The following post is the narrative behind the Streak. If you’d rather a quick how-to guide, I’d suggest seeing my post on Finding Your Own Streak.
During the month of October, I completed an internship in a middle school, actually two middle schools, in Virginia. Numerous of things occurred during the internship, but if I’d have to choose one word, or phrase, to summarize the experience it would be “classroom management.” early in the year I posted about my group formations, Mensis Convocatis. This was one of many management strategies I helped implement in the classroom. Another management strategy I’d like to share is the Tacēte Streak.
Recognizing a problem
The Tacēte Streak started because we had a problem in the class. The problem stemmed from our daily engagement assessment, which we refer to as D.E.A. since it is more of classroom procedures more than an assessment tool. Plus, anyone who knows anything about mythology you don’t mess with a goddess. Disclaimer: I nor my mentor teacher created D.E.A. My mentor teacher got it from another teaching blog but doesn’t remember exactly which one.
One of the procedures of D.E.A. is “no shouting out in any language.” Many students struggled with raising their hand instead of calling out. There were also a few classes that would take more than twice to get their attention. My mentor teacher struggled with how to handle this problem. During my undergrad, I had made a management plan. Within my plan, I had a cell phone streak in place of how many days a class could go without someone having their phone out at inappropriate times. Our class doesn’t struggle with cell phones, but they do struggle with calling out and not collecting back when addressed. Therefore I suggested a Tacēte Streak.
Perspective on the Order of Events
I was in the classroom during the first week of school, then every Tuesday until the month of October when I was in the schools every day. The first time I witnessed collecting a class was a problem was the second week of school. I called the class to attention once, only a few students silenced themselves. I called them a second time, and still, some continued to talk. The third time, the wrath of D.E.A. had been invoked. I addressed the class in regard to the importance of responding when called to attention. I said to the students, “when you hear either of us call for your attention it should not take more than once, and definitely not more than twice. If our goal is to spend as much time learning as possible then we need to need to respond when it is appropriate, whether that response is verbal, physical or silence.” Dea’s wrath resulted in a seating chart the following day. This was the first day that got me thinking about how to handle this problem (it was also the first class I’ve ever yelled at). At some point before October, I suggested the Tacēte Streak. My mentor teacher liked the idea and we decided to put it into place when I started in October. I needed expectations and a reward system in place.
Finding a Solution
The expectation we wanted the students to follow was to not shout out and respond when requested. Therefore those were the expectations of the class. A class would receive a day in the Tacete Streak if they had class without showing out and not needing to be collected twice in one activity. The reward set for the class with the highest streak is that I will share with the students a hidden talent I have, but would only be given to a class that had a minimum of twenty days in their Streak. However, this was not a high enough of a motivating factor. Therefore, a clause was added. If a class did not pick up a day one within three, originally five, days they would be given a seating chart. This caused many classes to take the Streak seriously because most classes had free seating, aside from the first class I yelled at. And to keep them motivated if they lost the Streak, they had the same time frame to pick it back up before receiving a seating chart. In order to keep track of the Streak, I used the site, Flippity. If you have not used this site, it’s rather great! They have a few technical problems every now and then, but overall a great tool if your love using spreadsheets.
Helping the Students to Succeed
Of course, there was a transition period for the students that would always exclaim in class. For these students, I took them aside to inform them their class wasn’t getting a streak because of their exclamations. These students took it to heart what I told them and most helped their peers obtain a day one of their Streaks. These students were rewarded with positive incentive cards that the school has in place. I never called out a student for being the reason a class did not receive the Streak. However, if asked I’d give a general statement that there were still some classmates that struggled with raising their hands.
There’s Always Room for Improvement
No plan is ever perfect the first time it is implemented. There are two parts of the Streak that are a struggle. One is the calls used in the class and the other is keeping track of the Streak.
- Class Calls
- Because the Streak is tilted the Tacēte Streak, students honor the call “tacēte,” but struggle to realize it’s any call that is used to signal the class. I struggle with repetitiveness, which as a new teacher I’ll have to accept at some point. Because of this struggle, I use a few too many calls to call the students to attention. Therefore, if you use a streak with this similar purpose, establish a singular call if you do not struggle with repetitious behavior like myself. For more information on my class calls and chants, check out the post!
- Streak Tracking
- We post the Streak tracker on the class website for students to see, along with an explanation for parents. While Flippity is great, I have yet to find a way to code cells to increase each day on their own so that I only have to adjust the Streak if a class loses. (Therefore, if there is a reader that could help me out with Google Sheets coding, I’d greatly appreciate it). Some ways to help with tracking is noting the day a class lost their streak and keeping that up to date so that you know which day they need to gain it back in order to not get a seating chart. Another would be having a physical streak in the classroom, opposed to the digital one. A physical one could be a calendar with a line for each class (if you’re in the secondary classroom) which you can check off or x-out if the class did not obtain the streak. For more ideas, see the how-to guide on Finding Your Own Streak.