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classroom management during experiments | Posted in Early Childhood
I am currently a student teacher in a math and science classroom, and I get the chance to watch my mentor teacher enforce the most effective classroom management skills I have ever seen. She uses positive reinforcement constantly. The school I am at has a reward system where they give "merits" and "demerits" for behavior. These are backed up by a system where if students accumulate a certain amount of merits, they can choose to spend them in the classroom "store" or save them for a special privilege. My mentor says things out loud to the class like "I appreciate how ___ is following my instructions, I am going to give them a merit." or "These students are showing patience as they wait for the next activity quietly, I will give them a merit." Sometimes it is while some students are off tasks, so they will redirect their actions so that they can also receive merits. If it doesn't help, she will give demerits after fair warning.
Another really great technique is giving access to science experiment materials after modeling and giving explicit instructions on what they are expected to do with them. First, tell them what to do, then tell them the voice level you expect them to be at. Showing appreciation for those that followed instructions constantly. I hope this helps! Good luck!
First Day of School Science Activities | Posted in Life Science
Hello Lauren, A good beginning of the school year activity would be one that gets students thinking about the scientific progress to set the standard for the labs that would come for the rest of the year. Some ways to do this are setting up different stations that could be good for observation like, the characteristics of a flower, or even the way worms interact. You can have students make hypothesis based on their conceptions of the different stations. You can also do another exercise that can be done in perspective lab groups as a team building exercise. This consists of giving each group a handful of marshmallows and spaghetti sticks. They have to building a tower with the materials and see who's stands up the longest. Its quite a fun first day activity. Hope this helps!
Gardening at school with young children | Posted in Early Childhood
Sounds like a great plan of action. You're planting the seeds for further garden lessons in the spring (pun intended). Keeping the school garden going throughout the summer and planting things kids could experience the entire life cycle of was always a challenge for me too! I never balanced it quite right. Our preschool teacher did a great job with her students. They planted potatoes and popcorn each spring and then the new class would harvest in the fall. She also kept her gardening/healthy eating program alive throughout the snowy winter by incorporating specific produce into her baking lessons each week. i.e. beet cake, zucchini muffins, avocado pudding, etc.
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