Fortnightly Focus #4 – Dealing with energy levels in YLs
To be honest, this is still very much an ongoing focus, as I try to deal with a tricky group of six-year-olds. But I’ll share some thoughts now and no doubt come back to it again at another point.
Steps I’m taking to resolve some of the issues within the classroom:
- I had a points system in place, but it was very limited (maximum of three smiley faces). A colleague suggested flooding the class with points as this would give more space to take away points when needed. This is having more of an effect, as I can often move closer to the points charts when I can see some learners becoming a little antsy and, in fact, it’s had quite a positive effect on one of the learners who’s very responsive to the new system
- Spending more time around the table seems to make the lesson start in a better way. I think previously, when they were in the smaller space at the front of the class, they became a little touchy-feely towards each other, whereas now they have more personal space
- Turning off the air conditioning unit which unfortunately makes the classroom hotter, which probably in some ways makes the learners more antsy, but it means that I’m not constantly asking them to move away from it – to be honest, I was genuinely concerned that they would get ill sitting directly in front of it, I’m sure a blast of cold air right across your head/neck can’t be healthy. However, temperatures are dropping slowly here in the south of Spain, though I can see my classroom being one of the warmest year-round
- Working on making my routines more varied and dynamic – I’m trying to introduce a new song each week so that we have plenty to sing about as songs and chants can be great moments to refocus them. Also, I know there are certain activities which they do enjoy so I’m trying to include them without relying too much on them (partly because they need more varied input and also they might then get bored of their favourites!)
Tough as the class is, I’m glad that it’s the first lesson of the afternoon as I do have the feeling of “getting it out the way first” and while it is draining to be faced with a difficult group, I’m trying to stay positive about it – there’s nothing worse than having the sinking feeling in October that you’ll be working with a group for the next nine months and it feels like it’s reached the point of no-return already. So I’ll keep trying new things and getting advice from colleagues on what’s worked for them in the past 🙂
My focus for the next two weeks will be working on listening skills in the classroom as I’m giving a talk on the topic at ACEIA next month and want to try out some of my ideas before the session.