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copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
Power Teaching Challenging Teens (and the rest of your class, too!)
Chris Biffle Chairperson, Philosophy and Religious Studies Crafton Hills College Yucaipa, CA 92399
copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
Many teachers contributed their ideas, insights and classroom practices to the techniques you’ll discover in the following pages. Thanks and deep gratitude go to the following instructors: Chris Rekstad, Jay Vanderfin, Heather Baltz, Andrea Schindler, Roxie Barrett, Angela Watkins, Zeke Stear, T.L. Brink, Julie Herman, Francene Fisher. This book was produced by the clever minds and busy hands of Power Teachers Press, a nonprofit, zero salary (!) company run by and for teachers. If you’d like more information, contact: Chris Biffle CBiffle@AOL.com 909-389-3338
Note: All materials in this book are copyright protected. If this book was purchased from Power Teachers Press, the purchaser is granted the right to create one printed copy. No part of this text may be reproduced electronically or by any other means without the written permission of the author. Individual electronic and printed copies may be purchased by contacting Chris Biffle. School site licenses are available.
copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
a Contents Introduction The First Minutes of the First Day Getting Attention Evaluating a Student’s Understanding Educational Chatting Voice of Command Talking One on One No Eye Contact Eye Contact Strategic Withdrawal Don’t Spit In Your Soup The No Whining Vow Teacher/Teacher Therapy Self Evaluation Class Evaluation Class Rules Class Rules Rehearsals Rules Buy In Classroom Procedures Adapting the Scoreboard Game for Challenging Students Making Disruptive Behavior Self Extinguishing The Guff Counter 6 9 18 23 26 29 31 35 36 38 40 42 44 46 50 61 65 67 97 100 108
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 5 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 Breaking Up Rowdy Cliques Breaking Up Talkative Pairs Keep the DeeJay Happy! The Please/Okay Game Student Leaders You Bet Your Detention Praise Therapy The Birthday Game Positive Tattling The Magic Stopwatch Game The Bull’s Eye Game Short Form Complaints Long Form Complaints Separation Agreements Item Contracts/Notes Home The Top Secret Brown Bag Afterword 112 117 119 135 140 149 153 154 159 162 164 171 174 181 185 187 189 Case Studies 1 First Year Teacher/ Power Teaching In Middle School 2 Power Teaching and the High School French Teacher 3 The Middle School Rebel: A Bull’s Eye Success Story 191 208 220 .
many of our teaching colleagues go home. there are too many different reasons why they . To paraphrase Tolstoy. We became teachers because we loved to teach. frustrated. in fact all around the world. Let’s face it. Christopher Biffle 6 a Introduction All across the country. Who enters our profession eager to combat rebellious students? Perform this thought experiment. tired. night after night. something in the air makes all challenging students less challenging. every happy family is happy for the same reason. but because they love it and are beaten down by fighting a few kids in the back row. weary of struggling with challenging students.copyright 2007. Not only would teacher morale instantly improve. Too many instructors are putting the majority of their energy into corralling the attention of a handful of students. There can’t be one cure for challenging students. Thousands of our gifted colleagues leave our profession not because they hate teaching. but also test scores would rise. Tomorrow. unhappy families are unhappy for unique reasons.
We believe the best strategy is to offer multiple techniques that can be combined. Mix and match them.. don’t give up on a technique until you’ve tried it for a month. Despite the claims of education consultants.copyright 2007. into a unique pedagogical design that works best for you. Joan’s mother is dying of AIDS and her father is an intermittently recovering alcoholic. If you try one strategy and then quickly throw it out and try another and another.. or longer. misery producing microcosm. John’s parents are junkies. Jill has been handed by the court from one foster home to another. there is no one-size-fits-all cure for student rebellion.000 educators. permuted. Every unhappy family is a unique. we have discovered a remarkable truth: techniques that help challenging . you may wind up with what you don’t want . And so forth. There is no single teaching bandage that will cover all emotional wounds. Christopher Biffle 7 are challenging. But. a challenging student who is even more challenging! After nine years of presenting Power Teaching seminars to over 3. modify any to suit your style. Jack is abused by his uncle. Use the following strategies in any way and/or order you wish.
The teacher is referred to as Mrs. perhaps even solve. we’ll call our challenging students John. The environment you create to help your most difficult students will nourish all your students. the multiplicity of teaching techniques does address. However.. (Note: In the following. Christopher Biffle 8 students to learn. Maestra. The grade is Any Grade In Middle School or High School . and painful complaints.. Each represents a different facet of the challenging student personality. “I’ve tried everything! I don’t know what to do next!” Here are 36 things to do next. ) . The strategies you’re about to explore probably won’t transform your difficult students into wondrous. attentive learners.copyright 2007. and Joan. any grade with Teenagers. improve the learning of the entire class. one of our profession’s most common.
right from the first minute of her first class. on the first day of class. Thus. Christopher Biffle 9 1 The First Minutes Of The First Day Mrs. She knew. She had to immediately get her students’ attention.copyright 2007. she couldn’t dink around. Maestra had the following diagram on the board. establish herself as the Leader and create orderly classroom routines. Maestra taught teenagers. Mrs. THE SCOREBOARD GAME More Homework Less Homework Today’s Homework = 10 pages RULE 1: KEEP THE SCOREKEEPER HAPPY .
” Mrs. You’ll find it is a bit unique. but a few of you were a little slow. Your goal is to reduce your homework. Oh. Christopher Biffle 10 With a firm Voice of Command (see chapter 5) Mrs. wrote the following under Rule 1. if you’ll follow Rule 2. “now you have 11 pages of homework! Pay very close attention.. CLAPYOURHANDS! .. It begins fairly easy. that was much too slow.. that was better . which today stands at 10 pages.. and I certainly hope no one is talking. Maestra then. Rule 2: Follow directions quickly! She said.. Maestra said. “Now.. Maestra then put another mark under More . I’m the Scorekeeper and I’m unhappy already!” Mrs. and I mean quickly!. that now means you have 12 pages of homework!” Mrs. and then it gets harder. Oh goodness. “Welcome to my class. Maestra then made a quick mark under More Homework and said.. Tell your neighbors who you think the Scorekeeper is . You reduce your homework by keeping the Scorekeeper happy. All semester we’ll be playing The Scoreboard Game. you can reduce the homework.copyright 2007. Unfortunately. dramatically.
Maestra said.. “Awwwwww. Maestra then demonstrated. Mrs. “Some people didn’t groan! Some people didn’t even lift . “Now.. When you get a negative mark on the Scoreboard. I will quickly point at you.. but not quite hard enough. Mrs. She then said. CLAPYOURHANDS! Much better!” Mrs. Maestra put a mark on the negative side and exclaimed. Then she said. Everyone needs to utter a mighty groan. Maestra then made a mark under Less Homework. One more time . Next. “I can tell that many of you are trying. they were much more in unison than the first time. your homework is back to 11 pages. lifting her shoulders and groaning..” Her students laughed..copyright 2007. Maestra’s students were laughing now. Mighty Groan!” No matter how quickly her students groaned. and lift your shoulders.” She didn’t care that they hadn’t clapped their hands perfectly . Christopher Biffle 11 Homework. Mrs. wait for it .. the point was that the second time her students clapped. “Now.. listen to me very carefully. “All right.” Mrs.
. and allegiance. Mrs. and laughing. of many students. Maestra had the attention. ‘Mighty Groan!’” “Awwwww!” her students cried laughing and lifting their shoulders. Many in her class were indeed working hard to keep her.. Christopher Biffle 12 their shoulders! I said. but she knew the Groan was far more important than the Oh Yeah. “Much better!” Mrs. and thus were back on Mrs. Maestra loved both the Mighty Groan and the Mighty Oh Yeah.. by telling them to give her a Mighty Groan. you can have a one second party! Clap your hands and shout ‘Oh. If she didn’t make a mark under “more homework” too often. happy. “Now. when I make a mark on the positive side. her students where groaning.. her students might be upset. Maestra continued. Maestra’s side. Mrs. or giving the Mighty Oh Yeah .copyright 2007. she could penalize her students without alienating them. Maestra had begun to move toward her first goal. Maestra demonstrated and soon. the Scorekeeper. At this point. to . they not only vented their unhappiness. Whenever she had to make a negative mark. whenever she made a negative or positive mark. yeah!” Mrs. Mrs. but they also laughed .
Maestra whirled to the board.. also.copyright 2007. Mrs. Occasionally. However. the first time anyone made a smart remark. “Oh. goodness. “Everybody Groan! And please tell your neighbors how unhappy you are when someone makes your Scorekeeper unhappy and causes you to get More Homework. That kind of comment makes the Scorekeeper unhappy!” She put a mark under More Homework. Maestra continued with her normal classroom introduction. One thing Mrs. Maestra had accomplished a great deal. exclaiming.. it was important to keep her class guessing about what and when their homework would go up or down. Mrs. (she was waiting for this). she had presented her self as a strict. She had too much to do on the first day to mark every infraction or example of good behavior . Christopher Biffle 13 unite as many students as possible behind her leadership. Within a few minutes.” This always had the effect of uniting many members of the class against the person who made the smart remark. she would make a mark under More Homework or Less Homework depending upon how her students were responding. . but entertaining teacher. or complained. Mrs. In addition.
Maestra knew from experience that the teacher had the upper hand when challenging students didn’t know what to expect. If there were too many more positive marks than negative. and vice versa. This showed Mrs. At the end of the period on the first day the score always was two points higher on the More Homework side than the Less Homework. If there were too many more negative marks than positive. Mrs. If she made too many marks. Christopher Biffle 14 Maestra knew about teaching teenagers was that they were always eager to cap on each other. here is a very important point. Maestra had to make several negative marks in a row for disruptive behavior.copyright 2007. Maestra would only mark the first few occurrences of deliberately disruptive behavior on the first day. her students lost hope. she would unify her opposition. Mrs. She never let the negative marks exceed the positive marks by 3 points. Now. Maestra always followed the plus/minus three rule when using the Scoreboard. her students became lackadaisical. . Mrs. Thus. if Mrs. she would then add one or more positive marks by noting a few students who were on task.
But she also knew that they hated the idea of having extra homework . whether or not they were going to complete it. When she had slightly increased homework for a few days in a row. Maestra used.. With the Scoreboard. she used this as motivation. Maestra wanted.. Mrs. The score always came out to be what Mrs. Later in the semester she might decide to change the reward on the Scoreboard to more or . She believed nothing motivated her teenagers more than avoiding homework.copyright 2007. and so. let’s think about the advantages of the Power Teaching system that Mrs. Maestra knew one of the great rules of Power Teaching: Students will work extremely hard to avoid a small amount of work. Now. Maestra knew that some of her students wouldn’t do the homework. and still be exactly on her lesson plan.. she immediately established herself as the person in charge.. Christopher Biffle 15 Maestra’s students that she was serious about increasing their workload. she could then slightly decrease it . the Scoreboard Game was fixed.) As you can see. (Mrs.
you can begin the Scoreboard at any . the more energetically her rules would be followed. Instead.” In other words. Maestra understood that the more fun students had following her rules. In addition.” DON’T SAY ANYTHING LIKE THAT. but beginning with homework as the motivator always captured the immediate attention of her classes. but then it will become more challenging. usually at this point of the year I move to a more advanced system. Mrs. more or less video time.. Mrs. I’ll be very interested to see if you like it. we’re going to try a new system today. say something like this.copyright 2007. “Class. Maestra generated large amounts of on-task laughter.. What if you want to be just like Mrs. it will be fairly easy. by using the Mighty Groan and the Mighty Oh Yeah. Maestra but you’ve already started teaching? How can you make the switch to the Scoreboard? Here’s what you don’t say. “Class. She knew her students loved to have fun and their reactions to the Scoreboard reinforced her classroom management system. You’re inviting your students to criticize the new system. Initially. Christopher Biffle 16 less free time. more or less music (see Chapter 23) .
copyright 2007. . Christopher Biffle 17 point in the term. Simply pretend as if the particular day you introduce the game. even the last month. was part of your plan since the beginning of the year.
even Joan and John usually responded with “Yes!” When her students responded quickly several times in a row. Back row you need to look at me . she gave them a negative mark. Maestra said “Class!” countless times a day. Christopher Biffle 18 2 Getting Attention Mrs. everybody. and there are no exact formulas for any art. If they needed prodding with a penalty. At the beginning of the year.copyright 2007. Joan stop that. John look over her. going through the motions of instruction. Maestra understood that the way the Scoreboard should be used. Mrs. was part of the art of teaching . she gave them all a positive mark on the Scoreboard. Maestra taught her students that when she said “Class!”. If her class wasn’t focused on her. She did her best to read her .. Maestra knew that teaching began with getting her students’ attention.” and so forth. Mrs... they should quickly respond with “Yes!” She found this much more effective than saying “Okay.. she was just talking. I need you all to pay attention to me. Mrs.
was that as the year progressed she used the Scoreboard less and less because her students gradually learned to stay on task for longer and longer periods. a fast voice. One thing she always noted. a . like all her students. a high voice. Maestra’s genius was to structure her class the same way but differently! When Mrs. class!” (This variation was developed by Andrea Schindler. Part of Mrs. Maestra noted that “Class!” wasn’t working quite as well with Joan. class. John and a few others she introduced a variation: “Class! Class!” Her students responded “Yes! Yes!” Later in the year. class. yes. Christopher Biffle 19 students’ faces and body language. in fact.copyright 2007. Mrs. a low voice. She knew her challenging students. as a Power Teacher she also had plans C through Z..) Her students responded “Yesity. a Power Teaching Veteran. One of Mrs. Maestra introduced funny tones of voice. a s--l--o--w voice. Maestra’s great talents as a teacher was that she always had a plan B. Maestra would say “Classity. yes!” Then. a robot voice. however. needed two apparently contradictory things . yes. consistency and variety.. for more variety Mrs. rewarding and penalizing them as she thought appropriate.
almost immediately. consistent variety and various consistency! Mrs. after I say ‘Class!’ and you respond ‘Yes!’. I will say ‘Hands and Eyes’. She said. Christopher Biffle 20 pretend angry voice. You should say ‘Hands and Eyes’ and look at me and fold your hands on your desks. drift off into Johnland. “Occasionally. Maestra discovered she could make the duck call “talk” using different tones. Maestra noticed that often John would respond with a “Yes!” and then. Maestra a visual clue. to tell if they were focused on her. Whenever Mrs. it reminded them that it was time to pay attention and second. a spooky voice.” Mrs.copyright 2007.. Maestra introduced a Power Teaching technique that she thought her teenagers might object to .. you say ‘yes’ however many times I toot. Mrs... “When I toot my duck call. hands folded on the desk. lots of various techniques to do the same thing . Then. She told her class. one day Mrs. Maestra had countless ways of getting her students attention . Maestra brought in a duck call. Maestra introduced a new way for students to respond. Maestra found that using “Hands and Eyes” helped her rebel students in two ways: first.” Mrs. Mrs. it gave Mrs.
her students. and squash the rebellion! Isn’t that wonderful!! John’s individual rebellious behavior prompted rebellion squashing class behavior! You’ve already learned a great deal about our approach to teaching challenging students.. Maestra whirled to the blackboard and made a quick mark on the negative side. When John said something like.. Mrs. used these occasions. “that’s too much like kindergarten” Mrs. especially her rowdies. and the Mighty Groans to unite her students behind her leadership . She exclaimed. “Mighty. Mrs. Maestra . Mighty Groan! Tell your neighbors how unhappy you are when ANYONE says something that makes your dear teacher unhappy!” Invariably.copyright 2007. expecting her challenging students to be rebellious. groaned loudly and made several unpleasant remarks to John. Christopher Biffle 21 as too babyish. she used a stern Voice of Command (chapter 5) and actually looked forward to her students objection. In other words. Maestra.
.copyright 2007. Mrs. finally. she understood that each plan might only be a temporary fix. plans A-Z. she knew that by varying her consistent technique she could achieve a surprising amount of engaging variety. Christopher Biffle 22 had a multiplicity of fall back plans. Maestra recognized that techniques that helped her challenging students also benefited the rest of her class.
John and many others never raised their hands. Mrs. Maestra also never used the “read my mind--fill in the blank” technique. “Okay now last week we were studying . She would never say something like. other students in her class were disappointed that they weren’t chosen... Mrs. Maestra also didn’t like this technique because it wasted precious seconds of learning time.. that might take 5 seconds! All day long ... Her students would raise their hands and then she would have to pick one . month after month. Maestra did not like asking for raised hands because when she picked one student to answer. week after week . Christopher Biffle 23 3 Evaluating A Student’s Understanding Mrs.. Mrs. Mrs. Maestra needed every second she could get. John and others understood her teaching points. “Who knows the answer to this question?” She didn’t ask this because Joan.. Maestra often needed to gauge the degree to which Joan. you . Maestra never used two common techniques for evaluating student understanding. Mrs. Mrs. Finally. Maestra never asked..copyright 2007.
. John and Joan. The number on the top was the numerator. enjoyed being successful. Now. tell me what I just said..copyright 2007. Filling in the blank took too long. Of course.. She always gave John and Joan a task that was exactly suited to their intellectual ability. only the best students were successful.. many times she had to correct wrong answers. Mrs. “John. last week we studied fractions. John often drifted away when he was confused about ..” Mrs. Maestra disliked this technique. Mrs. Maestra evaluated the understanding of her students by saying something like this. It was wonderfully educational because her class heard the correct answer from Mrs. you remember the number that was on top was called the . Maestra loved this approach. Maestra and then listened to a student repeat it. like all her students. we were studying those numbers . you know the top number with the line under it was called the . Maestra also used this “say it back to me” approach with all her students. Christopher Biffle 24 remember.. John and Joan never drifted away when given the opportunity to be correct in front of an audience of their peers.. The number on the bottom was the denominator.” Mrs.
Maestra taught her class to give him or her a 10 finger woo. Christopher Biffle 25 what Mrs. “it’s cool. Mrs. Maestra taught the class to say “It’s cool!” The “it’s cool” made Mrs. Maestra was teaching. Mistakes only produced a soothing. but relevant to the lesson. and ask him to repeat back to her what she said. she would say something fairly simple to John. . No one laughed when a student made a mistake. To get him re-involved in class. Maestra’s class a no-failure environment. Mrs.copyright 2007. The 10 finger woo produced a class that was continuously rewarding. If the student made a mistake. wiggling their fingers and saying “Wooo!” This always produced smiles and laughter. This involved pointing their hands at the successful student. Students need to be recognized for correct answers. and the student never felt ashamed.” If the student was successful. entertaining celebration. the 10 finger woo gives the entire class an opportunity for a brief.
