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2014 ASCD Conference on Educational Leadership

2014 ASCD Conference on Educational Leadership

October 31–November 2, 2014, Orlando, Fla.

Learn the secrets to great leadership practices, and get immediate and practical solutions that address your needs.

 

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Books in Translation

Handbook for Qualities of Effective Teachers

by James H. Stronge, Pamela D. Tucker and Jennifer L. Hindman

Table of Contents

Chapter 3. Classroom Management and Organization

As a second-year teacher, Mandrel Epps is showing a lot of promise, but he still has some rough edges. He works very hard to develop engaging lessons and accompanying materials. Another teacher on his grade level said that if she shares an activity with him, he gives it back with some additional, and often better, twists. Mandrel showed a lot of courage coming back to teach after the tough first year when he had 12 of the most challenging students in the grade level placed in his classroom. Mandrel's students say they like him and he makes learning interesting, but sometimes they also take advantage of him. It is as if he has a jigsaw box of puzzle pieces, but he cannot get all the pieces to fit together. He just doesn't seem to understand how to manage a classroom.

Research Summary

The classroom is a vehicle for getting students from where they are when they enter the schoolhouse door to where they need to be an academic year later. Ideally, we all would like to see at least one year of progress for one year of seat time. In talking about classroom management and student achievement, it may help to think of the teacher as the driver of the car who needs to respond to the passengers' needs in order to ensure that they reach their destination. In driver education there is a substantial focus on the mechanics of driving and the rules of the road, but not very much attention is given to keeping the automobile functioning. People learn about preventative maintenance as a secondary set of skills through guidance, observation, reading, and trial and error. The first flat tire or dead battery becomes a significant learning experience. Great driving skills don't matter when the car won't move. Similarly, great instructional skills won't matter if students in the classroom are disengaged or out of control. Both novice and experienced teachers consider classroom management to be a high priority and an area of concern (Sokal, Smith, & Mowat, 2003). Teachers learn “tricks of the trade” from such sources as watching other teachers, reading about the topic, and reflecting on what is occurring in their classrooms. While mastering effective classroom management techniques takes work, effective teachers make classroom management look easy. When an effective teacher is in the driver's seat, one knows that a preventative, proactive, positive approach is in place to ensure that learning is on course.

The classroom environment is influenced by the guidelines established for its operation, its users, and its physical elements. Teachers often have little control over issues such as temperature and leaky ceilings, but they greatly influence the operation of their classrooms. Effective teachers expertly manage and organize the classroom and expect their students to contribute in a positive and productive manner. It seems prudent to pay careful attention to classroom climate, given that it can have as much impact on student learning as student aptitude (Wang, Haertel, & Walberg, 1993). Effective teachers take time in the beginning of the year and especially on the first day of school (Emmer, Evertson, & Anderson, 1980; Emmer, Evertson, & Worsham, 2003) to establish classroom management, classroom organization, and expectations for student behavior.

  • Classroom Management is “the actions and strategies teachers use to solve the problem of order in classrooms” (Doyle, 1986, p. 397). Effective teachers also use rules, procedures, and routines to ensure that students are actively involved in learning (Marzano, Marzano, & Pickering, 2003). In essence, they use management not to control student behavior, but to influence and direct it in a constructive manner to set the stage for instruction (McLeod, Fisher, & Hoover, 2003).
  • Classroom Organization focuses on the physical environment. Effective teachers organize a safe classroom environment (Educational Review Office, 1998). They strategically place furniture, learning centers, and materials in order to optimize student learning and reduce distractions.
  • Expectations for Student Behavior is a key element in setting expectations for students. (Note: A second key, Expectations for Achievement, is discussed in Chapter 4 of the Handbook.) Effective teachers know that student behavior is not only about rules and consequences (McLeod et al., 2003); they also know that a larger component is the development of a classroom climate that influences how students perceive their environment and behave (Woolfolk-Hoy & Hoy, 2003). Thus, effective teachers expect students to act in a manner that contributes to a positive classroom environment.

This sampling of findings highlights the complexity of teaching as it relates to classroom management. Figure 3.1 provides a visual overview of this chapter. Following an elaboration of the three key quality indicators associated with the quality of classroom management and organization, tools to enhance effectiveness are presented in the context of our fictional teacher, Mandrel. The questions posed in the Focus on the Teacher section are addressed at the end of the chapter before the presentation of the blackline masters.

