Over the past two weeks, Ali and I have been working like crazy to prepare for the new school year. Creating a framework for behavior management has been one of our large focuses, since that was one of our greatest challenges throughout last semester. The girls are generally so excited to be at class that it can be difficult to get them focused, so we needed to find creative and fun solutions.
One piece of advice we heard from almost everyone while researching and reading tips from veteran teachers and coaches was the importance of establishing and communicating rules from day one. So, we created a framework of expectations with clear consequences and rewards. In order to help implement this in a fun way, we created a colorful and interactive Juego de las Chicas (The Game of the Chicas).
The Juego has different rewards built in throughout the semester, such as a fruit party, a field trip, and a special guest at class. Throughout each class this semester, we will move the girls’ playing piece forward when they listen really well, support each other, and play positively, and will move their piece back when they don’t.
We were a little bit concerned about presenting all of the new expectations and Juego for the majority of the first class, but were delightfully surprised with the attentiveness and responsiveness of the girls at all of the schools.
We also presented a new tool for quieting the class, which so far seems to work like magic. If we need the girls to focus up and listen, one of us will raise our hand and count to seven. All of the girls have seven seconds to raise their hand and quietly pay attention to the Profes. We needed the girls’ attention yesterday amidst a game of freeze tag at Santoni, and were absolutely amazed that it took 25 screaming girls less than five seconds to circle up and listen.
Ali and I are very excited to see how the Chicas respond throughout the semester to the expectations and the Juego, and are very hopeful that we will be able to accomplish more each day at class because of the new framework.