Maestra helped her students rehearse this pattern. Joan gabbed with whoever would. listen to her. she loved this kind of interchange. Maestra however had a plan. One day Mrs. Maestra saw nothing wrong with students talking to each other. Mrs. No matter where Mrs. Christopher Biffle 26 4 Educational Chatting Joan.copyright 2007. Maestra said to her class. or even wouldn’t. After several rehearsals. Maestra wanted them to review. “When I say ‘Teach’ I want you to say ‘Okay!’ and then turn to your neighbor and explain whatever point I made in my lesson. so long as they were talking about course material. loved to talk to her neighbor.” Mrs. especially. she . She had plans beyond plans. Mrs. In fact. Mrs. her class was happily teaching each other any point Mrs. Maestra sat the energetic teenager. By walking around the room and listening to her class. Maestra knew that students didn’t understand her lesson until they could put it in their own words.
Mrs. Students enjoyed moving around. Mrs. If Joan wasn’t using either set of gestures. Mrs. using body language amplified and . Many times she could get Joan back on task simply by standing near her and pantomiming the gestures Joan should be using. She always had a backup. Mrs.copyright 2007. Maestra knew that she was not talking about the lesson. Christopher Biffle 27 could easily determine if she could go on to a new point. Maestra enjoyed watching Joan teach her neighbor. Mrs. or review a previous point. Maestra knew that Joan would eventually get off the task and start talking about subjects that had nothing to do with the classroom. Mrs.” She showed students a set of expressive gestures to use when speaking and a different set of expressive gestures to use when listening. Maestra introduced the concept of “speaking and listening gestures. Joan’s gabbiness worked to her learning advantage. Maestra was very big on students employing body language to explain her lessons. Maestra had been around for a long time.
Maestra shouted “Switch!”.” She had the class count off by 2’s. When Mrs. The 1’s always started as the expressive. energetic listeners.copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 28 clarified abstract concepts. she got the practice she needed. Joan needed listening practice. energetic teachers. . It ensured that the chronic talkers would do their share of listening and that chronic listeners would do their share of talking. Every student was either a 1 or a 2. When Mrs. her class responded “Switch!” The 1’s became the listeners and the 2’s became the teachers. This was another technique Mrs. Maestra loved. When she was a 2. she introduced a variation on “teach your neighbor. non-English speaking students were given engaging visual cues about what was being taught. Maestra found it necessary. the 2’s always started as the expressive.
She had noted that other teachers who are respected by students used a similar voice. loud. Maestra simply signaled by a slight change in her tone that the issues she was speaking about were serious and must not be ignored.. Maestra rarely lost her cool. Under even the most challenging teaching situations. she tried to maintain.copyright 2007. When Mrs. she could control her tone of voice when facing Joan and John at their rowdiest.” Mrs. Maestra reasoned that if a good cop could maintain self control on a murder scene. as a police manual put it. the voice of command. “professional face. Maestra talked to the entire class. Christopher Biffle 29 5 Voice Of Command Mrs. Mrs. Joan and John had learned how to block out angry. threatening adults. She didn’t sound angry or threatening. When Mrs. Maestra had to talk to John or Joan individually she employed a special procedure (see chapter 6) and added a slight edge to her voice of command. . she generally used a special voice. firm.. authoritative .
Maestra thought of this as her special “I am serious” voice of command. . she spoke slowly to John and Joan. Mrs. Christopher Biffle 30 Mrs. with deliberately. Maestra noted that she tended to speak more quickly when she was losing her cool and so when she felt her emotions rising.copyright 2007. controlled pacing.
you can choose whether we have a short talk or a long talk . She avoided confronting them when they had an audience of their peers . I will start by giving you a simple choice. Christopher Biffle 31 6 Talking One On One Mrs.... Mrs. this routine gave her two students the illusion that they controlled the situation.. Maestra said the following to her class. Maestra has to say. they were unlikely to block out what Mrs. Early in the year. When Joan and John believed they are running the show.copyright 2007. I may need to talk to you individually about something you are doing that is harming your education. but I . audiences could make Joan and John even more rebellious than normal. “Occasionally. ‘Short talk or long talk?’ In other words. Maestra often needed to have a one on one talk with John or Joan to correct behavior problems. Mrs. Maestra had worked out a special routine for talking to Joan or John when they were misbehaving.
you will not like hearing what I have to say. because these . Maestra decided she would need to have a one on one conversation the next day with Joan about talking to her neighbor.. I’ll do all the talking and. believe me. I’ll give you some clear instructions about what you need to do. When we are able to talk one on one. I’ll ask you.copyright 2007. and then you can be on your way. to plan the night before the encounter so that she could control her emotions and the time and place for the talk.” “Good choice! In my short talk. Mrs. much longer conversation and it wouldn’t be pleasant. Maestra tried to avoid spur of the moments confrontations with John or Joan. Maestra rehearsed as follows with Polly. Polly. If you said something like ‘I don’t care’ or ‘long talk’. Let’s say you’ve been having trouble staying in your seat and I’ve decided I need to talk to you about it. “Okay. Maestra’s usual strategy . Christopher Biffle 32 suggest you pick a short talk.” One evening Mrs. Mrs. ‘Short talk or long talk?’ What will you say?” “Short talk. This was Mrs. we would have a much. a particularly cooperative student.” Next. If you pick a long talk..
when Mrs. Short talk or long talk?” In most cases. I need to make a few points about your chatting with your neighbor.) During the short talk. Mrs. Joan chose short talk. Mrs. after class. Maestra stepped up to Joan. bent down to her level.copyright 2007. She began by saying. Maestra made her points briefly but firmly and then sent Joan on her way. very stern lecture. Maestra knew she would have the time she needed. “Please remember what I told the class about short talks and long talks.” Then. Mrs. Maestra wanted to maintain control of the one on one talk . Now. (When Joan didn’t choose short talk. Maestra never asked anything like the following. she never posed a question that would give Joan an excuse for rebellion (silent or otherwise). Mrs. and said quietly but firmly. Maestra waited until Joan talked to her neighbor. “We are going to have a talk right after class. Mrs. Christopher Biffle 33 kinds encounters were unplanned. Maestra gave her a longish. “Do you understand what I’m saying?” or “Have I made myself clear?”. she talked to Joan one on one. Mrs. they frequently went awry.
. She hated how she felt after these arguments. Paciencio Maestra. Christopher Biffle 34 and not give her student the opportunity to resist her instructions. Maestra was able to avoid unpleasant encounters that often developed into out of control. Using the short talk. Mrs. back and forth arguments.copyright 2007. So did her husband. long talk strategy with her challenging students.
Maestra’s general rule was this: there is no point in forcing a student into eye contact. when Mrs. . he often used this as an opportunity for further challenging behavior. there were occasions. Maestra corrected John and then looked at him. if this results in making the student more rebellious.” She had found avoiding eye contact was often a good strategy. Without making eye contact. please stay on task. like the one on one talks described above. Maestra might judge that eye contact was an effective way to underline her point. Whenever possible (and it was not always possible) she made a verbal correction without looking directly at him. Mrs. When Mrs.copyright 2007. Of course. Maestra frequently had to correct John’s behavior while she was involved in another activity. Mrs. Maestra would say something like “John. Christopher Biffle 35 7 No Eye Contact Eye Contact Mrs.
We will talk about this later. and had learned strategies to fight back against verbal attacks. She then steps up to the problem student. Mrs.copyright 2007.Mrs. Maestra has found there are five great advantages to this strategic withdrawal: -. high volume yellers . Maestra knew that scolding or yelling at Joan would be ineffectual. in this case Joan. Maestra gives herself time to calm down -. self controlled teacher.” Mrs.. Mrs. “I am starting to lose my temper. and truthfully (using her special “I am serious” voice of command). But what was Mrs..She takes as long as she needs to plan exactly what . and says quietly. Maestra occasionally had an encounter with Joan that truly upset her. Maestra trained herself to recognize when she is about to boil over. Mrs. Christopher Biffle 36 8 Strategic Withdrawal Even though she was a wonderful. Maestra to do when she found herself losing self control? After many unpleasant experiences when she spoke angry words to students. and later deeply regretted it. Joan came from a family of professional.
copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
to say to Joan -- Mrs. Maestra gets to choose the time and place of their next interchange -- She leaves Joan hanging, wondering, about the nature and content of their talk -- Mrs. Maestra often discovers that after she has calmed down, what upset her in Joan’s behavior was not as terrible as she initially felt Mrs. Maestra has found strategic withdrawal a very effective device. When she talks to Joan after her emotions are under control, Mrs. Maestra makes all the points she wants to make in just the way a good teacher would make them.
copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
Don’t Spit In Your Soup
Mrs. Maestra is from the country where they have wonderful, picturesque expressions. Her father taught her to never “spit in your soup.” He meant, don’t respond to a bad situation by doing anything that will make it worse. Don’t spit in the soup you’re going to eat. Early in her career, Mrs. Maestra formed an unfortunate habit. She sat with unhappy teachers at lunch, many of them veterans, and engaged in their jovial, anti-student humor. Mrs. Maestra laughed when teachers made unpleasant jokes about their classes and/or least favorite students. After awhile, Mrs. Maestra realized that the worse she felt about her class, the more difficult it became for her to teach ... which caused her to feel still worse about her class ... and her career ... and her life choices ... and her unsympathetic spouse, Paciencio ... and her rebellious children, Courageous and Fortitude ... and the absolute refusal of the climbing Queen Anne roses to ascend the
copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
expensive copper trellis she had bought especially for them. And so, Mrs. Maestra stopped sitting with unhappy, soup spitting teachers. She changed the way she thought about teaching. Teaching was like climbing a magic mountain. The more you complained about the steepness of the mountain, the steeper it became.
copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
The No Whining Vow
When Mrs. Maestra realized that complaining about her students resulted in creating a mental attitude that made it harder for her to teach, she took a private “no whining vow.” Her mother had told her stories about her grandparents who left their native country, suffered enormously, worked 60 hours a week at back breaking labor ... and never complained. Mrs. Maestra knew that her teaching job was a picnic compared to her grandparents’ jobs. One of many things that Mrs. Maestra admired about the American spirit of the past was that no matter the difficulty, generations before her had rolled up their sleeves and met whatever hardship the world threw at them ... without self pitying whining. Mrs. Maestra knew that our educational system had many problems ... but she refused to add to them by complaining about students, administrators, textbooks, unsupportive families. This was a marvelous moment in
stopped whining. Maestra’s life. and set about helping Joan and John and the rest of her students become better citizens. . Christopher Biffle 41 Mrs. She rolled up her sleeves.copyright 2007.
for 60 seconds . Mrs. After everyone had vented.. and then another coworker would have a turn.. rubbed their eyes and mockingly cried. Ms.copyright 2007. they would help each other with their most difficult students by engaging in two activities (besides eating) at the lunch table : one minute venting and next day planning. If a colleague began to get in extra complaints. They guaranteed they would listen sympathetically . Mrs. Maestra and her colleagues began next day planning. advice. “Wa! Wa! Wa!” After one minute venting Mrs. They decided that. Maestra and the other teachers at the table. Maestra and her colleagues developed their own form of lunch time therapy. when necessary. no more complaints were allowed during the meeting.. Maestra and her colleagues allowed each other to vent about their challenging students for a minute. Christopher Biffle 42 11 Teacher/Teacher Therapy As an alternative to whining. encouragement about what was to be done .. They exchanged plans.
Maestra and her colleagues never forgot to plan. Christopher Biffle 43 the next day for each challenging student. VentSympathize-Plan: Mrs. Maestra and her friends found that teacher/teacher therapy was a powerfully rewarding experience. They knew that one of the great problems of teaching challenging students was the feeling of isolated frustration. otherwise they would have had the feeling of getting nowhere. Maestra and her friends discovered that briefly venting to each other and then moving on to planning could make the difference between an aggravating and a rewarding day. . Mrs.copyright 2007. Mrs.
Every week she gave herself a grade 1-10 (with 10 being highest) on her ability to control her emotions and tone of voice. Mrs.controlling her emotions by controlling her tone of voice -. Maestra knew that the two crucial features of managing her behavior were: -. Maestra deeply understood a Great Truth of classroom management: You cannot manage student behavior if you cannot manage your own behavior. but crucial measures.copyright 2007.consistently following through with her classroom management plan. used two simple. Maestra that she could not manage students if she could not consistently follow . Christopher Biffle 44 12 Self Evaluation To track teaching improvements. Maestra. to make a weekly evaluation of her own performance. Mrs. Mrs. It was also obvious to Mrs.
Maestra gave herself a grade 110. any week that her combined teaching score was 16. every week Mrs. If her class was unruly. it made the difficult job of instruction a little more entertaining. a noble success. .. At the end of each week.. Mrs. Maestra liked doing this . When Mrs. This was her teaching score. Mrs.. Christopher Biffle 45 her own classroom management plan.copyright 2007. So. Maestra added these two grades (self control and classroom management consistency) together. Mrs. she could still consider herself a success. especially in the above two categories. Maestra had extremely challenging students. Maestra would never improve them by shooting from the hip. like a challenging solitaire game.. Her primary classroom goal was managing her own behavior . Maestra didn’t focus on managing her students as her primary classroom goal. Mrs. (with 10 being highest) on her ability to consistently follow her classroom management plan.
Maestra gave herself 4 points for each Alpha. Christopher Biffle 46 13 Class Evaluation Here are four measures (you can substitute others if you wish) Mrs. followed directions quickly. and turned in neat work. but not .stayed on task -. Her model students: -. Maestra.copyright 2007. Go-Alongs: These students would usually “go along” with Mrs.followed directions quickly -.raised their hands for permission to speak -. Maestra divided her class into four groups. however. Mrs. Go-Alongs usually. stayed on task. they raised their hands for permission to speak. Maestra used to evaluate each student’s classroom behavior. they sometimes fell short of being model students. Maestra’s model students.turned in neat work Using these measures to determine her initial average score for the behavior of all her students. Alphas: These were Mrs. Mrs.
Fence Sitters: These students were ones that could go either way. . raised their hands for permission to speak. Challenging Students: Mrs. John and Joan rarely. stayed on task. usually stayed on task. raised their hands for permission to speak. or turned in neat work. Maestra gave herself 1 point for each of her challenging student. Mrs. Maestra gave herself 2 points for each Fence Sitter. follow directions quickly or turn in neat work. if ever. Maestra wondered what went wrong. frequently followed directions quickly. in general. They tested her skill as a teacher. Mrs. Her Fence Sitters inconsistently raised their hands for permission to speak. followed directions (quickly or otherwise). Maestra was fortunate in having only two challenging students: John and Joan. the next day. Mrs. Mrs. often didn’t stay on task. Maestra gave herself 3 points for each Go-Along. One day they were close to being model students. turned in neat work. and.copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 47 always.
copyright 2007. Joan and John were.1 per month. This was her average score for the behavior of her class. Maestra would never know if she was getting anywhere with them. making progress with classroom management. Mrs. then by the end of the . in general “long term projects. Maestra was very busy. Mrs. she enjoyed this part of her work. her Fence Sitters to Go-Alongs and her Challenging Students to Fence Sitters. Maestra could never tell if she was. Before she had used this method. Christopher Biffle 48 New Students: Mrs. Though Mrs. Mrs. Maestra totaled all the points for her students and and then divided by the number of students in her class. Mrs. Maestra’s goal was to move her Go-Alongs to Alphas.” Mrs. Maestra put every new student into the Fence-Sitter group. Every week. She realized that if she could raise the average score for the behavior of all her students by only . or wasn’t. Maestra understood that it was very important to keep a weekly record of how her challenging students were performing. if she didn’t keep careful track of where she’d been.
Maestra’s a high. . goal. but reachable. Christopher Biffle 49 year every student in her class would have moved up. one level in classroom behavior.copyright 2007. This was Mrs. on average.
copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
A central goal in Mrs. Maestra’s instruction of John and Joan, and other challenging students, was to provide a clear structure of appropriate and inappropriate classroom behavior. As a Power Teacher, Mrs. Maestra used the following rules (each rule was illustrated by a classroom management sign ... see below.)
Rule 1: Follow directions quickly! Rule 2: Raise your hand for permission to speak. Rule 3: Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat. Rule 4: Make smart choices. Rule 5: Keep your dear teacher happy.
Mrs. Maestra used a word processor to print each rule on a single sheet of paper. To save you this small trouble, each rule follows. (If you prefer graphics with your rules, look at the Classroom Management Signs that accompany the text, Power Teaching Challenging Elementary Students.)
copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
Rule Above All Rules: Respect Everyone!
copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
Rule 1 Follow directions Quickly!
copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
Rule 2 Raise Your Hand For Permission To Speak!
copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 54 Rule 3 Raise Your Hand For Permission to Leave Your Seat! .
copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 55 Rule 4 Make Smart Choices! .
Christopher Biffle 56 Rule 5 Keep Your Dear Teacher HAPPY!!! .copyright 2007.
Maestra believed that any classroom in which students could speak whenever they wish. etc. the more slowly students followed directions (handing in paper. Mrs. opening books. bordered on chaos. especially early in the year. Students speaking out of turn were the single most common disruptive activity. Mrs. Therefore. In addition. Mrs. Christopher Biffle 57 Here was Mrs. If students weren’t following directions quickly. Follow directions quickly. Maestra wanted her students to follow directions quickly because she didn’t want to waste a second of class time. 1. Maestra’s rationale for each rule.) the more possibility there was of disruptive behavior. Maestra NEVER (unless it was an emergency) answered a student who violated rule 2. this obviously added up to an enormous amount of wasted time. Mrs.copyright 2007. 2. Mrs. was the most important rule to emphasize for a smoothly running classroom. Raise your hand for permission to speak. sharpening pencils. Of course. Maestra always did everything she could to squelch disruptive behavior. She believed that this rule. Over a school year. they could be wasting 5-10 minutes every hour in non-educational activities. Maestra .
