Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Does Everyone Get the COOKIE?

Last month,  I was contacted and asked to review a book called The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark.  I was sent an incredible excerpt from his book to read over. I also read an amazing article called What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents by Ron. I then watched his commercial and I was hooked.  I have spent much of the beginning of the school year squeezing in reading because this book is so heartfelt and real.  I am inspired every time I open the cover.  The stories of dedicated parents, teachers, and friends grace the pages and allow you to make connections to your family and students.

When I started planning this post I wanted to make be sure that I talked about all of the many ways I am using Ron's Core Principles and Values daily in my classroom now. 

 Here are a few of my favorites below!
Not Every Child Deserves a Cookie.
I pondered this for a long time and I realized that I too am guilty of giving out the "cookie" to my own children and students when it was not truly earned.  Why? Mostly to avoid an issue whether it was a melt down at home or an upset parent.

I am happy to report that we are now earning ALL of our cookies in my classroom and learning how to deal with not getting one.  I have always been a firm believer in not rewarding behaviors that are expected.  Meaning students/children are supposed to follow directions and if they are not it is my job to teach them how.  I reward extraordinary behavior...above and beyond. 
Remember...The cookie always tastes better when you have more than earned it.  
Another Principle that is a bit new for me and a surprise that I am guilty of this too is the idea of "Wait Time."
Give Children a chance to respond and don't give up to quickly.

I am a fast person by nature.  I always have a hard time when I call on a student and they sit there and don't answer.  I usually call on another student and then refer back to to the first student who did not answer.  I though I was helping the first student but after reading Ron's words I realized that I was not helping that child at all. I was giving them a bailout and allowing them to melt into the walls.  

I decided to combine #54 and # 65

Encourage Children to Cheer for one another.
Now in my classroom...when I call on someone and they don't answer I begin a small chant.  "You can do it, you can do it, if you put your mind to it!"  At first the class was hesitant to join in but now they are pros at cheering each other on. I am happy to say that in the past 11 days of school I have called on all of my students and they ALL have answered.

Now on to my new GOAL!  I totally want to become Slide Certified!   Read all about it in Ron's Book!  I am saving up to visit the Ron Clark Academy and make my dream come true.  In the mean time I am practicing at home!