When I am in the classroom it feels like I never left. This job is so busy that I don't have time to worry about Baby V (although I do miss her!). Coming back at the end of January when the students have had two other teachers along with a host of supply teachers presented a challenge in terms of planning, especially when I didn't really know what they had learned in my absence. I decided to treat my first few weeks back like it was September and focus on rules and routines.
Before I went on my Mat Leave I used Lindsay Jervis' Music Rules and decided to use them again this year. Check out my previous post here. I taught the students each song and after each song we played a game. I posted two signs on opposite walls of my room and gave the students a few scenarios for each rule.
For example, for "Make Good Choices" I said "You choose to line up silently outside the Music Room with your left shoulder against the wall even though your friends are chatting." The students would then walk (without talking) to either the "Yes" sign or the "No" sign. For each rule I had students move silently in different ways - walking, hopping on one foot, tiptoeing, patting head and rubbing tummy, and walking in a zigzag pattern.
The game and songs went over really well, even with the Grade 6s. I did have a few kids (you know the ones) who decided to pick the incorrect sign on purpose. When that happened, I asked them to explain why they made that choice and for the most part that put an end to any silly behaviour, although a few students were able to skillfully defend their choices. My next post will be about how I use these rules with my Stellar Effort program so stay tuned!