Maestra exclaimed. “Rule 2!”. . described in last third of this manual. Mrs. Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat. Maestra had a student who liked this kind of negative attention. Maestra put a yellow post-it note on rule 3 indicating that it is temporarily not in force. Maestra occasionally had classroom exercises where she allowed students to move around the room without asking for permission. and themselves.) 3. She wanted an orderly teaching atmosphere and this wasn’t possible with students wandering around the classroom. However. in this case. Christopher Biffle 58 taught her students that whenever she said. Occasionally Mrs. Mrs. they were to respond quickly in chorus. Maestra’s rationale for this rule was the same as for rule 2. “Rule 2!” and her student loudly reminded the the miscreant student. she simply refused to answer his or her question (and knew that she had numerous strategies. Mrs.copyright 2007. In this case. for extremely challenging students who resisted peer pressure. of this important rule. Mrs. “Raise your hand for permission to speak!” Whenever a student tried to speak without raising his or her hand.
“That might be true. in class and out. Maestra that it was “a smart choice. Maestra used this rule to cover every kind of disruptive behavior.. Christopher Biffle 59 Mrs.. disrespectful. Mrs. . Many times. Keep your dear teacher happy. we need to make smart choices. perhaps the fundamental rule.) 4.” Mrs. Maestra understood that this was a fundamental rule. I’m the world’s leading authority on what makes me happy. 5. was a general purpose rule that covered an enormous amount of student activity. it doesn’t make me happy. Maestra found that Rule 5 was especially useful in covering the countless remarks that students made that were hurtful. sarcastic.” Her response was. see the Guff Counter in chapter 20. for all human activities. like 4. Trust me. students would do something unexpected and they would argue with Mrs. rude. In addition. Maestra understand that this rule. (For more on this. From childhood to adulthood. Mrs. Make smart choices. But it breaks an important rule .copyright 2007. she found that she could introduce this rule as a topic this whenever her class discussed the choices of a character in a story or in any general analysis of human behavior.
Rule 5. “this might seem like this rule is all about me.copyright 2007. Keep Your Dear Teacher Happy. is really all about you. So. The only thing that makes me happy as a teacher is to see my students intensely learning. you keep me happy by working really hard. Maestra explained Rule 5 to her class she said.” . but it isn’t. Christopher Biffle 60 When Mrs.
Mrs. Christopher Biffle 61 15 Class Rules Rehearsal Mrs. Typically during her rules’ rehearsal. Then she would say. Here again are Mrs. Maestra understood that merely posting classroom rules on a board had little effect upon creating an orderly classroom. Maestra gave an instruction like “Rule 1!’ and her students chanted “Follow directions quickly!” making a memory gesture assigned to the rule (wiggling their hand quickly in the air). “Rule 2!” and her students chanted . and the rules to be in the forefront of her students’ minds all day. Rule 4: Make smart choices. Rule 3: Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat.copyright 2007. She wanted her students to understand that she was quite serious about her rules. Maestra’s rules: Rule 1: Follow directions quickly! Rule 2: Raise your hand for permission to speak. Maestra had her students rehearse classroom rules early in the year at the start of every class. Mrs. Rule 5: Keep your dear teacher happy. As a Power Teacher.
Mrs. Maestra frequently the following point. she would rehearse this procedure. “Whenever I see someone breaking one of our rules.copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 62 “Raise your hand for permission to speak!” and made a memory gesture (raising their hand and opening and closing their fingers as if their hand was “talking”.” Mrs. Maestra knew her teenagers were not as adult as they wanted to seem. she knew someone might object to these rehearsals as “silly. Maestra made the rehearsal even more entertaining by saying. Mrs. When discussion the rules. You will all. “Rule 2!” and . Mrs. loudly and forcefully. inviting students to speak without raising their hands. recite the rule INSTANTLY or the class will get a negative mark because they are silently supporting the person breaking the rule.” Then. She would loudly say. “Weird voices” or “Robot voices” or “Zombie voices” and the students merrily used these voices during rules rehearsals. I’ll name the rule they are breaking. Because she was teaching teenagers.) Occasionally. they all loved silly behavior as a break from classroom routine. Maestra was always ready to penalize the class with a negative point whenever a rebel challenged her authority. as noted in the previous chapter.
each struggles against the other in a constant quest for more power. Christopher Biffle 63 encourage her students to loudly respond with “Raise your hand for permission to speak!” Once again. eager for a chance to pay back their superiors for the ragging they have to endure. and thus safely. In general this is true. even close friends. when they can do this en masse. more status. Underlings are ready. as if they present a solid front against the requests of any adult. but it is also true that teenagers. Please ponder this point: When you look out at your class of teenagers. they leap at the opportunity. The teenagers who seemed like they were unified against . are competitive. more attention. Mrs.. Leaders maintain their position by criticizing.. Thus. when you give your class an opportunity to vocally criticize a student rebel . Teenage society is in constant turmoil. mocking those lower in the hierarchy. Maestra used occasions of rule breaking by an individual to prompt rule supporting by her class.copyright 2007. they look united.
Power Teaching is wonderful. Yes. pouncing on anyone who opposes your authority. are now your followers. Christopher Biffle 64 you.copyright 2007. .
these are the ones we’ll use. a founder of Power Teaching.) When she first introduced them. “Great! . (If some students didn’t raise their hands. Christopher Biffle 65 16 Rules Buy In (The following technique was developed by Jan Vanderfin.”) By using the vote.. she was very good at explaining to the class how each rule would make their learning experience more pleasant.. Mrs.copyright 2007. so. Mrs. Mrs. Maestra would say.. Maestra said. Finding no one who had a problem with her rules. “I’m glad to see that the majority of you believe these are good rules . All in favor of using these rules in our classroom. Mrs. all her students raised their hands. Maestra explained the reasoning for each of her classroom rules that she had posted on the front board. Maestra never found any objectors. let’s take a vote. Mrs. If anyone can think of better rules. Maestra had achieved “buy .” Almost invariably. She then asked the class if anyone had objections to any item on the list.. please raise your hand. I’ll be happy to talk to them after class.
Mrs. Maestra’s authority as a teacher. Frankly. . Maestra found the rules and the “buy in” were very helpful when she had to talk to John one on one. Maestra would have a class discussion and a new vote on the rules. “Do you think we should change this rule? . Mrs.” Occasionally during the semester. Mrs. Mrs. do you remember this is what we voted on?” By talking about the rule and the class support. Maestra was often able to deflect John’s rebelliousness.. Maestra would discuss the rule that John was having difficulty with and then ask. Maestra was simply asking John to go along with what the students agreement about how the class should be run. The rule supported by the entire class became the subject and not Mrs. she was happy to experiment with a rule change if the majority of the class thought it would be a good idea.copyright 2007.. She was not enforcing her personal will. Mrs. Christopher Biffle 66 in. Mrs. Maestra’s strategy with John was superbly nonconfrontational.
remember to review the procedures whenever you review classroom rules. raising hands. Some of the following repeat material described in earlier chapters. (If you prefer graphics with your procedures. the less hair you'll lose.) Teaching. Christopher Biffle 67 17 Classroom Procedures Classroom procedures are different than classroom rules. A procedure is something you want your class to do many times a day. Mrs. . handing in (and handing out) papers. being seated. opening books. Maestra used many procedures in Power You can join her by using some or all of the following. Power Teaching Challenging Elementary Students. look at the Classroom Management Signs that accompany the text. The more orderly your class performs procedures like these. If you wish. print out the signs on the following pages and post them as you introduce each new procedure.copyright 2007. Also. Some of the most common procedures are paying attention to the teacher. getting pencils sharpened.
Christopher Biffle 68 Class! Yes! .copyright 2007.
say “Class! Class!” and teach your students to respond “Yes! Yes!”. and. This should be one of the first lessons you teach your class . “Capital of California?!” His students look at him and respond. Or try “Classity.. For variety. to get his students’ attention he might say. look at you. Jay Vanderfin suggests posing a question recently covered in class.. and say “Yes!”. “Sacramento!” . For example. Getting Students’ Attention: Whenever you say “Class!”. your students should stop what they are doing. you’ll use it all day long. Christopher Biffle 69 A. Class!” and teach your students to respond “Yesity! Yes!” Use any other variations you can think of.copyright 2007.
Christopher Biffle 70 Hands & Eyes! .copyright 2007.
say “Hands and Eyes”. folding their hands on their desks and saying quietly.” . “Hands and Eyes. they respond by looking at you.copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 71 B. Hands and Eyes: To gain your students attention even more completely.
Christopher Biffle 72 Teach! Okay! .copyright 2007.
whenever we have communicated important information to the class. until you regain their attention with “Class!” Teach-Okay! is one of the fundamental Power Teaching techniques. if they can’t explain to each other what you have just taught them. walk around your room and listen to them .copyright 2007. As students are teaching each other. Practicing speaking with a partner.. nonembarrassing to way to develop their language skills. We use it countless times a day. turn to a neighbor and continuously repeat what you have said . Teach!-Okay!: To develop your students’ language skills.. And. is a good. you’ll be astonished at how much difficulty students have in putting your concepts into their own language. Students respond “Okay!”. what sense does it make for you to introduce another concept? .. say “Teach!”.. and to increase their mastery of subject matter. Christopher Biffle 73 C. We find Teach-Okay especially useful when working with students who don’t speak English at home.
copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 74 It’s Cool! .
That’s fine. and most painless way to do this is to have the class tell the student “It’s cool!” Then. If you make a mistake. don’t worry.” . “Everyone will make mistakes in this class. say something like the following. In explaining “it’s cool” to your class. Christopher Biffle 75 D: Correcting errors: As a teacher. you will frequently have to correct a student’s response to one of your questions. The class will merely tell you ‘it’s cool’. We’ll be covering some difficult material.copyright 2007. The easiest. you tell everyone the correct answer. I’ll tell you the right answer and we’ll go on with our lesson.
Christopher Biffle 76 Woo! .copyright 2007.
try the rolling 10 finger woo (students roll their hands as they woo). try this one: Power Teachers Do It With A Ten Finger Woo! . Countless other variations are possible. For wonderfully correct answers. try the five finger woo. The class points their hands at the deserving student. Rewarding students: Whenever a student needs a reward for a right answer or good behavior. For half correct answers. use a 10 finger woo. wiggles their fingers and says “woo!” energetically.copyright 2007. Students love giving and receiving woos. Christopher Biffle 77 E. Use woos to add needed recognition and merriment to your classroom. If you love Power Teaching and want a bumper sticker.
Christopher Biffle 78 Mighty Oh Yeah! Mighty Groan! .copyright 2007.
you can keep your students united behind your leadership (and not bitter that they received an extra page of homework) by telling them to give you a Mighty Groan (they lift their shoulders and groan.) . When you mark a point on the Scoreboard for more homework.copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 79 F. Mighty Oh Yeah! Mighty Groan! When you mark a point on the Scoreboard for less homework. you reward your students with a “one second party” by telling them to give you a Mighty Oh Yeah (they clap their hands once and exclaim “Oh yeah!”).
Christopher Biffle 80 Papers! .copyright 2007.
For example. Handing papers in and out: For an orderly classroom. Christopher Biffle 81 I.) A similar procedure is followed when the teacher is . select a student in one of the chairs to go to each table. students should always hand in papers in the same way. get all the papers. When the teacher sees all students with their hands in the air and the papers stacked neatly in the proper place. practice the following: Teacher: Papers! 1. 3. he/she waves one hand in the air. then practice it a few times a day with "imaginary papers". 4 (continue counting) Students: Papers! Papers! Papers! (students say this in unison. Determine what that procedure should be. and stack them neatly on your desk. fold them in front of them. so that all students know what the teacher is asking.copyright 2007. All students lower their hands. if your students sit at tables. Then. tell the students you want all papers at the table to go to student in that chair. three times. 2.) Students hold their hands in the air and look at the teacher after they have handed in their paper. Then. and look at the teacher. point at one chair (perhaps the one nearest the front of the classroom) at each table.
give them one page less homework. When all students have the handout. the teacher waves one hand in the air. and look at the teacher. All students lower their hands. Christopher Biffle 82 handing out papers. . and their hands are in the air. encourage your students to cheer each other on as the papers are handed in and out. To add real hilarity to this routine. except the teacher gives papers to one person at each table or in each row. fold them on the desk.copyright 2007. Whenever they can distribute papers before you count to 10.
Christopher Biffle 83 Open Your books! .copyright 2007.
so that all students know what the teacher is asking. 47! 1. Christopher Biffle 84 J. and look at the teacher. All students lower their hands. 47! Science book. fold them in front of them. They hold their hands in the air and look at the teacher when they have their books open to the correct page.) . When the teacher sees all students with their hands in the air and books open. 47! Science book. 3. 4 (continue counting) Students: Science book.copyright 2007. 47! (students say this in unison. your class can be chaotic every time you ask them to open their books. Teacher: Science book. three times. Opening books: If you don't practice something like the following procedure. he/she waves one hand in the air. 2.
copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 85 GreenYes! RedNo! .
When the green paper faces the students they can. quietly. under any circumstances. get a pencil.. electric pencil sharpener. create disturbances on the way to sharpen their pencils. Put a red piece of paper on the front of the can and a green piece of paper on the back. Sharpen pencils each morning and put them in a coffee can near the front of the room. Christopher Biffle 86 K. Buy a hundred pencils and invest in a good. When the red paper faces the students they cannot. . have problems operating the pencil sharpener. And this can happen all day long! Here is an alternative to the pencil sharpening madness. Students leave their seats. Getting pencils sharpened: Pencil sharpening can drive you bonkers. trade their pencil for a sharpened one.copyright 2007. then cause disturbances on the way back to their seat..
copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 87 Questions? .
put your hand down in a fist on your desk. and can't stop to call on a student with a raised hand. That means I've got your question. Teacher: We're going to practice raising hands in a moment. But there are still two problems. you may be making an important point. say the following to your students. have a few students raise their hands. Great.) . they stop listening to what you're saying. Many times. (Then. I'll take questions from students whose hands are down in a fist. students’ minds go blank when they raise their hands. To solve both these problems. Raising hands: Your classroom rules instruct your students to raise their hands for permission to speak and for permission to leave their seats. in their urgency to get your attention. Christopher Biffle 88 L.copyright 2007. I want a few of you to raise your hands and then I'll reach out like this (make a gesture like you are closing your fist around the raised hand). When I've finished talking. Then. you "grab" the question. Secondly. they put their hands down in a fist on their table.
Christopher Biffle 89 Loud Normal Whisper .copyright 2007.
be very loud. Then move your hand down to a whisper level (or whatever level you wish.copyright 2007.) Say. yada. yada. Controlling classroom noise: When your classroom becomes too noisy. It’s your Volume-O-Meter. Christopher Biffle 90 M. “Good! That’s the level I want you to speak at. When I move my hand down. Say: “Class. point at the sign on the previous page. I want you to say ‘yada.” Move your hand up and let your students. momentarily. yada’ more and more quietly. yada’ louder and louder.” . when I move my hand up toward the top of the VolumeO-Meter I want you to say ‘yada.
copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 91 Gestures! .
Focusing on the teacher’s explanation: Whenever you need your students to be intensely focused on what you’re explaining say. “Thumbs up! (hold your thumb up like the sign above. . use large entertaining gestures to make your point . but don’t say anything.) I want you to make the same explanatory gestures I’m making . when you say “Teach” your students should say “Okay” and teach their neighbors using your gestures...” Then. Then. energetic teachers of course material. Christopher Biffle 92 N. it’s delightful to watch your class mirroring your every move. Just make my gestures..copyright 2007. This turns passive students into active..
copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 93 Never Say “I Can’t” .
yet!” Instruct them to say.. instead.. “ Instead of “I can’t”.copyright 2007. I can’t solve this problem . “I can’t ...... I can’t understand grammar . instruct students to say “I cant . Christopher Biffle 94 O... yet!” .. No “I can’ts”: We never want our students to say “I can’t” These are two of the most mind crippling words in our language. “I can’t do division .
copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 95 No Guff! .
copyright 2007. . Christopher Biffle 96 P: No Guff: See chapter 19 for a description of the very powerful No Guff rule.
Mrs. Christopher Biffle 97 18 Adapting The Scoreboard Game For Challenging Students After a month or so of using the Scoreboard Game. Maestra drew the following on the board. THE SCOREBOARD GAME More Homework Less Homework the class the independents .copyright 2007.
There’s only one catch. had always been able to hide in the large group . All you have to do to get out. These are students who just won’t go along with everyone else. and a smaller group. Mrs. Her “independent” students. “We’re going to play a more advanced version of the Scoreboard Game.. Many times over the last month or so their behavior has caused the entire class to receive more homework. Maestra set the game up so that she had several students .. If I come up to you and tell you that you’re in the Independent group. We’ll have two groups. Christopher Biffle 98 She said. the class as a whole. If someone else in the Independent group is misbehaving. especially Joan and John. Some of you may already have an idea of who these kids are. then you’ll have your own score separate from the rest of the class. ‘I don’t want to be in that Independent group!’” Mrs. So. Maestra loved this modification of the Scoreboard Game. here is what we’re going to do.copyright 2007. is come to me and say. you get the negative mark along with them! You only have to stay in the Independent group one day. the Independents. but that was no longer possible.
she made a great show of marking this in her grade book. When one acted up. At the end of the period. When students deliberately chose to leave the Independent group.copyright 2007. . Mrs. Christopher Biffle 99 in the independent group at the same time. she tied some of her challenging and fence sitting students together. They had decided to separate from a group that got them into trouble. they all got an additional page of homework. Maestra knew she had helped them make an important social and moral decision.
copyright 2007. Juanita took out her frustrations with her parents on everyone. She prided herself on fearless rebellion. strategies that would last an entire year. Her parents were drug addicts and her mother had overdosed on meth while she was pregnant with Juanita. but especially with her teachers. Mrs. Mrs. Christopher Biffle 100 19 Making Disruptive Behavior Self Extinguishing Juanita was one of the angriest rebels Mrs. The poor infant came into the world as a crack baby. Here is a shocking technique that turns all rebel behavior into support of the teacher’s classroom management goals! Early in the Spring. Maestra had ever attempted to teach. Maestra went into class and . Maestra had many powerful strategies to use with Juanita.
copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 101 drew a new version of the Scoreboard Game. Teacher Students . Her students were deeply puzzled and intrigued.
fewer pages of homework. you’ve never faced an opponent as difficult as your dear Mrs. maybe even two. When you are following rules and procedures.) Mrs. Maestra. working hard. teaching each other. That means you’ll get one. And believe me my dear students. Christopher Biffle 102 Mrs. Maestra: Class! Students: Yes! Mrs. then you score points for your side. Teach! Students: Okay! (Students teach their neighbors what their teacher said.copyright 2007. Maestra: You’ve been doing so well with our Scoreboard Game. Maestra then explained the new diagram as follows: Mrs. much tougher challenge. Maestra: Now here is how the new game works. Maestra: Class! Class! Class! Students: Yes! Yes! Yes! Mrs. It’s going to be you against me. four. You’re side is . I think you’re ready for a much. three.
copyright 2007. then I get a point. Maestra: Class! Class! Students: Yes! Yes! Mrs. as she marked a . Mrs. ExtraHomeWork City! Teach! Students: Okay! (Students teach their neighbors what their teacher said. Maestra singled out several hardworking students for doing a good job and had the class give them a 10 finger woo. And by the end of the day. if I’m winning then you are headed for that dreaded destination.) After the game began. or breaks any of our classroom rules. or that Makes Your Dear Teacher Unhappy. Christopher Biffle 103 winning and I’m losing! Teach! Students: Okay! (Students teach their neighbors what their teacher said. Maestra: However. if you do something that is not a Smart Choice.) Mrs.
