Reflection: Routines and Procedures Cornerstone Defending Literary Arguments - Section 1: Daily Grammar

 

I cannot overstate the importance of structure.  Structure and consistency is key, whether it's classroom management, routines, or writing. And that structure is important every day of the year, but it's most important two times of the year--the first and last months of the year. The first month is when you build the routines.  The last month is chaos with those routines, and without them?  We won't talk about that.

I live on a mountain  7000 feet above sea level.  We're in the desert, but we get snow, so the district allots six snow days. This year we only used one, which is terrifying because we barely got any precipitation this year, so hopefully the whole town won't burn down this summer.  If we don't use the snow days, then we get long weekends the month of May.  This is a beautiful and horrible thing.  Long weekends are wonderful.  I enjoy sleeping in.  Long weekends are brutal because they mess with the routine. And if you throw seventh grader of his/her routine?  All bets are off.

That's why I love having a consistent paragraph structure for the entire school.  Two years ago, the literacy committee at my school adapted Jane Schaffer's paragraph for our school using common core language. Everyone at school uses it.  Every grade uses it.  Students are no longer second guessing what a paragraph is, because they know what a paragraph is.  A paragraph is a topic sentence, concrete evidence and commentary, and a concluding sentence. However, it only works if every teacher is consistent.

It's the same thing with school policies.  I make very few school rules.  If school administration expects that students follow the rules in the handbook, then I shouldn't create situations in my classroom that go against that. It confuses the students, and leads to arguments. And quite frankly, I have too much teaching to do to quarrel with a student over whether they can listen to music in my room.  I may not always agree with the rules, but it makes my life easier if I'm consistent.  And it pays off the last month of school.  Why can't we listen to music?  Why can't we wear hats?  I just pull out the official agenda, and point to the rule.  No arguing. 

It's the same thing with bellwork. My students know what to expect when they enter the room. They know that the objectives will be displayed on the board. They know they'll have to do a grammar activity.  They know if they do enough, they get a stamp. I made the mistake of messing with this routine last week when we had a short week,  four day week.  I changed the bellwork.  Not only did I have to think of something new every day, the kids didn't know what to expect.  I set myself and my students up for failure.

It's exhausting to maintain the routine the last month of school.  But the last month of school is when the routine matters most.

  Structure
  Routines and Procedures: Structure
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Cornerstone Defending Literary Arguments

Unit 12: Novel Study: The Hunger Games
Lesson 11 of 21

Objective: Students will be able to form literary arguments by citing evidence supporting claims with commentary in discussion and written arguments.

Big Idea: Students defend literary arguments with The Hunger Games.

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may 20141
 
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