Figure 3.1. Chapter Overview

Classroom Management

Effective teachers create focused and nurturing classrooms that result in increased student learning (Marzano et al., 2003; Shellard & Protheroe, 2000). These teachers teach and rehearse rules and procedures with students, anticipate students' needs, possess a plan to orient new students, and offer clear instructions to students (McLeod et al., 2003; Emmer et al., 1980). They use a minimum number of rules to ensure safety and productive interaction in the classroom, and they rely on routines to maintain a smoothly running classroom (McLeod et al. 2003). In fact, it has been noted that classroom management skills are essential in a classroom for a teacher to get anything done (Brophy & Evertson, 1976). In some ways, classroom management is like salt in a recipe; when it is present it is not noticed, but when it is missing, diners will ask for it.

Rules

Virtually everything that involves interactions among people requires rules. Webster's dictionary defines a rule as “a fixed principle that determines conduct” (McKechnie, 1983, p. 1585). Let's deconstruct this definition: a rule is “fixed” meaning that it does not change regardless of the situation. In reality, we know that rules have to undergo occasional modifications in the everyday life of a classroom. Nonetheless, rules establish the boundaries for behavior (Nakamura, 2000), and consistency in their implementation is essential to effective classroom management.

Effective teachers have a minimum number of classroom rules, which tend to focus on expectations of how to act toward one another, maintain a safe environment, and participate in learning (Marzano et al., 2003; McLeod et al., 2003; Thompson, 2002). These teachers offer clear explanations of the rules, model the rules, rehearse the expectations with students, and offer students opportunities to be successful in meeting the expectations (Covino & Iwanicki, 1996; Emmer et al., 1980). There is no magic number of rules that govern a classroom; rather, it is the clear establishment of fair, reasonable, enforceable, and consistently applied rules that makes a difference in classrooms.

Effective educators have a sense of classroom tempo and student harmony such that they are aware of when an intervention may be needed to prevent a problem (Johnson, 1997). Often, teachers use nonverbal cues, proximity, and redirection to prevent misbehavior. These techniques typically allow the momentum of the instruction to continue and refocus the student; however, there are times when a stronger intervention is necessary. When a rule is broken, an effective teacher is prepared to address the problem. Effective teachers tend to react in several ways, including the following: positive reinforcement that points to the desired behavior, consequences that punish the negative behavior, a combination of reinforcement and consequences, or indirectly responding to the behavior such that the student is reminded of why a rule is important. What an effective teacher does not do is react to an entire class for a rule infraction by a single student.

Routines

While they are more flexible than rules, routines or procedures are specific ways of doing things that, for the most part, vary little during the course of the day or the year. Classrooms typically require many routines to operate efficiently and effectively (McLeod et al., 2003). For example, routines commonly include how to enter and leave the classroom, take attendance, indicate lunch selection, secure materials, dispose of trash, label work, turn in assignments, make a transition during or between instructional activities, get to safety during drills and actual emergencies, and change from one activity or location to another. In essence, routines shape the classroom climate.

Effective teachers use routines for daily tasks more than their ineffective counterparts (Stronge, Tucker, & Ward, 2003). They invest the time at the start of the school year to teach the routines. By establishing and practicing routines that require little monitoring, teachers ensure that the focus of the classroom is more squarely on instruction (Covino & Iwanicki, 1996; McLeod et al., 2003; Shellard & Protheroe, 2000). Effective teachers frequently provide students with cues to remind them of acceptable behavior, and effective teachers are good at organizing and maintaining a positive classroom environment (Education USA Special Report, n.d.).

The establishment of routines allows for flexibility. For example, the teacher may not rehearse with students what should occur if a new student joins the class, but might adapt the routine used for greeting classroom guests (Emmer et al., 1980). Additionally, routines empower students to be more responsible for their own behavior and learning in the classroom (Covino & Iwanicki, 1996). When classroom management issues arise, the teacher has procedures to address the concern in an efficient, fair, and consistent way (Shellard & Protheroe, 2000; Thomas & Montgomery, 1998). Thus, the result of established procedures is more time for teaching and learning.

