“The ultimate goal of classroom management should not be on simple obedience, but on having students behave appropriately because they know it’s the right thing to do and because they can understand how their actions affect other people” by Carlette Jackson Hardin
Having classroom management is key to a successful learning environment. Teachers who are ready maximize student learning, minimize student misbehavior. As teachers make the instructional shift to a student centered and personalized learning environments we need to keep in mind classroom management best practices but also make tweaks to fit our new approach to student learning. Educators need to be purposeful about student’s space, time and materials is so that instruction supports student learning. Here are some tips and tricks to help support classroom management and personalized learning (PL) environments.
- Rules and Procedure: Just because your implementing a PL environment doesn’t mean that your class should not have rules and procedures. The difference is the students should be involved in making the rules and procedures and it needs to be consistent. You will be surprised how many good ideas they have.
- For example, one teacher told me she was having difficulty when the students transitioned into math workshop. She would put the groups up on the smart board and they would all run to get the materials and go to their spots. She addressed the class about this issue and one student suggested the first persons name in the group should get the materials. The class agreed and this procedure was put in place. This saved her 3-5 minutes of instructional time because she wasn’t dealing with the ‘fighting’ over materials and she could get started with her small group right away.
- Morning Meeting: It is important to establish a safe learning environment and set the stage for a successful day. Often times teachers think that morning meeting takes up to much of valuable instructional time that the students are ‘freshest’ but in actuality you gain more instructional time because the students have time to focus on the daily and build relationships not just with their classmates but teacher as well. Students are coming in with more ‘baggage’ from home and this time allows students to set up for success.
- Noise Level: In a PL classroom, there is going to be noise as student are collaborating and moving about the room to different areas based on their needs etc. Gone are the days where you can say ‘shh’ as students are actively learning different ways. Here are some suggestions:
- Have classical music on and explain if the volume goes over the music it is too loud.
- Having a signal such as hand up or peace sign gains the student’s attention to redirect them to think about their volume level without stopping the whole class.
- Visual aide to display when kids are in group work areas. Example cups…green=great volume control, yellow= volume is getting too loud, red= volume is WAY too loud.
- Having procedures when you are working in a small group such as using six-inch voices.
- Call and Response: In a PL environment, there is not a lot of whole group instruction but sometimes you need to address the whole class. Having a ‘call and response’ procedure in place is important if you need to address them. Some call and response ideas:
- Class, Class…..students respond with Yes, Yes
- Holy….students respond with Macaroni
- Stop…students responds with Collaborate and Listen (my favorite and what I used with my class, my age is showing)
- 10-12 minute mini lessons: Mini-Lesson are key no matter if you are doing whole group or small group instruction. The mini lesson should be short and focused on one strategy, skill, or concept.
- Turn and Talk: When one student is working a problem out on the board, the other students should not be sitting in the small or whole group watching the students. Instead, have students turn and talk and discuss how they got the answer with each other. Utilizing this time with not only improve the use of your instructional time but students feel more empowered that their work is important and are held accountable.
- Stoplight Cards to check for understanding: Green= all is well, Yellow= I have a question, Red= I am stuck. This avoids the line forming around the teacher, getting interrupted during conferring or small group mini-lesson. It helps the teacher facilitate the learning of the class and allows students ownership.
- Students rate themselves: Have the students rate themselves on a mini-lesson or topic to guide self-reflection. 4- Expert: I can teach it to others. 3- Practitioner: I can do this independently. 2- Apprentice: I can do this with help, I understand parts. 1- Novice: I need help as I don’t understand this yet. (It is key to add the yet as they will eventually understand and takes away the excuse, I can’t do it.)
- Consequences: The best consequences are reasonable and logical. A reasonable consequence is one that follows logically from the behavior and has students reflecting on their actions. Giving them silent lunch or no recess is not going to change behavior but having them reflect will. Here is an example of a great reflection station I saw in a classroom.
Other Classroom Management Resources:
Class Dojo (Web-tool to manage positive behavior)
I would love to hear your classroom management tips/tricks to help in a student centered personalized learning environments.