Monday, March 7, 2011

1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and

7. 35. 100.

7 of these:

$35 a piece.

100% class participation.

My 5th hour class typically looked like this:
A student with Asperger's stabs a student with Cerebral Palsy with a pencil and he screams "MUTANY!" They argue over who's going to shake whose hand first while I try not to look perplexed as to why they are even shaking hands to begin with.
A girl with emotional disturbances yells "shut the f* up" and throws her calculator because the child with Cerebral Palsy is ticking.
One student talks loudly out of turn because the girl with emotional disturbances is trying to borrow his paper.
Two other girls bicker over who can get the kid that keeps on talking to the other girl pay attention to them.
I bring everyone back to attention, we start taking notes, the students finish writing at different times, problems restart.

Thursday I gave everyone in my class an exercise ball with EXPLICIT instructions: no, you may not lay on the ball; yes, you can bounce, but if I hear you the ball goes up; no, you can not recline on the ball; if you fall off the ball, you lose the ball privileges for the week; if you are talking, you put the ball up; if you are late, you don't get to sit on a ball.

When students finished taking notes on a slide early they merely rocked back and forth on the ball and clapped their hands to Freelance Whales I had playing in the background. My student with Asperger's whispered "That was a great transition, Ms. Hering." He was absolutely correct. No one got stabbed with a pencil. No one threw a calculator against a wall. Everyone was on task or waiting patiently for others to finish. My child with Cerebral Palsy had time to get all the notes that day before we 'had to move on.'

This makes me teary-eyed when I think about it. I love my job and finding solutions that create a positive impact on my students' learning environment.

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