I’m sharing a “What Were You Doing?” Reflection Form I use as part of my classroom management system.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions for teaching was to demand respect from my students. I’m just tired of fighting and arguing with students over whether their behavior is appropriate or not. Now, when students disrespect me, I hand them a form to fill out and send them to the hall. After they have reflected on their actions and made a plan to move forward, they are free to come back in my classroom and get to work.
The other day, I got to flipping through these forms, and I decided they needed to be shared! I tried to order these from funniest to most mundane. I have a few habitually tardy students, and I’ve started making them fill out a form every time they are tardy. If you look at these closely, you should notice the same handwriting repeated over and over.
I saw a picture on another blog of a teacher who also used forms that students had to fill out. She kept these on a clipboard by the door. And, there was a pen attached to the clipboard. I think that’s a brilliant idea, and I definitely plan on implementing that next year. That will free up space on my desk, and I won’t have to worry if students have a writing utensil or not!
What I like about these is that it gives me the student’s side of the story in their own handwriting. Come time for parent teacher conferences, I will be able to pull these out if students ask me how their child has been behaving. Then, it will be the child telling their parents about their behavior instead of me telling the parents about their child’s behavior.
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What Were You Doing Form (PDF) (392 downloads)
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(Originally Published January 23, 2014)
I’ve been reflecting on my new semester resolutions. I wrote about my resolutions here. And, I’ve already posted about confiscating cell phones and timing my students like their lives depended on it.
To refresh your memory, here are my resolutions as I presented them to my students on the first day of our second semester.
Our first week back, I kept a sort of diary regarding my experiences with carrying out these resolutions in my classroom. Enjoy!
So, I told my students today about my Keep/Change/Start/Stop Resolutions. I let them fill out their reflection forms first. Then, I told them of the changes I was going to make. They were less than excited. They immediately wanted their reflection forms back so they could tell me that they didn’t like my changes. Others questioned why I asked them for feedback if I was going to decide what changes to make on my own anyway.
I only handed out one Respect Form today. One of my students who is notorious for talking at the wrong time (and spends a lot of time out in the hall) was talking when I was trying to talk. I hadn’t
explained the form to my students. I just asked him to stand up, grab his pencil, and fill out the form I was going to hand him. When he was done, he was to return to the classroom, put the form in my tray, and get back to work.
He wasn’t gone very long. His answers:
What were you doing? Being stupid
What were you supposed to be doing? Taking notes
Were you doing it? Yes
What are you going to do about it now? Shut up and do my work
I like the process. I didn’t argue with the student. He had an opportunity to tell his side of the story. He was taking notes. But, he was also given the opportunity to own up for his actions. He
wrote out his plan of action. And, that’s something I can hold my students to. If a student continues to misbehave/disrespect me, then I can show them in their own handwriting what they should be doing. I can also show their parents what the students told me they were going to do (in their own handwriting) if the misbehavior persists!
Quote of the Day: “I don’t think I like the new Ms. Hagan.”
Today, I gave students a “friendly reminder” about my new cell phone policy right as the bell rang and class began. I also posted a reminder on the dry erase board. I didn’t see ANY phones until
6th hour. I felt kinda bad for taking the student’s phone because I could tell that he really was “just checking the time.” But, a rule is a rule. And, if I’m not consistent, my students are going to run right over me. I took his phone. And, I called and left a message for his parents. I’m not making the parents come up to retrieve the phone (yet) because that seems like such a hassle.
One of my students today said that their new year’s resolution is to make me decide to stop enforcing my new year’s resolutions.
My Algebra 2 classes are still chatty when I’m trying to teach, and it’s driving me CRAZY. I haven’t handed out the 4 question forms that I made for disrespect because I would have to hand it to like half the class. But, tomorrow I just may. If I make an example of a few students, then the rest should see just how serious I am and fall in line.
I need to just stop letting my students get to me. I don’t know if I’m worried about hurting their feelings or what? Why is it so hard for me to discipline my students? I’m just too nice of a person,
A coworker suggested once that I consider getting my master’s in Educational Administration. I just don’t think I would make a very good disciplinarian in a school setting if I can’t control my students in my very own classroom. Plus, there’s the fact that I can’t picture myself ever leaving the classroom at this point in time. I think my heart is with students in the classroom.
I think things are going better. But, maybe this is just another honey moon period like we had at the very beginning of the school year. I have got to become tougher. I’ve got to grow tougher skin.
I think my students are definitely noticing a change in me.