That’s a mark for your dear teacher! (Mrs. She was waiting for Juanita to act up . and Mrs. Maestra didn’t have to wait long. As soon as the lesson became fractions.” Juanita and the class were stunned by Mrs. but Mrs. and whenever . thank you so much! You’ve helped out my side. before long. Maestra: (Smiling broadly. and without a hint of sarcasm in her voice) Juanita.. Maestra’s cleverness. Christopher Biffle 104 point on the Students side of the Scoreboard. several students acted inappropriately. “I hate this stupid stuff. Then. What is the last thing on earth that Juanita wants? To be on the teacher’s team!!!! Now.) Notice dear Mrs.. Juanita exclaimed. Mrs. Maestra puts a mark on the Teacher side of the Scoreboard. Maestra ignored their behavior. Maestra’s reaction. whenever Juanita acts up.copyright 2007.
Student Scoreboard will have a powerful effect on your challenging students. because it wasn’t “helping” the teacher. Maestra waited for the first opportunity of the slightest good behavior on Juanita’s part to say. that is really aggravating me. Maestra chooses to notice it.. Maestra wonderful beyond all speaking?! . clever Mrs. all the rebels are suddenly on your side. Now. In fact. Class!. Christopher Biffle 105 Mrs. if you’ve been using the traditional Scoreboard for months. give Juanita a 10 finger woo!” Isn’t Mrs. You don’t have to mark a point for your team every time they act up . They will be accustomed to seeing the negative side as bad news. that will drive them nuts. but also feel safe in their misbehavior. Juanita is scoring one for her instructor!!! Using the Teacher vs. Student Scoreboard. “Juanita. With the Teacher vs. and I have to score a point for the students’ side.copyright 2007.. You are paying excellent attention.
. If you’re going to be as successful as Mrs. you have to intuitively feel whether you should have a big. Acting up is being on the teacher’s team. pay close attention. Christopher Biffle 106 Juanita sees the consequences of her misbehavior in an entirely new light. Students Scoreboard. behaving correctly is “aggravating” the teacher . and make a keen judgment on how you should deliver your lines. the first time you use a rebel student’s misbehavior to score points for your side. boisterous reaction or something very quiet. so BEHAVING CORRECTLY IS THE NEW FORM OF REBELLION!!!! Go get a big hanky!!! When you’re done crying for joy. You have to know exactly how to play your part. Maestra in pulling off the Teacher vs. then you have to be an excellent actor.copyright 2007. Juanita! I really appreciate your help!! The Students Team was getting too far in the . “Thank you so much.. For example.
play it much cooler. Juanita is on the Students’ side.” If you decide to use a small amount of your rebel student’s good behavior to score a point for the Students side. Either play it up big. you must be very convincing in your reaction. “Heck. we take very seriously the view that teaching is a dramatic art that requires teachers to play roles that deeply engage their students. Juanita scored one for me.. .. Juanita is paying close attention.. or somewhere in between .copyright 2007. and has scored one for the Students. “Ah. your class has to completely buy into your reaction. small. Playing it big “Oh. smaller . Now.” In Power Teaching. Thanks. no! That is so aggravating when someone is on your team and then they turn against you.” Play it small. but keep a straight face.. Christopher Biffle 107 lead!!!!” Or.
sometimes only partly heard. these remarks aren’t terribly hurtful. Here’s what Mrs. and he’s refusing.. “Guff is any remark that makes a teacher unhappy. I’m asking him to do something that will help him be a better student. if I say to John. Students are very skilled in making comments.. For example. This means that everyone has one . ‘please work harder’ and he says ‘I am working harder’ . until you’re ready to scream. then that means everyone silently supports that remark! I’ll add 1 to the Guff Counter. and labeled the box “Guff Counter. Maestra drew a box on the board.” She said. If a student gives me guff.. but they add up . but don’t quite cross the line into completely rude behavior. Taken individually. Amazing guff! Students in most classes make these kinds of statements all day long! But not in Mrs. Christopher Biffle 108 20 The Guff Counter It is astonishing how often teachers have to endure disrespectful remarks. put a zero inside it. Maestra’s class. that almost. Right? Okay. that’s guff. Maestra did.copyright 2007. One day Mrs. and the class doesn’t say anything..
Mrs. Let’s practice. Maestra added 1 to the Guff counter. no matter how quickly her students said “Please. and the homework doesn’t go up a page. an amenable student.” At the first opportunity. and encouraged her to respond with guff. if someone says something that is guff.. I’ll allow the person who gave me guff to work extra hard for the rest of period at speaking more politely. Then she encouraged the guffing student to work harder all period at being respectful. stop!’ that means the class doesn’t silently support the guff .” Mrs. Christopher Biffle 109 additional page of homework! However. no matter how hard her challenging student worked. On the first violation.copyright 2007. various directions. but that’s all right. .. Maestra gave Julie. Mrs. says ‘Please. If you get a page of extra homework. she wanted them to say “Please.. not loudly. Maestra instructed the other students in how firmly. Mrs. and everyone firmly. stop!” Finally Mrs. “I know you’re going to forget to stop the guff at first . and loudly. I’ll erase the mark in the Guff Counter. Maestra never lowered the Guff Counter. Maestra said.. If they do a very good job all period. stop!” to guff.
.. but not the first time. and other kinds of verbal harassment. Point out that if you hear students talking disrespectfully to each other. she said something like “John did much better today. stop!” . Tell your neighbors how important it is to keep your dear teacher happy.” On other occasions. Important note: to eliminate students capping on each other. It’s fine to want your students to work hard to keep you happy. Maestra would let the disruptive student lower the Guff Counter by working harder . dissing. Silent support of verbal harassment must be met by everyone within listening distance saying “Please. Christopher Biffle 110 At the end of the period..copyright 2007. capping. use the procedure described above but have two students act out typical kinds of (non-profane) name calling. but not quite well enough to lower the Guff counter. the same rules apply as if they were speaking disrespectfully to you. Students frequently treat each other .. or the whole class gets a Frowny. This showed that Mrs. The happier they make you. the better you teach. Maestra meant business. Mrs.
that sounded like guff .. as a cue to prompt the class to unite behind you in quashing the rebellion! . Final important note: in actual practice. “Goodness.copyright 2007. you may never have to make a mark in the Guff Counter box after the first few times. where is my marker?” Your class will instantly tell the guffing student. once more you have used rebellious behavior. in this case guff. Christopher Biffle 111 horribly. When a student guffs you. School is often heaven for bullies. say.. Rehearse the capping routine daily to cut down on the amount of abuse students suffer from each other. “please stop!” In other words.
Maestra felt that she had Paul’s confidence. . asked about his goals and dreams. He was larger than the other boys.” Mrs. Power Chip Perfection. whenever possible. I’m going to announce a new game to the class tomorrow. For several weeks. quick witted and good at sports. Maestra explained that she would give Paul a stack of Power Chips (poker chips) and she would write a rule on the board that she wanted the class to focus on. it’s called Power Chip Perfection and I want you to be the scorekeeper. Maestra worked on establishing a relationship with Paul.copyright 2007. Mrs. You’re one of the strongest leaders in this class and I want you to use your leadership to guide students in a positive direction. Christopher Biffle 112 21 Breaking Up Rowdy Cliques Paul was the obvious leader of John’s rowdy clique. talked to him about his passion for basketball. She gave him small compliments. she took him aside and explained a new game. When Mrs. “Paul. I’m going to be honest with you. John and his friends followed. She said. Where Paul led.
Paul would silently take a Power Chip away from the “Perfection Stack. Mrs. Paul would silently add a Power Chip to the “Perfection Stack”. “Now. she did not want anything he did to cause a disruption in the class. Maestra would add a mark to the Scoreboard reducing the homework by one page.. Maestra then said. here is where I want you to really use your remarkable leadership. Mrs. because he loved to lead. Tell them that you want to see them win. take John and his friends aside and tell them about the game. . the Power Chip Perfection game is a good way to force me to give less homework to the class.” Paul. and because he loved the idea of forcing Mrs.” When the class had 10 chips in the “Perfection Stack. Maestra emphasized that it was important for Paul to silently add and subtract Power Chips.” Mrs.copyright 2007.. Maestra to give the class less homework.” Whenever a student raised his or her hand for permission to speak. Christopher Biffle 113 “Raise your hand for permission to speak. whenever a student forgot to raise his or her hand for permission to speak. Before class. Paul. Tell them the obvious truth . agreed to be the scorekeeper.
with Paul as scorekeeper won again. under Paul’s leadership. For the next few days. complaining that the class was “too clever. “Raise your hand for permission to speak” and “Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat.copyright 2007. the class. But I’m going to make it harder this time. Maestra to give them two fewer pages of homework than they had ever received. and acted as if she was upset.” Though the students. Mrs. Maestra added two rules to the board. She stopped the game at that point. Maestra used the possibility of playing the game as an inducement for good .” Mrs. we’ll try one more time. “All right. Maestra stopped the game when the class had earned as many positive marks as she secretly planned in advance that they would earn. Maestra knew it would. she said. as Mrs. begged her. “forced” Mrs. Christopher Biffle 114 The game proved to be very successful. On the first day. Mrs. and you’re not going to be able to force me to give you less homework. Maestra wouldn’t agree to play the Power Chip Perfection for several more days.” The class. Finally. and Paul. Mrs.
. here is what we’re going to do next . I’m going to write ‘Keep your dear teacher happy!’ on the board as our rule for Power Chip Perfection.copyright 2007. Make the class really sweat to earn 10 chips .. Christopher Biffle 115 behavior! Students worked hard at following Mrs. with a crowd of volunteers begging to whitewash her fence. Maestra took Paul aside and said.. Maestra felt like Tom Sawyer. whenever she wanted. Eventually. Maestra was quite happy.. just to earn the chance to follow her rules perfectly while playing Power Chip Perfection!!! Mrs. could add other rules. if you think it will work.. not as concrete as asking students to raise their hands for permission to speak or leave their seats . let’s see how hard they’ll work to win.” . and had found an excellent way for Paul to exercise his leadership for the benefit of the class. Mrs. Mrs. What I want you to do is not award the Power Chips as quickly in this version of the game. This rule is more vague. Maestra’s rules. for a long time or a short time. but it’s also very important for a successful class. “You’ve done a great job! Now.. She had a game that she knew she could play again.
. He loved the idea of being in cahoots with Mrs. Paul also loved the idea of being in charge. the whole class was working hard to keep Paul happy. of making anyone do anything. Christopher Biffle 116 Paul readily agreed. Maestra done? She had turned troublesome. In essence. Maestra. What had Mrs. fiesty Paul into her colleague.copyright 2007.
but Joan was such a gregarious spirit that she talked to anyone she was next to. the easiest time to detect inappropriate talking was when Mrs. Mrs. Obviously. You’re just talking to my hand. Mrs. Mrs. Joan and Janey.’” Mrs. It’s called ‘talk to my hand. Now. Maestra’s students were doing silent work. Maestra had students like Joan before. let’s practice. Maestra sat down between Joan and Janey and said. Maestra knew that one of the best ways to break up talkative pairs of students was simply to separate them. let’s . Maestra said. This means ‘I don’t want to hear what you’re saying. so please stop.’ If a student tries to talk to you during the game. Christopher Biffle 117 22 Breaking Up Talkative Pairs Mrs. “Okay. reading or writing. hold up a hand to make the other person stop talking. Mrs.copyright 2007. Maestra knew just what to do. Maestra knew that even good friends liked to have an “attitude” with each other. palm toward the student. “Today were going to play a new game. just hold up your hand.
Christopher Biffle 118 pretend we’re reading. whenever she wished. Mrs. She said. don’t look at me. 1’s pretend like you’re reading.” Her students loved this practice and so did Mrs. Maestra tried to talk to Joan and then she tried to talk to Janey.copyright 2007. 2’s pretend like you’re reading and 1’s try to talk to them. It only took 30 seconds or so.” First Mrs. Whenever I try to talk to you. but she had developed a routine that would. “Okay. Maestra then had the class count off in 2’s. Maestra pretended like she was frustrated. . cut down on the conversation between talkative pairs. The class laughed as Joan and Janey put up their hands and Mrs. Maestra. 2’s try to talk to the ones. keep your hand up until I stop trying to bother you. hold up your hand. When I say ‘Switch’.
Mrs. Christopher Biffle 119 23 Keep the DeeJay Happy! Stage One Mrs.copyright 2007. Maestra knew that students at every level loved listening to music. And so. Maestra drew a new diagram on the board. In fact. . it often seemed to her that her most challenging students were some of the ones who loved music the most. one day.
I love music. I’m the DeeJay.copyright 2007. When I put a mark under the Smilie Note Face that means one or more people are making me happy. the more music you get to listen to. that means one or more people are making me unhappy. hold up your hand if you love to party. I love partyin’ too. explained what Mrs. Now. Christopher Biffle 120 Mrs. Maestra continued. Maestra said. “Hold up your hand if you really like music. hesitantly. Tell your neighbors what I just said.” All her students held up their hands. “Me too. held up their hands. I’ll use the Frownie and Smilie note faces to keep score of how you’re doing.” The students. Mrs. I’m not going to tell you in advance everything that keeps me happy. We’re going to play a game called ‘Keep The DeeJay Happy’. When I put a mark under the Frownie Note Face.” All her students laughed. . “Great! Believe it or not. Maestra said. It’s kind of a guessing game. But the quicker you figure it out.
“Too slow again! Here’s another Frownie! Mighty Groan!” Her students groaned.. “Now. and thus they’re were back on her side. Maestra exclaimed. here’s the deal.. (As noted earlier. I’ll play the radio one minute for every Smilie Note Face mark you have more than Frownie Note Face marks.copyright 2007. Maestra said. At the end of half an hour. Maestra always believed that this groan was important. however. “Oh! That was too slow. you see it’s really important for you to psyche out what makes me.) “Now. “Give me a Mighty Groan!” Her students groaned. happy and . Christopher Biffle 121 Mrs. Her students laughed as they groan . the radio goes off! Explain all that to your neighbors. Maestra continued. and some people didn’t even talk to their neighbors. Mrs. I’m unhappy!” She put a mark under the Frownie Note Face and said.” The students hesitantly explain what Mrs.. Mrs.. your Deejay. You can choose the station . instead of being resentful that they got a Frownie face. She made another Frownie mark and explained. if music comes on that contains offensive language.
I won’t give you any Frownies. making sure that by the end of the half hour the Smilies almost caught the Frownies .) The Frownies were only one ahead of the Smilies! Darn! . It’s practice. Let’s practice. Maestra happy. “Great! Excellent misbehavior! Now.copyright 2007. Maestra wanted. do or say some things that you think would make me happy. Maestra laughed.” A few students did.” Mrs. the game came out even closer (just as Mrs. Go ahead. Do some things that you think might make me unhappy. Open your books to page 67. Maestra continued. the Frownies were only 3 ahead of the Smilies. Christopher Biffle 122 unhappy. we’re playing for real. Mrs. Maestra taught as she normally would but awarded Frownie and Smilie Note Face points. Maestra erased the score and announced that she’d let the class play again until the end of the hour. goofy things. Mrs.. At the end of the hour. Mrs.” A few students did or said things that made Mrs. “Right! Okay.. Now. or said.
and then they won one minute before the end of the period... the instant I hear anything that is inappropriate. Maestra chose the CD of a different popular person each time. but I’ll allow a few of you to bring the music. “However. not a second longer..copyright 2007.. Maestra said. remember my rule about offensive language .) Everyone was clamoring for her to let them bring CD’s. “Much better. Mrs. Maestra loved this . Mrs. I’ll tell you what. the boom box is turned off!” On the second day the game was played. (She had the students bring the CD’s in advance.. it meant her whole class was hooked. She added. on Keep the DeeJay Happy.” She selected the four most popular students in her class as ‘assistant deejays’ and allowed them to bring one CD each. This drove the kids crazy .. She played Ti’Juan’s music. and screened them at home for inappropriate language. her most popular student.... We’ll play again tomorrow . intensely hooked. Christopher Biffle 123 Mrs. but only for one minute . Maestra let the class almost win at the end of the first half hour. Mrs.. . the music stopped just when the song was getting going! As the game continued over the next week.
that just might earn you a Frownie. We’re not there yet. Christopher Biffle 124 Mrs.. Toward the end of the year. “All . I’m a very moody. she said “I’ll let other students bring CD’s when I see that everyone truly understands how to keep the DeeJay happy. Maestra’s students objected.copyright 2007. Mrs. Mrs. easy to upset Deejay!” Stage Two When the class was clamoring to have the CD bringing group enlarged. Maestra rarely let her students win 2 minutes of music . She knew it was a long year. Maestra remained in Stage One for as long as she could. and never let her students win three minutes of music. When Mrs. Maestra finally said. It’s too much of a hassle to have to choose among 30 CD’s. But.. she wanted to start by keeping the rewards as small as possible. which also worked wonders for her relationship to these powerful class leaders. if you keep bugging me about bringing CD’s... her students would need a 5-10 minute music party once a week (see below) to stay involved. She kept playing the music of her popular students .
