Here's the prompt I chose:
3. Talk about one or two specific things you plan on doing differently this year... and how specifically you are going to implement them/get the buy-in. Why do you want to do these things? (If you are a new teacher, what are two specific things you plan on doing this year?)
I LOVE my 8th graders. I had about half of them as 7th graders last year, so learning their names has been pretty easy. The other thing that's helping me LOVE these kids is the behavior plan I'm trying out from Whole Brain Teaching. I first heard of Whole Brain Teaching when I saw the video below on pinterest.
To be honest, I thought "great if you're dealing with little guys, but could it really work with my not-so-little people?" The answer is YES! I introduced the five class rules on the first day (which was a half-day) and explained class-yes. I also went over procedures for entering the class, bellwork, make-up work, etc. so that when they came in Tuesday, they would know exactly what I expected. Tuesday, I was pretty strict about all the procedures and rules, and I made it clear how teacher/class points would be awarded. Because most of what my procedures were new, I got several points in each class on Tuesday, but by Wednesday my first class was determined to get more points than me. By the end of the week, every class had either tied or beat me and so to keep up with their good days, I started making paper chains color-coded for each one to match the class color (I'm obsessed with making every class have it's own color for organization purposes) so that they could see how awesome they were doing.
The only modification I think I'm going to have to do is get a push light like this one on pinterest. The class I have after lunch is unsurprisingly my most talkative class. That class also has two of my most challenging students, and one of them really tested me last year. However, for the most part these two students have really just wanted to talk to me - nonstop. So my idea is to get a push light and let them know they can't talk during a lesson. Hopefully they will "see the light" :-)
I have a feeling this is going to be a great year!