Teaching Without Quieting Kids, Part 1
If you had told me that a class was self-regulating to the point that I did not need to tell them when to be quiet . . .
well, I wouldn’t have believed you. Maybe there are some classes that can do that with their regular teachers, but with a substitute? Not a chance.
Then I met this Kindergarten class. That’s right. Kindergarten. I started the day by introducing myself, shaking all of their hands like I always do. They reminded me that they had met me before. There was no need for introductions.
I began my “If you can hear me, point at me,” which I do to quiet kids. They were quiet and pointing before I had finished the sentence. Were they really ready for more?
“I will give you a point every time that you quiet yourselves when I want to talk, or if you are getting too loud when doing your work.”
They used “Quiet coyote” – lifting their index fingers and pinkies to signal each other to quiet. They earned a point. Then another point. Then another point. By the end of the day, they had ten points. They didn’t get anything for the points. Well, I did a teacher happy dance after each group of five. They laughed.
The next day, I told a second grade class what had happened. Kindergarteners, I said.
Oh they wanted the challenge.
They got 15 points.
I am teaching without quieting children.
Not all classes will be like this, but I am truly amazed at what kids can do if given the chance.
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