Classroom Organization

Classroom management and organization are intertwined. While rules and routines influence student behavior, classroom organization affects the physical elements of the classroom, making it a more productive environment for its users. How the classroom environment is organized influences the behavior in it. For example, actions as simple as color-coding folders, establishing fixed locations for lab supplies, maintaining folders for students to pick up missed work after being absent, keeping extra copies of “Back to School Night” items to share with new students, and designating specific places for other classroom supplies can have a dramatic effect on classroom organization and, consequently, on student learning. While these procedures and a multitude like them are simple matters, they nonetheless can be essential components for a smoothly operating classroom.

Classroom organization is evident in a room even if no one is present. Furniture arrangements, location of materials, displays, and fixed elements are all part of organization. Effective teachers decorate the room with student work, they arrange the furniture to promote interaction as appropriate, and they have comfortable areas for working (Kohn, 1996). They also consider student needs in arranging the room by leaving space for wheelchairs to maneuver; having walkways so students can access materials, pencil sharpeners, and the trashcan with minimal disturbance to others; and organizing in such a way as to allow the teacher to freely move around the room to monitor student progress (McLeod et al., 2003).

Teachers are observers of behavior and understand the rhythm of the classroom. Placing materials near the pencil sharpener may seem like a good idea, until one considers that at the start of a lesson this area may become congested with some students retrieving materials for their group and others waiting to use the pencil sharpener. However, the pencil sharpener and the trashcan may be a good pairing if the pencil sharpener tends to break regularly, spilling its contents on the floor; this way shavings fall into the trash instead. Effective teachers think about the little details that enhance the use of available space in the classroom as well as the big issues.

Expectations for Student Behavior

Attending to issues of classroom management and organization provides the foundation for having high expectations for student behavior. Effective teachers have higher expectations for how students are to conduct themselves in the classroom than their less effective colleagues (Stronge et al., 2003). They are better managers of student behavior (Emmer et al., 1980). They establish relationships with their students in which high levels of cooperation and dominance (i.e., giving students a sense of purpose and guidance) are balanced, resulting in an optimal relationship (Marzano et al., 2003). Effective teachers teach expectations to students and reinforce the desired behaviors with their verbal and nonverbal cues. Another characteristic of effective teachers is that they hold students individually accountable (Kohn, 1996) and, if necessary, use intervention strategies to help students learn the desired behavior (McLeod et al., 2003). An exploratory study of effective and ineffective third-grade teachers found that ineffective teachers had five times as many disruptive events in an hour when compared with their more effective counterparts (Stronge et al., 2003). Through fair and consistent discipline, teachers reinforce their expectations of students and create a classroom that is focused on instruction.

Visualizing the Quality

The following graphic organizer (Figure 3.2) is one way of conceptualizing how the components of the Quality of Classroom Management and Organization fit together. “Classroom organization” captures the structural aspects of how a teacher structures his or her classroom, and “expectations for student behavior” refers to the interpersonal and conduct norms that a teacher establishes. Together these structural and interpersonal elements contribute to the overall classroom management and ultimately to the unique climate and culture of every classroom.

Figure 3.2. Visual Representation of Classroom Management and Organization (Example of Fishbone Mapping)

Focus on the Teacher

Mandrel has the desire and determination to succeed; he wants to be a good teacher. Others can see his potential, but it has yet to be fully realized, largely because he hasn't learned how to effectively manage his students. This is a hurdle he can overcome. This year, Mandrel was given a choice as to who would be his mentor. He selected a teacher with whom he has good rapport and who is willing to meet regularly with him. The tools presented in this section of the chapter can be used to identify areas of strength and weakness to support growth in the effective implementation of classroom management and organization.

Classroom Management: Rules

Last year, Mandrel had his classroom rules, along with the consequences for not following the rules, posted for students. However, he found it difficult to get students to follow his rules. Worse yet, he knows that he did not do a very good job enforcing them. Before the new school year started, Mandrel met with his mentor to examine the classroom rules he had created. The mentor suggested organizing the rules into a table (figure 3.3) to make sure they met the criteria for being a good rule. There are four criteria that a rule needs to meet to stay on the list. The rule must be all of the following:

  1. clearly stated so students know what is expected of them.
  2. reasonable so students can realistically follow it.
  3. enforceable such that Mandrel will take the time and effort to address any violations. If he is not willing to invest the effort, then the item may be too trivial or there may be a better solution.
  4. general so that the rule addresses several behaviors as opposed to one specific misdeed.


Figure 3.3. Classroom Rules Proposed by Mandrel


Proposed Rule

Clearly stated

Reasonable

Enforceable

General

Stated Positively

1.

