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Take CHARGE of Your Classroom: Grow and Engage (Part 3 of 3)

Take CHARGE of Your Classroom: Grow and Engage (Part 3 of 3)

Grow Engage Classroom management is not about power but unlocking potential. Trying to control students is like trying to keep the tide from flowing in and out. When an earthquake causes damage, we do not question why the earthquake would do such a thing. Earthquakes are a force of nature, uncontrollable and unpreventable. Damage is minimized with new construction techniques, not because architects have found a way to reduce the power of earthquakes. Instead, they’ve learned how to design buildings to move with the earth rather than rigidly fighting against it. In the same way, student misbehavior acts like a force of nature. While it cannot be conquered, careful design can reduce the impact of occurrences. Using the acronym CHARGE, the first post in this series looked at two qualities that proficient teachers embody. First, they are confident. They show resilience in the face of difficulty and when they struggle, they are sure of their ability to bounce back. Instead of saying, “That doesn’t work,” they say, “That doesn’t work – yet.” Also, teachers should emphasize their humanity, leveraging our need for relational connections to increase productivity. When students are seen, heard, and known, they are much less likely to act inappropriately. The second post of this series looked at two actions that teachers should employ to take charge of their classrooms – anticipate and reflect. Like the metaphor of building structures to resist earthquake damage, teachers can build behavior-resistant classrooms by looking for patterns and planning ahead. Visualize the daily routine and think of some alternatives if things go awry. Another form of preparation is the institution of… Read More »
Take CHARGE of Your Classroom: Anticipate and Reflect (Part 2 of 3)

Take CHARGE of Your Classroom: Anticipate and Reflect (Part 2 of 3)

Anticipate Reflect In a previous post, I shared the two qualities that teachers should embody if they want to minimize misbehavior and maximize learning. First and foremost, teachers need confidence. What they believe about themselves will play a large part in the reality they find. Those that have confidence in their ability to thrive often find that they do. On the other hand, self-defeating talk has a tendency to become true. Confidence isn’t mastery, it’s determination. Things might not be running smoothly, but teachers on the right path believe they will be soon. In addition, the second letter of the CHARGE acronym describes the most powerful component of all, their humanity. Before kids will behave and long before they even think of learning, students need to feel connected. As social beings, they crave being a part of a community. The teacher is at the nexus of this web of relationships and can facilitate closeness and camaraderie. One important aspect of this is being present. Teachers should fully come into the classroom, not holding back any part of themselves but committing themselves to their work and their students. It’s this passion and dedication that serve as the base for quality relationships that minimize misbehavior. But what can teachers specifically do to increase their classroom management proficiency? If it relied simply on being confident and human, then there would be no need for blog posts like this. While those two components describe the qualities that successful teachers should embody, there are four major actions that teachers must cultivate to avoid catastrophic behavior. Again returning to the acronym CHARGE, the first two… Read More »
Take CHARGE of Your Classroom: Confident and Human (Part 1 of 3)

Take CHARGE of Your Classroom: Confident and Human (Part 1 of 3)

Confident Human I’ve been in education for almost two decades now. I’ve been trained in many different areas, theories, and best practices. I know how to teach holistic writing, facilitate guided math, and implement a balanced literacy program. More recently, I’ve learned all about social-emotional learning, conscious discipline, and even know a thing or two about mindfulness. With all of this added on top of my content knowledge, familiarity with state standards, testing blueprints, and the basics of summative and formative assessment, you’d think I’d have been taught or trained in most areas that a teacher would need to know to be successful.  But no one ever taught me how to get kids to behave.  In my current role as an instructional coach, I should theoretically deal with content and instructional strategies. My wealth of knowledge and experience in and out of the classroom, however, haven’t yet prepared me to coach classroom management. I can go into most any classroom and get kids to respond to me in a positive way. Many exemplary educators in my department also have the ability to walk into any classroom and immediately take charge. Yet how is that done? How can I teach that to new and/or struggling teachers? Using the acronym of CHARGE, my experience and research has shown me that everything starts with confidence. (Top) Confident What we believe about ourselves often becomes reality. Teachers can greatly affect the behavior of their students by first believing in their own abilities. Many teachers are finished before they even start because of self-doubt. To paint a vivid picture, classrooms can sometimes be like a… Read More »
It Isn’t Personal Unless You Make It So

