Classroom Management

We would like to share some analogies on our views of classroom management with you.

Classroom management is like:

"...a technical manual because it should include everything that happens in your classroom. Just like you can look up any specific problem or topic in a technical manual and find information, you should have a plan, routine, or procedure for everything that happens in your classroom. This will ensure that things run as smoothly as possible."

~ Eunice Nickel

"...a romance novel because you want the students to fall in love with you and learning. You will have your up and downs like any relationship but in the end you want yourself and the other person to be happy."

~ Samantha Heasty

"...a travel guide because the school year is a journey that takes you many places whether they be smooth easy highways or rough bumpy roads. Like a good travel guide, good classroom management can successfully lead you though the school year. It can show you your destinations along the way, point out the "pit stops" where you need to stop and refuel, and finally help lead you through the school year on the smoothest road possible."

~ Conolley August

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Common Problems and Solutions

Teacher spends too much time settling students down every day:
The teacher should spend the first few days of school teaching students beginning of class procedures. This should include the teacher posting an assignment in the same spot every day and the students knowing that the procedure is for them to come into class and go about working on the assignment without being told to do so.

Not finishing your lesson on time or running out of activities before class is over:
It’s a good idea to script your lessons, at least for a while, when you’re a first-year teacher. Plan them out to the minute with how long each activity will take. Until you get a feel for how long things take, over plan and you can always pick up where you left off the next day. Having a timer with you will also let you know when you’re nearing the end of class so that you can wrap things up before the bell rings.

A student talks back when called upon for breaking a rule:
Sometimes students will come back with phrases such as “What did I do?” or “Everyone else is doing it.” The best thing to do is stay calm, and not to argue. Simply say “Because you chose to break the rule” and refer to which specific rule was broken. You are simply holding the student accountable for a choice that they made. And leave it at that.

Students are falling asleep in class:
As a general rule of thumb, students can only sit and focus on an activity for the number of minutes equal to their age. For example, you should switch activities for 10-year olds every 10 minutes. This could include a simple stand and stretch break, a quick turn to your neighbor and reflect/review time, or switching to a new learning activity.

Students are not engaged in the lesson:
The way you design your lessons can have a significant impact on student engagement. Find a way to connect to students by tapping into the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modalities. Use the EEL Dr. C framework. Enroll Students with a hook. Experience allows students to have something to connect to. Label is the teaching of the concepts and skills by relating them to the Experience. Demonstrate how to apply the knowledge. Review the material using multi-intelligences by using a different context than the original lesson. Celebrate what you have learned!

Students do not do their homework:
Students need to know the objectives or purpose of their homework. Use succinct, clear sentences to communicate these to the students. Have a certain place and format for communicating assignments to students, and stay consistent with that format. Students need to know what is to be achieved, and not merely the chapter or page number to be covered.

Students do poorly on their first test or assignment:
The criteria or objectives that students are to be learning should be communicated to them up front. The teacher should also post good examples of assignments and tests ahead of time so that students know what to expect and what they are supposed to do on their own test or assignment. The teacher should explain how a finished test or assignment should be done in order do well and achieve the desired outcome. Students will recognize your positive expectations and you will be setting them up for success.

Students complain about groups for cooperative learning activities:
In order to have students move into groups quickly and effectively, a positive classroom environment and explanation of groupings can help. Students are more likely to be successful in groups when they like the class and feel safe. So activities at the beginning of the year to build rapport and learn procedures are essential. When dividing students into groups for cooperative learning, be sure to explain that there are a certain number of students in each group so that all jobs will be done. Also remind them that they will work with this particular group for as long as the activity takes, but then the group with be disbanded. They will have many opportunities during the year to work in groups, and each time the group with be new.

You notice that students are in their groups, mostly talking about subjects unrelated to the topic at hand:
Any time students deviate from what you expected, ask them to try again. Be consistent and give specific feedback so that students know what is expected of them. In this case, you could get the class’s attention, and make sure all students are facing you and listening. Recognize things they were doing well, and then tell them that you observed them talking off task. Ask them if they need clarification of directions or if they have any questions. Ask them what needs to happen for them to get focused on the task at hand and solicit their ideas for a solution to the problem.

Communicating with parents regarding misbehavior:
One idea is to have the student fill out an action plan, answering the questions, 1) What’s the problem? 2) What’s causing the problem? and 3) What plan will you use to solve the problem? After completing the plan, ask the student to take the action plan home to show their parents. Then, when you call home to the parents, be sure to impress upon them that you are glad that their child is in your class. Then tell them that the purpose of the call is to discuss the action plan. Explain to them that the child came up with the solution and that you want their support so that all of you can encourage the student to follow through with their plan. This puts the responsibility on the student and also makes for a more positive conversation with parents.

You feel too busy and overwhelmed:
There are a lot of responsibilities and opportunities for new teachers in addition to preparing for day-to-day life in the classroom. You need to learn how to prioritize and how to say ‘No’ to things that you don’t have time for during the year.

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