There are four behaviors that I seem to always be dealing with in my classroom. These recurring issues never seem to go away and I seem to deal with them as much on the first day of school as the last.
1. Getting kids to put their names on their work.
2. Walking in a straight line without talking.
3. Getting them to read more.
And, hardest of all:
4. Getting them to write more.
In the case of writing, the problem is usually purely motivational. If I ask for a page, I get a paragraph. If I ask for a paragraph, it’s a sentence. When a sentence is an acceptable answer, I end up getting one-word replies. It frustrates me to no end to hand half of the work back incomplete, only to have the same students repeat the behavior, taking the chance that I won’t catch this one.
What do these kids read? In my class it tends to be magazines about hunting, trucks and ATVs with lots of glossy pictures, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Almost every kid has read the entire series, attracted to its format and its relatable content. And who should be the author behind Weekly Reader’s writing project, Weekly Writer? The ongoing story updated by students collectively adding to it every week is headed by none other than Author Jeff Kinney, the man who managed to get my rabble of cammo-clad charges to sit and read something.
Today I saw every single student in my classroom staring stoically into their computer screens, nothing but the sound of their keys clicking away. Thank you Mr. Kinney, Thank you.