It Isn’t Personal Unless You Make It So

It Isn’t Personal Coupling Statements Keep Calm and Teach On “This school sucks! I hate being here and I hate you!” Perhaps not word for word, but many teachers have at one time or another heard a variation on this explanation. A student is visibly upset and emoting to the point that words are said (or shouted) that should not be. With a flushed face, trembling hands, and possible a thrown object, the student lets the teacher have it.  Regardless of the antecedents, what the teacher does next will either pour gasoline or sand onto the fire. Some students vent their anger about the classroom environment. Others are upset with one of their peers. Some are frustrated by academic failure. No matter the circumstances, teachers should not take this type of outburst as a personal attack. Even if it is. (Top) It Isn’t Personal At this moment, there needs to be an adult in the room. Oftentimes, students are frustrated by one thing but mask it by railing against another. Teachers usually embody everything that is making the student angry even if the teacher is not directly contributing to the problem. They represent the establishment and, when students decide to stick it to the man, the teacher is usually the closest target. Upon careful consideration, which is usually difficult in the midst of the crisis, teachers are not at the root of the problem. They seek to assist the students and support them in their learning but, when something happens to cause emotional outbursts, they can quickly become a patsy. Teachers must lean more on logic than emotion when dealing… Read More »
Making Learning Meaningful

Making Learning Meaningful

Guiding Questions Learning Objectives Meaningful Connections Most every teacher has been asked the question, “Why are we learning this?” Simply showing up and presenting material doesn’t cut it for some of the students. They want to know why they should expend time and energy learning something new. The question, which might actually offend some teachers, speaks volumes about students’ need to make learning meaningful.  Asking this doesn’t signify a lack of respect or subversive intentions. No, it simply means that students value their time and want to evaluate whether this new topic is interesting enough to warrant their attention. It’s actually a good skill to cultivate, all things being equal. As adults, we constantly have to consider a multitude of competing distractions trying to gobble up our time. Being able to discern something’s value based against a set of internal criteria is to be encouraged. Unfortunately, the answers that students receive to this question are rarely noble. Because you have to. It’s for a grade. This class is a graduation requirement. Or, my personal favorite, is simply telling students that it’s what’s next in the book. Asking the question should let teachers know that students are on the brink of cognitive and behavioral rebellion. Answering it poorly can push them over the edge. (Top) Guiding Questions The solution, however, is not to begin each lesson stating the purpose of the day’s activity. Sometimes it’s too abstract, sometimes it’s hard to clarify in student-friendly terms. Instead, teachers can combat disengagement by clearly identifying a guiding question. Questions beg to be answered and good ones can guide students through a lesson.… Read More »
Building a Learning Environment

Building a Learning Environment

Transitions Logistics Seating Cleanliness For many teachers that constantly battle student misbehavior, a possible solution lies in an unexpected place. Instead of buckling down on policies and procedures, some students have problems in chaotic environments. While teachers look to place blame on students, they must first look in the mirror. Is their classroom a safe and efficient learning environment? When considering the layout of a room, more than seating charts and labeled bins come into play. Orderly rooms do facilitate learning. More than simply physical, however, an environment can be described in emotional terms as well. Neat rows only do so much if students do not feel psychologically safe in the room. When looking to diagnose behavioral antecedents, teachers would do well to consider their environment, both physical and emotional. (Top) Transitions When teachers move from one activity to another, how do they signal students? Do they give a 2-minute warning or bark out a command and expect immediate obedience? Do students have the ability to finish something later or is the schedule inflexible? Planning many segments to a lesson is natural. How those sections are accessed, however, can sometimes lead to trouble. Try using a timer that is displayed on the screen for the current activity. If students need a reminder about how much longer they have, they can always look up and check. Give a verbal warning about two minutes before transitioning.  Let students know when and where they can finish if they need extra time after the transition. (Top) Logisitics I’ve seen many wonderful lessons self-destruct because of poor logistical planning. Do students have ready access… Read More »

If schools were permitted to have just one training, this is the one!

This training will help to raise test scores for your students, decrease discipline challenges, and improve classroom rapport. You will learn how to meet students where they are and lead them where they need to be, capture attention, and promote deeper learning.

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