Respect each other.

X

X

X

X

X

2.

Be prepared to participate in class.

X

X

X

X

X

3.

Care for classroom materials and equipment as if they were yours.

X

X

4.

Talk in an indoor voice.

X

X

5.

Raise your hand for permission to talk.

X

X

X

6.

Stay in your seat at all times.

X

X

X

7.

Complete all your work on time.

X

X

X

8.

If you make a mess, clean it up.

X

X

X

9.

No eating, chewing, or drinking in class.

X

X

X

10.

No hitting, running, or horseplay.

X

X

X



Reflect on the Teacher: Case 3A


Mandrel has several rules that he feels are important; suggest ways he can consolidate or reword them.


A good rule of thumb is that the rule should be written as a positive statement so that students know what is the desired behavior. However, if something is an absolute, such as “No gum chewing,” then it is simpler to just say so.

Only two of the rules in figure 3.3 meet all four criteria. The rules Mandrel created were all clearly stated in terms of the behavior. However, two of them were not reasonable because students would not be expected to follow them at all times. Of course there is some flexibility, but keeping a list of rules to a minimum will help Mandrel enforce them. When rules such as “talk in an indoor voice” are made, it is more difficult to enforce them. An “indoor voice” in one home may be at a whisper-level and in another home, it may be at a higher volume. Only two of the rules were general enough in nature so that they could be applied across multiple behaviors. It is simply not possible to regulate all behavior with written rules, so having broader ones helps to cover more behavior.

Classroom Management: Routines

Mandrel's mentor observed him during a recent lesson. She asked Mandrel to explain the routines he used with his students in terms of taking attendance, getting materials, and turning in work. Mandrel could clearly explain his attendance/lunch request procedure and indicated that he had modeled it after the one his cooperating teacher had used during student teaching. In terms of the other two items, Mandrel said he just did what seemed to fit at the time. His mentor suggested that he build on the success he had with the lunch routine (described in the Resources section) by developing routines for common events in the classroom. The first step was for Mandrel to generate a list of what these recurring activities were. He then shared the list with his mentor.

Mandrel and his mentor reviewed the list. She asked him to recall what he had shared with her about the attendance/lunch routine. She asked him if he were absent, how the substitute teacher would know about it. Mandrel showed her his standard substitute plan information sheet that had the procedure written out. His mentor said that he could cross the first two bullets off the list since he had a routine for each of them. She asked him if there were any other items on the list that the students consistently did well. He indicated that drills, starting morning work, and walking in the hall were fine, so he crossed those off the list, too. Looking together at the list, they decided to prioritize what routines should be developed and taught early on and which ones could be added later. They focused on materials management (a combination of getting and returning materials) and changing activities as these transitional times were when Mandrel felt like he was losing time. Together they brainstormed detailed steps for each routine on an index card that Mandrel could easily reference (Figure 3.4). They talked about how he could introduce the routine and practice it with students. They agreed to meet after he introduced the first routine—changing activities. The second routine would be introduced a couple of days later. As students mastered a routine and became comfortable with it, a new one would be added.


Common Classroom Occurrences


  • Attendance
  • Lunch counts
  • Collecting work
  • Returning work
  • Distributing supplies
  • Returning supplies
  • Walking to specials (PE, art, music, library, computers)

  • Morning work
  • Make up work
  • Afternoon dismissal
  • Settling students down
  • Changing activities
  • What to do when you finish your work
  • Drills: Fire, Tornado, Lock-down



Figure 3.4. Mandrel's Changing Activities Routine Cue Card


Changing Activities

  1. Get the students' attention.
    Strategies: “if you can hear my voice clap once, if you can hear my voice snap twice, if you can hear my voice. . .” should work in two to three actions.
    Flicker the lights, play a tone on the xylophone.
    Students need to know that they need to stop what they are doing and look at me for further instruction.
  2. Tell the students that we are changing activities and what they need to do in a specific amount of time.
  3. Let students ask questions if they have them . . . see if another student can answer it.
  4. Give students the signal to change activities and time them.
  5. Report back to students how well they did changing activities.


