Thursday, July 19, 2012

Systematizing Your Classroom

So, I've put up a bunch of signs in my room. When I'm inside the classroom, I act like since I'm the teacher, the signs are up to remind my students how they need to act at different parts of the school day. To be honest, the signs are also up to remind me. I didn't realize that until I started using them.

The purpose of the sign above is to limit distractions and disruptions both on the floor and on the table. As soon as they enter, we review the homework. So, all they should have out is the homework. I point to each number to make sure that they only do those things.

As for number 2, sometimes students will have water bottles and pencil boxes, I don't even accept that. I don't accept that simply because they find a way to play with those items. I've seen some students treat their water bottle like a toy rocket and a squishy toy. So, I made a signal for them to use when they want to ask me to drink from their water bottle. Otherwise, they keep their water bottle in their bag. As for their pencil box, some students build catapults and buildings out of their pencils and erasers. So, I don't allow their pencil boxes out. Anyway, those are examples of why the only things they should have out at the beginning of the day is one pencil, one eraser, and their homework.

 The purpose of the chart just above is to give them reminders for what the class can do to get points and what they can do to lose points. I use this chart to implement ACT. If students are meeting all of the "YES" requirements, I let them know that I see them doing those things, and then I give the whole class a point. If one student does any item from the "NO" section, then the whole class loses a point. This is both a reminder to myself and the students. Also, the chart lays out the consequences in pretty simply terms. I use that chart during my lessons, but mostly during in class assignments. 

I use the sign directly above at the end of the school day. The purpose of it is to make sure that the tables are clear and that they know what homework they need to do at home. And, I make it known that if those three things are not done, no one is going home. It definitely minimizes clutter in the classroom. Again, the reminders are meant for them, but I find myself referring back to them once in a while.

Anyway, those are some examples of how to give yourself personal reminders as well as the class on what they need to do at the beginning, during class time, and at the end of the day. For those who use them, they will maintain the structures associated with those signs in the classroom. Hence, classroom activity will be that much more predictable.

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