So many details to make the class run smoothly.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by SashaBear, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. SashaBear

    SashaBear Companion

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    Jul 14, 2010

    I've never had a classroom of my own so please excuse me. I've noticed during my subbing and while reading these boards, that it takes such little details to make a class run smoothly. Bell ringers, agenda checkers, homework checkers, organization. How do you come up with all this? What small things do you do in your classroom that make everything work?
     
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  3. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Jul 14, 2010

    One thing I've learned and I'm still a baby in the field (5 years with my own class), you need to make the mistakes and tweak as you go along. This is where years of experience is really the key. You can learn all you want from books, classes, etc, but the experience of what you did right, wrong, etc. is what will make it stick in your mind.

    I've found that I've easily forgotten about a cool tip I learned at a workshop, but my improvements have come from not wanting to repeat a scenario that I've experienced, so I come up with workable solutions to address it. Over time those solutions build up to create smooth running, efficient classrooms. I have a long way to go, but every year I come away with new ways to improve, based on my mistakes that year.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 14, 2010

    To be honest, I'm not even sure. As Canadian Teacher just said, after a while it become second nature.

    I think one of the major things is making optimum use of the time you have. Every single time you leave a class of kids waiting for you to transition from one activity to the next, it's a problem waiting to happen. (Not to mention an opportunity to get a little more content in there!) So a class that's busy from bell to bell is likely to be a whole lot better behaved than one that sits and waits everytime you have to figure out what you want to do next.

    The key to that is planning.

    Here's how my class works, every single day:

    - I have a Do Now problem (or problems) prepped. Very often I use SAT prep questions, even with my freshmen. I put them up on the projector as the bell rings. We immediately start with a prayer (Catholic School.) Then they do the Do Now as I take attendance and check the homework. (No dead time as I do this administrative stuff; they have work to do.)

    -Then we go over the Do Now.
    -Next, I ask if there are any questions on the homework,and I go over the problems for a few minutes.

    - Next, I present today's topics and we do a few problems.

    -I ask the kids to help me develop the "Process" that we use to follow these problems. These notes go up on the board in their own words (with occasional paraphrasing from me.)

    -Then we do more examples, getting increasingly more difficult, until the bell rings.

    Planning is the key to it all. I have the Do NOws ready to go up on the projector. I know what topic I'm covering. (AT this point, I don't have to rely on notes. But way back when, the notes were typed out and right there in front of me.)

    I have a ton of problems ready to go. (Again, at this point, I tend to make up a good deal of the problems I do. But in the beginning, or if I want a particular type of result, the problems are there in front of me. I'm not paging through a book trying to find them.)

    Now, summer, is the ideal time to get some of that prep done for those of us who know what we're teaching next year!
     
  5. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Jul 14, 2010

    There one problem that seems to crop up for me no matter how well I think I've planned. Let's take the Do Now problem. What about the kids who rush through it and do it all wrong. They think they are done but aren't even close? Also, what about the 'helpless' kids who can't ever think their way through something and just keep saying "I can't do this"? They sit there because they won't try to figure it out or they disrupt. I haven't figured out how to deal with these particular situations. Any ideas?
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 14, 2010

    Then you need a policy.

    Anyone who is in over his or her head or finished with the Do Now is to write his or her times tables... specify which one. The practice can't possibly hurt. (And by the way, I've asked kids to do their 27 times tables; no reason you need to stop at 12 :))
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 14, 2010

    The main things you need to get a handle on are curriculum and classroom management. Have a plan for behavior management- without this, all is for naught.

    Having your class help create the rules is a nice way to get them involved and give them ownership of their behaviors. TEACH procedures (pencil sharpening, bathroom policies, homework, what do do when done...).

    Here are some of my daily classroom routines/procedures:


    Morning routine- I have a morning message on my board each day listing what needs to be done as the students come into the classroom. This could include choosing reading books, completing a ‘do now’, putting library books in the return bin, turning in permission slips, etc.

    Bathroom- I teach the students sign language for ‘bathroom’. This way they can make a request to use the bathroom without interrupting instruction. When I nod approval, the student takes the bathroom pass (girls’ or boys’) and puts the pass on his/her desk. They then sign out on laminated sheet by door. I keep track of those who seem to make ‘frequent visits’.

    Pencils- There’s a basket of sharpened pencils by the sink. I have a ‘take one, leave one’ policy. I try to limit student use of the sharpener.

    Family communication- Homework helpers (signed nightly by parents, checked daily by me), Friday folders (checked weekly by parents), ‘Happy notes’, periodic phone calls

    Seating- Students in my classroom each have a personal desk. I change the seating every other month or as needed for behavior/academic reasons. When it is an independent work time, students may often choose to work on the carpet with a clipboard, at their seats, or at another table if space is available.

    Student numbers- Students have a ‘number’ based on alphabetical order. This helps with return of folders, forms, etc. Playground ball use is also based on class number so there are no fights!!

    Ketchup- Mustard folders (catch up and must do!)- These are folders in the students’ desks with work that is in progress, needs to be completed, or enrichment activities that can be pulled out when other work is done, after snack, or as time permits.

    Home folders- Go home every night with homework helper and any time sensitive school communications. Parents sign the homework helper nightly.

    Friday folders- Sent home every Friday. Folders include student work samples, corrected homework helpers, school communications. Parents sign the Friday folder each week.

    Schedule- Schedule for special area teachers (art, music, PE) is posted in room. Schedule of ‘pull-outs’ for students (speech, resource room, etc.) is located at my desk so I can remind myself when kids need to get to these teachers-
     
  8. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Jul 14, 2010

    Sounds simple enough, with that tedious task, they may just prefer to spend the time on the assigned problem instead and try to work through it. :cool:
     
  9. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Jul 14, 2010

    I'll ditto the "bell-to-bell" work. We transition from class to class, and I meet them in the hall when they are dismissed from one room to the next. They come in to the same seat they've had for about a month or two, there's a person who hands out the notebooks (I prefer keeping the writer's notebooks in my class) and bam! We're off and running. I'm standing at the front of the room watching the monitor pass out the notebooks and talking to the kids about something. There isn't any wait time.

    And be here, be there, be everywhere. Constantly scan the room and move anyone without comment who is disruptive. They don't need an explanation. They know what they are doing. And you don't have to frown when you move them.
     
  10. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 14, 2010

    Like others have said, you'll find your groove soon enough once you get in the classroom. In the meantime, figure out two or three things that you think are going to be a big deal for you, and figure out how you want that to work in your classroom.

    Some people are driven crazy by students talking out of turn. If that's going to be a hot button issue for you, figure out how you want your students to respond to you, and make a procedure for that.

    For me, that doesn't bother me, but I am a stickler about how students turn in assignments, so I have a clear procedure for that.

    Make sense? You aren't going to be able to (or want to) micromanage everything, but based on your personality, try to think of what you know will be important for you and build slowly.
     

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