Classroom Layout

Mandrel is a fairly well-organized teacher. Walking into his classroom, his mentor noticed that Mandrel's desk was free of clutter, his classroom displays were attractive and up to date, and there were areas designated for materials and specific activities. He typically had materials prepared and lessons staged so he could go from one activity to the next. Mandrel used bins and color-coded accordion folders. He had one bin for his morning activities and another one for the afternoon. The folders held the book, papers, sample, etc. for the different subjects. His mentor noted the presence of the bins on his desk (see the Resources section for other organizational tips).

One area in which Mandrel needed feedback was in making the best use of his classroom layout. He has a combination of fixed features (gray items on Figure 3.5) and movable furniture. He has two main concerns: 1) students seem to gather in the back of the room near the sink and water fountain when they finish their work; and 2) he has tables that seat six students each with an open cubbie space affixed under each place on the table, so some students always have to turn their chairs around when he does whole group instruction. He currently has 21 students. Mandrel wants to be able to see his students at all times even if he is working with a group at a table or at his desk.

Figure 3.5. Mandrel's Current Classroom Layout


Reflect on the Teacher: Case 3B


  • What can Mandrel do to eliminate some of the traffic flow problems?
  • Suggest an alternative room arrangement that would address his concerns about students focusing on each other instead of on him when he is trying to teach. NOTE: One wildcard in this room arrangement is the movable wall. If the wall is rarely moved, then it can be used like a fixed wall; if the wall is moved more than weekly, one would want easy-tomove items along that wall. Make your own determination of how you want to deal with the wall. Use Figure 3.6 to sketch out your idea.


Figure 3.6. Suggestions for Improved Room Layout

Expectations for Student Behavior: Time on Task

Mandrel and his mentor have been working on classroom management issues, which influence his expectations for student behavior. His mentor observed Mandrel's class using a time-on-task chart that captured off-task behaviors as well as how Mandrel managed the situation.

Mandrel's mentor recorded student engagement in the teaching-learning process at five-minute intervals (see Figure 3.7). Additionally, she recorded comments regarding off-task behavior and teacher responses. Two types of student behavior were recorded as off-task: 1) instances when students disrupted others and 2) instances when students were visibly disengaged. Those visibly disengaged students certainly could be thinking about class, but they are not participating in class in the same manner as their peers. During each five-minute cycle, the mentor watched and listened carefully for one full minute to get a clear sense of what was happening in the classroom, and recorded her notes during the four minutes before the next sampling of information. If Mandrel was uninvolved with students, the activity he was doing (e.g., grading papers) was noted under the “Task” column as well as what the students were doing. If the teacher takes no action to address disruptive or disengaged students, his mentor checked the box for “None.”


Figure 3.7. Time on Task Chart


ObserverJanice Jones

Date10/17

TeacherMandrel Epps

SubjectSocial Studies

Number of Students21

Start time10:45 a.m.

Interval

Task, activity, event, question

Off-Task Behaviors (Note # of students and describe behavior.)

Management Strategy

Nature of Intervention

5 min

Transition from Reading to Social Studies (Native Americans)

Gave a student a tally mark (she had been warned previously)

Disrupting Others

2

Verbal

X

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

X

One student got the “eye”

Negative

X

Gave Student 1 a tally mark—her name was already on the board

Visibly Disengaged

0

None

o

Neutral

o

10 min

Sent a student with a note to the media center to get a better VCR, the one in the room had a tracking problem. Had the students tell about previous learning . . . Iroquois mask, story sticks, maple syrup

Disrupting Others

2

Verbal

X

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

X

Used proximity towards some of the disengaged students and called on others

Negative

X

Took 5 minutes of Student 2's recess (already had a tally mark)

Visibly Disengaged

4

None

o

Neutral

o

15 min

Had the students get their folders on Native Americans out and head a paper to record observations—gave directions

Disrupting Others

0

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Negative

o

Visibly Disengaged

1

None

X

Neutral

o

20 min

The video was playing

Disrupting Others

1

Verbal

X

Comments

Positive

X

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Student 3 made fun of an actor's appearance, saying “Look at Grandma”

Negative

o

Reminded students that this was a legend, so people may look different

Visibly Disengaged

0

None

o

Neutral

o

25 min

The video was playing

Disrupting Others

0

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Students 4 & 5 were off task, but the teacher's back was towards them

Negative

o

The teacher took no action

Visibly Disengaged

2

None

X

Neutral

o

30 min

The video was playing

Disrupting Others

0

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

X

Lots of laughter in one section

Negative

o

Students refocused

Visibly Disengaged

4

None

o

Neutral

X

35 min

“Let's share some observations of Native Americans, first from the past and then we will do the present based on what you saw in the video”

