Late last week I was scrolling my favorite third grade Facebook page when I happened upon a post that intrigued me. A teacher had posted a picture of one of those lap counter things with the number 375 on it. Apparently, she had kept track of student disruptions all day, and there were 375 times her teaching had been interrupted. Yikes! My group this year is… challenging. I thought this would be an interesting experiment, so I fired up Amazon Prime, and had my own handy-dandy disruption counter in about 20 hours!
I decided to start after our math block – around 9:30. First disruption: student K. shouts out (while I’m trying to start social studies), “Mrs. Van Horn, should I go now?” K. wanted to know if it was time for him to leave for his intervention. Never mind that it’s MARCH, and he’s been going at the SAME TIME since September! Ugh. Anyway, CLICK #1. Social Studies wasn’t too bad, maybe 5 or 6 true interruptions. After social studies, the class went to specials, then returned for the last 30 minutes before recess – phonics. Oh boy! By the end of phonics, I had over 40 interruptions. Truth be told, a good majority of those interruptions were from my little friend K. He has been a challenge all year.
Toward the end of the day, I asked the kids if they had noticed me doing anything different today. They did notice me clicking, but they didn’t know what it was for. “Do you click that when you are stressed?” one girl asked. “No, but I get stressed the more I click it!” I then showed them the numbers. “Are you counting when people are talking?” “Are you counting when people shout out?” I then explained to them I was keeping track of how many times my teaching is interrupted. “Oh.” Most of them got really quiet. Some didn’t think our number was too bad, others thought our end of day number of 123 was way too high.
What will prove to be interesting is tomorrow. Today I had five students absent. Four of those students tend to be interrupters. I wonder how my data will change. I do plan to keep track of the end of day numbers, along with other data such as absent students and maybe phase of the moon??!!
The best part of the day though, was after school, when one of my students came back into the room and commented that she couldn’t believe there had been 123 interruptions. “That’s not so good.” she stated. “We have to try to get less tomorrow.” Great idea, my friend!