Management/Discipline Strategies

Discussion in 'Job Hunting & Interviews' started by Maithal, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. Maithal

    Maithal Cohort

    Aug 20, 2005
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    Jul 22, 2006

    I have an interview Monday for a 1st grade teaching position and I'm trying to prepare for my interview by asking and answering interview questions. Please offer any feedback to this question...

    Describe how you discipline/management strategies –

    It is important to be consistent when setting the tone of the classroom. Starting with the first day of school, I discuss with my students what I expect from them as well as what they can expect from me. I work with my students to create our classroom rules so that they have ownership of these rules. I use positive words to convey these rules. I also believe in using positive reinforcement to praise students for good behavior and showing good work so that they can learn to feel proud of their accomplishments. One strategy used in the past is a traffic light system for behavior. This has been beneficial because it explicitly maps out for the students what the expected behavior is in our classroom. I also believe in having a “take a break” area in the classroom so that students have a place they go to to calm down. I place items such as squeeze ball, journal, and a poster displaying techniques for calming down. It is important to also use logical consequences for negative behavior. For students who do not seem to work well with the classroom wide discipline plan, I believe in setting up an individualized behavior plan tailored to meet their needs. This is something I have done when working as a 2nd grade teacher last year. I had a child who was very disrespectful and we worked on using kind words. Anytime this child used a kind word he was able to color in a circle on his behavior chart. When he met his goal for the day, he received a small prize. To me, it is important to know the children you are teaching and to find out what best works for them.

    Again, please let me know what you think or if there is anything I change, add, or take out. Thank you very much!
  3. goopp

    goopp Devotee

    Jun 18, 2006
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    Jul 22, 2006

    Unless they specifically ask about discipline, I think it's important to remember that behavior management is just that...managing behavior and really has nothing to do with the disciplining of students. Don't get me wrong, kids need discipline, but I try to focus the answer to questions about behavior management on my procedures and how the kids will be so busy, their shouldn't be many discipline problems. This is the info I gave the principal at my last interview...I think he was impressed with it.

    Behavior Management

    Implementing classroom procedures


    • Greet the teacher and enter the classroom quietly.
    • Hang your sweater/jacket on your hook.
    • Take out your Take Home folder and hang your backpack on your hook.
    • Place your folder in the basket on my desk, be seated and begin working.
    • Please raise your hand if you need my attention.
    • When I need your attention, I play my music box. Stop what you are doing and make eye contact with me to show that you are ready to listen,
    • Keep your voice low at all times. In the hallway and during announcements there is no talking,
    • Respect each other at all times. Respect other students, teachers, principals and visitors to our campus,
    • Use your best manners at all times.
    • Speak in complete sentences.
    • Wash your hands often.
    • Clean up and put back items you use, neatly.
    • Keep your hands and feet to yourselves.
    • Running is only allowed during PE games and on the playground.
    • When someone enters the classroom, continue working quietly and follow all classroom rules and procedures.
    • Sharpen pencils at the end of the day in preparation for the next day.
    • Keep three sharpened pencils in your supply boxes, ready for the next day.
    • Clean your desk area at the end of the day.
    • Place your chair on your desk and wait until the teacher asks you to line up.
    • Follow all classroom rules and procedures when visiting teachers, parents or substitute teachers are in the classroom.
    • Be on time and at school every day.

    Transitions between lessons:

    Getting students attention – I make sure I have the students FULL attention before giving directions. I plan to play a music box to get their attention. I will wind the box on Monday, if there is music left on Friday, they will get free time in the afternoon. I will wait for children to settle down and make eye contact with me. It’s important that I am not talking before they are listening.

    Giving instructions – I try to keep instructions brief. Multi-step directions are hard for many children.

    Using a signal – I teach my students not to start any task before I give a signal. If I ask them to take out a book and turn to a certain page, I have found that they start banging around in their desks for the book and miss the rest of the instructions. Instead, I say “When I say the magic word, gumdrops, please take out your pencil and math book (pause) gumdrops”. I also use other signal words, such as go when I want students to follow my directions

    Multi-step directions – There are times when I need to give multi-step directions. If I ask students to put away their journal and pencil and get out their reading book, I have them repeat directions back to me by asking questions. I might say, “What 2 things should you put away?” “Right.” “What should you get out?” “That’s right, ready, go.”

    As the year progresses, instructions can become longer and more complex – I might say, “We are learning a new vocabulary word in science today. When I give the signal, you need to put away your math books and look for the new word in your science books on page 72. Raise your hand as soon as you find it. When I give the signal, please put away your math books and take out your science books (pause). Ok, go.” While students are transitioning I would write, New vocabulary word, pg. 72 on the board, to help the students who don’t remember what to do next.

    Starting new lessons – Once most of the students are ready, I countdown to rush the stragglers and get the class focused. The countdown is usually quick…5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0…ok, Can someone tell me what the major parts of a plant are? (Going right into our lesson).

