- Bringing Project Based Learning to our Classroom - August 12, 2018
- Keep the Engagement Alive: Start the Year with Purpose - August 5, 2018
- It's Our Fault: A Teacher's Confession - March 18, 2018
- Keeping Your Teaching Real: A Teacher's Role - March 11, 2018
- Sketch Notes in the Elementary Classroom - February 15, 2017
- Teach From the Heart - February 9, 2017
- Who is the Teacher: School or Family? - January 11, 2017
- Dear President Elect Trump, From Your Teachers - November 17, 2016
- Let them Be Children - October 21, 2016
- Print Resources: Great Tools for Kids - October 17, 2016
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"]
We had an amazing in-service in our district this week. In a time where your focus is on class lists and curriculum, bulletin boards and name tags, it is refreshing to get information that pushes you as a teacher. The training was about Champs Classroom Management from Randy Sprick. This is real information about real kids for real teachers. This article is my take away from the in-service we received and how I plan for the CHAMPS system to look in my fourth grade classroom. It can, however be used pre K-12 and is based on reaching all students in your classroom.
Each year teachers set up classrooms and often put into place systems that will reward and punish students. For the majority of the kids, this works. They comply and are working. But I challenge you to find more. First of all, don't you want engaged students instead of compliant students? Second of all, don't you want to reach every kid? Does your classroom management system achieve both? CHAMPS is a simple idea of communicating your expectations and teaching behaviors so all students are engaged in learning.
Think of that kid...yes, THAT kid. The child who makes you sigh. The child who brings instant negative feeling or reactions to your body. We all have experiences with children we needed a better solution for in terms of behavior. It happens to new teachers and veteran teachers. And we always want to do more.
Now, think about how you feel when someone has angered you. Do you want to see the person who upset you? When someone makes you angry, do you want to get closer? Have a nice little chat? Or do you want your space? We need to think about students and behavior struggles differently in the classroom.
As an educator, I believe in the potential of every child. I have moments where you may questions this belief, but I believe in the potential of children. Everything in our classrooms has to be intentional to reach, draw out and celebrate the potential of every child. They come to use with different backgrounds and experiences. Parents help or don't help. They have breakfast or don't know where their next meal will come from. There are factors, yes, that impact the situation. But you only have control on your classroom and the decisions you make. Focus your energies there, define your expectations, and teach and reinforce the behaviors that will help each student reach their potential in your room.
We have a lot of accidental management occurring in our classrooms today. Students come into the room and we have open discussions the first few days of school about rules and how the classroom community will work. These rules are posted and then used as a reference throughout the year to remind students of the expectations. Be certain you are prepared to enforce the rules that are posted. The less you have to think about the rules the more consistent you will be. Here are some suggestions from Randy Sprick:
*Rules for an elementary classroom might be:
- Stop and listen when I say, "I need your attention, please."
- Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself.
- Follow directions the first time they are given.
- Stay on task during work time.
A set of rules for secondary classes might be:
- Ask before you leave the room.
- Respect whoever is talking.
- Raise your hand before you speak.
For all students to meet their potential we need to move beyond classroom rules into classroom management. Different students need different levels of structure to be successful. Our job as an educator is to provide the expectations, tools and instruction to all students. Yes, that may mean you have to repeat yourself, but it is important to communicate the behaviors you expect and share these with students in both verbal and written form. Many students will be successful with a verbal explanation of your expectations, some, however, will need a visual (poster, picture, chart) to refer to throughout the year. You need to be intentional in teaching behavior just as you are intentional in teaching skills and curriculum in your classroom.
So, how do you do this? First, make a list of learning situations in your classroom: transitions, small group, large group, guided reading, centers, lecture, etc. For each of these situations think about Communication (conversations and talking), Help (questions and needs), Activity (what is happening), Movement (when and where students are allowed), Participation (engagement and interactions), Success (end product)**. List your expectations for each area. Think through what you need from students to successfully teach and what students need to successfully learn. When is talking allowed? How loud should their voices be? Do they raise their hand or come to you for help? Can they sharpen pencils? Is it OK to get a drink or ask to go to the bathroom? What does "done" look like? Each learning situation has different expectations. As educators we understand that. Many of your students see those changes as well. But it is important to communicate YOUR expectations and share them with students.
For example, I attended a wedding this weekend. I have been to weddings before. I have background information on attire and etiquette, but I also used cues from the invitation, theme, venue and time of day to decide my attire. The wedding had a country theme and was being held outdoors. I decided on a sundress and flip flops for comfort and appropriateness. In a different venue my dress would have been different. This is the same thing as the different learning situations (centers, lecture, peer editing, lab work) in our classrooms. There are large overlapping commonalities but there are small variances we must communicate and teach to our kids.
Next is communicating and teaching your behavioral expectations. Visual representation comes in many forms. You may want icons, posters or task cards. I have created a large poster with icons for each CHAMP area and then have task cards for each learning situation. Many students will see the poster or icon and remember what is expected. But some will not. These students should also have a group card or individual card to read the specific expectations. This takes away the vagueness of "get to work" as well as the human factor of "It's Thursday and I am tired of reminding you this week". You have something to remind students how behavior looks in this learning situation. You have something that shows them the expectations. You have something to reference and pull students into the activity as you move them towards their potential.
Tricia McKale Skyles, CHAMPS presenter, reminded me of being intentional in my classroom. She provided a manageable framework through CHAMPS classroom management to meet the needs of all of my students. Students don't just inherently know how to work in my room. Each grade level, each classroom, each experience is different. Providing them with my expectations puts everyone on the same page and leads everyone to success.
This year I will intentionally manage my students. We will have discussions and lessons on behavior. I am excited to see the learning that will take place in our room. It is an honor to prepare to teach the champions of our future.
*Sprick, Randy. "Randy Sprick's Safe & Civil Schools – Practical Solutions, Positive Results!" Tips for Substitute Teachers from Safe & Civil Schools. Safe and Civil Schools, n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2014.