Need Classroom Management Suggestions

Discussion in 'Music Teachers' started by tuttiflutiecutie, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. tuttiflutiecutie

    tuttiflutiecutie New Member

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    Dec 28, 2016

    Hi Everyone,

    I recently had my first evaluation and was told that while my lessons are excellent and clearly well planned that I need to improve my classroom management before the next observation in February.

    I am looking for some realistic suggestions from other music teachers. I got 2's in my classroom management so I need to make some improvements fast.

    I teach grades 3-6 instrumental music. Students in grades 3-4 learn recorder, students in grades 5-6 learn a band or orchestra instrument. Students receive this class once a week for 37 minutes. I travel from classroom to classroom so there is not a lot of time to set-up charts or anything fancy.

    Right now, I have a set of five class expectations that I put in place at the beginning of the year and made sure the students were well aware of. For behavior issues, I usually begin with a verbal warning and reiterating what needs to change about the behavior, the second warning the kids get a "think sheet" to fill out and reflect on what is happening, by the third warning they are required to have it signed by a parent, if the behavior continues to a fourth warning they will need to get it signed by a parent.

    For positive reinforcement I usually just use verbal praise or give out stickers.

    Please let me know if you have any ideas that could work for my situation. Thanks!
     
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  3. Obadiah

    Obadiah Cohort

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    Dec 29, 2016

    I'm always amazed at how the tables get turned onto the teacher in these situations. It's not the teacher who's misbehaving--it's the students. Anyway, a few thoughts that might assist in getting the students settled down. First, please be aware that any advice you receive from the Internet is approaching your particular situation blindly. Some ideas that work in one situation might not work as well in yours. Also, it's important to realize that there are no magic words or formulas to produce good behavior. We teach kids, not program robots. (Oh, I wish some administrators would realize this)! There are two schools of thought on behavior management and I've seen success from both, but I fall into the camp that aims for consistency, especially at an elementary level. When a teacher follows consistent procedures, the class is more comfortable with the rules and consequences because people, especially this age group, tend to appreciate routine. The routine actually becomes the manager rather than the teacher her/himself. Of course, in your situation, a different approach is needed. Sometimes that happens, and students, especially this age, are generally understanding about that. I would be honest and tell the class that we need a new approach. Probably, most misbehavior is coming from the same few students, not the entire class, and your approach of not condemning the entire class is an excellent idea. Invisibly, once you get the ball rolling, the behaved students will become the encouragers who will nudge the misbehavers into better conduct. I would caution against your warnings. You are actually giving 2 warnings (filling out a paper is not a consequence). I question why students need warnings. Aside from actual mistakes, it seems to me that giving a warning is like telling the student, "You are incapable of knowing that you just broke a rule." They know, and they might even be counting on the 2 warnings. Regardless, it has become a you against them situation. They are not being held responsible for their behavior, just for their consequence. I'm surprised that the heavy falls upon you; you are in the teacher's classroom so I'm wondering if the teacher could be informed about who is misbehaving. But back to your part, I would set up your music class society as in any other society. We have rules, everyone needs to work together to make this a successful venture, and rules have a penalty. Are you allowed to diminish recess time, such as 5 minutes? (Sometimes it's best to not tell them how much they've even lost. They just know that they lose recess and the more they misbehave the more they lose. 5 minutes to a child is like an eternity)! I would not continually send notes home to parents, unless the parents are supportive. Often in such situations, they are not, but I've seen other situations where that was the best option. Overall, though, I agree that parents eventually need to be informed. You are not the parent, they are. The most effective plan of action is to find a way to meet with the student, perhaps in the hall, and together work out a plan of action for the next lesson. Do more listening than talking, but realize, too, that this isn't a long conference; the main teacher is waiting to begin a lesson. Briefly (from a classroom teacher's perspective, I'd say 2-3 minutes) the student and I would discuss what needs to change, what s/he should do instead of the misbehavior. Next lesson, a secret signal can be given that you noticed her/him doing the expected behavior. I'd avoid rewards for good behavior. Personally, I question the research (such as Alfie Kohn's) that totally abolishes rewards; stickers are fun, and I like to add fun ideas to my day; but I agree with Kohn that rewards have a tendency to sour the process, to make the music lesson just something they have to endure to receive the reward. I'd strongly advise, strongly, strongly advise against candy as a reward. Sugary sweets can condition people to consume more and more of them, and kids eat enough sugar as it is already. Diabetes is no picnic (believe me!) and it leads to cancer and heart conditions. I hope you have a much better 2nd semester and a powerfully, extraordinary evaluation in February!
     