We’re also going to change the game a bit. often a month or two. instead of playing in half hour periods. We’re going to have a row versus row competition. Maestra usually stayed in this stage for a considerable amount of time . I think you are all doing fairly well.” . you’re all doing very good. Maestra eventually introduced a new twist in Keep the DeeJay Happy. The row that does the best today. In Stage Two Mrs. we’ll just play for the entire hour.. Everyone who wants to can bring a CD tomorrow... you’ll have to earn Smilie Note Faces for that. Maestra found it more convenient. she gave students two chances during an hour to win music. The important change in Stage Two was that anyone could bring a CD. and it broke up her period less. they just had to be in a row that was generating lots of Smilie Note Faces. Stage Three Mrs.. as an extra motivator. I’m not guaranteeing we’ll play anyone’s CD . Mrs.copyright 2007.” In Stage One. can bring CD’s tomorrow. “Okay. Christopher Biffle 125 right. if the class focused on winning one music party by the end the hour. One day she said.
Christopher Biffle 126 On the next day. Maestra made the following diagram on the board. if she would have had more than 5 rows. she would have extended her drawing. (Of course.) Row 1 Row 2 Row 3 Row 4 Row 5 . Mrs.copyright 2007.
copyright 2007. . “Well. but several got very close. no party. Groan!” Her students groaned. Mrs. Maestra gave both rows one Frownie Note Face. Mrs. let’s make this a little more fair. Maestra sighed and said. If students in one row were talking to students in another row. She knew her students always worked harder when they were trying to make up lost points. Then. Mrs. Maestra soon found an opportunity early in the class and exclaimed “everyone is following directions too slowly!” She gave each row a Frownie Note Face. On the first day Mrs. a little later... To make things more interesting. I’ll select a CD from the row that has more Smilies than Frownies at the end of the period . “There are some people in each row who are not paying attention!” She gave each row another Frownie Note Face. Christopher Biffle 127 She said. Maestra made sure that no row won. if no row has more Smilies than Frownies . I’ll be assigning Smilie and Frownie Note Faces by rows... of course.
Mrs. I’m going to pick a number from one to 100 .. She knew that the longer she remained in a stage... being rude to a classmate. the person who is closest gets to have their music played tomorrow . . “Good job.. Maestra stayed in this stage as long as she could. Christopher Biffle 128 On the second day. She applauded them and said.copyright 2007. I’m really liking this game. Maestra started class by saying “You know. You won a minute of music for the whole class. if I find no offensive language in it when I play it at home tonight.. But I think you need a little help. What are the kinds of things you’ve noticed that make me unhappy?” Her students mentioned speaking without raising their hand. the more likely that she’d be able to keep the game going over the whole year. Mrs. each person in this row who has a CD should tell me their guess . Maybe you could give yourselves some hints.” Mrs.. leaving their seat. Maestra was quite satisfied and so arranged things so her best row won. Stage Four When her students were ready for something new.
Christopher Biffle 129 She wrote these on the board. She said. These will be your hints for winning our music game. Occasionally. . Now what kinds of things have you noticed that gets Smilie Faces?” Her students mentioned several things including the opposite of the Frownies. Maestra felt like she was in teaching Heaven. “All right. Then she let them play the game. “Excellent. Maestra said. Mrs. Keep the DeeJay Happy!” Mrs. Maestra let students in the rows have a “row huddle” when they talk about how to use the hints on the board to gain Smilies for their group. Mrs. Maestra added the students comments on the board. for rest of the period. new ways to keep the deejay happy.copyright 2007. Maestra asked her students to rehearse the Frownie and Smilie behavior. and a few more examples of student behavior that were her personal favorites for winning Smiles and avoiding Frownies. Mrs. Let’s leave those there. You’re right. She encourage her students to think up new ways to win Smilies. That stuff really gives me a Frownie Face. Then Mrs. using rows as in Stage Three.
These should be people who will be very good at getting their team to avoid Frownies and add Smilies. Mrs. “Well. at the end of a period. Maestra handed out a piece of paper with everyone’s name on it. Mrs.. The class has selected you as their leaders.copyright 2007. but she decided not to include him in her plan. She ended up. She noted John was one of the six.. Mrs. Maestra read the names of the student leaders. After class. these were precisely the students she wanted helping her with classroom management! The next day. with the names of the six most popular students in class. But I wish we could party a little longer! So. Christopher Biffle 130 Stage Five Eventually. I’m liking our parties. We’ll need a team captain for each of our six rows row. of course. I want each of you to pick . Maestra totaled the votes. a popular. Mrs. Maestra substituted Noreen. Mrs. Maestra looked at her list . reliable student. Put a check mark beside six names on the list who you think would be good team captains. Then she said. “Okay. She said. he wasn't quite reliable enough. we’ll divide the class up into teams.
(See Chapter 28. this will be the person you can trust to help you guide your team toward the wonderful goal of longer music parties in our class. Mrs. Over the following week.” Mrs.. Maestra then said. The Birthday Game. we’ll change them as we need to.” The leaders picked the co-leaders. Maestra now had 12 students on her side . Maestra then announced the teams and had students move accordingly.. Mrs. Maestra experimented with where to put the team captains and cocaptains in the rows. in a class with six row leaders.) The next day Mrs. “Tonight I’ll work out the teams.” She put most challenging students on teams with a leader and co-leader that she believed the challenging student wanted to please.copyright 2007.. At this point.. Maestra knew that other teachers might ... “These assignments are temporary . Mrs. Christopher Biffle 131 someone else who is going to be your co-leader . 12 of the most popular kids her class! Mrs. she decided that having one in the front of the row and the other in the back worked best. (Of course. Move to a row with your team captain and co-captain. Maestra said.
Before long. would try to pressure Mrs.. Mrs. Maestra used the “pick a number from 1-100” method to select the music that was played. Mrs. Maestra into giving them a Smilie.copyright 2007. Mrs. She threw a few Frownies on the board and watched polite behavior increase. allowing row huddles as frequently as she thought necessary. .. Maestra continued to play the game for weeks. Whenever a row won. Christopher Biffle 132 design other arrangements in their classroom. that certainly made the Deejay. or other teams . Maestra let a row win the first 3 minute music party! Gosh.) Each day when Mrs. Maestra. unhappy. a row. which meant they got an instant Frownie. If kids on teams were rude to their teammates .. Occasionally. Maestra was ready to play the game she gave the teams a few minutes for a “row huddle” when they planed their strategy beating the other rows by getting m Smilie Note Faces than Frownies.. her students were thrilled by winning 3 measly minutes!! Mrs.
All Smilie minutes earned by the winning rows would be put in a Music Bank and cashed in each Friday. a hassle.. Christopher Biffle 133 Stage Six Late in the year. Maestra got all her students working hard all week to keep her happy. (This meant that Mrs. Mrs. then you’re on my personal team.) What did Mrs. but it was worth it. Mrs. Maestra pointed out that this could mean a 5-10 minute music party once a week! She believed this was a very fair trade for a well managed. But if no one wants you . if you can convince the captain and co-captain to let you join.. hard working class. Mrs. Maestra do if a student wanted to leave a group? She took the student aside and said something like the following. You can join any other group. “I’ll tell you what I’ll do.. Maestra had a day to day running record of the row totals .. And believe me. Maestra announced a radical new rule. Students in the three highest scoring rows could bring CD’s and pick a number from 1-100.copyright 2007. you really won’t enjoy . In exchange.
and Mrs. . then put she would put him or her on Mrs.” If the leader and co-leader were unsuccessful. She announced that players on her team would go to the office every Friday during the music party! She also said that all any student ever had to do to get off her team. Christopher Biffle 134 that. then I’ll cut you a little slack. but the individual didn’t want to leave? She took the team captain and co-captain aside and said. your teammate wants to stay on the team. how you want them to act. If the two of you will take this person aside. But.copyright 2007.” What did Mrs.. Maestra’s team. “Look. but exactly.. Maestra do if students wanted to kick someone off the team. You have a real leadership problem. was to convince her that they saw the error of their ways and convince a captain and co-captain to let them join their team. Maestra could convince no one else in class to take the student . explain politely. I won’t be so quick with the Frownie.
. Maestra came into class with a large sign with two words on it: Please? Okay! She put the sign in a prominent place in the room. Maestra did about this worldwide education problem. Mrs. Mrs.copyright 2007. If I ask you to do something.” In fact. I ask you to do something.. Christopher Biffle 135 24 The Please/Okay Game Mrs. and you say ‘okay’. just say ‘okay. Maestra believed that teachers all over the planet would have been delighted if they could simply hear “Okay” from students when they were given a direction. John simply said “Okay. stop talking to his neighbor. “I’m going to teach you a new game. One day. please don’t give me guff .. Maestra said. Maestra would have been very happy with John if whenever she asked him to do something.. It’s called the Please/Okay game. Here’s what Mrs.” She asked several students to rehearse the procedure with her.. Mrs.. pay attention. .’ That’s all I want . a few weeks after she introduced the Guff counter. whatever . sit up.
what if I ask you to stop talking to your neighbor. Mrs.copyright 2007. Maestra: Fantastic! John. Mrs. John: (staring into space) La. Maestra: Tisha. Maestra: John. please sit up. what if I ask you to do your work more neatly. What do you say? Alex: Okay. Mrs. Jack. la” until I remember to use good manners. John: Okay. la. Maestra: Excellent! Polly. please look at me. Tisha: Okay. look at me. let’s practice. you can just stare into space and say “la. . la. you don’t have to say okay! In fact. Christopher Biffle 136 Mrs. Polly: Okay! Mrs. pretend I say to you. Mrs. please keep your hands to yourself. what do you say? Maria: Okay. Now. If I don’t say please. please fold your hands on your desk. Maestra: Excellent! Maria. la. Maestra: Alex. Maestra: Fantastic! Now. Jack: Okay! Mrs. la. here’s how we play the Please/Okay game.
if you hear me ask a student to please do something and they don’t say okay . la. la. having John say “la.. la” made him part of Mrs. In fact. la. tell that student to ‘Please. Maestra then said. “Very good! Now.” John thought he was really getting away with something. Christopher Biffle 137 Mrs. on purpose. Maestra was that it reminded her to consistently say “please” when she wanted her students to follow a direction. that’s Guff! Politely. Maestra’s system! He was rebelling himself into perfect cooperation! John was such a troublesome student that Mrs. “La.copyright 2007. Maestra would sometimes forget. One crucial feature of the game for Mrs. To make it even more amusing. Maestra that she rehearsed the procedure (as she had . than his usual. The “Please/Okay” game was so important to Mrs.. Maestra’s students enjoyed the Please/Okay game. but firmly. Mrs. stop’ or I’ll have to assume that you all support impoliteness and so I’ll have to add one point to the Guff Counter. la” and know she had his attention.” Mrs. often irritating behavior. John always responded. to say “Please” especially with John. la. Maestra would have far rather had him say “la.
we’ll have a 5 minute music party at the end of the week! Tell each other how much you’d love to have a 5 minute music party!!!” (The extra music time could be added to any time they had gained in the game described in the previous chapter. She used the Scoreboard Game for short term rewards or penalties at .) Mrs. When we have 10 stars. Christopher Biffle 138 with Alex. Gosh. if you’ll remind me. Mrs. I’ll think about how we’ve been doing with Please/Okay and Please stop! If it seems like we’ve been doing very well then I’ll give the entire class a star here on the front board. “You’ve all been doing very well with Please-Okay. Note Mrs. Maestra’s overall strategy. for only about a minute a day. Late in the year. Maestra said. Maria and Polly) for a week. that was exciting. especially if he got the “la. At the end of each day. and he almost always went along. when her class needed additional motivation.copyright 2007. Then one day Mrs. Mrs. la” part. Maestra’s students told each other about how wonderful it would be to have a 5 minute music party. Maestra increased the party from 5 to 10 minutes. Here’s what we’re going to do. la. Maestra often included John in the rehearsal.
but not always. One day she said. Maestra worked things out so that her class usually. “Yes. if you wanted to make me quite happy. that’s fine. ended up with 10 stars by the end of Friday afternoon. You might not feel comfortable with this and if so. Maestra picked another star task and let the class vote on what they wanted to do during their 5 minute party. Maestra never forgot the one day. Christopher Biffle 139 the end of the day. Maestra was a little bit old fashioned. Mrs. Mam. dance. it was a lovely day early in the spring.copyright 2007. he said. When the class had mastered Please/Okay. play a game. Mrs. But once in awhile I would just love to hear someone say something very polite. Mam’ when I asked you to please follow one of my directions. it would be wonderful if you said ‘Yes. Of course. listen to music. Mam. when she asked John to stop fiddling with a key chain. “You know.” .” Mrs. She picked something that was very important to her. about once a week. Mrs. like ‘Yes. for a long term reward. Please/Okay.
Mrs. Maestra’s class needed to have ample experience of the pleasure of earning less or more homework and avoiding more homework. In addition. and I’m sure you would enjoy finding a way to play the Scoreboard game more successfully. Mrs.copyright 2007. The leader’s job will be to help his or her team members focus on getting less homework and avoiding more homework. It will be much easier for your team leaders to guide a few team members. Maestra trained student leaders to take over the classroom management tasks that she had been overseeing. Christopher Biffle 140 25 Student Leaders Before training student leaders. . here’s what we’re going to do. We’ll divide into teams.. Maestra often spent several weeks. even months using the Scoreboard Game and other Power Teaching classroom management techniques so that all her students understand her rules and procedures.. She said the following to her students. “I’m sure there have been many days when you had more homework than you wanted . each team will have a leader. So. To move toward a self managing class. Mrs.
..copyright 2007. So. Mrs. When she received the names of the leaders from her students . I’ll look . We’ll try this system for two weeks. me. Mrs.” Mrs. and then I’ll ask the class to pick 8 leaders again. I’m going to let each of you pick one person to join your team who you think would really back you up and keep your team members headed in the right direction. She always picked the students she thought would be the best leaders (Mrs.lots of leaders equaled more organization. I’ll select the rest of your team for you. to guide an entire class toward wining the Scoreboard game. Maestra found an opportunity to take her special students aside and said the following. Maestra felt no compulsion to pick the top eight students that her class selected. Maestra planned to have one leader for every four students . Christopher Biffle 141 than for one person.) Next. I think we’ve made a very good choice. if she believed these students would not be best for classroom management. write down the names of the 8 people in this class that you think would be good classroom leaders. Maestra often saw that she had a list of many of the most popular students in class. “I and the class have selected you as some of our best leaders.
. Maestra will support their reelection) . someone else will get their plum job. as part of her system. Finally. . She had half the class. If the leaders did a good job of leading students toward less homework. if you don’t talk to each other during work time. were Mrs. if not. then you’ll get to be leaders again. Maestra had created. If you’ve been doing a good job. think about the structure Mrs. The two of you can.” Now. the leaders and co-leaders. Students will do almost anything to sit with a friend. but also that you get to have one of your friends on your team. Maestra found that the system worked even better if she gave the leaders and co-leaders tasks to perform every period. Maestra’s leaders.. sit together. Precisely the kids that most students want to follow. In addition. Christopher Biffle 142 over their choices. Mrs. they’ll get reelected (and Mrs. The important advantage to you of being a team leader is not only that it is fun. she had used the very powerful reward of allowing friends to sit together as a motivator. the whole system was performance based. She handed them the following list.copyright 2007.
Never allow a team member to guff anyone. Whenever I ask you to. enjoy being in charge . be the first on your team to follow them. stand up and lead your team in a review of the rules and procedures. Christopher Biffle 143 Leaders’ Responsibilities 1. 5. Be firm.” energetically. leading maintains and solidifies their position in ... Meet individually with students who are having a hard time following classroom rules or procedures.. 6. Energetically give “woos” and “it’s cool!” 4. they will lead.copyright 2007. Find out if there is anything I can do to help them. When I say “teach!. stop!” but don’t answer guff with guff. Don’t review the rules in order . When I give directions. Be an example to your entire team. 2. Pick numbers from 1-5 and have your team quickly say the rule and make the gesture. using large gestures. If you give your leaders tasks like the above. The students that the class selected.. teach your neighbor. say “Please. 3. that is too easy. Point at the procedures and have your team quickly explain each sign.
. What do you do if a student wants to leave a group? Take the student aside and say something like the following. then put him/her on your personal team. explain politely. but the individual doesn’t want to leave? Take the team leader and co-leader aside and say. You have a real leadership problem. And believe me. If the two of you will take this person aside. and you can convince no one else in class to take the student .. But. Students on your team automatically go into the .” What should you do if students want to kick someone off the team. how you want them to act. then you’re on my personal team.copyright 2007. You can join any other group... “Look. Instead of working against the natural clique structure of your students. I won’t be so quick with more homework. But if no one wants you . then I’ll cut you a little slack. you have the cliques working for you. but exactly.” If the leader and co-leader are unsuccessful. if you can convince the team leader and co-leader to let you join. Christopher Biffle 144 the social hierarchy. “I’ll tell you what I’ll do. your teammate wants to stay on the team. you really won’t enjoy that.
To make learning teams work in the structure we have described above. About a third of the way into the year. Creating Learning Teams There is a large amount of educational research which shows that students are more successful when they participate in student learning teams than when they study alone. Make being on your team the worst news a student can get. “I’m . is convince you that they see the error of their ways and convince a leader and co-leader to let them join their team. Say something like the following to your class. Not only do weak students benefit by being taught by other students. But also point this out: all students ever have to do to get off your team. you will have begun to identify your academically stronger and weaker students. Christopher Biffle 145 Independent group and get more homework with stunning swiftness. you may have to juggle the membership of the teams.copyright 2007. but strong students gain increased subject mastery when they have the opportunity to instruct their peers.
