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Maintaining Motivation with MS Boys

Hello all,
We just completed our first week of school and I am happy to announce that I am teaching two sections of MS 7th and 8th grade boys, each with about 40 boys!  Last year was my first year of teaching and we had one class of 45 boys.  Those boys nearly did me in last year.  We had a lot of managment and motivational issues.  
This year, I have dramatically changed the way that I am handling the boys' classes.  They are engaged and respectful... for now.  I have heard several teachers call the first week of school the "Honeymoon Phase."  My worry is that once the newness of choir as a class and of me as a teacher wear off, the class will slip back into last year's routine of misbehavior and disrespect.  I am working to keep the classes as fast paced as possible, but if anyone has different activities/warm-ups/plans that really tend to keep the boys engaged and motivated, your help would be most appreciated!
Travis Baldwin
Stell Middle School
Assistant Choir Director
on September 2, 2012 6:12am
Hi, Travis! Congrats on your highly successful first year of teaching! Being able to double the number of guys in your ensembles is AWESOME! I wish I were able to do that, and I've been teaching 30 years!
You mentioned "management issues" in your message. Our school's teachers attended a workshop by Drs Harry K and Rosemary Wong last week on that very subject, and it too, was AWESOME!!! I don't consider myself to have significant management issues, but these two had some FABULOUS ideas that I am SO looking forward to implementing! I wish I'd had their suggestions several weeks ago, but even with the little time I have left before my students arrive Tuesday, I know I will at least get a start on tweaking my management skills.
They have a book entitled, "The First Days of School" that you should try to get your hands on, but until then, go to . Read the article, and most importantly, click on the links. They're big on powerpoints, but you can use can put your new procedures and your "bell work" on your marker board. Having a PROCEDURE for every activity you do in your class will go a long way to keeping your rehearsals fast-paced and effective. The Wongs are all about procedures because they truly allow you to manage your class rather than react to discipline problems.
If you ever get the chance, I strongly suggest attending one of their workshops. I SO wish I had had this information 30 years ago! How many education programs truly teach anything about classroom management? Very few, I'm afraid.
Good luck, Travis! The Wongs say that ANY day can be a "first day," so get going on your plans and procedures and have a STELLAR second year with your lads! Imagine how exciting it would be if you were able to double your numbers again THIS year! WOW! Have a wonderful year!
Diane Veale
Spencer HS Choirs and Handbells
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