Classroom Management Thoughts

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by MrsHoot, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. MrsHoot

    MrsHoot Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2012

    This will be my third year in first grade and I had a doozy of a class last year. :) Well the whole first grade did actually. My principal and I set a goal to work on classroom management skills for me- I know this is my weakest area, and I want to get better! I know that I need to work on consistency and maintenance-as in referring back to it throughout the year.

    I have done a behavior clip chart and stop light, but apparently they are just not working for me. (then I usually have some sort of whole class positive reward system). So I ordered a few books to read over the summer and I really connected with it. Setting Limits in the Classroom by Robert J. Mackenzie. The quick sort of premise of the book is to offer a limited choice (you can continue working quietly at your desk or you'll have to go work at the back table) and then follow through with the action. I'm also currently reading positive discipline, which seems to coincide with the first book I read. It requires classroom meetings, which I like, and a lot of problem solving, modeling, etc.

    Does anyone have experience with managing their classroom like this? And do you happen to have a list of different classroom expectations you teach in order to develop a cooperative classroom? I really want to try this, although taking away the "stoplight" is a little scary. How do you explain this sort of classroom management to kids and parents?

    Thanks in advance for all of your help/suggestions!:thumb:
     
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  3. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Jun 28, 2012

    I did a classroom management series with a bunch of different tips and ideas last year. There are links to the different ideas here.

    I can't stress enough how important it is to have an organized classroom so that you aren't allowing even a second of downtime while you look for a misplaced paper and to establish very specific routines and expectations for EVERYTHING!

    Set high expectations, create an environment that allows for students to be independent and be consistent.

    Best wishes for a fabulous year!
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 28, 2012

    The parents will except your management, I wouldn't really worry about that. Kids will get the hint.

    I'd be more worried about students who refuse either option or when neither choice works for the student.
     
  5. MrsHoot

    MrsHoot Comrade

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    Jun 28, 2012

    Thanks, iheartrecess! Love the site, lots of great ideas! And mopar- you tailor the limited choice- as in one option is to choose to follow the rules by fixing whatever you are doing, the second option is an action or consequence. I think this would help me with consistency/follow through.
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    And what about the student who won't use the consequence. I had a student a few years ago that just refused to leave an area and would continue his behavior. Just something to think about.

    Also, how will you remember who you gave these options too? What about a kid who needs them all day long?
     
  7. MsDeb

    MsDeb Comrade

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    Jun 28, 2012

    I had "THE" class this year and tried so many different things. Very little changed. The last 2 months of school I decided to focus MORE (a LOT more) on the positive behavior. I started using http://classdojo.com/ and it was very effective. The top positive point earners got a reward at the end of every day (I used our school-wide currency) and a positive note/phone call home. I didn't ignore the bad behavior, those students still lost points and had negative notes/phone calls home but there was a dramatic difference! I was spending more time making positive connections with families! The good kids were AMAZING and some of the behavior problem kids were a bit put off by all the attention the good kids were getting and really turned around.
    All year, NOTHING I did changed the behaviors of my few problem students but this helped A LOT. If you haven't tried ClassDojo, I recommend you look at it.
    Not to say that this would work for every class because we all know that each class is unique!
     
  8. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Jun 29, 2012

    Consistency, yes. Easy to talk about but difficult to do. Pretty consistent and consistent most of the time don't cut it. You either are or you are not. There is no middle ground or "sort of".

    Probably the one area where teachers get into trouble with consistency is teaching a rule or procedure and then letting it slide for a variety of reasons - in a hurry; don't want to stifle a lively discussion ; too tired; give up; etc.

    If you know you won't stop every call-out at any time and reteach raising hand better to not have rule about raising hand before speaking. At least now you are consistent. On the other hand you have to be honest with yourself before making any rule. Are you prepared to stop instruction or whatever you are doing each and every time? I have observed in classrooms where on the wall is posted Raise hand and wait to be called on before speaking. The teacher even reviewed rule before starting lesson, "Remember to raise your hand and wait to be called on." I then watched as several students called out and nothing happened. When discussing this later the teacher explained, "The kids had such good ideas. I didn't want to stifle their thinking." Besides the academic lesson she was teaching a more valuable lesson was being taught... my rules are nothing but hot air.
     
