Taking it to the next level

We're already in the fourth week of school and I am stuck. My class is great at following directions, just not right away. They are great at showing me respect and giving me their attention, when they know I am asking for it. These are just a few things that are holding us back from taking off for the rest of the year.

It's the processes and procedures that have yet to be solidified.

I thought I had tried everything that I've done in the past three years of starting with a new class. I thought we had discussed, modeled and practiced enough to get things set into our minds. But yesterday I had my first meeting where I had to be gone for the entire day and request a substitute for my classroom and I was worried.

Now, in the past, I've always been apprehensive about getting a substitute. It was mainly because I really didn't like being away from my kids. Also, I'm not a big fan of writing out lesson plans and prepping everything for someone else.

But this time, it wasn't any of those things. I was concerned that my class would not be able to hold it together. That they wouldn't meet expectations without me there. And that my sub would walk out halfway through the day - my first sign that we probably needed more discussions, models and practice.

Last year, our building piloted the CHAMPS program, so I dug out my book and started reading. It's a rather large book (fivehundred&two pages), and I believe it's arranged foundationally, so it's not like you can skip around and not miss anything. I am going to see what I can find to help move our class forward.

Things I will be looking for:

• Ideas on how to bring the classroom together during/after an activity. (ex: attention signal)
• What's going on with kids who appear unmotivated to attempt a task.
• Varieties of positive reinforcement for boys.