I am currently student teaching in an 8th grade classroom and beleive to be doing an alright job thus far.  However, I have found that I have a little difficulty getting my students to get their attention back to me in between activities.  I have heard of some suggestions like call and response methods, but my studnets have not responded well to them.  Does anyone have any suggestions that may help my situation.  Thank you in advance!

Zach Roberts
Zachary Roberts
215 Activity Points

In the past, I have used a countdown method to help students transition to the next activity on the Agenda. As I’m counting down, I would also give directions as to where and what they should be doing when I counted down to 0. For example, “In 4 you should be seated in your next group station, in 3 you should have your materials out, in 2 you should be at a voice level 0...” This worked really well with my 8th grade students.

I think it’s also important to review your class agenda with your students at the beginning of the class, so they aware of what they are expected to get through for the day. Having a timer displayed can also be helpful—students will associate the timer going off as the ending of an activity and expect there to be a transition into the next activity. 

Rubi Oregon
Rubi Oregon
105 Activity Points

Rubi -- I like your countdown idea, especially if it works with middle schoolers! Having the agenda displayed can also be a "bell-ringer." In addition to the lesson events, I posted what students needed (book, notebook, pencil, laptop, etc.) so that as they came in they knew what to put away and what to have available. This saved a lot of time and gave them a chance to organize and chitchat before we started. Thanks for sharing your ideas! -- Mary B

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
9200 Activity Points

Hi Zachary. With your grade level, I’m not surprised that call and response methods aren’t working so well. Once they hit that middle school age, students are “too cool” for things like that. Getting them refocused and back on the task at hand is completely essential. At my school, we have implemented some GLAD techniques across grade levels. The middle school teachers swore by the Signal Word method. The basic concept is that you choose a key term and vocabulary word to use for the day/week. Students explore the word, and you use it for your transitions. I’ve tried it in my own classroom and my third graders were very receptive to it. Now, all of our transitions are guided by the signal word and students know that they need to hear it and repeat it before making their transitions. It’s working in our middle school as well so hopefully it works for you too! I don’t have a direct link but if you type in GLAD strategy signal word into Google it’ll come up with lots of useful links from other schools and directly from GLAD that explain in more detail how to implement the strategy. Hope this helps!

Maria Salazar-Perez
Maria Salazar-Perez
505 Activity Points

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