After a week off for Spring Break (spent doing yard work, napping, taxes, napping, reading, napping, knitting and napping), we were back at it today. We're at the point in the year where it's one big long countdown until the end of the year. And the fact that it feels like the end of the year - with record-breaking temperatures in the 80's - doesn't help.
So The Principal had the idea, and it's really a good one, to go over and review with our kids the SWPBS expectations and see what we were doing and what needed to be improved upon. She admitted we probably should have done this right after Christmas, but it sort of got dropped due to a whole number of things (namely, her surgery and a lot of flu, plus the fact that the new teacher evaluation system means you can't find an administrator with a search warrant as they're doing classroom observations every waking hour of the day.)
The lesson and activity were actually quite good, and quite interesting - I think it's important for the kids to see where we are doing well and where we aren't, and to brainstorm and discuss why. However, doing this for 60 straight minutes was not a good idea. It's hard to keep 7th graders involved in anything for more than about 20 minutes without having to mix things up. The hour would perhaps have been better spent broken into three 20 minute blocks rather than one straight hour.
The data shows that the biggest number of discipline referrals, about 50% of our total, come from disruption and disobedience. (One of the things I liked about this was we discussed what disruptions and disobedience mean when it comes to academics - the kids, some of them, figured out that this hurts everyone's learning when someone is disruptive or disobedient.).
Interestingly, when the seventh grade teachers were at lunch, we all commented on three things than ran through our homerooms this morning while we spent the hour teaching about How Bad Disruptions and Disobedience Are to All of Us.
First, when asked for an example of a disruption, nearly every class had at least several kids who called out - by name! - at least one little pill in each class that is, well, truthfully, a disruptive pain in the neck. In my homeroom it's Arrogant Boy who thinks He's All It And A Bag of Chips, but who's really starting to annoy the bloody hell out of everyone. He, however, thinks he's cute and adorable and doesn't see that everyone is starting to get annoyed with him. At all. He's completely clueless and thinks we're all just "picking on him". Right.
Second, in every class there was at least one kid who asked, "why are we taking time to learn this?" and as luck would have it, there was always one little knucklehead doing something he/she wasn't supposed to be doing, and all we had to do was point and say, "Well, see knucklehead over there if you want any further explanations as to why we're doing this." Oh. They got that.
Third, the kids were wild. Absolutely awful. Here we are, trying to go over the plan, talk about expectations, blah, blah, blah, and they were doing exactly everything we said not to! To be fair, it wasn't all of them, just a few. I moved three of mine to isolation seats, and pulled them aside after the others left and asked them why they were moved. (One, of course, was Arrogant Boy.)
"Uh, because we were disruptive and disobedient?" said Arrogant Girl (a good friend of Arrogant Boy - what a pair.)
"Good answer," I said, "What do you think your parents are going to say when I tell them about you being disruptive and disobedient during a lesson on - surprise! - disruptions and disobedience?"
"They're going to be mad," said Arrogant Boy. He's right his mother was NOT happy. In fact, none of these parents were happy and all three apologized for their progeny's behavior.
It's going to be a long 34 1/2 days. Really long.