Speaking of thinking and learning, earlier this week I attended the Utah Charter School Convention. I actually enjoyed most of the classes that I attended - they seemed to be a lot more helpful this year than in years past. The first class I went to talked about effective class room management. Probably the biggest idea I came away with from that session was the need to recommit to bellwork as a way to get my students minds focused and ready for English.
Ideas for getting class off to a good start:
Have the class set up and ready to go (Hard for my since I am a floater; I'll have to adapt)Three Point Preventative Structure for Classroom Management
Personally greet as many students as I can as they come in
Ask about how the student is doing - create rapor and commonality
Call students by their names
Be at the door
Give assignment immediately - bellwork
Give instructions for those who finish early (when the whispering starts)
1. Entry Activity (bellwork)
2. Diversity of Instructional Techniques
3. Procedural Consistency
Either you are in my classroom ready to start - or you are not.
Strategies for Designing Entry Activities:
- Every entry activity should have two main objectives: FOCUS student attention to your subject and provide a positive experience wherein the student can SUCCEED at the beginning of class.
- The entry activity should be posted somewhere where all students can see it IMMEDIATELY upon entering into the classroom.
- Be wary of allowing students to talk during this activity-it will result in loss of focus for the students. The purpose of an entry activity is to promote this focus.
- All entry activites should have simple instructions that can be read or implied by the students.
- ALWAYS BE IN THE CLASSROOM GREETING STUDENTS WHEN THE BELL RINGS OR YOU WILL STRUGGLE THE REST OF THE HOUR FOR CONTROL.
- Start instructions on minute or two before the bell rings; since students are trained you won't need to repeat them, but those who have arrived will already be on task by the time the bell rings.
- If you intend to split students into groups, assign them as they enter or have a pre-existing procedure that students may invoke themselves.
- Remember that you must train your students to respond to these activities. Students are creatures of habit, so teach them the habits you want them to perform!
Sample Entry Activity Ideas:
* Always alternate the type of activity or your students will become bored.
- Open ended question leading into today's subject matter
- Open ended question reviewing previous subject matter
- Discovery activity leading into the lesson
- Simple knowledge questions (1-5)
- Code switching activity (changing text from one mode (formal, etc.) to another (cell text, twitter, etc.)
- Prior knowledge/preassessment questions
- SAT Vocabulary to define and form sentences about
- Prompts from standardized tests (BSCT, CRT, or ACT)
- Ask for assessment of previous activities
- Have students self assess how they are doing in class
- Analize a poem, picture, music, short video clip
- Correct homework and have student re-do two problems that they missed
- Post a short reading assignment from a text, novel, or free reading book
- Listing and brainstorming
- Respond to current events
- Have students review and respond to yesterday's notes
- Have students think of questions they have (Stump the Teacher)
- Use ideas from Why We Must Run With Scissors
- Editing practice (from Everyday Editing)
Manipulatives (Magnetic Poetry, Found Poetry, Word Strips)
Discovery (Inquiry) Activity
List and Categorize
Cause and Effect
Resolution of Conflict
Entertainment as Education (media, music, TV, Etc.)