  4. Mr Magoo

    Mr Magoo Companion

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    Dec 29, 2016

    From a Subs point of view: 1 or 2 or even a very few students can be the difference from a great class to a horrible class.

    There was one class that I subbed for.

    I took a step back(So to speak) and looked at the class. There was one student, who if was not in the class, the class would be a great class.

    That student (From my perspective) made it his mission to bother or rile up every student in the class. He would randomly (It looked like - yet he somehow covered every student) would go from student to student - making each student upset in a different way - cheating off one, pulling the other ones hair, talking trash to the next one.

    I was thinking, you know - if that student was gone, this would be a great class.
    (I had a big pile of write ups for that student)

    So, I tested it out. I sent that student to the office.

    It was a wonderful class after that (At least for that short time)

    P.S.
    I still have students from that class (During passing periods) as they walk by, telling me * Thank You !

    :cool:
     
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  5. Obadiah

    Obadiah Cohort

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    Dec 30, 2016

    I agree with you that one student can sway an entire group situation. If I were a sub, I would have sent him to the office, too. But I've been reading lately of how societal groups cooperate and I've given special attention to classroom situations. I'm wondering about that one student. This is beyond a substitute's control, but for a regular classroom teacher and especially (hopefully) for a parent, such behavior should be a major red flag. I've been reading how some people/students fall into expected roles and then play out these roles, whether they be good or bad. Such a student as you described is trying to meet his needs, inefficiently, yes, but from his point of view, it's the only course of action that seems feasible. For many such students, they can't see beyond their own small personal experiences; they see their own cul-de-sac among the trees but not the entire forest community. Kids who act like jerks aren't really jerks, they just can't break out of the box that surrounds them. Someone needs to gain this kid's trust and let him talk it out and through listening and advising help him see the bigger picture of how he truly fits in with his societal groupings.
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 30, 2016

    OP, I think you're situation is quite difficult, you only have the kids for 37 minutes and only once a week. That is hardly enough time to ensure that they're used to your system and can practice procedures, etc. The fact that you're coming into their classroom might be a reason that they see you as a guest and not an authority figure.
    I don't know if this is helpful, but the only thing I can think of is to not give them as many chances as you are now. Currently each child gets 4 warnings, and the biggest consequence is a parent signature. I would give each child one warning and then remove them from the classroom, of course that would include a formal write up and phone call home. While they're sitting in the office or wherever you sent them to, they can fill out that reflection sheet. (of course I'm not sure about the system at your school or even if this is possible).
    I would of course communicate these changes to the students and then follow this system consistently.
    Maybe it sounds too punitive, but if you are supposed to make changes by February, that means you have 4-6 class periods of 37 minutes to improve everything, and that's not a lot of time.
     
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  7. PEteacher07

    PEteacher07 Cohort

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    Jan 5, 2017

    "The fact that you're coming into their classroom might be a reason that they see you as a guest and not an authority figure."

    I think that is a big problem and there isn't anything your can do about that. Each classroom has its own ebb and flow depending on the teacher who is in it. That classroom teacher may have different classroom management techniques for their classroom and then here you come walking in with your own ideas. I imagine that's difficult.

