Monthly Archives: April 2018

RageQuit

This week for my K-2 students I set up a game where the students had partners. One partner was to stand in a hula hoop holding half of a pool noodle. In the front, back, left and right of the hula hoop a domed cone was placed. The idea of the game was that the defenders were to tag anyone who tried to steal a domed cone from them. Their partner was simultaneously attempting to steal the domed cones from other hoops. If the stole a cone they bring it back to their hoop. If they got tagged they had to touch a wall and attack another hoop. I did not make up the game. To see my lesson plan click here.

During the game, I had a student who happens to play about 60 hours a week of Roblox get upset and stop playing. I asked him why he wasn’t playing and he told me he RageQuit.  I had to look that up. RageQuit: To stop playing a game out of an anger towards an event that transpired within the game. (Link) This idea of RageQuit is interesting. In video games, you can just turn the game off when you get mad. In PhysEd when you quit you are voiding the social contract that you made with your class. RageQuitting affects your classmates and the game.

If my students get upset they can walk on the outside of the gym at any time. That is a release that I purposefully set up. When they are walking there it shows me that there is a problem. They can then either return to the game when they are ready or come talk to me about what the issue is. If they reach that point I have missed an opportunity to step in though.

My goal as a teacher is to intervene before I have a student RageQuit. I want to notice the signs and approach the student and ask why they are frustrated. Sometimes the solution of Rock, Paper, and Scissors does wonders. Other times we work on breathing and other mindfulness techniques. We may have the conversation about big problems and little problems. Whatever the deal is the important part is that as teachers we need to intervene and de-escalate before it is time to RageQuit.

Some may call it grit, resilience, or perseverance. Whatever you call helping our students understand how to deal with their frustration and anger is a major part of our jobs. This may not be located directly in the standards or written as an objective in your plans but it may be the most important thing we teach our students. How do you deal with the anger when it arises? How can we take the feeling of frustration and allow it to dissipate? That is one piece of why teaching is an art, not a science. Each child will need different de-escalation techniques.

An example of this happened on Friday. A student with special needs was upset because I started our Movement Math class in a classroom. It was always in the gym before that. I knew he had struggled the previous day. I walked into his class and he started yelling and threw himself on the floor. I was able to discern that he was upset about the change (some students are good at change). I explained we would start in the class and roll into the gym halfway through the period. He told me he needed some time. I asked how much. He stated he needed ten minutes. I told him ten minutes was fine but if he wasn’t where he needed to be in ten there would be consequences.

I left his class and rejoined the main class that was beginning their movement math project. Ten minutes later this student rolled in ready to join us. If I had gone toe to toe on a power trip I would have ended up restraining the child. Instead, I used de-escalation and was able to get him to join for 35 of the 45 minutes avoiding the RageQuit.

My point of this blog is to let you understand that our students have a threshold of anger or frustration that they are willing to accept. If that threshold is exceeded they may go into a RageQuit. We need to understand our students and step in before this happens.

 

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4th Grade Doesn’t Hold Back

You ever have trouble with your curriculum? Ever taught a semester and looked back and know it just didn’t work? That is how my 4th Grade Health went this year. I struggle with 4th Grade Health for some reason. My lessons are flat and just not as engaging as they should be. How do I know this? I asked. Here is just one section of the responses:

1

I then asked the class to brainstorm how we can make the class better. Here is what we came up with:

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I run professional development on how to be engaging in the classroom and here I was ignoring what I have told countless other teachers to do!

My lessons are clearly stale. This coupled with the lack of movement is a killer. I am going to reach out to my health Voxer group and find out how they teach vitamins and minerals. The content has to be delivered in a better fashion!

It was disheartening to read their responses but on some level I knew that I need to step up my health game in 4th grade. I am glad I asked my students this question or I would have ignored a major weakness in my teaching. I now need to go back and use this information to improve my craft.

How do you get feedback on your teaching?

This is Water

I wake up tired from basketball the night before or maybe it’s my second job that brings me home around the same time the big hand hits the six and the little hand is halfway between the ten and eleven. It could be the blog I wrote that kept me up later than I had anticipated or perhaps an interview with the Voxcast went longer than expected. It doesn’t matter. The kids still need to get dressed, eat, and have their teeth brushed. Book bags need to be packed and we have to be out the door by 8:15.

I hop in the car and stop by Wawa (coffe shop). Coffee is a must. The hot liquid hits my lip and slowly I start to wake up. I walk into school haltingly. Each step forcing myself to professionally start my day. Then it happens. My eyes meet a student’s. The switch is flipped. I automatically let out a wzuuuuuup not letting them know just how tired I really am. Their face lights up. They were acknowledged. They were loved. I follow up my greeting with a fist bump or ask if they want a hug. I may question them about their weekend, their sports game, their sibling or one of a thousand other connection building questions. They answer and walk away ready to start their day knowing I care about them.

I stop in the office and sign in. I say hello to the secretaries and go behind one of them and shake her chair yelling earthquake. (That never gets old.) I pop my head in to my boss say hello and quickly make my way out before I get yelled at or asked to cover a class!

I walk by one of my favorite aids and greet her with a simple word: duty. We both laugh at the hilarity of the word and our childish humor. (I stole this from her other friend who does the same thing to her. I can appreciate good humor even if I am not the creator.) Laughter helps.

I continue down the hallway. Smiling and saying hello to every person I see whether they are young or old.  Whether I have positive or negative emotions attached to the person of child I do not let it show.

I choose to ignore the exhaustion, the worry about my brother, or the stress of my parents unhappiness with me. I force myself to be positive in the present. There will always be problems. Someone will always be unhappy with what I am doing. That’s life. I won’t let my students see my struggle. They deserve the best version I can conjure of myself.

The bell rings. The day is ready to begin.

Watch this video. It does a really good job of helping to explain my mindset. I know him calling the lady fat is wrong. The rest of the message is amazing.

This is Water-David Foster Wallace from alexander correll on Vimeo.