Friday, September 30, 2011

The Fourth Graders, Sixth Graders

Here's more info on my fourth grade class.  I didn't notice this until I looked at the class roster, but there are three sets of twins in my class.  Two boys, two girls, and a boy/girl pair.

Now I understand what was happening on the first day of class, when Joey switched nametags with the boy next to him.  Fortunately, they started laughing like crazy when I called one of them by the wrong name, so I was able to figure out what was going on instantly.

The fourth graders are most well-behaved. The main problem is that they're all so enthusiastic that everyone will shout out the answers at once.  That's bad, because some of the shyer students don't get a chance to speak up.  Also, once the students are all talking at once, it's kind of hard to get them to stop.

The teaching guides say that fourth grade children can get restless during class, especially because our class takes place right after donut time.  The guides recommending having some sort of activity halfway through the class, to get the kids to stop being so antsy.  Last week, I had drawing time as the halfway break, and it seemed to work well.  The kids loved drawing, and they're good at it.  I'm going to try drawing time again someday, after I try out some other class activities.

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The fourth graders are not the only kids I teach.  I also teach a group of middle schoolers, who are mostly sixth graders, I think.

It's hard to believe how different the sixth graders are from the fourth graders, given that they're only two years older.

I said that the fourth graders all shout out the answers to questions.  The sixth graders, on the other hand, seem to have a disease which prevents them from ever answering any questions.  During the 30 minute group discussion time, I kept on trying to get them to give good answers to the discussion questions, but mostly they just sat there and stared at me, never saying anything.

It's just so weird.  The fourth graders need time to cool down, because they get hyper.  But the sixth graders need time to warm up, because they will literally sit there and not do anything for the whole hour and a half.

Drawing time didn't work so well with the sixth graders, because only one of them actually put some effort into making a good drawing.

In conclusion, the fourth graders are fun, but maybe a bit too enthusiastic, while I have no idea how to get the middle schoolers to react to much of anything.  Suggestions?

22 comments:

Hadley said...

let them do whatever they want for 2 hours. (video games,yeah!)trust me,this WILL work.

Inky said...

Ahh, sixth grade. Those awkward years when the need to seem cool over-rides the need to be yourself...Oh wait! Never mind, that's actually a good description of a high-school students too!
I always remember when my teacher would be super awkward and funny, Lol, he would talk in "gangsta" speech or something like that, and seeing an adult use "modern" words and phrases actually always distracted me from trying to be cool.
Use plenty of "air apostrophes" and modern idioms and metaphors that they think they somehow invented before our time in the dark ages.

Trust me, they may giggle at the awkward adult way you'll say it in, but then they'll be paying rapt attention to you to try and catch you using those "hip" new phrases wrong.
It messes with their little minds so much, they'll learn despite themselves.

Anonymous said...

When I was about that age (6/7th grade) my Sunday school teacher had a game called Bible blurt. It's a board game where you go around the board and get questions about various words and phrases that are in the Bible. You're given a clue and the team that thinks they know calls out "blurt!" and gets a chance to answer. If nobody knows, the teams can look up the Bible verse and the first person to call out the right answer gets the point.

I think they have a version of this that uses the Catholic Bible too so the phrases would come from all the books, not just the ones protestants have. I remember really loving that game and everybody really getting involved when we played.
~Emily

Sparksbet said...

I suggest you have them play some sort of game/contest that involves the questions. The competition may get them to pay more attention. Particularly if it's boys vs. girls.

Anonymous said...

When you talk about the Gospel (or whatever you talk about) try to relate to them, give them examples that THEY'LL understand.

Anonymous said...

Get them pumped up! Let them scream to their hearts content! Give them rewards such as, candy, social time and make up games so they don't even know they are learning... encourage them to "Take Risks" and "Dream Big!"
(6th grade suggestion)

As for the forth graders, I think you are making progress!

Anonymous said...

Well, i know sixth graders like nice, fun, teachers who aren't serious. I know that they will have a better time in class and get more motivated.

Airam said...

I suggest letting them go outside halftime to let them get rid of extra energy, and if there is a playground at your church, let them play on it.

Diana said...

Ha, I remember being a sixth grader. You have to try and act cool, or you get made fun of. Good luck! Your ideas for the fourth graders are good. Why would people not partcipate when they have YOU as a teacher, that's what I want to know...you could show them some of your videos to make them laugh...?

Anonymous said...

What's donut time?

Anonymous said...

i want a donut time...

Anonymous said...

mabey you should try for the six graders to talk for 10 minutes then do a lesson for 20 minutes and then let them talk for 10 minuets and then carry on like that.

Anonymous said...

Middle schoolers just think they're too cool to be answering questions. To try to get them interested, just try doing something new like taking them outside for class one day or something. Also, try to make jokes and show them that you're their friend, not their teacher.

Anonymous said...

sixth graders...

Anonymous said...

I remember sixth grade. At the beginning of the year the smart kid (me) would always raise their hand, but the teacher would always call on someone else because she knew the smart kid knew the correct answer and wanted to make sure the less interested kids knew the answer. It was very discouraging, and even though I switched schools at the end of the year I still spent the next four years being very apathetic about my education.

So, uh, I guess if I'm saying anything here, if there's a kid who's really ahead of the curve don't ignore them just because of that. If anything, they may be the most likely to answer your questions if you prod them enough and pay them some attention. The smart kids usually get ignored by their teachers in favor of someone who doesn't quite get it. I can't tell you how good it felt when in spring of 10th grade my math teacher told me it was nice to see me finally doing my homework.

Anonymous said...

Huh I always forget that 6th graders are in middle school. At the school we are at 6th graders are still in elementary school.

Drew said...

I have a pretty good idea - clap your hands once in a 5 minute period - that will get their attention. If that doesn't work - when you ask your question - choose a random kid to tell you the answer, if he doesn't give the right answer, or doesn't give one at all - choose another one, and repeat that 2 - 3 times - if you aren't successful - ask them why they don't know, and analyze their excuses by sorting them in 3 groups - rock hard, total lie or plausible... Rock hards get away with it, plausibles - your choice and lie - they get punished... If none of this works - stand in font of the middle row and shout:
"I will give you 1 free hour a week if you start working!!!" Don't let them bargain you for more - be firm!

Anonymous said...

I suggest for the sixth graders a little humor, kids love humor.

Hadley said...

@anonymous at 7:06 um,they aren't that young....

Anonymous said...

well maybe if you try hard enough it would be a vaild suggestion

Sandra Lee's Boring Life said...

I remember being in 6th grade. 2 years ago.
Well, all I gotta say is to connect with them I suppose. Find out what they think is cool and just.. go with the flow! Talk about Glee or something anything that makes them burst out with joy.

GameOverTown said...

Michael can you come teach at my school that would be the best day of my life