Thursday, August 23, 2012

More on classroom management

I've been giving a lot of thought to classroom management this year. I know the groups of ESOL students I'll be working with this year can be a difficult group. This will be a huge change from last year's 4th grade ESOL students- they were so well behaved that I didn't even have to "manage" the classroom! They learned the rules quickly from the get-go and never pushed them. However, I think this group might challenge me, so I've been feeling the need to find a more specific system to put in place.

With that in mind, I've been wondering what effective techniques I can use to help manage behavior with this group. I've already seen some of them at work during my lunch duty in the cafeteria. Tomorrow, I begin pulling students to my classroom, so today I spent creating a rules poster and a consequence and reward poster. Then, quite by accident this evening, I stumbled across the idea of Whole Brain Teaching. My posters are going in the trash tomorrow!

I am beyond thrilled, and before I begin pulling my students tomorrow, I will be making a NEW rules poster, along with a new consequences/rewards poster to fit the Whole Brain Teaching System. I've already created some on the computer, but I'm not sure if our poster printer is up and working yet. I'll go in a little early so I can have some handwritten ones to hold me over until it is!

Here's the basic run down of the system:

There are five classroom rules....
  1. Follow directions quickly
  2. Raise your hand to speak
  3. Raise your hand to leave your seat
  4. Make smart choices
  5. Keep your dear teacher happy!
You start the system at level one (sort of like a video game), not revealing the later levels until they need to be implemented. To make the system as effective as possible, you want to spend as much time at each level as possible.

The first level is The scoreboard. It is pretty simple- for elementary students you have a smiley and a frowny. Each time the class as a whole is following directions, they get a smiley. Each time someone is not following directions, the class gets a frowny. Tally the points each week, month, or in my case (since I only have 30 minutes twice a week with my students) quarterly, and offer the students a reward like a party, outdoor time, game time, or iPod time. For older students, instead of a frowny and a smiley, you have student points (when the class is following directions) and teacher points (when someone breaks a rule). When the students get a point, the get a "one second party" to go "whoo hoo!!". When they get a frowny or the teacher gets a point, they get a "mighty groan" to go "oohhh noooo!", then it is back on task!
I'm thrilled because this seems like a relatively simple, engaging, and motivating classroom management system. I'm implementing this in my classroom tomorrow and I'm so excited about it. I will give you updates and tell you more about the levels as we move through them. In the meantime, go to the Whole Brain Teaching Website to learn more!!

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