Here are some suggestions for team oriented academic activities: 1. Be sure every team has at least one strong student. explain to your class that you may need to occasionally reorganize the teams. When you hand out the rosters of the new teams. for now.” Sort the teams by the grades they have earned in your class. is for everyone to academically improve. any set of information that has a “front” and a “back”. Put the very strongest students on a team with the weakest students. Now. dates and events. we’re ready to make significant improvements in your grades.copyright 2007. Students put the word. multiplication questions and answers. These lists can contain words and definitions. Christopher Biffle 146 very happy with how the student leaders and their teams have been doing. Every team will have students who have been doing very well so far. I’m going to keep the same leaders. Your goal. Hand out lists of material that the class can turn into flash cards. and every team will have students who can do better. date. you explain. problem on the . and reorganize the teams so that each group is about academically equal.
on task activity. You’ll . 3. Challenge teams to break their previous team records for silent. Christopher Biffle 147 front of the card and the definition.copyright 2007. event. During quiet study periods. Discuss ways that classroom organization and team academic abilities can be improved. use a digital clock to time how long each team can stay quietly on task. Praise them for their service to the class. Give biweekly flash card tests and give teams inclass time to study. at lunch. take your student leaders and strongest academic students aside for periodic conferences. Give teams in-class time to quiz each other. Students can master hundreds of flash cards in a year.. 2. Give students lists of spelling words or math facts to master. As these team activities proceed. Ask them if they would be willing to volunteer to help weaker students outside of class . answer on the back. The team goal should be to set new records for the team’s average score on weekly spelling tests. The team’s goal should be setting a new record for the team’s average score on the tests.. before or after school.
.copyright 2007. given the opportunity. will aid their classmates. Christopher Biffle 148 be pleasantly surprised at how many of your kids.
If you make a fuss. Maestra found Detention Cards was a good supplement to the classroom leadership system she was developing. Mrs. “These are detention cards. and so on. or say anything unpleasant. Maestra believed that the main problem with detention was that it was not a sufficiently unpleasant experience to change student behavior.” . I’ll give you another card. I’ll give you a detention card.) Mrs. If you break a classroom rule. (Mrs.copyright 2007. I’ve made out five for each person and they’re in alphabetical order. Toward the middle of the year. This means you have to serve 10 minutes of detention after school. or even groan. Teach your neighbors what I just said. Maestra moved on to another classroom management device: Detention Cards. Christopher Biffle 149 26 You Bet Your Detention After she had used the Scoreboard and the Scoreboard with Independents for awhile. she brought in a boom box one day and a stack of red cards. She said.
7. Quietly get out your science book. If you follow the . Sit down. Push your chair in quietly. 9. Begin again at number 1 She then told her students. 2. Lower your hand. 5. Mrs. Put your science book away quietly. “You will get detention because you are having a hard time following instructions. Wait 10 seconds. 3. Pull your chair out quietly. Hold your hand up for 10 seconds. Christopher Biffle 150 The students explained the 10 minute detention cards to each other. 10. 11. “This is what you will do for 10 minutes if you get one card. 1. Maestra continued. 6. 4.copyright 2007. Here is the way you will practice following instructions in detention. 8. Raise your hand. Maestra handed copies of the following around her class.” Mrs. Stand up quietly. Look at your science book for 10 seconds.
And so. If you refuse to follow directions you’ll stay the entire 10 minutes. Mrs. “Tell your neighbor the following. Students groaned with misery as they listened. you will listen to some of my favorite music. you might get an early release. the Red Army Chorus singing patriotic songs. but during detention. Maestra knew that her students would almost rather stand in hot coals than listen to music they considered uncool. Now. She could quickly hand a card to a rebel without stopping to write down his/her name. Think of it as cultural enrichment. selections from the Japanese Opera. I sincerely hope it is you. some of you might think that is no big deal. she finished her explanation.copyright 2007. Maestra’s strategy. hillbilly yodeling. ‘If someone is going to get 10 minutes of detention that involves following mindless rules and listening to that music.” Mrs. and so forth. and having the cards in alphabetical order. Having five cards for each person. Maestra then played selections of her “favorite” music. vastly simplified her record keeping. She also set the rest of the student’s cards . not me!’” Note Mrs. Christopher Biffle 151 directions well.
Christopher Biffle 152 aside. In addition.copyright 2007.. she simply looked at the cards she had set aside and knew who was due in detention and how many minutes they had earned. embarrassing to her teenagers. Not only was following the list of detention rules quite unpleasant. . listening to uncool music was deeply painful. relatively painless experience.. Detention was no longer a simple. At the end of the day. Maestra that that was just fine. she knew friends of her challenging students would mock them unmercifully for having to go to Power Detention . Mrs.
and beamed when she got praise.” Mrs. Maestra had the opportunity. often had remarkably positive results with her challenging students. she praised Joan for even the smallest positive behavior. a very simple technique. Christopher Biffle 153 27 Praise Therapy Mrs.copyright 2007. I really liked how quietly you slid in your chair.” “Joan you are doing an excellent job of waiting in line. “Joan. Maestra found that praise therapy.” “Joan thank you for raising your hand. . Maestra noted that Joan was the kind of student who wanted a lot of attention. Whenever Mrs.
In exchange for good behavior. She did not want to give this reward away without getting excellent behavior in return. Mrs. Maestra rearranged the seating so favorite friends (especially of challenging students) sat far apart 3. 1.) Here are the four steps Mrs. Maestra used in setting up the Birthday Game. Maestra handed out “1 minute buddy passes” so that friends could sit next to each other (so long as they behave perfectly) for 1 minute . Mrs. and then use this information to improve the behavior of challenging students (and others. She used a special technique to discover groups of favorite friends 2. Maestra knew that her students would do almost anything to sit with a favorite friend.copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 154 28 The Birthday Game Mrs. Next Mrs. Maestra believed that the Birthday Game was a way to identify groups of favorite friends.
she collected the lists. Mrs. This was powerful information for Mrs. She said. To tabulate the results. 10 minutes. Stage One: discover groups of favorite friends Mrs. Mrs. and who wanted to connect with them. “Let’s play the Birthday Game. Later in the year. and often revealed surprising patterns... Maestra was especially interested in learning who her challenging students wanted to be connected to . Mrs. The students with the most arrows attached to them were the most popular students in class. Maestra started by giving her students a list of every student in class.” Then. . Put a check mark beside the names of three students in this class that you would invite to your birthday party. Christopher Biffle 155 4. etc. Maestra extend the buddy passes to 5 minutes.copyright 2007. Maestra wrote every student’s name on a sheet of paper and then drew three arrows from each student to the students they would invite to their parties. Maestra.
Mrs. she put an oven timer on the front board and said something like the following. Christopher Biffle 156 Stage Two: rearrange the seating so favorite friends (especially of challenging students) sit far apart Several days after she had collected and collated the birthday lists.. Mrs. Mrs. so that her students didn’t know she was using the lists as her “rearrangement” information. Maestra sat everyone away from their special buddy. Mrs. “Everyone who does excellent work for the next 15 minutes will be given a 1 minute buddy pass to sit with their favorite friend . Maestra paid special attention to challenging students who connected to each other. the she sat them as far apart as possible. Maestra rearranged the seating. Maestra allowed a few students .” After 15 minutes were up. Mrs.copyright 2007. Maestra wanted her class to perform extremely well. Stage Three: Reward with buddy passes Whenever Mrs. if their favorite friend has also done excellent work.. If each one wanted the other at his/her party. Maestra waited several days.
Maestra could turn up student enthusiasm by gradually extending the amount of time buddies could sit together. the more golden the extra minutes would be in May and June.) Initially. She knew that gold is a precious metal partly because of its rarity. Mrs. she also increased the amount of time students had to work excellently to earn their buddy pass. the students should returned to their original seats. she needed extra classroom management tricks to keep students motivated.copyright 2007. . The fewer buddy minutes she started with. Mrs. Maestra made sitting with a friend an extremely valuable commodity. Maestra rehearsed getting up and changing seats. Mrs. by only giving out 1 minute buddy passes. rewarding the class with Smilies when they rehearsed well (and penalizing them with Frownies when they rehearsed poorly. To make this whole procedure go more smoothly. Christopher Biffle 157 to trade seats. She then reset the timer and when it went off after a minute. As the year progressed. Mrs. Maestra knew from long experience that late in the year.
Maestra only let buddies sit together if their behavior. is perfect. Christopher Biffle 158 Mrs.copyright 2007. Otherwise. while sitting together. . buddies simply bred a new classroom management problem.
Handing in papers 4. Maestra. Christopher Biffle 159 29 Positive Tattling After the Birthday Game... After checking with LeAnn. Maestra showed Joan a set of behaviors: 1. Among other positive qualities. Should we ask LeAnn to help you?” Joan smiled enormously . Mrs. one of the most popular students in class. Maestra said the following to Joan. Opening books 2. Raising your hand for permission to leave your seat . Mrs. LeAnn was the kind of student who delighted in doing favors for Mrs. Raising your hand for permission to ask a question 6. Getting pencils sharpened 5. “Yes! Let’s ask LeAnn to help me!” Mrs. more enormously than enormously.copyright 2007. “I know we’ve had some challenges this semester in following our classroom rules and procedures. Maestra noticed that Joan wanted to invite LeAnn. Handing out papers 3. to her birthday party.
Maestra says “hands and eyes” 9. the two of you can share your score sheet with me. I only want to point out one thing: this isn’t an excuse for you to talk to LeAnn in class. Maestra uses the volume-O-meter Mrs. Saying “it’s cool!” when someone makes a mistake 10. Maestra said. Maestra or another student 11. At the end of the period. or point out to her what she should be writing down . I’ll give LeAnn a list of those three items and tell her to make a mark on the list every time you do well on that item. Responding “hands and eyes” when Mrs.copyright 2007. stop!” when a student guffs Mrs. Mrs. Saying “Please. Lowering your voice when Mrs. “That’s an excellent start. Joan selected handing in papers. Giving a student a woo 13. At the start of each period. Christopher Biffle 160 7. and giving a student a woo. Not speaking guff to anyone 12. Responding “Yes” when Mrs. LeAnn will show you how you’ve been doing. Maestra asked Joan to select two behaviors that she would like LeAnn to help her with. Maestra says “Class!” 8.
She is your personal Scorekeeper.copyright 2007.” Joan loved the new system. Christopher Biffle 161 on your list. if you don’t let her do her job. we’ll try something else. .
After lunch. Maestra took him aside and showed him a new. Every day you’ll get a new chance to break your record. Maestra said. Maestra had never known a student who wasn’t fascinated by stopwatches. I’m going to let you try something very special. you can keep using the watch. start the watch and time how long you can go before you forget to raise your hand. one of your row leaders. we will use the stopwatch to help you remember to raise your hand to ask a question. I’ll have Paul. But please . Mrs. or we’ll try something else. I’ll let you start and stop the watch yourself for one session. red stopwatch. Paul will stop the watch and write down your personal record. Mrs. depending on how you’re doing. She showed John how the stopwatch worked and let him click the buttons. When you’ve broken your record 5 times. John was no exception. Then. we’ll try the same thing. Paul will take the watch back. One day Mrs. When you forget. “John. Tomorrow.copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 162 30 The Magic Stopwatch Game John often forgot to raise his hand when he had a question or comment.
copyright 2007. even for something so simple as obeying a class rule. Maestra loved. we’ll save the stopwatch for later in the year. . First. challenging students like John often deeply wanted an audience. Christopher Biffle 163 remember this. she was employing a fascinating piece of technology. someone to pay attention to them. Having someone else time their good behavior was the kind of audience for challenging students that Mrs. Paul is your Personal Timekeeper. the idea of setting personal records. Second. Maestra understood the power of her Stopwatch Game. Third. a stopwatch. if you disturb him while he is doing his job.” Mrs. powerfully appealed to her class.
Then Mrs. A key feature of the game was that it would involve no punishment. A “Sticker Bank” of 25+ stickers ranging from simple to elaborate designs displayed on a board. Mrs. and so she made the Bull’s Eye Game 100% reward.copyright 2007. Maestra had learned that John. Maestra taught John how to play. 5 circle. Sheets of paper divided into 5 boxes. Christopher Biffle 164 31 The Bull’s Eye Game Mrs. one of the most challenging students in her career. was almost immune to any form of penalty. bull’s eye that she posted prominently in class. Maestra collected the following game materials: A large. she called it the Bull’s Eye Game. Mrs. Maestra decided to invent a game. These would be John’s “weekly Bull’s Eye calendar” for pasting stickers and recording behavior scores. . that would help John continue to improve his behavior.
Mrs. 2. Goals like “behaving yourself”. The circles. nebulous. “being good” are. Examples of Mrs. Maestra showed John the bull’s eye diagram with five circles. Maestra agreed to).not speaking or making noise during “silent work” periods -.copyright 2007.not touching others Note that Mrs.looking at the teacher. 3. 1. Maestra found that encouraging John to choose .raising your hand for permission to leave your seat -. from inside to outside. Maestra explained that when John scored a “bull’s eye day” he had perfectly achieved the behavior goal that he chose (and Mrs. were labeled 5. Challenging students need easy to understand standards. when she speaks -. Maestra’s goals were very specific. 4. “speaking respectfully”. Christopher Biffle 165 Selecting a behavior goal In a one-on-one session Mrs.following the teacher’s directions -. Mrs.raising your hand for permission to speak -. Maestra’s behavior goals were: -. for many challenging students.
Role switching rehearsal of appropriate and inappropriate behavior continued until John clearly understood the behavior goal. Then John and Mrs. John gave normal classroom directions and Mrs. Mrs. Rehearsing the behavior goal John and Mrs. Maestra then asked John to model inappropriate behavior. Maestra gave directions and John stared around the classroom. Maestra followed them. Much to John’s delight. Mrs. groaned. “following the teacher’s directions” that John chose. Maestra believed that the rehearsal stage was . Maestra modeled John’s most typical avoidance behavior. she became the challenging student who did not follow directions. Christopher Biffle 166 his behavior goal significantly deepened his involvement in the game. banged on the desk. Maestra gave normal classroom directions and John followed them. to make the rehearsal entertaining. Mrs. To rehearse “following the teacher’s directions” Mrs. Then. Maestra took turns rehearsing the behavior goal.copyright 2007. Mrs. or laughed. Maestra changed roles.
Maestra said. you’ll receive one point. She and John would meet at the end of the period to evaluate John’s performance (or.. rehearsal created an entertaining bond between teacher and student. If you are only 1 point away from my score..” . you’ll receive 5 points. You then tell me what me think your score is and explain your reasoning. Next. but also.) Mrs. and more importantly. if Mrs. Maestra explained that John’s task was to try to score Bull’s Eye days by perfectly hitting the behavior goal.. Not only did it begin to imprint John with the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. If you finish the day with what we both agree is a Bull’s Eye day. she would meet with John after school. “When we meet I will write down what I think your score is . You can use your points to buy stickers from my special Sticker Bank. Explaining the Bull’s Eye Game Mrs. Christopher Biffle 167 very important. Maestra didn’t have time. but I won’t show you what I’ve written. If your score matches mine.. you’ll receive 2 points.copyright 2007. I’ll show you my score. 5 is a perfect bull’s eye .
copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
(Mrs. Maestra’s one point stickers were small and single color. Two point stickers were larger and had two colors ... and so on up to Mrs. Maestra’s gaudy, wonderful 10 point stickers. Mrs. Maestra had learned that John’s passion was hot rods, so all the stickers had a hot rod theme.) Playing the game Mrs. Maestra met John at the end of each period he was in her class to compare scores, and add up points. It was very important that Mrs. Maestra honestly evaluated John’s behavior. For example, John would learn nothing if Mrs. Maestra was “nice’ and gave a 3, when John only earned a 1. Mrs. Maestra believed that honest evaluation was an excellent way for challenging students to learn a teacher’s standards. When John, from Mrs. Maestra’s point of view, scored a 1 or 2 on the bull’s eye, she and John rehearsed the behavior goal several times, often switching roles, with Mrs. Maestra taking the John’s part.
copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
Mrs. Maestra kept a daily record on the calendar of John’s and her scores and what behavior goals were targeted. Stickers that John had purchased from the Sticker Bank were put on the calendar. Each Friday, Mrs. Maestra made a copy of John’s weekly calendar page and gave the original to John. When John had difficulty meeting a behavior goal, Mrs. Maestra encouraged him to choose a new goal. As he became more successful in meeting his targets, other goals were added. After a week or two, Mrs. Maestra offered to help John, saying “If you want, you and I will have a secret sign. When you see me point at my head, that mean’s that you have to think more carefully; you’re missing the bull’s eye. When you see me pointing at my eye, that means you’re really hitting the bull’s eye. Then you should nod, so that I know you’ve gotten my secret message.” Advantages of playing Bull’s Eye Mrs. Maestra realized that the Bulls Eye game had many obvious advantages. -- By allowing students to choose their behavior
copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
goals, student involvement in the classroom management system is greatly increased -- By focusing on only one behavior goal at a time, the Bull’s Eye game vastly simplifies classroom management ... for both the challenging student and the teacher -- During brief counseling sessions, teachers can refocus the student on the behavior goal -- During rehearsals, which are powerful alternatives to scolding, the student is imprinted with the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior and, because of role switching, an entertaining, positive bond develops between teacher and student -- The weekly calendar provides a simple way to evaluate a student's progress; this is especially important when behavior changes may only appear over monthly periods -- A challenging student can be successful even on the worst days, simply by matching the teacher’s score -- Challenging students are trained in the high level intellectual skill of objective, self-critical evaluation of their own behavior.
copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
Short Form Complaints
One of the difficulties Mrs. Maestra had with Joan, was handling her complaints, and complaints about her, by other students. Ninety percent of the complaints were about trivial issues that students should have been able to resolve themselves. Mrs. Maestra solved her problem, and created a unique learning opportunity with the following form. ********************************************************** Short Form Complaint THE FOLLOWING SHOULD BE VERY CLEARLY WRITTEN WITH NO MISSPELLINGS Your name: ____________________________________________ Date: ____________________ Your Complaint: ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________
If it is very clearly written and has no misspellings I will look into it. Mrs. it was usually easy to solve. please file a Short Form Complaint with me by tomorrow afternoon. Christopher Biffle 172 ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ********************************************************** As soon as Joan. Mrs.) For trivial issues. Joan would try to continue to complain to Mrs. Initially. When Joan did fill out the form. and tempers had cooled. (If it was not a trivial issue. Maestra kept her promise. Maestra and wouldn’t fill out a form. Mrs. or looked into the matter immediately.copyright 2007. since at least 24 hours had elapsed since the trivial incident. Maestra . or another student complained to her.” Joan rarely followed through by filling out the Short Form Complaint. Of course. Mrs. see below. “If you believe this is important. Maestra would say. Maestra could tell immediately if it was a trivial issue. she either used the Long Form Complaint. If the complaint was very legible and contained no misspellings she investigated the issue.