Students asked me several questions today:
“Did you maybe decide to stop taking your medicine over Christmas Break? Because you’ve been different ever since we came back.”
“Did your meth lab get busted?”
Yeah. I don’t quite have a response for these questions. Either my students think that my former classroom management style was a result of drugs or…
Apparently, my taking cell phones away has become a topic of conversation in other classes. They try to know the names of all the people represented by a tally on my board.
I wish I had gotten more serious about cell phones sooner. I think that my looking the other way when students had cell phones out caused a lot of my problems. After all, if I will look the other way regarding cell phones, students probably assumed that I would look the other way regarding other rules.
I’ve still got to get tougher. This is a good start. But, I’m still letting my Algebra 2 classes walk all over me. My Algebra 1 classes have fell in line, for the most part. I would fully expect it to be the other way around. Hmm…
Example Student Responses to What Were You Doing Form
If you wonder why I sometimes doubt that I actually teach high school, this is why…
What were you doing? Being Stupid.
What were you doing? Hitting my chest.
What were you supposed to be doing? “Sorting awsome cards that the best math teacher prepared for are Algebra II class.”
Were you doing it? “Beside [another student] my best friend.”
What are you going to do about it now? “I will go back to class and strive to be a better student to contribute to the nations economy.”
This student was so mad at me when I would not read his reflection form immediately upon his return. I placed it on my desk to look at later. He really wanted me to read it aloud to the class. The whole idea of these forms is that it takes away the audience. Reading this form to my class would give my student an audience for his disrespectful behavior. The awesome cards he is speaking of are Cindy Johnson’s Conic Cards. Of course, he was sitting and doing nothing instead of sorting the cards. That’s the reason he got sent out in the hall. And, I think he must have thought the third question was “Where were you doing it?” instead of “Were you doing it?”
The next day, he again asked me if I had read what he had written on his form. I told him that I had. I also told him that I had spoken to his mother about it. Again, I refused to share his form with his classmates. After this refusal, he pulled his cell phone out to show the class a picture of the form he had taken before turning it in. This led to me confiscating his cell phone and having ANOTHER conversation with his mother!
What were you doing? “Puttin Elmers Shool Glue on [Another Student.]
I cannot make this stuff up, guys. I seriously have some students with maturity issues. We are in high school. Under no circumstances should you be squirting glue on the back of the person’s head in front of you.
What were you doing? Singing Math Songs
I have no problem with singing math songs. We sing lots of them in my classroom. But, a problem arises when you break out into song while I am trying to explain something at the front of the classroom.
What were you doing? “I used my scissors to cut [another student’s] glue and it went off of his desk and it went Ooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh and hit the floor LOL.”
This next form is stapled to my bulletin board. It was not filled out by a student in trouble. Instead, it was filled out by one of my top students who comes in sometimes during her free period to work on making her interactive notebook a true work of art. She decided to fill this out as a joke.
What were you doing? “Sitting quietly, loving math”
What are you going to do about it now? “Love math because it makes people cry.”
What were you doing? “Singing my favorite song”
The rest of the forms are below. I don’t want you to think that all of the answers I get are noteworthy. Many of these below are for tardies. You will notice that some students (like above) will write a lot, and some students will do the bare minimum amount of writing
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- What Were You Doing? Reflection Form for Classroom Management
Tuesday 28th of July 2015
Does the question 'Were you doing it?' refer to the misbehavior or to the appropriate behavior stated in the preceding question?
Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)
Monday 5th of October 2015
The appropriate behavior.
Saturday 15th of February 2014
It is amazing that kids will think they are not tardy as long as they eventually make it to class!
Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)
Tuesday 19th of May 2015
I used to do warm-up problems, but I've gotten away from them. I've also stopped giving homework. I think I want to go back to doing warm-ups again, though.
Thursday 14th of May 2015
Do you have warm up problems to start class? Tardies could have to do the warm ups as homework and get graded on them- so late to class = more work to do after school. Also, it is symetrical as you are taking away their free time after school because they wasted your instruction time in class. I will say, these answers are just too funny! It is easy to forget that these are still kids. Tall, smelly kids, but still such kids. Glue, hitting their chest and scissors.
Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)
Tuesday 18th of February 2014
Agreed! Tardiness doesn't really have any consequences at my school, so it's been hard for me to motivate my students to get to class on time each day. Each tardy counts as 1/3 of an absence. Some of my students did the math. 10 allowed absences * 3 tardies per absence = 30 allowed tardies. I was proud of them for using math to figure this out, but I hate the mindset behind it.
I've got to come up with some consequence of my own for tardies next year...