Disrupting Others

1

Verbal

X

Comments

Positive

X

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Said “I need everyone's attention, if you hear my voice clap once” (Routine we worked on earlier)

Negative

o

Thanked students for focusing so quickly

Visibly Disengaged

7

None

o

Neutral

o

40 min

Talked about how some students were surprised that Native Americans are still alive today . . . cleared up some misunderstandings

Disrupting Others

0

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Negative

o

Visibly Disengaged

0

None

o

Neutral

o

45 min

Continued discussion about Native Americans today

Disrupting Others

0

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

X

Student 2 and Student 6 were playing with their sweaters

Negative

o

The students stopped

Visibly Disengaged

2

None

o

Neutral

X

50 min

Praised students for doing a good job . . . some students clapped and cheered, but gained on-task behavior quickly

Disrupting Others

0

Verbal

X

Comments

Positive

X

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Negative

o

Visibly Disengaged

0

None

o

Neutral

o

55 min

Moved right into mathematics lesson on subtraction with regrouping . . . very smooth transition

Disrupting Others

0

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Negative

o

Visibly Disengaged

0

None

o

Neutral

o

Notes:

Disrupting others would include students who are not only off task but also attempting to distract others from the teacher-assigned tasks.

Visibly disengaged would include students who are daydreaming, doodling, staring out the window or otherwise not focusing on the teacher's assigned tasks, but who are not distracting other students.

Management strategy would be any action taken by the teacher either in response to a lack of attention by students or in anticipation of possible disruptions.

Nature of intervention would include positive responses such as praising students who are attending or participating, negative responses such as yelling at students, or neutral responses such as changing the activity or moving near the student or students.

Under Comments, note the type of action taken or what was said.



Reflect on the Teacher: Case 3C


  • Describe Mandrel's management strategy.
  • What type of interventions does he use most?
  • Based on the students' responses, where can he improve?


Making Connections

Consider the Scenario

Reread the teacher scenario at the beginning of this chapter and the bits of information shared on the form with examples about Mandrel, the fictitious teacher in the scenario. Consider the questions below.

Using the space below, summarize what positive teacher behaviors and actions exist, and what performance areas need improvement for Mandrel.


Positive Attributes

Areas for Improvement


What descriptor best describes Mandrel's skills in the area of “classroom management and organization”?


____ Master:

demonstrates the complexity of the quality resulting in a rich learning experience for students

____ Professional:

demonstrates the quality most of the time so there is a productive learning experience for students

____ Apprentice:

demonstrates the quality well-enough for learning to occur, but performance is inconsistent

____ Undeveloped:

demonstrates sub-par performance of the quality


Why did you select a particular descriptor?

How could Mandrel's performance be improved?


Reflecting on My Current Performance


Rate your own performance on the qualities associated with classroom management and organization using the explanation of each major quality highlighted in the chapter.

Undeveloped

Apprentice

Professional

Master

Classroom Management

Classroom Organization

Expectations for Student Behavior

Reflection Learning Log

What do I better understand now after studying and reflecting on classroom management and organization?

What are next steps to improve my performance?

What resources (e.g., people and materials) are needed to enhance my teaching effectiveness?


Resources

This section contains three items:

  • further elaboration on issues raised in the discussion of Mandrel's case,
  • the Authors' Perspective, and
  • blackline masters of forms that can be used to promote improvement and reflection on qualities of effective teachers.

Follow-up Explanation of Mandrel's Attendance/Lunch Routine

On the first day of school, students were given a piece of paper the size of a business card that was affixed to a magnet of the same size (available at most office supply stores). They were told to write their first name and last initial in big letters on the card. Then students decorated the cards with a picture of their favorite activity to do outside of school. Mandrel had students introduce themselves by talking about their card. Then he had them find at least one other person in the class with whom they shared an interest. Finally, he explained the attendance/lunch procedure. When students arrive each day, their magnets are all on the magnetic chalkboard in the “Welcome” column. Before students even put away their bags and coats, they move their magnet to the appropriate lunch choice column (Figure 3.8). Then, after morning announcements, Mandrel takes attendance by seeing whose magnet has not been moved and counts the number of students who are buying lunch.