Mrs. worked for the Department of Motor Vehicles. and simply handed Joan the complaint form (in her younger days. very usefully.copyright 2007. Maestra had.) . Christopher Biffle 173 refused to respond.
. Christopher Biffle 174 33 Long Form Complaints One of John’s largest problems was that he was frequently involved in arguments with other students. (Of course. . (and to develop important writing skills!) ****************************************************************** Long Form Complaint The following should be very clearly written with no misspellings. She found simply having students fill out the Long Form was a useful way for them to begin to calm down . Mrs. Whenever possible. John was also the kind of student who had a genius for bringing out the worst in others.. he never believed that he was in the wrong.copyright 2007. In addition. when these arguments became physical or verbally vicious. Mrs. Maestra used the Long Form Complaint to address quarrels between students.) John was very pugnacious verbally. Maestra followed her school policy for dealing with serious altercations.
Christopher Biffle 175 Your name: _________________________________________________ Date: _______________________ Your Complaint: ___________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ (attach extra sheets of paper if necessary) What positive actions did you engage in?: ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ .copyright 2007.
Christopher Biffle 176 ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ Did you touch the other person? Yes No Did you use any profanity? Yes No Did you call the other person names? Yes No Did you make negative comments about the person's appearance or clothing? Yes No Did you speak louder than your normal voice? Yes No Did you offer a solution to the problem? Yes No If Yes: What solution did you offer? _________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ .copyright 2007.
copyright 2007. would they all agree with your statements above? Yes No No Witnesses What solution are you offering now? ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ . Christopher Biffle 177 ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ Were you the first person to walk away from this incident? Yes No Very important: if there were witnesses to this incident.
Maestra pointed out that she had high standards for her students. As part of her discussion. for both parties. Christopher Biffle 178 When Mrs. Maestra explained that disagreements were inevitable in human society but that the most common behaviors in disagreements almost always made the conflicts more. Mrs.using profanity -. painful ... rather than less. She knew that she was asking them to .making negative comments about the other person's appearance or clothing -.speaking in a loud voice -.calling names -. Maestra presented a copy of this form to each of her students. the first that many of her students had ever been in. Maestra patiently explained why each of the following behaviors could enflame a disagreement and cause harm to the person employing them: -.having physical contact -. Mrs.not offering a solution -.copyright 2007.not being the first to walk away Mrs. she had a very useful discussion about conflict resolution.
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behave in ways that were beyond the ability of most adults. Mrs. Maestra said she had no choice. “I’ve dedicated myself to helping you be an amazing person that everyone admires.” When the Long Form Complaint was filled out, Mrs. Maestra had an array of useful options. -- After she had a written record, Mrs. Maestra often would let tempers calm down and deal with the issue the next day. -- No matter how students filled out the form, Mrs. Maestra could use it to counsel them about the best way to handle quarrels: don’t touch the other person, don’t use profanity, don’t make comments about the other person’s appearance or clothing, be the first person to walk away (etc.) -- Mrs. Maestra could talk to each party individually or separately. She could then use the “self incriminating” sections of the form to encourage the students to be honestly self critical ... Mrs. Maestra always praised John when he was even minimally self critical because she knew this was an important new skill for him. -- Mrs. Maestra could read all the paper work and
copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
then instruct both parties to propose a solution. If the solution was acceptable to the students, and also to Mrs. Maestra, then the problem was solved. If not, Mrs. Maestra enforced her own solution. -- Mrs. Maestra could request another Long Form be filed if the original was not perfectly legible or contained misspellings. Mrs. Maestra, a kind and judicious instructor, chose this option if she thought the wisest action on her part was to bury one, or both, complainers in paper work. -- Mrs. Maestra could instruct both parties to find a mediator in class that they agreed to. (This would force them to agree to something!) The mediator would then hear both sides and then propose a solution to Mrs. Maestra. -- If no resolution seemed possible, and on going conflict appeared inevitable, Mrs. Maestra might have both parties sign a “Separation Agreement.” (see below)
copyright 2007, Christopher Biffle
John, like all humans, occasionally found himself in irresolvable conflicts. When Mrs. Maestra judged it was best, she had two quarreling students sign a Separation Agreement. ****************************************************************** Separation Agreement I, ______________________________________, agree to not speak to, or have any other kind of contact with _________________________________________________ _____________________________ until __________ (fill in a date and time). I understand that I am in violation of this agreement on any occasion that I speak to, or have contact with this person, even if the person above speaks to, or has any contact with me, first. I further understand that my violation of this agreement will have serious consequences. Signed _____________________________________________
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Mrs. Maestra used the separation agreement in several ways. First, she had the option of having the students agree to the number of days they should have no contact, or she could fill in the days herself. Second, the agreement itself was often the best solution for classmates who didn't’ get along. Neither wanted to talk to the other, and the agreement formalized the separation. Third, Mrs. Maestra had the option of filling in a serious consequence when the agreement was signed, or deciding on a consequence after it was broken. Fourth, when Mrs. Maestra had students who had signed several Separation Agreements (and who thus had frequent problems with classmates), she could turn up the pressure by becoming a bit Machiavellian. Mrs. Maestra would list all the negative consequences possible and then have the student rank the consequences, from most, to
Or. Here are some consequences for violating the agreement that students might rank: -. and she rarely needed to. Maestra wanted to turn up the pressure still further. Sixth. Mrs. Maestra And so forth. Maestra could post the agreement. Mrs.5 pages extra homework -. making it “public” and thus involving the entire class as watchdogs. The last thing a student like John wanted was to have one of his class enemies decided how he should be punished. by having a specific time filled in down to the .1 hour of Power Detention -. she would have each student rank the penalties for the other student .copyright 2007. to oversee the agreement’s enforcement. In other words. Maestra could select a few students. Christopher Biffle 183 least . personally desirable. by having students rank their penalties.sitting for a week in the desk next to Mrs. Maestra would have important clues about which punishment would have the strongest effect. Mrs. Brutte. Fifth: If Mrs. allies of each party.a meeting with Mrs.a note home to parents -. the vice principal -. Seventh.
exchange a greeting at the exact time specified on the contract. of course. this. John. . “Hello. would cause the quarreling students to laugh.copyright 2007.” “Hello. the contract became something like a game.. As the time approached for the contract to be terminated. Maestra asked her most popular students to encourage the quarreling classmates to.” Mrs. Mrs. A good end to their quarrel. Maestra told her class to cheer when the quarreling students exchanged their greeting . Christopher Biffle 184 minute.. at minimum. Juan.
she understood. Mrs.raising his hand for permission to leave his seat -. Maestra presented herself as she truly was. When she met Jodie and Jack. She described to Jodie and Jack each of the Power Teaching strategies in this booklet that she had tried. Christopher Biffle 185 35 Item Contracts/Notes Home Mrs. Talking energetically to his neighbor was relatively easily for high .Talking energetically to his neighbor when the teacher said “teach!” -. Mrs. She would give John a grade on three items she wanted him to work on: -. a caring and resourceful teacher. Maestra carefully selected these items. She told Jodie and Jack that she was now going to send a note home with John each day that they should initial and return.copyright 2007. why John was such a handful. Maestra was glad that she had tried a number of different strategies to help John become a less challenging. fairly soon.raising his hand for permission to speak Mrs. Maestra eventually had to schedule a parent/teacher conference with John’s parents.
Mrs. parent involvement proved remarkably effective. Sometimes. As an experienced Power Teacher. news. Mrs. Maestra discussed with Jodie and Jack what kinds of discipline were appropriate for John at home. As much as anything else. frankly. Maestra was happy to have parent conferences as one of many ways to help her students become less challenging. had mixed results with sending notes home. . She hoped John’s parents took her advice.copyright 2007. Mrs. Maestra’s strategy was to give John a note home that would have good. Maestra. Nonetheless. Christopher Biffle 186 energy John. Maestra knew that if worse came to worse. Mrs. never fail. Sometimes. Mrs. as well as not so good. it seemed a waste of time. raising his hand for permission to leave his seat or speak would be much more difficult. Mrs. strategy: the Top Secret Brown Bag. Maestra never wanted to go back to her early days of teaching when she felt at her wit’s end and didn’t know what to try with her difficult students. she had an ultimate.
Her problem was that she had never been able to really reach John . and who it was for. incredibly stunned.copyright 2007. rebellious boy. Maestra wanted to do something for John that required nothing on John’s part. she simply wanted to bring a pleasant surprise into . Mrs. Mrs. when Mrs. the one boy she had least success with during the year. In the bag was a wonder that would reach John. And so. Maestra came into class with a hefty brown bag labeled “Top Secret. she packed a lunch for the two of them in her brown bag. Maestra told everyone what was in the Top Secret Brown Bag . Maestra knew. Mrs.” She placed it in the front of the room on her desk.. Mrs. John was stunned.. all her students were eager to know what was in the bag. never had living human contact with the energetic. Of course.. Maestra understood that with John and Joan she had to play a dual role: Nice Cop and Tough Cop. Maestra did not want John to have to “earn” a lunch.. Christopher Biffle 187 36 The Top Secret Brown Bag One day Mrs.
is very old now. Mrs. Other students wanted to have lunch with Mrs. At the end of the year. . incidentally. Maestra. Maestra bought pizzas for the class. she occasionally drew John aside for another lunch. After their first lunch together. She only brought the Top Secret Bag into school a few times. Christopher Biffle 188 the boy’s life and have some time together when the two of them weren’t struggling with opposite agendas. she would pack lunches for several students. Mrs. Maestra. She counts her lunches with John among the most rewarding experiences in her life.copyright 2007. Occasionally. So does John.
Chris Biffle CBiffle@AOL. send an e-mail to me. Christopher Biffle 189 a Afterword If you’d like to schedule a Power Teaching seminar at your school or be put on the Power Teaching e-mail list to receive free announcements of our seminars and materials from Power Teachers Press.copyright 2007.com I look forward to hearing from you! Click To See Power Teaching YouTube Videos! Click To See Power Teaching Website! .
First Year Teacher/ Power Teaching In Middle School 2. Power Teaching And The High School French Teacher 3. Middle School Rebel: A Bull’s Eye Success Story . Christopher Biffle 190 Three Case Studies 1.copyright 2007.
I was hired as an intern and I had not even begun my student teaching yet. Knowing that I could never afford to finish the credential program without working. I was extremely ill-prepared for what lay ahead. The school I work at is designated low-income and we are now fifth year in program improvement (this means that we have been identified by the California as a school that must improve. I was brand new to the profession. My only experience in the classroom was as a substitute and an observer.) . I applied in several districts. Christopher Biffle 191 Case Study #1: First Year Teacher/ Power Teaching In Middle School When I got my first full time teaching job. or be taken over by the officials from the state education department. I did not even have the opportunity to go to the new teacher orientation! Despite all of my education courses. I was called back and hired two weeks before school started.copyright 2007.
It is not uncommon to see several of my students wandering the downtown streets of Riverside with nothing to do until after dark. and sometimes longer. the problem is not what they are lacking. My students take care of themselves for most of their day. Many of them do not have paper and pencils when they come to school. However. it is the independence and social maturity that they have already gained due to their environment. When children are conditioned to this in every other aspect of their life. However. busy area and quite often no one is paying attention to them. This is not a stab at parenting skills! Most of the parents of my students genuinely do want them to do well in school and finish their homework. . The average student at my school walks home or rides the bus everyday and is left to entertain themselves for 2-3 hours. they do not have the means to help their child in the ways that they would like. until their parents get home. Christopher Biffle 192 My students live in very low poverty areas. it is difficult to imagine that sitting in a classroom all day and following directions comes natural.copyright 2007. They live in a loud.
It was the first month into school and my students made no such effort.copyright 2007. Academics and behavior are more closely related than . Christopher Biffle 193 I assumed that my students would come to the 7th or 8th grade with a previous knowledge of at least classroom behavior and procedures. but I was wrong. but I had never seen one willing to directly tell a teacher “I am not going to do that because it’s stupid!” My past experience with middle school students had lead me to believe that most would at least pretend to do their work or pretend to pay attention if it seemed that some consequence was headed their way. I have spoken to countless teachers who struggle with these issues. This story is not isolated. Almost all the students at our school struggle academically. On the contrary they seemed almost eager to see what kind of consequence I could come up with next. The majority of our pupils come into the seventh grade with a fourth or fifth grade reading level. I had seen plenty of middle school students who had attitudes.
Threats meant nothing. Phone calls home were not returned. Detentions were ignored.copyright 2007. academics will inevitably suffer. I had always been confident in my skills to create a good lesson plan. but few of them actually helped me get my students’ attention and keep it. but that my students could not care less if I was tough. Throughout the beginning of the year. but classroom management was not . My students’ lives were totally unstructured and it seemed they resisted everything I tried to teach and their behavior reflected that. I jumped at the chance to learn something new. Christopher Biffle 194 many teachers like to admit. Some of them worked. Power Teaching is the only set of strategies that I have seen that effectively addresses both academics and behavior at the same time. With such behavior problems. I tried many of the techniques that I learned in my teaching credential courses. I was barely getting by each day as I tried to put on my toughest demeanors in order to keep my students focused. I learned quickly that not only was the “tough teacher” not in my character. When I heard about Power Teaching.
they adapted to the basics of Power Teaching over a period of one week. The younger students are more driven by competition. I incorporated the Smiley and Frowny scoreboard. were much harder to convince. they said things like “Are we in kindergarten or something?” and “This is dumb! I don’t care about this!” until I told them that Smiley points would get them free time at the end of the week and Frowny points got them extra homework that same day. on the other hand. (The extra homework was never overwhelming and usually consisted of . Being half as mature as they think they are. The first day I went back to work after the Power Teaching seminar that I attended. being the toughest age to tame. At first I was very skeptical because I thought that middle school students.copyright 2007. My seventh graders loved it and were trying to get Smilies even without any consequence or reward. Christopher Biffle 195 so easy. They enjoyed trying to beat the other periods at getting Smilies. just for the sport of it. However. would never go for these activities. My eighth graders.
copyright 2007. Throughout class I was careful to point out negative behavior and follow it with Frowny points. I knew that these classes were going to present a problem. I was also careful not to overwhelm them with the Frowny points so that they wouldn’t think it was impossible to succeed. but if you do something wrong at work you will get in trouble right . It worked well to have a penalty assessed immediately (that day) and a reward awarded later on (at the end of the week). Christopher Biffle 196 whatever we did not finish because of their behavior. When they came in I threatened them with homework as a consequence for having more Frowny points than Smiley points. This gave my students something to shoot for as a goal as well as taught them a valuable lesson in real life. In their minds they earned the homework by misbehaving even though I had planned for them to do it ahead of time. all month) before getting paid. Adults must work hard all week (or in a teacher’s case.) Occasionally I would erase the homework from the board before certain periods of the day.
Hinton and for a reward I offered my class ten to fifteen minutes of watching of the movie every Friday. my kids were understanding this concept better and better with each passing week. Although it took practice. Christopher Biffle 197 away. Often the weekly rewards were even something that I was going to do anyway with my classes.V. some rewards were minutes of free time. some were snacks. we were reading The Outsiders by S. We were going to watch the movie anyway.copyright 2007. The weekly rewards were awarded every Friday and were different all the time depending on what we were doing. For example. 3) My students had the opportunity to read a section of the book and then see a visual/audio aid immediately after. . 2) We were not spending two or three days of classroom time in a coma-like state in front of our T. but offering it to them a little at a time provided three advantages for me: 1) They were getting something that they felt was a reward for accomplishment. some were 10 minutes of movie time.E.
After our spring break I supplemented the Friday rewards with immediate rewards. The daily rewards became extra credit. This means that they had to have more Smiley points than Frowny points to get the extra credit applied to their lowest assignment score. there were always groups of students who needed immediate feedback and incentives — especially after three day weekends or spring break. To me it was only a few minutes of time adjusting scores in the grade book and meant very little in the grand scheme of grading. Christopher Biffle 198 The plan to present rewards at the end of the week worked well with my students who rode the fence and tended to change their behavior from day to day. However. the average class might get three Frowny points and five Smiley points in one class period. I also added their points to a tally on the board so that they could see their . This means that they were awarded two points extra credit that day. To them there was a potential to raise their grade on something that they had not scored well on. For example. My students received one extra credit point for every extra Smiley point they got.copyright 2007.
After the Smiley and Frowny point system was incorporated.” This was golden! My students were astonished that a teacher would show them this kind of courtesy. please.” This young man had a bad case of hyperactivity and was . Otherwise I would be saying “Get out your text book. I taught my classes that all requests I gave to them as an individual would be followed with a “please”. when my students said “la. as an individual. they would be given a please. Turn to page 700. la.”. la. they thought they were rebelling. please. and if not they could ignore me and say “la. Could we please read the first paragraph aloud?” This is not a useful option for teaching an entire class. they were inside my system!!! In order to teach the “please” tactic. la. Even better. However. It was important that I pointed out that this only applied to requests made to an individual. la. In fact.copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 199 advancement toward a weekly goal. I rehearsed with my students and allowed a young man named Gabe to demonstrate what he could do if I asked him to go to his seat without a “Please.
