Friday, September 07, 2007

Junior High Issues

What do you do with students who refuse to participate? (I have students who were placed in drama without requesting it)

Also: I placed students in groups and asked them to invent a new sport to teach the class. They had guidelines and an example. They all just stood in groups and shrugged and said, "I dont' know." and "Whatever." What do I do? They have no imagination and no desire to have one.


At 10:14 PM, Blogger Emily said...

Scaffolding, scaffolding, scaffolding. These are NOT high school students. You need to teach them how to work in groups - baby steps. How to talk to each other, how to respond to others' comments, how to contribute to the discussion in a meaningful way. They also need to trust each other before they'll go out on a limb by (oh my god!) expressing an idea.

I always start with whole-group activities. Pass the clap, run up to someone in the circle, give them a high five and take their spot, that kind of thing. If everyone's on the spot, noone's on the spot.

Also, EVERYONE participates. Even if it means, "okay, you're job is to sit here, watch, and take notes on what other people are saying. You will report back to me on what went well in the discussion/scene."

Middle school is definitely it's own monster. I learned really quickly that small group work doesn't work until you teach them how to make it work. Start with small goals (create a clapping pattern), and activities in which there is no wrong answer, then slowly work up to more complex problem solving and decision making stuff.

My best tip for you: Remember what it was like to be 11/12/13 years old and teach to that person.

Oh, and have fun with them!

At 9:40 AM, Blogger Shakespeare Teacher said...

Thank you. Apparently this class that I am having the most difficulty with has been in drama for a year already. I guess I'm confused as to what they did...The old drama teacher said she never did anything whole group and always stuck to small groups. But the second I put them in small group, they quit working. Oh and God forbid I try and have them work alone, silently on something.

I have been playing whole group games. I suppose I've been a tad impatient.


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