Classroom Management and #ASCDCTE14

Post #3 about the ASCD Conference, and I'm ready to reflect on goodies from one awesome session...

A large part of my job as Instructional Specialist is to support our new teachers, and a top concern for new teachers is classroom management.  In addition, I support all of our teachers on implementing school and district initiatives, and when we're talking about flexible grouping with differentiation, PBLs, and managing technology and devices, we must also have conversations about classroom management and procedures.  It seems like we assume veteran teachers have the management part down, but that's not necessarily the case; therefore, it was a no-brainer that I attended a session on classroom management.

(Side note: I didn't realize that many of the presenters would be pushing their own websites, materials, and books at this conference, but because this message and the presenter were so amazing, I'll include those links!)

If you ever have an opportunity to see Grace Dearborn present, run to her session!  She had our room of at least 300 people completely engaged, laughing, sharing, and accepting her every word as golden.  It's kind of sad that she is no longer in the classroom because I imagine she worked magic with her students...but at least she is sharing her wisdom with others.

Her session was Conscious Classroom Management, and the goal of her session was to provide "Stuff you can use."  Mission accomplished! She shared a few oldies but goodies, but it's always good to hear reminders about these strategies:

  • 2 x 10 -- for your most challenging student(s), if you spend 2 minutes a day for 10 days in a row having a personal, non-academic conversation with that student, behavior will improve.  If a student is absent (ill, suspended, etc.) for several days, you must start over with the 10 days.  Be consistent as possible.
  • "Procedures Precede Content" -- teach and reteach your procedures, and again, be consistent. (She used the example of the safety procedures on airplanes.  Have you ever not heard the flight attendants go over the airplane rules with visuals, demos, and talk-throughs??)  She even provides sample procedure quizzes on her website.  Another suggestion: if you have trouble with the consistency part, i.e. you don't always make your students raise their hands, give yourself a visual, such as a picture of a raised hand, posted in the back of the room where you'll see it.  Also, really spend the time in class to practice the procedures.  For example, require your students to move their desks into groups of 4 within 20 seconds.  Get out the stop watch, make them practice, explain how it must be done, and make them practice again. (One of her engaging strategies: she told us we had "32 seconds" or "17 seconds" or "2.18 minutes" to share--it was never a round number, which really amused me for some reason.)
The new stuff...she was all about visual cues for procedures and management, and that idea was such an a-ha! She took pictures of what she wanted and had those images projected or posted around the room.
  • On test days, as students entered the room, she projected a picture of a desk that was cleared except for a pencil and calculator.
  • For science lab days, she had a picture projected with all equipment needed for the lab (goggles, lab book, pen, calculator, 2 beakers).
  • On her bookshelves, she had two pictures.  The "YES" picture showed her books in order, spines vertical, supplies in the correct containers, everything neat.  The "NO" picture showed the same bookcase with the textbooks mixed together, supplies thrown around, loose papers on the shelves, etc. (She also used this strategy for her youngsters' toy chest at home.)
  • A funny: for the elementary teachers, Grace shared the struggle of dealing with kids who tattle. To remedy that, a teacher posted a picture of a giant ear on the wall, so when kids started to tattle, she said, "Tell it to the ear!"  The teacher said after recess, there might be a line of kids waiting to "tell the ear" what had happened.  Grace also said a high school government teacher posted a big picture of President Obama, and when his seniors started to complain, he said, "Tell it to the President!" and he said kids would actually talk to the poster! :)
Grace was also all about creating rubrics with her visuals, and then she could tell students they needed to get from a "3" to a "5."  She had students demo each number on her rubric, she took pictures of each scenario, labeled each picture with the appropriate number, and then posted or showed pictures when necessary.

  • For high school students, she had an issue of kids packing up before the end of the period, so she created a 1 - 5 rubric for her end of the period procedures.  A "1" was where kids were lined up at the door, ready to leave.  For a "3," some kids were seated, some were standing, some had backpacks on, some students were still working.  A "5" was the ideal situation, and kids were still seated with work on their desks.  She posted the pictures around her door frame, and some days had to say, "I see most of you are at a 3, but I need you to be a 5 before you are dismissed!"  Kids could simply look at the photographs to see what they needed to change.  
  • For her elementary example, she created a similar rubric for kids lining up in the hallways.  This document shows her photos and rubric, plus it gives a couple other examples of using visuals for classroom management.
Added bonus: the images of the expectations would be so useful for our English Language Learners!  We have a large ESL population, so I think this strategy would really help those kiddos understand.  

Another side note: I do not have my own classroom and float into two different classrooms, but it would be easy to keep the photos on my iPad and display them when necessary.

Any other favorite classroom management tips?  Have you ever used visuals or a rubric to help your students learn your class procedures?
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About Kathryn Laster

I love teaching, learning, and sharing!
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