Feedback on my classroom rules and procedures

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    I have been told that I am teaching 6th grade math next year and I wanted to start thinking about expectations and procedures. I would love any feedback that anyone has on them.

    Classroom Expectations: I found these rules online and I felt like they covered most things.
    -Be respectful.
    -Be ready.
    -Be responsible.

    But, I also really liked the expectations on these posters because they seemed more class culture oriented which I liked as well!

    http://grove.ccsd59.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2014/09/Screen-Shot-2014-09-20-at-2.39.57-PM.png

    I was also thinking of having each group in my class take a rule and make a bubble map of what the rule means. That way I would not have to do the majority of the explaining and it would be more student created. But with only three rules, I wouldn't have enough groups. (I have been told that class sizes are about 20-25.)

    Also, two other major rules are no electronics and follow directions the first time. I feel like these are general expectations, so do I need to post these as well, or could these go under another rule?

    Below I have listed some of my procedures. I would not give a list to students, but I was planning on teaching them as they come up. On Day 1, I was hoping to teach entering the class, exiting the class, and the bathroom procedure. Am I missing anything or should I change anything?

    Entering the class: Wait outside the door until Ms. XXX lets you in. Take the most direct route to your seat and take out all of your materials for today. Begin the Do Now quietly. (I want kids to wait outside so I can greet them in the morning, but I hope that they have enough room to line up outside. I know it can be tricky with lockers in the hallway. Also, many of the procedures that I have seen ask for students to enter silently. Do you think this is reasonable?)

    Exiting the class: Make sure all materials are cleaned up and wait at your seat quietly. When Ms. XXX will dismiss the class, you may exit the classroom. (I was thinking of dismissing table by table but that doesn't feel necessary. As long I have collected the papers and they have cleaned up, I think it's fine for them all to leave at the same time.)

    Raising your hand: During whole group lessons and class discussions, raise your hand if you have something to share. No calling out--this will not allow your classmates to time to think!

    Bathroom: Ask before you use the bathroom. Unless it is an emergency, do not ask while Ms. XXX is teaching. Sign out before you go to the bathroom. The best time to go to the bathroom is right before class starts.

    Leaving my seat: If you need to leave your desk to sharpen your pencil or get a Kleenex, you may do so without asking. However, please do not sharpen your pencil while Ms. XXX or a student is talking.

    Absences: If a student at your table is absent, the person who sits right next to the student is responsible for collecting their work. Put their name on each page and staple their work together. Then, put their work in the absent folder for our period. When the absent student comes back, they will find their work in the folder.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
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  3. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I'm not a middle school person, but, overall, I think your rules and procedures sound fine. My two recommendations would be:

    - Let the students help create the rules. You may know what you what them to be in the end (the ones you listed), but let the students think that they helped you to come up with them, rather than having them think that you are doing it to them. Maybe put them in groups like you mentioned, but instead of having them decide what each expectation you've assigned looks like, have them decide what type of classroom environment they want to have, what type of peers that hope to work with. Then look for commonalities among the group responses to create a shared brief list of "community rules" that will achieve their desired classroom environment.

    - You mentioned silence or quiet a few times. I think it's totally fine to expect kids to be quiet at certain times. Just remember that, that more you allow them to talk at appropriate times, the less they will talk at inappropriate times. You have to give them that outlet on occasion when it's acceptable to you, or they will otherwise do it when you don't want them to. Do they really have to enter/exit absolutely silently, assuming you are finished with instruction/announcements, or do they just need to maintain low volume of voice while they transition? This was something I had to learn over the years. In the beginning, I went for the "silent during transitions" approach but then dealt with talking during lessons. I eventually realized that I didn't care if they made a one-sentence comment to their friend on the way to the carpet, so long as they were quiet once I was ready to start teaching. Just something to consider.
     
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  4. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    Jul 25, 2018

    Thanks bella84 for the feedback!

    I had heard of having the kids set up classroom rules/expectations before but I feel really unsure of how to actually do it without much teaching experience. I will also have three different classes, so would it be confusing to have different rules for each? I was thinking that for my first year, it might be easier to have a few general expectations and allow students to make sense of them. Even if I do create the rules, I was thinking of having a poster where they can share what they need from me as their teacher.

    I think that students should enter quietly so that they are ready to learn. In my student teaching, the kids came in loudly and it was really hard to get them in a good academic space. I also think that students should be able to talk when they are leaving. But I was thinking that they should be quiet before I dismiss them as I might have announcements to make before they go. I am also having my students work in groups and participate in turn and talks during lessons so I am hoping there will be enough time where they do get to talk.
     
  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    The trick is that you take input from all three classes one day. Then, the next day, you share with them what the other classes said. After you guide the class in reflecting on everyone's input, you still narrow it down to the three rules that you had in your mind to begin with:
    -Be respectful.
    -Be ready.
    -Be responsible.
    (Or something else, if you choose to change it.)

    You just have to guide them through the process to get buy-in and create a community, but, in the end, it's still the same rules that you envisioned from the beginning.

    For what it's worth, I am elementary, but I do teach two different classes. This is the process that I go through with them every year, but we always end up with one chart of rules on the wall that applies to both classes.
     
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  6. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    I teach high school so it is a different beast. My first year of teaching I did all the rules, rules, rules routine, having classes help come up with them, etc. Never touched it again. Now I just tell them all school rules apply, don't irritate me, let's start the math. I have found it to be more productive for me.
     