    Have you spoken to the classroom teachers about any specific thoughts that they have. They know their students better than you because they see their students everyday while you see them one time a week. If I have a problem with a class or certain students I will approach their classroom teacher. Perhaps that child had something happen in their life that I didn't know about. Had a bad morning. Who knows!
    ____________________________________________
    Do you have a cart or something that you travel with? I recently started using CHAMPS posters in my gym and I am really liking it. I have a poster for Entering the Gym, Teacher Instruction, Activity, and Leaving. I have a little megaphone icon that I move from poster to poster so the kids know what the expectations are at that moment. They are responding well. I have seen a reduction of kids who are asking for water or bathroom during the wrong time because the only poster that has the bathroom/water icon is the "Activity" poster. I am redirecting kids in an easier way. I note what poster we are using.

    I know that you couldn't tape them up on the wall, but you could put posters on rings and switch them when you needed, tape or hang them up on a cart if you travel with one. This is my teacher instruction poster. I feel like CHAMPS gives me consistency and consistency makes managing a gym of 60+ kids with a teaching assistant doable.

    [​IMG]

    I have also found myself saying "You will show me you're ready to ________ by doing __________."
     
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  8. Obadiah

    Obadiah Cohort

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    Jan 6, 2017

    PEteacher07, yes, how often I've seen students "misbehave" because they weren't really sure what the proper expectations were!
     
  9. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Habitué

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    [​IMG]
    I've been reading The Daily 5 and CAFE books (great reads, by the way,) and came across this quote. It's so true, but I think goes by the wayside. I had a "rough" group of kids last year (they drove the other teachers away and had the highest number of office referrals) and they were third graders. Many of them had a train wreck for a 2nd grade teacher who let them do whatever they wanted so there were no expectations for behavior (WOO) so I really had to spend a lot of time training them to be civilized. *I* had to model all the behavior I wanted, and we had to practice - practice - practice! When students know EXACTLY what is expected, and the consequences if they don't, things run smoother.

    It's hard when you don't have the kids all the time, just remember that if you need to STOP and practice procedures or expectations, do it! Now especially is the perfect time.

    Also if students don't have enough to do that's a problem. I've seen this in other classrooms (working as a sub) where the kid finishes early and the teacher tells them to "just sit there for a few minutes while your classmates finish up." :!?::!!:
    I always get nervous when I see that... but... yeah.

    :)
     
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  10. PEteacher07

    PEteacher07 Cohort

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    Jan 7, 2017

    Lea,

    I like your quote about what it look likes and sounds like. I have done that this year quite a bit. Like with a grade level where we were playing an aerobic type tag game and I had ppl standing around. I sat them down and made them state what someone who is participating appropriately is doing. They responded with sliding the beanbag on the floor, running, jumping over beanbags that were going to hit their feet, freezing with their feet wide if someone's beanbag did hit their foot. What are they not doing? Leaning against the wall, standing around talking their friends, etc. It helps for them to say those things out loud. That way there are no "I didn't knows" or "I didn't understand."
     
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  11. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Habitué

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    The books are fantastic, I'm reading them thinking, "YES!" They basically are talking to me. LOL
    :rofl:
     
  12. Education4all

    Education4all Rookie

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    Jan 9, 2017

    Everything a student does in class is what they are allowed to get away with. I see this so much, a teacher creates amazing lessons, that are beyond engaging but still have management issues. Classroom management should be the #1 priority for a teacher, not just in the beginning of school year, but every single day of the school year. When classroom management is your primary focus at all times, the academic part just falls into place and you can begin to teach the content.
     
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  13. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    The Daily 5 book not only taught me about a structure for my literacy block, but more importantly, it outlined how to explicitly establish routines and procedures. It was a game changer in my management approach.
     
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  14. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Habitué

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    The Daily 5 is definitely helping me develop a critical eye when looking at the reading curriculum. It seems like these programs have a lot of fluff, but we don't really focus in on teaching those key strategies and skills the kids need. I'm looking at how to adapt the reading program to fit CAFE / Daily 5 literacy.
    :)
     

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