Fun Ways to Love Your Class. newmanagement.com/books/tt_info.html
Recipient of the Hats Off to Teachers award for: “. . . his teaching excellence and the positive effect he has on students.”
Author of four books: New Management Handbook, Tools & Toys, Class Cards, and Eight Great Ideas.
Awarded the Distinguished Contribution to Education Award from Phi Delta Kappa, the national honor society for education, in recognition of: “…the outstanding work you’ve done with new teacher intern programs.”
For more information about Rick Morris and his easy-to-use ideas for creating a happier, more productive classroom, please visit: newmanagement.com