PLC and Classroom Management

Last Monday’s #MSMathChat was very productive for me.  I have many weaknesses as a teacher, but I think my Achilles Heel is classroom management.  I tend to get lost in the content that I’m presenting to my students which makes me a little like this:

horse with blinders

 

The conversation last Monday centered around age appropriate behavior and how to manage what happens in class so you can effectively teach. (Storify-ed version here.) What behaviors do you address?  What behaviors do you ignore?  This all made me think long and hard about what I do in my classroom–and I found that I’m allowing too many of my students to divert my attention with inappropriate behavior, and the other students are getting frustrated with that.  I see it in their eyes, and it’s a reflection of what I also feel.  I sat down early last week (Tuesday or Wednesday I think) and identified which students are “vampirically” sucking my attention, and what behaviors they are exhibiting.  This was eye-opening to me.  What I discovered was that only 3-5 students in my two most challenging classes are the culprits.  (Well, really, I’m the culprit–they’re my accomplices, if you want to get technical about it.)

We are contracted with a consultant named Sarah Buckerfield to work on school-wide bell-to-bell management strategies.  Since the new semester started, I have changed my classroom seating structure (from groups to desks facing forward in groups of two) and have implemented use of my iPhone alarm system to alert me when 2 minutes before the warning bell sounds so I can give students (and me) enough time to pack up and prepare for the next class.  This has helped a lot, but I was obviously missing some key components to make it more solid and run more smoothly.  That’s where Monday’s #MSMathChat came in.  Again, the Power of the PLC is rockin’!

IMG_3523

 

My desk arrangement.  It’s working well so far.

These are some things that I really liked from the chat and blogs that I read on a regular basis that I plan on implementing:

  • Reflection forms for inappropriate classroom behavior (a la @lydiakirkman and Math=Love)
  • Ignoring certain behaviors that really don’t affect the learning in the class (I find that they only affect learning if I address them)
  • Accentuating the positive (a la @Mr_Oldfield–he gives handwritten postcards to students with positive feedback.  So cool!!!)
  • Keeping students accountable to expectations that they determine (a la @MathNeil).  I already have expectations that the students came up with, but I forget a lot of the time to reinforce them.
  • Continue to reach out to my PLC via Twitter and #MTBoS.  There is so much to learn out there.  (Actually, when I mentioned in class that I was going to blog about this, one of my students said, “That’s rather arrogant, don’t you think?” He thought I was going blog because I thought what I was doing was such a  wonderful job that other teachers should be doing it too!  I had to reverse that line of thinking by letting him know that I was in fact doing the opposite–reaching out to other awesome teachers to get input and ideas to improve my teacher-self.)

I would love to hear what you do in your class that you find successful in keeping students focused and on task.  Please comment!

3 thoughts on “PLC and Classroom Management

  1. I think that you may be interested in reading a post on my Blog regarding adapting CI to accommodate student needs. Visit my blog @ http://kennethfetterman.wordpress.com There may be another blog entry regarding applications of behavioral theory in the classroom. I’m not sure how long ago I posted it (these) so you may have to “seek” it (them) on my site.
    Also, My Book: “Becoming A Reflective Practitioner” contains a section about applying behavioral theories to maintain discipline in the classroom. Sample/purchase these resources @ http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kennethfetterman
    Best wishes, KEN

  2. Have you looked into the idea of Restorative Justice? It goes deeply into explaining to kids WHY they are being punished as opposed to simply punishing. If they are rude to other students, there is moderated conversation about “how this made me feel.”

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