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  7. JimG

    JimG Companion

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    The only thing I would suggest changing is the absent work procedure. Making absent work available is the teacher’s job, not the students’. The easiest method I have found for absent work management is to just put the extra copies in the absent folder (one folder for each prep and day of the week) at the end of the day. It is each student’s responsibility to grab the absent work from the folder upon returning.
     
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  8. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I spend very little class time discussing rules. At the beginning of the year, I spend more time talking about procedures and routines. The rules are posted, but unless there's a problem, you can convey your expectations just by stopping a student from shouting out the answer and pointing the "Be respectful" sign on the wall. No discussion needed.
     
  9. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    We have classroom guidelines (rules) that we developed as a school. Teachers can add specific rules if they want, but it is really a moot point because I’ve never found anything that didn’t fit. We have four, and they are very similar to your main three.

    Outside of that, I just teach procedures.

    Having the kids help with the rules sounds like a good idea, but I’ve got six different groups of kids in my room. Too much.
     
  10. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    I was thinking that it might build ownership in students. But I could also just put a copy on the absent student's desk and put it in the folder with their name myself. My mentor teacher did the system with leaving extra handouts in a Monday-Friday folder but it was always really messy and the kids never went to find their work. It could have been that the procedure just wasn't clear to the students. I was thinking if I put their names on it, it would make them know exactly which handouts to pick up and I could write directions on it for kids if I need to.
     
  11. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    Can you share how you teach the rules to your students? Do you just go over them or do you do some sort of activity?
     
  12. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    That's how my high school classes were. I've never worked with 6th graders though so I feel like I need to be a little bit more elementary! They are all new to the school.
     
  13. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I use Randy Sprick’s CHAMPs system. It requires me to teach the expectations to the students using the acronym CHAMP. There is a visual posted every time we do that activity. I remind them of them every time. All year.

    C = conversation (who can you talk to, about what, for how long)
    H = help (how do you get help if you need it)
    A = activity (what are you supposed to be doing)
    M = movement (why can you be out of your seat)
    P = participation (how will I know you are doing what you are supposed to be doing)
     
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  14. JimG

    JimG Companion

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    Understandable. If it were me, I would be concerned that making students responsible for somebody else’s absent work would be a constant battle of reinforcing that expectation, especially since it would not be an every-day routine for any one student (the same student’s neighbor will not be absent every day).

    As for personally putting individual names on each absent paper every day, I have tried that system, and it was a lot to keep up with for six sections. I scrapped it only a couple weeks into that year. I know Harry Wong recommends putting each student’s name on the missed documents, but it was too much for me to keep up with myself.

    As for making the daily absent folders more organized, Manila subfolders worked well, for me, for multiple handouts in a day (usually one for notes and one for an assignment). This makes it clear to the returning student how many things he or she needs to pick up when they get back. I am considering this year to also log the documents on the whiteboard or a clipboard when I file them in the absent folders at the end of the day.

    Getting my high school students to be independent and rely on the absent folder system was a battle for a few weeks. They caught on after consistently enforcing it. Even later in the year, I would have students, here and there, forget and ask me what they missed. No big deal, I would just calmly direct them to check the folder, and they handled it from there.
     
  15. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    As I think about the conversation that you're having with absent work, I'm thinking that it's possible that sixth grade/middle school could be the first time that students encounter this. I can't speak for all elementary teachers at all grades, but I will share my own experience. Between teaching second, third, and fourth, I never have and don't intend to have any sort of make-up or missed work system in my classroom. In elementary, we do so much that doesn't involve paper that students can just retrieve from a file. For some things, I will write the student's name on the paper and keep it at my desk until we can discuss it, but, for most things, the student just misses out. So much of the work can't be made up. It's too interactive. If you miss it, you miss it.

    So, anyway, I'm not suggesting that you should do this too. I'm just suggesting that you might need to highly structure and scaffold whatever you do, because this could be a whole new concept for students who are just entering middle school.
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This is what I do with my Grade 7 students. There are occasionally worksheets or textbook pages that students can grab and do on their own time, but often that follow-up work has been prefaced by rich group tasks, hands-on activities or class discussions that can't be replicated.
     
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  17. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    ^
    I think I would be selective about which assignments students are to make up. For example, if we started a project in class, they would need to make up the work. If we had a class discussion or did an activity that couldn't be made up, then I would excuse absent kids from that activity. I still do want a procedure for absent work for the work that does need to be made up. This year, I had a few kids who wanted to make up the work even if I said they didn't need to!
     
  18. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I have a missing work pocket chart. Every time I grade something, I write the names of those missing the assignment on the card. On the back of the card are instructions. When they turn in the work, they mark off the name. All self-service. We don’t have that many worksheets they just grab and go. Sometimes I don’t make them make it up at all. Other times I do. All they do is check the missing work chart. I’ve tried all different methods, and that one works best for my 8th graders.
     
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  19. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Boy we sure do love our acronyms in education, don't we?!
    :rofl:
     
  20. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Have you asked your future teammates if there are school wide rules/expectations that you need to enforce rather than creating your own? At my school every teacher is supposed to use the same rules and language as part of our PBIS system.
     
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  21. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    No, because I haven't been told who my teammates will be. I would actually love it if there was something schoolwide though -- it would make easier on me! My school does use a PBIS system. Good point!
     

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