Yesterday was a pretty rough day for my last class before lunch. We are running a 45 minute morning rotation with five rotations before lunch. As you might expect, the class before lunch is pretty rough. I also happen to have "that class" at that time. They are extremely restless, unfocused, and chattie.
After struggling through the morning class I decided something needed to change. That afternoon (30 minute rotations with the same schedule as the morning) I talked to the class about ways we could improve their attention. I floated an idea, I asked them if they would like to take a 20 minute outside break at the beginning of the morning class and finish the morning lesson in the afternoon. We would skip the afternoon elective class. They decided to try it out.
Today, after the 20 minute break the students came in and were more focused than they had been so far. Obviously we have a long row to hoe still, but I am very encouraged by the results so far. We will continue this until it quits working or we end the summer school period.
On a personal note, I am really hating the rotation. The main reason I chose to move from jr high to 6th grade was so that I could spend more class time with one set of students. While I am appreciative for the ability to teach reading, which I haven't been able to do for years, I wish I had a self-contained classroom now. I am happy that I am able to use my money from summer school to buy some things for my class, I just need a bit more patience.