Learning the rules: CMS teacher engages students to follow procedures

Science teacher Kiley Preheim shows students items they can use in the classroom. Wendy Nugent/Harvey County Now

By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now

NEWTON—The first few days of school are spent with teachers going over procedures and rules with students. It’s not always fun and entertaining, but it’s needed. For a school society to run smoothly, students need to have and follow rules; they need to know what’s expected.

Seventh grade science teacher Kiley Preheim had a way on Friday of introducing students to her classroom rules while keeping their attention and they even had some fun.

For one of her classes, she drew from a container of Popsicle sticks with numbers on them that corresponded to numbers on students’ desks. The student with that number then drew a card and read the question on it aloud. The question always included them saying, “Hi, Miss Preheim. My name is [blank].” They were supposed to say their actual names.

“Please don’t say, ‘My name is “blank,’” Preheim said whimsically.

Questions on the cards addressed classroom rules like “Is there any time I should walk up to your desk?” and “What do I need to do if I need to use the restroom?”

Preheim answered the questions for the class as they went through them. There were about 24 questions.

Preheim’s answers to those questions included them not to walk up to her desk if she’s ever at her desk. Students need to raise their hands and she’ll go over and talk to them. Regarding the bathroom, Prehheim said they need to sign out to use the restroom and also ask the teacher, but not while she is talking unless it’s an emergency.

“The reason I introduce my rules and procedures in this way is for a few reasons,” Preheim said. “First, because it’s way more fun for the students (and me) to have an interactive activity rather than me talking at them or showing them a list. Second, the students all get to hear the rule or procedure and see me model it for them.”

The last reason is the cards prompt students to introduce themselves to her.

“I hear them say their name and associate it with their face, then repeat their name back to them,” she said. “It’s a great way for me to learn 120 new names.”

It seems to build rapport, as well.

One of the activities Preheim had students do during class Friday was to answer, “What is the purpose of science in your opinion?” They needed to answer the question on their computers and then answers, when the teacher and students were ready, were posted on a large screen for everyone to see, but names weren’t associated with the answers so as not to embarrass anyone. This is done through an educational website called Peardeck.

Preheim asked the students if any of them had used Peardeck before and several no answers came from them.

“Every single day when you come into the classroom, we have a starter activity,” she said. “This is your incentive to get into your seat and write your response quickly.”

She also said she could lock their computer screens so they can’t write anymore.

“I’m going to lock your screens in three, two, one,” she said, and she did.

After looking at some responses, Preheim said, “Good responses. Awesome job, guys.”

Some days, Preheim said she’d have maybe a review question or have them draw something.

During their procedure overview, Preheim said when students go into class, they need to do their starter activity, which will be shown on the screen, as will the objective, date, agenda and what they’ll need.

After a short break where students could stand and stretch or go use the restroom, Preheim talked about what was off limits in the classroom, which included the animal tanks, her desk and cabinets.



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