” he always replied. He was willing to go along with this procedure after that. Their presence . I asked him with a “please”. The “rebel” student refers to those individuals who tend to be loud and obnoxious as long as they have an audience. When the time came. the “rebel” and the “imitator. la” routine.” I have given them these names to fit their classroom behavior.copyright 2007. Then. “Okay. and ask him to “please” follow my directions. This issue had already been a struggle with him. This unruly child felt that he had some kind of control over me and the situation. and grinned like he was the winner! There are two kinds of students who benefit most from the few Power Teaching techniques that I incorporated into my classroom throughout my first year. Christopher Biffle 200 constantly out of his seat. Gabe relished the chance to ignore me and walk around the room or lie on the floor.” and Gabe would happily do the “la. la. he said “okay” and did it with no argument. Occasionally I would “forget” (on purpose) to say “please. I would shake my head as if he had really put one over on me.
are far beyond that. Throughout my day. These two students. This is exactly what he is counting on because Patrick turns in no assignments without having an adult actually walk him through them. He never interrupts. He looks at me when I ask for attention. He is so quiet that one could easily forget he is there. I can handle academic deficiency or even attitudes. Patrick comes into my classroom everyday and takes out his student planner. For example. about half of my students . he is passively rebelling because it is a struggle for him to understand and muster up enough motivation to follow through with an assignment. The other kind of student that benefits most from Power Teaching are ones I like to call the “imitators” because he or she imitates the actions of a good student. Christopher Biffle 201 intimidates quiet students and they are often leaders in the group. He is not involved or participating at all. These two students are examples of the kinds of students that I have struggled with most.copyright 2007. he blends into the crowd because unlike Gabe (a rebel). However. He fills in his assignments and homework. and many others like them.
refuse to complete work. students began to see that they could get points for all kinds of behavior. they began to police each other. the Guff Counter and Please-Okay. Her temper was out of control and often taken out on others. Jenny is a teacher’s worst nightmare. She was retained the previous year and had since become a ringleader for all the rebel students at our school. and I used Power Teaching techniques like the Scoreboard. and refuse to participate.copyright 2007. She was a bully who intimidated all the good students. Christopher Biffle 202 could fit into one of these categories — “rebel” or “imitator. . When this happened. As the days went on. Let me tell you about my worst rebel. Before I used Power Teaching methods in my classroom. She was loud and vulgar. I had so many students that were loyal to her that I still had a hard time keeping them under control.” Both types of students refuse to raise their hands. She is fifteen in the eighth grade. this student was constantly being sent out because this was the only way that I could teach the others.
Although I got little support from her parents when I called them. I would watch her take dance classes after school or watch her at basketball practice. “Go ahead and give me worse!” I suspended her from my class for two days.copyright 2007. long talk. I used the methods that I learned in the Power Teaching seminar.or worse. At first. Christopher Biffle 203 I found that I had to start small with this kid. even if I had to reprimand her behavior in class. I found it important to maintain the same casual relationship with her outside of class. I began following her to her after school program and chatting with her about her homework. I was able to pull her out of class and at least have a decent discussion with her about her behavior. After Jenny felt comfortable with me. I still did it because she knew that I would follow through and I cared. I talked to her about these activities the next day so that she knew that I cared about all aspects of her life and not just the 50 minutes of Language Arts that I taught each day. she challenged me and said. I told her she had a choice as to what would follow — a short talk. She was a little confused by this .
but it did work.” She was silent the rest of the period. I am hearing some attitude and this is getting you Frowny points. the class was a much better prepared to face her. When she returned I treated her as usual. This was contrary to the usual “I’m not going to do . The next day Jenny did her assignment and was actually showing off how well she had done and how much she accomplished. I did not name any names.copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 204 at first. I called out “CLASS. Jenny snapped with a “WHAT. YES”. “Well. YES. They got lots of Smiley points for participating and Frowny points for any attitude or lack of participation. I cracked down on the rest of my class using higher amounts of participation and shorter intervals of timed exercises to accomplish our lesson.” For the first time ever throughout two whole trimesters. WHAT. I saw Jenny’s classmates actually stand up to her behavior and say “STOP! You are getting us Frowny points. WHAT” that was full of attitude. CLASS. While Jenny was out. CLASS” and as everyone else answered with “YES. but instead I said to my students. When Jenny came back from her suspension.
copyright 2007. He sits quietly and often begins his work.” This does not mean that I did not have problems with Jenny after that. the battle was mostly over. I have used Power Teaching methods to get him more involved in the lessons. Christopher Biffle 205 it. A second example of a student that made a major change is Brian. The other students had made a mature decision not to support negative behavior. I made a . However. I used to avoid calling on students like Brian because they would just sit there and shrug their shoulders or say “I don’t know. but it seemed that I had the support of most of the other students. I also noticed that they realized they were not being called on if they acted like they did not know. When I could get them to the point where they were weighing out their decisions and reflecting on consequences. He is an imitator. He is just like Patrick when it comes to work habits because he has none. but never turns anything in or participates.” I did not want to embarrass the students who were struggling. I will just flunk.
I would call on him to respond. If he did not raise his hand.copyright 2007. he seemed more confident. “Teach-Okay” an effective technique I had learned in a Power Teaching seminar. Obviously a student like Brian still struggles with his assignments. Christopher Biffle 206 point to talk to these students throughout the assignment to keep them focused. I gave students a few minutes to explain a concept to their neighbors and then supervised Brian’s group. If he did not know I would give him clues and let him find the answer. Many of . I called on him anyway. I knew that Brian already had the answer. If he raised his hand. I would go to Brian’s group and discuss what they had accomplished. Students like Brian need more pushing. Using. After group work or discussion was over. After Brian answered. I continued this over and over. but he was gaining confidence and attempting to participate more and more all the time. Then I would ask Brian a specific question in a one-on-one situation. I forced participation on him and he began actually turning in his work. I would ask that exact question to the whole class which I had discussed with Brian previously.
It was the exact kind of structure that my students needed to be successful. Power Teaching has improved not only class participation. My students know what Power Teaching is and love it. My second year at this middle school has just begun and these strategies have made me a much stronger and more confident teacher. The interaction requires their participation and makes them accountable.copyright 2007. California . but also given me a better hold on classroom management. My students are the ones who are in charge of every aspect of their life and now they have more responsibility and ownership of each lesson and activity in my class. Angela Watkins University Heights Middle School Riverside. Christopher Biffle 207 my students who are English language learners fall into this category of an “imitator” and need to be thrown into the mainstream group of performing students.
I have yelled. I graded every paper that came across my desk. given detentions. It works! About 11 years ago I attended a curriculum conference and .copyright 2007. This school year I have been using Power Teaching to manage the classroom. I didn't get very much sleep. offered rewards for better behavior. called parents. My main problem. I have done it all. If I was awake I was planning how to teach a particular concept of grammar or think of a game that would enhance a lesson. however. The first two years of teaching were very difficult. has always been classroom management. I didn't have a life. intimidated. sent students to other teachers for a time out. either. Christopher Biffle 208 Case Study #2: Power Teaching And The High School French Teacher Part One My name is Emily Evans and I have been teaching for 15 years. They were all consuming. Nothing has ever been very effective until now. written referrals. given essays to copy.
I am not consistent either. San Luis Obispo's ethnicity make-up is 70% white. This sends mixed messages. Classroom management does not come naturally to me. After a few days I would fall into the routine of allowing them to blurt out comments or . I had been living in another state where classroom size was no larger than 25 students. 24 % Hispanic. 6% other (Black. Students were expected to raise their hands to be called upon before blurting out whatever they wanted to say. The problems in the classroom increased proportionately with the larger number of students. I would start off the year with my rules for student behavior.copyright 2007. I believed that this was the answer to my problems. CA and had to adjust to classes with 37 students. After reading "The First Days of School" I no longer had the nightmares. Filipino.). Asian. Then I moved to San Luis Obispo. Each year I would have nightmares before school would start. I bought his book and read it several times. Christopher Biffle 209 heard Harry Wong speak on classroom management. etc. I felt like I had the tools I needed to manage my classroom.
They had grown up together and had actually formed a language that only the two of them could understand. I would even allow myself to become angry on occasion. there were others). When they knew what pushed my buttons then they were the ones with the power. I became so frustrated with them that I wrote referrals on them when they refused to follow directions on an assignment for making a poster. (The referrals were not just for those two. Then I was called in to the principal and put on a "Plan" so that I could figure out how to better manage my classes. When I accused someone of doing something. Christopher Biffle 210 questions.copyright 2007. I would allow myself to argue with them. several would come to the defense of the one I was accusing. 3 years ago I had so much trouble with a particular student . I actually wrote a total of 11 referrals in a two week period during this same tim. Those two would twist my words around and then defend each other when I said anything to the other one. They accused me of banging my fist on a table and yelling at them. One year I had two students who were best friends.
Of course. Some were eating. Christopher Biffle 211 that I asked his dad to sit in on the class and observe his son's behavior. I asked him to come back the next day and I gave him a copy of the seating chart so that he could accurately note who was doing what. Others were throwing things or passing notes. I did everything I could to get them to behave. I made more effort to send disruptive students to a time out room for the class period. That year 4 of my 5 classes were similar to this one which the dad had observed. The dad took very good notes. I was shocked at the things he had seen.copyright 2007. One dad was angry that I had another parent in the room taking notes on his son. his own son was a little angel while his dad was in the room. After the class he told me that he had observed many off task students. I made calls to parents of other students who had been observed in off task behaviors. The gentleman came and sat in the back of the room. I had . I had some students tell me that they could not learn very much in my class because of the disruptive students.
they still did it. I keep a record of every phone call I make to parents.) Most of the class would shout out their farewells as the student was leaving. Last year was one of the worst years I have had as far as disruptive students. but I just didn't seem to be able to make his strategies work for me anymore. I would send them out and it would waste a lot of class time because they had this whole audience to watch them get their things together and listen to them as they got in their last few insults or dramatic gestures out (like slamming a book on the table or knocking a chair over. Christopher Biffle 212 some real loud mouth jerks who constantly tried to control the class. No offense to Harry Wong. Why did you make him leave? He's not even the one who did such and such. I counted 180 calls I made to parents last year. It didn't matter that I forbade the others to become involved by saying anything to them. 90% of those calls . Some would argue and say "He didn't do anything. they would just say that they weren't going to rat on anybody.copyright 2007." If I asked who it was then.
They would just laugh and laugh and cause a disturbance. I was probably going to get put on the "Plan" again. One day I became so upset with them that I had to walk .copyright 2007. If I didn't spell a name perfectly an argument would ensue. Many of the incidents appeared to be one or more students who did anything they could to make use of the captive audience which was their classmates. It was them against me. When a student broke a rule I would write his/her name on the board and write the number of the violated rule next to the name. The kid would behave for a week or two and then fall right back into his/her disruptive self. There would be so many participating that I couldn't catch them all. Christopher Biffle 213 dealt with disruptive behavior of some sort. Sometimes they would make a game out of getting as many names on the board as possible. Some parents I called would apologize for their kid's behavior and promise me that it would not continue. I had 5 rules. I was in a dilemma. If I sent too many students to time out.
Last year I was observed several times by my principal. She went in and yelled at them for me. One girl kept raising her hand and blurting out her question anyway. but due to questionable classroom management problems observed the previous year.copyright 2007. Christopher Biffle 214 out. It was not my regular year to be observed. read books. Near the end of the year I met a woman who had attended a . I walked out and asked the teacher next door to take my class for a couple of minutes until I could compose myself. There was only 15 minutes of class left and I was determined to teach the lesson. attended conferences and buyback classes. My principal was not impressed. I observed other classes. When she wouldn't stop it. I was being observed again. When I came back in they were quiet. He suggested that I start back on a "Plan" to improve my classroom management skills. I said that nobody was allowed to interrupt me for anything. I yelled at her and I nearly started to cry. I had been interrupted so many times that I could not even get the class started to teach the lesson I had planned for them. watched videos.
Then they . I attended the last Power Teaching Seminar of the school year. she immediately had more control of her classes. I tried the smiley/frownie faces. There were only about 6 weeks left of school so I only implemented a couple of Power Teaching Techniques. It was really too late to salvage the classes I had. but I determined to use Power Teaching from day one of the coming school year. I thought that it would work for me. after the very first Power Teaching Seminar I knew that it would work for me.copyright 2007. They hated to get marks under the frownie face. She said that it had really helped her. It actually worked. Part Two As I said. When she learned about classroom management with Power Teaching and employed the methods. She was a first year teacher and had really been struggling with her students. Christopher Biffle 215 Power Teaching seminar.
10 finger woo. Then I taught them to assert their power as a group when we needed to stop someone who was off task or disruptive. I was ready. Teach/OK. They liked responding to me in chorus. Over the summer.the student who was being reprimanded by his classmates was really shocked.copyright 2007. I was the one who was not consistent.I made notes and imagined how well I would teach and control my classes with this new found method. I am a positive person. When the occasion called for their intervention. and That's ok for wrong answers. School ended and I was soooo glad. My students responded really well. They were amazing. It was an awful year in many ways. so I thought a lot about the upcoming year and how I would start the first day teaching my students to respond to Power Teaching cues. I re read all of the Power Teaching handouts and my notes. I would forget to give them marks (smiley or frownie). We did a few role-play situations just to practice. Christopher Biffle 216 started asking what their rewards were. I suggested letting them watch a video on Friday if they were good all week. When the new year arrived. but . I taught them the Class/Yes.
If they are off task. I agreed that an extra page of homework was only fair when frownie face marks exceeded the smiley ones. If they had more smiley points than frownie points. I was delighted to see how effective the whole group (in chorus) could be to stop one student. This was fantastic. Biffle is right about using extra homework to motivate them to better behavior.copyright 2007. I struggled with the homework issue. What a terrific method this was! I wasn't the bad guy anymore. At first. I thought about how ineffective I had been in the past when it was just ME confronting one student and the class as a whole sticking up for their classmate. but I have come to realize that Mr. they could watch a music video or get less homework. Christopher Biffle 217 he immediately stopped his misbehavior. then they have surely wasted class time that could have been spent learning. I have attended several Power Teaching Seminars and . It was peer discipline and I was the observer. After a few weeks I started the smiley/frownie face check mark system. I continue to improve my classroom management with these methods.
The look on the face of this disruptive student is priceless. Since this school year began. Only 3 were concerning behavior. He does not have an audience to perform to. 2006. . When you get the class behind you and get them to address the class clown and other disruptions. The school year is nearly over. I am so thankful for Power Teaching because using these techniques has allowed me to teach with more dignity. but it is true and it is because Power Teaching works. I treat them with respect and I feel that they respect me.copyright 2007. That is incredible. I have used Power Teaching since August. I don't have to nag the students or yell at them. the potential disrupter is stopped in his tracks. It is like watching a balloon deflate. I have made 10 phone calls home (instead of 180!). It is beautiful to behold. Christopher Biffle 218 have come away from each with more self assurance and determination to be a great Power Teacher.
Christopher Biffle 219 If you are about to give up on teaching because you have had similar experiences to mine.copyright 2007. Power Teaching. French Teacher San Luis Obispo . please try one more method. It works!! Emily Evans.
one of the largest buildings in town is the Social Services Office. and most of the houses are run down and depressed-looking on their dusty lots. California. Christopher Biffle 220 Case Study #3: The Middle School Rebel: A Bull's Eye Success Story My first year as a teacher was full of entanglements with challenging students. and during recent years has experienced notable growth due to families relocating from the inner city. However. Coombs Intermediate School in Banning. Coombs School serves the fifth and sixth graders of Banning. Banning lies about 80 miles east of Los Angeles.copyright 2007. with the help of Biffle's ingenious Bull's Eye behavior game. I began my first teaching assignment as a sixth grade teacher at Susan B. No one is rich in Banning. there were none that were so frustrating for me as learning to deal with one particular student. . who I prefer to call Theodore. Helping Theo to learn to manage his behavior – a thing that not even the most experienced teachers at my school were able to do – was possible in my class.
In fact. indicating their need to raise student achievement on standardized testing or else receive forthcoming State sanctions. I taught in a dual language program. providing 50% of instruction in Spanish and 50% in English. In addition to the economic obstacles facing students at Coombs. While with the help of other Power Teaching techniques I . I began to get a clearer picture of where my students were coming from. Banning hired me. my class was the first generation. About 75 percent of my class was comprised of English Language Learners. a first year teacher as well.copyright 2007. about 70 percent of the students received free and reduced lunch and even breakfast. Christopher Biffle 221 and has a student population of around 800. During my first few days in the classroom. for this class' sixth grade year. and as such had passed through a series of first year teachers from kindergarten to fifth grade. the school itself was classified as Program Improvement. Without breaking with tradition. The dual language program in Banning was a fairly recent development. During the time I worked there.
He struck the back fellow students' heads. Christopher Biffle 222 was able to gain control of the class and teach. Theodore was endangering other students and himself. I had to do something to control his behavior. He spent most of class at the beginning of the year wandering between the rows. and kept his cheeks bulging with chewed up paper to use for spit wads. Theodore proved impervious to any kind of correction.copyright 2007. He wagged it back and forth as a bloody spectacle while I called the office. and making odd noises. One day I even remember that he intentionally chewed on his bottom lip so hard that it bled. Even the peer pressure strategies such as the guff counter proved useless to Theo who . He refused to do any academic work. The basic whole class techniques such as the score board and the teaching routines had failed to reach him. He waited until the class was quietly working and used the occasion to yell out profanities. or to remain seated for that matter. I sat him in the back of the room and watched him pace listlessly as I micro-lectured and the class taught their neighbors.
I was astonished. he ceased to yell in class. Christopher Biffle 223 would cheer loudly for himself even when the whole class yelled in disapproval at him. Reluctantly I tried the game. Chris Biffle told me about Bull's Eye. Theo was puzzled and gave me a look that seemed to say. I was at my wits end. my teaching was beginning to suffer. I bought a small package of super hero stickers and made my half sheets of paper with two bull's eyes. and all other dangerous or inappropriate behaviors disappeared. I had taught him to consider how his behavior affected . his out of seat behavior had stopped. Theodore and the rest of the class were able to reap the benefits of peace and quiet for almost one month. Although I never managed to get him to write anything more than his name on the paper. "You mean. and other students lost valuable time deafened by the din of this acrimonious orchestra.copyright 2007. and I figured that it was worth a try. you're going to give me a sticker just for playing?" Within the week. this cacophony of one. On the first day.
His parents requested that he be put with one of the most experienced teachers in the school. this behavior game helped me to accomplish in less than one week! I am certainly grateful for Power Teaching. Christopher Biffle 224 others. this story did not end ideally for Theo.copyright 2007. it is incredible to me that what no other adult at the school was able to do. Talk about a Bull's Eye! Ezekial Steer Sixth Grade Coombs Intermediate School Banning. California . who was also the strictest. This instructor referred Theo straight to the office so many times that he was soon expelled. Nonetheless. Unfortunately.
Christopher Biffle 225 .copyright 2007.
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