Figure 3.8. Mandrel's Attendance/Lunch Chart* 


Welcome

Buying Lunch

Buying Milk

Brought Lunch


Mandrel also shared that he lines up students for lunch by calling for the students who are buying lunch or milk to be in the front of the line, so they can continue ahead in the cafeteria to the food service line while he leads the rest of the students to their assigned table. He had not thought of this as a routine, just something he did that worked. His mentor commented that this worked well and he could build from this experience to enhance the operation of other parts of the instructional day. Additional organizational tips that work across grade levels are included in Figure 3.9.


Figure 3.9. Organizational Tips


Materials

If students commonly work in the same group, assign each group a container (dish tubs, baskets, and trays work well) that they can send one member to retrieve and return for each activity. It gives the students an incentive to treat the common supplies well.

Place scissors, tape, stapler, hole punch, calculators, rulers, and other commonly needed items in a common place that students can access on their own.

Have a can of sharpened pencils near the pencil sharpener. If the lead breaks during class, a student can place the pencil in the can and retrieve a sharpened one. At a more appropriate time (e.g., end of the lesson) the student can return the borrowed pencil and sharpen the one that was left (Thompson, 2002). HINT: The teacher may not have to buy the initial pencils, since pencils frequently can be found on the floor when they have rolled away under another desk. Just tell your custodian where retrieved pencils can be placed for student use.

Keep extra school supplies on hand for students who forget or run out of their own. Also, this is helpful when a new student arrives in class who may not have all the supplies needed.

Set up numbered work stations with necessary supplies and assign students to matching work groups. This works well when students must go to the equipment (e.g., science lab) versus taking the equipment to their desks.

Work Assignments

Set up collection trays for finished work labeled with either the subject for elementary classrooms or periods for secondary classrooms.

Create wall organizers with identified bins for class assignments so that students can pick up missed work after a late arrival or an absence.

Lesson Plans

At the secondary level when there are multiple preps separated by brief breaks, it can be helpful to have a plastic file folder holder affixed to the wall so the teacher can pull the necessary folder.

Keep plans in a binder that has divider pages for the different subjects/periods. Use plastic page protectors to hold copies of handouts and transparencies (make sure to have the “crystal clear” sleeves or else the transparency will have to be removed from the sleeve).

Organize lesson plans electronically. If the room is equipped with a monitor for PowerPoint presentations, use the first slide to identify the title and the second slide the goals; this not only organizes the students, but also reminds the teacher as well.

Emergency Procedures

Post fire and tornado information in the room. Include labeled maps of where to go when exiting the classroom for tornado and fire drills/emergencies.

Know the location of the nearest fire extinguisher and fire alarm pull.

Train students to know what to do in an emergency situation.

Clearly label the office call button so substitute teachers can immediately identify it if an emergency occurs.

Keep a list of all students who may require medical attention in your grade book. Know the protocol for what to do, for example, diabetics, bee stings, epileptic seizures, etc. As appropriate, alert substitute teachers.

If in a specific-use classroom, such as science, know how to operate the eyewash station and shower, the location of the emergency shut-off valves in the room, and where safety equipment is stored.

Schedules

Display a poster with the basic flow of the day (i.e., bell changes in secondary school or in elementary school when reading, math, resource classes, lunch, science, social studies, etc. occur).

Write a daily agenda for students to know what to expect in terms of the day's objective (see Chapter 5 on writing informational objectives), activities, and homework. Note any changes in the regular daily schedule in this location.

Create a Web page with weekly assignments listed and hyperlinks to possible resources.

Classroom Displays

Have a board for “works in progress” where students can post work on which they want constructive criticism from their peers (Thompson, 2002). Students wind up keeping this board ever changing.

Use a blend of student-made and commercial products to display on the walls. An art portfolio works well to keep posters flat and poster board can be tabbed with headings of different units, so the teacher can pull out new material as appropriate for display.


Reflect on the Teacher: Authors' Perspective

The Reflect on the Teacher questions are provided to encourage interactive and reflective reading and application of the Handbook for Qualities of Effective Teachers. In most cases there are no right or wrong answers. The Authors' Perspective is provided as one way to reflect on the information presented.

Reflect on the Teacher: Case 3A (see p. 72)

Mandrel has several rules that he feels are important. Suggest ways he can consolidate or reword them.

Group rules (Figure 3.3, p. 72) according to their commonalities.

