So far, classroom management has been the most challenging part about teaching for me. Firstly, because I am more of a caring person than an authoritative figure – both types are needed in schools and at times teachers must try both roles – and secondly, because the very nature of education revolves around intrinsic motivation. However, I believe that although teachers cannot make students have intrinsic motivation, being an extrinsic force and a reminder will never hurt.
With this in mind, I will be trying popsicle sticks question asking with my Grade 3/4 class so that anyone can be called upon at any time. I think it is also important to use my professional discretion, and call upon students at random, when needed. I will also be using a marble jar reward system, where I add marbles to the jar when students are being good. In the end, they get the reward of extra recess, as physical activity is vital for learning and the children also love it. The idea is that kids will support each other to make good choices and spend less time laughing at/or with those who are impulsive. Both of these ideas are from the Teaching Channel and have been discussed in my ECS 410 assessment class (see my Classroom Experiment blog post). Since most behavioral issues come from not understanding the work presented, I will be differentiating my work and stopping to check for understanding with exit questions and “thumbs up or down” breaks. These ideas are things I will be using in every grade I teach (3 to 12). Secondly, I believe behavioral issues come from an excess of energy so Brain Gym will be used in my 3/4 class and art drama cards for my grade 7/8 class. For my Grade 9/10 class, this article (and idea I read about in First Days of School by Harry Wong) is something I am considering. In summary, the strategy involves writing students’ names on the board every time they blurt out, etc. so that it acts as a visual reminder. These students often seem to want to avoid their work when it gets tough and it is hard to think of ways to keep them accountable for completing the work and not take away learning opportunities for those that are engaged. Things like sending them to the office or outside do not help because then they have achieved their goal and get to avoid the work. Hopefully this strategy works!
Classroom management will always be something that I need to focus on. It won’t ever be something I can ignore, as a well-managed class allows for learning and a class without management does not. What ideas do you have? How do you manage your classroom?