  9. MrsHoot

    MrsHoot Comrade

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    Jun 29, 2012

    This is me- and I WANT to be consistent, that is the area I truly need to work on. I recognize that I do let things slide, and don't stop teaching to correct always,etc. I feel like I do a pretty good job setting up expectations during the first weeks... And then once we get more into academics, I start to let things slides or forget that first graders need modeling and reteaching throughout the year as well.


     
  10. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Jun 29, 2012

    Good self-reflection and very common. Once R&Rs are taught during first weeks a sort of "Okay, I'm done with that tedious stuff" can push discipline to the back burner ... on to the good stuff - teaching! But, like academic skills and concepts, kids can get rusty and forget. Add a little testing just to make sure teacher is the same person in January as in September. Although not much fun and certainly not the reason for choosing teaching as one's life work rules and routines need to be retaught, retaught, and retaught.

    Some teachers have success with not waiting for problems to surface and then reacting. They start each lesson with reteaching the rule or routine whether the kids need it or not. It's not so much the rule they are reviewing - the kids already know it - rather signaling with time that this rule is important, as important as the lesson itself. If R&Rs are not reviewed they must not be worth the teacher's time. If R&Rs are not important to the teacher they won't be important to the students either.
     
  11. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    Jun 29, 2012

  12. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I agree wholeheartedly with this in theory, unfortunately, for 3 of the past 4 years, I have had a child (or more) in my classroom with a "behavior plan," which basically means that I have to focus on only one or two rules for that child, and the rest of the class has a more distinct and extensive set of rules/consequences/rewards. The children with behavior plans get stickers, candy, computer time, whatever their reward is, even when they behave badly, as long as they follow their (very) few rules. As the aunt of both an autistic and an ED (emotionally disturbed) child (both boys) and the mom of a (now adult) child with bipolar disorder, I have dealt with behavior disorders in my personal life. However, I think that lessening the behavioral expectations for these children fosters more bad behavior from them, and jealousy and acting out from the other kiddos.
    end of rant.
     
  13. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    Jun 30, 2012

    Completely agree. I had a student who got lots of attention and rewards for the very few things he did right, while still doing a lot of bad behavior. It really made me mad, but it was a plan put together with the counselor when nothing else seemed to work. It was definitely not ideal.
     
  14. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jun 30, 2012

    I can see that. Why should the behavior plan mean lessening the rules? Perhaps the modification should be in how to work with the student. I can completely see how the other students would view this as unfair, and grow resentful, unfortunately, toward the other student. Does a behavior plans always mean lessening the number of rules, or expectations? This is an honest question. This past school year I had a student who I am very suspicious of being somewhere on the autism spectrum. He is very antisocial, even to the point of provoking other students (making faces, putting his hands or feet on them just to upset them). I still expected that he follow the same rules, but I had to work with him completely differently than the other students. It was not easy.
     
  15. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Behavior plan? Not sure what kind(s) of behavior the plan is attempting to remedy but it would seem fairly obvious improving the student's behavior is not one of them. Perhaps a more worthwhile endeavor would be to come up with a plan to improve the plan.
     
  16. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Unfortunately, at least in my district, the classroom teacher has very little input into the behavior plans for students classified as "E.D." That is the purview of the Special Education department as well as those in "Pupil Progression." (Don't ask me what their function is, 'cause I dunno!) The plan (and a ton of recordkeeping, none of which is computerized) is presented to the teacher with little or no explanation or training... instead, we are just told to "follow it," and "keep up with the paperwork." Fun, huh?

    I think the purpose of the limited number of rules is to give the child fewer things to think about, so they will experience more successes. You don't want my thoughts on that one.
     
  17. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jul 1, 2012

    Thank you; I've never heard of this site! I really have to check this out. I want to use something that will keep me organized this coming year, and I also want to reward the positive behavior way more than the negative.
     
  18. MrsHoot

    MrsHoot Comrade

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    Jul 5, 2012

    MsDeb- can you change the categories for positive and negative points? It's a super neat idea...

     
  19. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jul 6, 2012

    I really do not have much of a management program.
    I basically have students show the right way and the wrong way for EVERYTHING! Then if they do it the wrong way in class or wherever, they will show me the right way for one minute during their time...then two minutes...then three minutes.

    I really do not have many problems. Those that do, i address at the time as each group can be different.
     

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