Classroom Chaos – My take on management

Classroom Chaos – My take on management

This week’s topic for #SundayFunday is all about classroom management. While I do not view myself as a master of this YET, I do feel like I have certain strengths. The following are the things that lead me to be successful in the classroom:

  1. Students need to see you care about them. I do not mean you should be telling them this verbally everyday but instead showing you value them. I try and find various ways to keep them engaged and practicing the material. They notice that I have put in effort to create a review activity or that I took time to give them feedback on something they wrote me. I believe students also see that I am fair. It does not matter if it is the student who is always making bad decisions or someone who has never gotten in trouble before but I am consistent in rules.
  2. When a student does something that I do not want to see in my classroom, I try and pull them aside to talk about rather than engaging in an argument in front of the whole class. I can always give a look or a quick verbal cue and then have the students start working on something so I have a chance to have a discussion about what just happened. It does not hurt to stand outside the classroom as students enter and talk to a kid this way as well.
  3. I like having both routines and chaos in my room; sometimes happening simultaneously. When students enter everyday, they know to go to the front of the room and grab whatever is out for an opener and begin work. They also know to have their homework out so I can check it and they can discuss. While this is happening, some students might be up at the board putting up homework questions they were stuck on while others are up answering them. At first glance it might seem a little bit crazy but students do a great job with this once I explain my expectations. This type of controlled chaos is what I enjoy having. I can hear conversations and discover misconceptions while looking on as others are trying their hand at a few practice problems. It seems to work for me and helps me decide right from the start of class where I need to proceed and anything I still need to wrap up from last class.
  4. One of the biggest things I have learned, especially being an early career teacher, is that having something for the students to engage with generally keeps issues down to a minimum. If they are actively working and participating on a task or a good problem, it is much more difficult for students to act out. It seems like when students finish something early or they already know how to complete a task, is when I tend to have most of my issues. I have learned to always have something extra to differentiate when needed and has helped out several times.
  5. My last, and probably most effective quality, is enthusiasm. When I get up in front of the room, I flip a switch and am really excited about whatever it is we are learning. I tend to flail around the room (as one student described it once) and constantly checking for understanding throughout the room while my students are working. Students can see I love this stuff and I believe it makes them want to like it a little bit more than they originally did. I get excited about students sharing methods. I get excited when they get something wrong that everyone can benefit from. I am just always excited to be in the room (even if I have to fake it a little on a particularly rough day). I may throw in an anecdote or a terrible joke for good measure too to get a laugh or raise the interest level.

I think that many of points go back to relationships. I believe this trumps everything else. Without that, I would have no buy-in and I feel like I would have a rough time managing any classroom. I am constantly working on making every student feel comfortable with me and with everyone else in the room. These are the things that have been vital to my success and I will continue working on them.

Fun Firsts? – First Day Of Classes 17-18

Fun Firsts? – First Day Of Classes 17-18

So a little behind here on #sundayfunday challenge but that is okay because the goal is just to #pushsend.

I will be teaching geometry honors and algebra 2 studies (Learners who have struggled). In geometry I will be doing the same activity to build up a need for geometry vocab I have done before which you can read here. I will also be using my school fever activity that I have used before and you can read about that one here.

I have decided to try and get out of my comfort zone a little and instead of just reviewing how to plot coordinate points with my algebra 2 students, I thought it might be great to try and incorporate some sort of desmos activity instead. I am hoping that this will excite them instead of bore them to death on the first day of class. Students will be using the mini-golf coordinate activity with a few extra slides that I have added/modified at the beginning and at the end to lead some discussion about scatterplots. After being at #tmc17 and being involved in #desmoscamp I really love the idea of pausing and being able to restrict parts of the activity. This will be my first time trying all of this out on a new group of students day 1 but I am thinking it will lead to great success! If you want to see what it looks like and try it out then go here.

Regardless of what you are doing, I encourage you to think of ways to try and take a risk and go for something new. This has made me even more excited for the start of the year!

Three Things – Goals For 17-18

Three Things – Goals For 17-18

Participating in a Sunday Funday post sounds a great way to jump on the blogging bandwagon momentum. More information here:

Since this week is goals then I should talk about things I am looking forward to trying this school year:

  1. I am going to work on observing more. Observing my colleagues and having them observe me. We can all learn a lot from others we teach with and I want to try and do more of that this year. I also want to work on observing my students more. I want to have me do less of the talking and focus on listening to them and their conversations.
  2. I need to continue finding more hooks. More ways to get students pulled into a lesson. The morning session with the classroom chefs at #tmc17 talked a lot about adding small touches of humanizing aspects that students can engage with. I need to do this more often.
  3. I also want to work on discussion techniques. Even something as simple as having students stand up and talk to a partner about a strategy can make a huge difference. I need to capture more of those moments for students to talk with each other and share what they have learned.

I now see that the root of all my goals is on student perception in the classroom. I think these will be goals that are attainable. Now that it is August, it is time to start getting ready. What are your goals? Share them with me and lets keep each other accountable!