Classroom Management

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ccwalker, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. ccwalker

    ccwalker New Member

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    Oct 23, 2012

    I am struggling. I know that my classroom management, and disciplining, is lacking. I've had difficulty with it since the first day teaching. I am having an even more difficult time this year, as the school I am at is so small, I am unable to reach out for additional help from outside the classroom.

    The school I am at has 65 students in grades K4-8 (21 of which are in 5-8, the grades I teach). We have six teachers who are there five days a week, but the combination of our contracts only equal five teachers. Our principal is only 80% full-time, and will soon be only in school 3+ days a week. She has told me I need to do something to improve my classroom management, which I am aware of, and has told me of a classroom management workshop I should attend. The problem is, I don't have the funds to pay for the workshop, and the school won't prepay (only reimburse).

    I just don't know what to do. I'm worn out at the end of everyday, and going home with headaches. I have tried to restore some order to my classroom, but I'm not getting any responses from my students. It probably doesn't help that I've had all of these students in prior years, and so I'm trying to break a 2+ year habit. It's just killing me.

    I don't know what to do anymore.

    Struggling in Wisconsin
     
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  3. Rebecca1122

    Rebecca1122 Comrade

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    Oct 23, 2012

    What are you doing now? Do you have any procedures, routines or systems in place to help you manage behavior? We might be able to make suggestions if you know what you are currently are doing or have tried.

    Are you having a lot of behavior problems or does your class lack structure? I always try and prevent problems before they even happen so I have a lot of procedures in place that minimize behavior issues from the get go.

    I loop with my kids for 3 years in a small school too so I feel your pain about breaking habits from the previous year with the same kids!
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Oct 23, 2012

    Welcome!

    Breaking this habit is going to take some time. I would get together a plan and then sit down and explain it to each class. Then follow through.

    We can help you put together a plan, but we'll need a little more details.

    Can you describe your day a bit? How many classes, how many different groups of children, how long are the classes, what subject are you teaching? What are you currently doing for classroom management and what are your procedures that you use?
     
  5. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 23, 2012

    If you don't have any strategies, I'd suggest picking up "Building Classroom Discipline" by CM Charles - its an intro book and explains a variety of different classroom management systems quickly. From there, you can chose to follow up with buying a book with a particular system that appeals to you. If you're looking for low-cost, the book route is the best (or only) in the short-term for many folks.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 23, 2012

    As long as the school will reimburse you for the workshop, why not put it onto a credit card and simply pay it off when you're reimbursed?
     
  7. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Oct 24, 2012

    I had similar problems my first year of teaching. All was solved when the principal taught a demonstration lesson in my class.

    I saw how the kids could be focused and engaged. Try to arrange observations in other classes or ask the principal to hire a retired teacher who's an expert in classroom management to spend a day with you.
     
  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Oct 24, 2012

    If you haven't already, read:

    Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones

    Then when you get the time, read First Days of School by Harry Wong (although the first days are over there can still be some usefulness to be had from this book).

    You will have to do your best to not only read it but ingrain it into your habits and apply it. I'm at that stage right now. Right after I review the book the next few days of teaching go very well, and then I begin to fall into non-efficient habits again and I have to review it again (Tools for Teaching).
     
  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Oct 24, 2012

    If you haven't already, read:

    Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones

    Then when you get the time, read First Days of School by Harry Wong (although the first days are over there can still be some usefulness to be had from this book).


    Pereguin is so right!!!!! This is the best thing that you can do. It helped me out so much in classroom management.
     
  10. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    Oct 24, 2012

  11. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Oct 26, 2012

    Take some time to get things under control. You must. If not, you can forget about them learning what they need to. I'm not quite sure of your whole situation, as you can tell from all my questions lol, but here's what I would suggest:

    1) Tell your kids that you have noticed that the classroom climate is not conducive to learning and that you plan to fix that. Discuss the importance of rules and procedures. Tell them the procedures for every. single. thing. (Sharpening pencils, lining up, going to the bathroom, etc.) YOU decide the procedures. Show them the RIGHT way, the WRONG way, and the NOT QUITE RIGHT WAY to do each of these things. Let them practice only the RIGHT way.

    2) Have them brainstorm rules with you for the class. Discuss and agree upon a few of the most important ones. Make up a poster with the agreed upon rules and have them sign it or send home a class contract for them to sign with their parents and return. Make a poster with the consequences for breaking the rules.

    3) Find something to use to mete out consequences- I use drink coasters, but they are difficult to find. You might use foam circles or squares, or even bright index cards. Explain to the students that when they break a rule they will receive a "card." The card belongs to you, not them, and they should leave the card on their desk and not touch it. Demonstrate how they should act when they receive a card (no comments, whining, etc.) Explain the consequences associated with the cards. Do not give them a couple days or a week to adjust once they've signed the contract because they know the rules at that point.

    4) Give out a card every time a rule is broken. If a rule is that they must be respectful, give a card every time someone acts in a disrespectful way. If a rule is that they must raise their hand to talk, give a card every time they call out. Then follow through with the consequence. Don't second guess yourself. Don't ignore behaviors you don't want to see again.