    Into and out of the classroom:

    Coming into the classroom - I plan to teach my students to look at the board for directions every time they enter the classroom. If students come in and begin a warm-up or assignment, it helps to discourage them from talking and playing with one another when I’m preparing to teach. This gives me time to speak to individuals about problems they had at recess, at specials or in line as well as to gather the materials I need for the lesson.

    Lining up – I have two methods I’ve used to get students in line. I prefer to make a game of it by choosing a student to pick the quietest kids to get in line. The “chooser” walks around the room and softly taps the shoulder of the child that is being quiet so they can line up. Students should be chosen boy/girl to keep a student from only picking those of the same gender. Once a child is chosen, they get in line…if they talk in line, they must go back to their desk and wait until they are chosen again. This game helps keep the room quiet during our going out transition, and it is easier to keep the students quiet in the hall if they start out that way in the room.

    The other method I would use, if I find that they class needs more structure is to create a “line order”. I would assign students a position in line and would post the order at the door for substitutes to use. Every few weeks I would move a group to the back and move the others forward, keeping them in the same order to prevent problems.

    Utilizing ‘Brain Breaks’:

    Research shows – The concept of brain breaks is based on research that shows what teachers have always known; young students have attentions spans of only a few minutes and therefore need to have frequent physical stimulation and exercise as a break.

    Brain Breaks can include – classical music (research suggests that certain composers, especially Mozart, used mathematical sequences in their music that cause people to perform more highly in math); unlimited drinks of water (the brain is able to ‘absorb’ new information more easily when the neuro-pathways are hydrated) and time to walk around the classroom and talk quietly with friends (a break from concentration).

    Length – I use brain breaks as a 5 minute transition period between math and another subject. This creates a down time for students in which they can not read, draw, do work or anything else that requires concentration. They can relax, chat with others, examine things on the walls or displayed around the room, talk with me, etc. If even one child’s voice rises above a whisper, all the children must return to their seats. Because they value this time, students are very good at giving each other the silent signal and encouraging each other to stay quiet.

    Benefits – Brain breaks give me time to get my materials together for the next lesson and also to talk one-on-one with students. It gives them a chance to share with me about lost teeth, upcoming vacations, fights with siblings or sometimes personal issues that a child needs to confide to an adult.

    In the hall:

    Students will stay in line without touching each other or the walls. We will walk in a straight line with no talking allowed.


    Recess is free time – Every child needs time to run and play without instruction. Procedures are still followed, respecting others as well as self is as important on the playground as in the classroom.

    End of recess – I will walk to the playground exit and raise my hand. Students will raise their hands to let me know they see me and line up in an orderly fashion. While hands are raised, there is no talking.

    Cleaning up:

    The STUDENTS’ responsibility – Cleaning up is always the students’ responsibility. I am very specific about how I want the room kept, and I model that behavior daily. I also like to brainstorm with the class the qualities of a clean room.

    Throwing away trash – Students can not throw away trash without permission. This keeps kids from finding a staple or small paper scrap and taking the long way around the room to get to the trash can and back. It also creates order when the entire class needs to throw away trash, such as after a cutting project. During projects with lots of paper and cutting, a basket will be placed on each “table” and all trash can be collected in that during the lesson. Then only one person can empty it at the end of the project.

    Clean desks – I like to explain to my students how their desks should be organized. If books and folders are stacked neatly and everything kept in its place, it makes transitions between lessons quicker and more orderly. Many students are not taught organizational skills at home, and I think it’s important that children learn to organize themselves.

    I believe that it is important to teach organizational skills and cleanliness to kids. Taking care of one’s belongs may not be a skill on standardized tests, but it is a critical skill needed to survive as adults.
  4. JustWondering

    JustWondering Companion

    Jul 12, 2006
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    Jul 22, 2006

    When I was in second grade my teacher had a pine cone. It was dubbed "The Dreaded Pine Cone" and a student with an exceptionally unorganized or messy desk had to keep the pine cone on their desk until it was corrected. I once had this pine cone for two weeks. I figured I already had it so why not keep my desk the way I liked it. Well she eventually decided to flip my desk and make me clean it. During the time I had the pine cone I apparently ruined her 5 or 6 year old pine cone from picking at it when I was bored. She was not happy with me about that either! But I still remember that "Dreaded Pine Cone". I don't know if schools would allow it now but most of the time the student cleaned the desk that day during break time to get rid of it. After all, it was "The Dreaded Pine Cone!"

    Sorry but the post reminded me of that silly pine cone!
  5. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

    May 2, 2006
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    Jul 22, 2006

    I would also try to mention how if you keep parents informed about day to day activities and the happens in the classroom then management is so much easier. Also, like goopp said it might help to mention how much you appreciate the information from Harry Wong.

    I like your answer goopp! very detailed!
  6. njeledteacher

    njeledteacher Cohort

    Jun 20, 2006
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    Jul 23, 2006

    Goopp - that's a really comprehensive answer about classroom management. Great examples! I think it's important to mention positive reinforcement and some sort of reward system.
  7. goopp

    goopp Devotee

    Jun 18, 2006
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    Jul 23, 2006

    I printed that info out and had it in my "leave behind" folder. I did talk a lot about positive reinforcement. I agree, that's very important.

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