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2 Strategies

2 Strategies

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Published by: danblocker1212 on Nov 21, 2008
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06/14/2009

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RE-ESTABLISHING STRUCTURE
Ten Suggested Strategies
Before you Begin:
1.
Believe that you
can
“start over”
 
and reestablish structure inyour classroom.
While recognizing that the first few months of theschool year have allowed some negative patterns to take hold, it is nevertoo late to assert your authority and establish an orderly classroomenvironment. Your students this year need you to commit to change now.Resist the urge to throw up your hands and wait until next year.
2.
Have a clear plan for how things will change.
In order to clearlyarticulate and teach your expectations to students, your expectationsmust be clear in your own mind. After reflecting on the highest priorityareas of your classroom and accessing various resources (othercolleagues, your PD, videos, etc.), create an action plan that clearlyoutlines the steps you will take to start over.
3.
Realize that change will not occur overnight.
You will need todevote time to
teach
and
reinforce
your new procedures, as you wouldany academic skill. Lee Canter says it takes “at least two weeks of consistent effort to begin the process of reteaching students how youexpect them to behave.” Don’t be afraid to prioritize teaching behavior inthe middle of the year; time spent fully addressing challenges now willallow you to focus more on instruction in the future. Students will test thenew systems and try your commitment to change. Your determination willmake the difference.Strategy #1: Tell Your Students it is a New “Day One.”Once your plan for new procedures and routines is crystal clear in your ownmind, have a discussion with your students to clearly explain how and whythings will be different from this point forward. It is important that when youare doing this your tone is calm, confident, and matter of fact.
 Tell them that you will be raising your expectations for how smoothlyand orderly the class runs in order to allow more time for teaching andlearning.
o
“We have been having some problems in this class. I am veryconscious of these problems and I’m sure you are as well.Because we have to create a classroom where you can learnwhat you need to learn this year, these problems have to stop. Together, from this point forward, we are going to work toward aclassroom where I can teach and you can learn. Today and overthe next several days, we will spend some class time revisitingthe rules of the classroom and how things should happen in orderto maximize your learning. We’re going to start right now…”
 
A confrontational approach like the following would probably becounter-productive and would not motivate students to learn and worktogether for change.
o
“I can’t take it anymore. You all are acting up, not listening,being disruptive, and not acting your age. From now on, thingsare going to be different around here, so you better shape up orexpect to get shipped out.”Strategy #2: Start with the Big ‘Uns.Choose procedures that will have a high impact on the classroom structureoverall. You might start with how to enter the classroom and begin theperiod/day, as that usually sets the tone for the rest of the class. If yourbiggest problem is getting students to stop talking and listen to directions,determining an appropriate “attention getting signal” and teaching yourexpectations for student response to that should be high on your list. Youshould probably teach procedures for teacher-directed activities (such asasking questions during a lecture) before student-directed activities (such asrotating through centers).Strategy #3:
Teach
Your New Expectations. Teach your new expectations for one or two high priority classroomprocedures as you would any other academic content. Remember that it isnot enough to simply set expectations and communicate them to yourstudents you need to
teach
them until they are learned. Teachingbehavioral expectations for procedures involves the same process asteaching anything else, including modeling, checking for understanding, andassessment. A sample lesson for teaching students the correct procedure forentering the classroom is included at the end of this document.Strategy #4: Expect to be Tested. This is less of a strategy and more of a mindset, but it is importantnonetheless. You must expect testing of your new expectations. Beprepared to be extremely consistent and to demand perfect execution.Some students will have to be asked to repeat the procedure multiple times(on this day one and on future days) to be convinced that you mean whatyou say and you say what you mean.Strategy #5: Reinforce and Assess Understanding inCreative Ways.Sure, you need to model, ask students to demonstrate, and expect the wholeclass to execute the procedure. But you can do more than that to reinforcethe correct procedure to students. Here are some ideas:
Have students draw a comic strip of students following the procedurecorrectly and incorrectly.
 
Write skits and role plays have students perform in front of the class.Make them funny.
Provide written, humorous, scenarios for students to critique. Involvefamous people in them.
Give quizzes. Make them multiple choice, with 2 of the 4 options beingridiculous, off the wall answers.Strategy #6:
 
Don’t Punish. Just Repeat. The consequence for a poorly followed procedure is…to do it again. RobertKelty, New Mexico ’01, said that “the best thing I learned to do in myclassroom when teaching procedures was to calmly say, ‘Start over.’”Consider this excerpt from the Classroom Management and Culture Course:What happens if, after teaching a procedure, your students don’texecute the procedure properly? If you expect your students toline up silently with their hands clasped in front of them, andBrittney and Sheldon are wiggling around and swinging theirarms like windmills, you should ask the class to look at the line,determine what is wrong, and ask Brittney and Sheldon to returnto their seats and join the line properly. If you have taught yourstudents to pass in their papers in a certain way and they do soincorrectly, do you give them all a five-minute detention afterschool? No. You simply remind them of the correct process forhanding in papers and you ask them to do it again. The“consequence” for not following a procedure properly is to repeatthe procedure. However, sometimes your students will violate arule while a procedure is happening. For example, yourprocedure for entering class is to walk in silently, remove one’snotebook from the shelf, sit down immediately, and begin the DoNow. If two students jostle and loudly insult one another whilegetting their notebooks from the shelf, they are not carrying outthe procedure properly, but more importantly, they are alsoviolating the rule
Respect your classmates
. The proper responseis to give students the consequence you would administer forbreaking that rule at any other time
and 
to ask them to repeattheir entrance into the class correctly. Remember that rules arealways in effect, and breaking them at any time earns thestudent the appropriate consequence.Strategy #7: Introduce One New Procedure Every FewDays.Don’t overwhelm students with multiple procedures at once, but don’t justintroduce one and then wait three weeks to introduce the next. Repeat theprocess of teaching a new high-priority procedure every few days. Again,remember to
teach
your procedure as you would any content.

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