    It will take a few weeks, but you WILL see results.

    Be ready to review and practice the rules and procedures occasionally as needed, too!
     
  12. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Oct 27, 2012

    While a workshop is ideal, in this day and age, there are cheaper alternatives. I would buy the book Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones online at amazon.com or it might even be at a Barnes and Noble near you. A library might be able to get it for you on inter-library loan although it might take some time. Personally, I would buy it today.

    Otherwise, see if any of your colleagues or principals have a book on classroom management. It is very possible, another teacher might have one.
     
  13. MissApple

    MissApple Companion

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    Oct 30, 2012

    I have found classdojo.com to be the best thing ever for classroom management, even in high school. While you have to get your foundation of management down, I'd suggest adding Class Dojo on top of it if it will work for you.
     
  14. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    Oct 30, 2012

    Michael linsin wrote Dream Class. It is available to download through Barnes and Noble. He also sends out weekly emails to review and remind you of his techniques. This book changed my life and my teaching. Nobody can believe my class because they are excellent even for a sub. Many teacehers make snide comments that my class is loaded with good students. Not true!! This book is an easy read and you can start his techniques right away. Good luck!
     
  15. jvanwagner

    jvanwagner Rookie

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    Oct 30, 2012

    I've had a lot of success with the Responsible Thinking Process (RTP) both at schools that have implemented it and in classrooms where I've been subbing, across many age groups and communities.

    Basic idea is this:

    - Student is misbehaving/being disruptive/what-have-you. Approach them (discreetly, if you can; one point is not to make it public or embarrass them).
    - Ask, "What are/were you doing?" to have them identify their behaviour. Be clear that you are asking them what THEY are doing - NOT what the person they were talking to (for example) said or is doing. They are responsible for their own behaviours, including reactions to others, and it's important for that to be clear to them. So, if they start pointing fingers, just say "I'm asking YOU what YOU were doing, NOT what (whoever) was doing." If necessary, let them know that you may approach the other student(s) with the same question afterwards. If they don't cooperate or say "nothing", ask them to please work with you, and ask again. (My general rule is that if I have to ask this three times and clarify what I'm referring to, the student isn't going to work with me.)
    - When the student identifies their problem action or behaviour ("talking", for example), DON'T ask why; many students will justify their behaviour, and asking "why?" is asking them to do exactly that. Instead, ask them "What are you supposed to be doing?" and if needs be, help guide them to identify what it is they are (or were) supposed to be doing (such as "listening", "reading", "working with my group", etc.).
    - After clarifying what they are supposed to be doing, ask them "What is going to happen if I have to talk to you again?" - in many cases, they might not know, so you may have to explain that you will send them to the office, write them up, or do whatever it is you feel is necessary. Repeat offenders should know, especially if you use this process consistently. Having the student themselves actually SAY what will happen can be a crucial part of them identifying consequences and taking ownership of their behaviour, though, so try and get them to say so if you can.
    - Once the consequences have been covered, ask them "Is that what you want to happen?" - because if so, they will continue their behaviour (or say "yes", as I've had happen) and you can make it happen. Since they'll usually answer "no", however...
    - Finally, ask them "What are you going to do, now?", and usually they'll say that they'll do whatever it is they were supposed to be doing (as previously identified in an earlier question). Don't take "I'm gonna stop (talking, or whatever)" as an answer, however; you're trying to get them back on task, not just "do something else" (which can often include other problem behaviour).
    - Thank them sincerely for their cooperation.

    If they are approached again, your third question should be "What did we say was going to happen if I had to talk to you again?", in order to have them recall the consequences that they told you were imminent. Follow this up with, "What's going to happen, now?" so that they know you're being firm and consistent, and then carry out what you feel is necessary.

    In schools that have implemented RTP, they are sent to "RTC" (Responsible Thinking Classroom), a sort of in-school suspension. Unless they're a repeat offender, or a teacher specifies otherwise, their only purpose in being there is to fill out a sheet that includes questions like "What did I do to be sent out of the classroom?"/"Why was this behaviour a problem?"/"What will I do to improve this?", and then return to the teacher who sent them out with that sheet as a sort of "contract" for behaviour improvement. The teacher can either accept their answers, or send them back to RTC to improve them (which, for repeat offenders, is sometimes necessary, since "I won't throw paper at so-and-so anymore", for example, obviously isn't being done). Repeat offenders can be conferenced with at another time, too.

    When I student taught and long-term subbed, I made my own sheets and had students sit in the hallway (or off to the side) to fill them out. In every case, this met with great success; some younger students were a bit confused at first, but it wasn't even a week before the system became clear.

    It's important for the questioning process to take very little time, in order to minimize putting students "on the spot" in front of their peers and potentially embarrassing them, which can escalate many situations and make them much worse. Know what you're asking, know the answers if you need to help the student come to them, and be firm, direct, and consistent.

    I'm sure I missed something in there, but you can definitely Google it, or ask me if something is unclear. Hope this helps!
     

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