  • Rules 3, 8, and 9 address the classroom environment. He could combine the rules to create a new rule: “Keep the classroom and materials neat.” In the explanation of the rule, Mandrel can explain that this includes no eating because crumbs and sticky substances tend to get everywhere even when someone is being careful.
  • Rule 1 (“Respect each other”) is broad enough to incorporate the safety issues in Rule 10 as well as the need to keep voice volume at an appropriate level so everyone can learn (Rule 4). Rules 5 and 6 are about respecting the teacher's authority in the classroom. This could be addressed under Rule 1: Students should respect the teacher as well as their classmates.
  • Rule 7 can be included in the explanation of what it means to be prepared for class.

The overall suggestion would be to keep Rules 1 and 2 and add one new rule about classroom neatness.

Reflect on the Teacher: Case 3B (see p. 75)

What can Mandrel do to eliminate some of the traffic flow problems?

The classroom has a lot of “attractive nuisances” in the back of the room near the sink area. There are two group worktables, a reading space, bookcases, and the cubbies all in the back half of the room. Part of Mandrel's challenge is the physical space arrangement; the other part of the challenge is classroom management. If traffic is a problem, limit the number of students who may be at any of those locations after they finish their work. There seems to be more potential for congestion on the left-hand side of the room and in the back than in the front or to the right. Additionally, the group worktable near the cubbies is in the way when students line up to exit from either door. One way to avoid this problem is to move the work table to another location so that students can line up a few feet out from the cubbies.

Suggest an alternative room arrangement that would address his concerns about students focusing on each other instead of on him when he is trying to teach.

Mandrel has three of the five tables oriented so no students have to turn around to look at him. So in rearranging the room, the other two could be flipped. This will create less space from the front wall to the back wall so the other furniture will have to be moved around. There are various pros and cons to placing the teacher's desk in the front of the room. By placing the desk in the back of the room, Mandrel is still able to see his students, but he has now created a space where he can work individually with a student without having the student or himself in the class' spotlight. These are the two main changes we suggest. As for the other suggestions, a lot depends on personal preference for how spaces work.

Figure 3.10. Authors' Perspective Suggested Improved Room Layout

Reflect on the Teacher: Case 3C (see p. 76)

Describe Mandrel's management strategy.

Mandrel does not seem to have a clear preference between verbal or nonverbal responses. However, he tends to use verbal interventions when students are being disruptive or have the potential to disrupt the learning of others. The nonverbal approaches are used to refocus students.

What type of interventions does he use most?

While Mandrel uses positive, negative, and neutral interventions about equally, he tends to focus on the positive a bit more. In the cases where he used negative interventions, the students had already been warned about their behavior—it was noted on the chart that the students already had their names on the board.

Based on the students' responses, where can he improve?

At 50 minutes, Mandrel praised the students for their work. They responded with cheering that was short, and they quickly refocused. The students made a smooth transition to the next activity. When the class was recognized for behaving appropriately, it seemed to encourage more of the desired behavior. Perhaps Mandrel could try praising desired behaviors instead of relying so heavily on tally marks.

Blackline Masters

The following blackline masters can be photocopied and used in your school or district.


Classroom Rules Criteria


Proposed Rule

Clearly stated

Reasonable

Enforceable

General

Stated Positively



Classroom Arrangement


1) Take an inventory of the movable furniture/items in the room. There is space provided for additional items.

  • _____ Student Desks w/chairs
  • _____ Teacher's Desk w/chair
  • _____ Overhead Projector
  • _____ Computer(s)
  • _____ File Cabinet
  • _____ Work table(s)
  • _____ Bookcase(s)
  • _____ _________________________________________
  • _____ _________________________________________
  • _____ _________________________________________

2) Make a sketch of the classroom's fixed elements in the space provided. If the room is not rectangular, shade off areas to reflect the classroom space. In your sketch, include

  • Door(s)
  • Window(s)
  • Chalkboards/whiteboards
  • Mounted TV monitors
  • Computer stations
  • Bookcases
  • Storage cabinets
  • Lab stations
  • Sinks
  • Pencil sharpener

3) Determine how the room will be primarily used (e.g., lecture, discussion, group work).

4) Use dotted lines to show key walkways or spaces that need to stay open.

5) The biggest grouping of furniture is the student desks and chairs. Place them on the layout first. They can be moved about later on the diagram as needed, but they do encompass the largest area in most classrooms.

6) Sketch in the other furniture items.



Time on Task Chart


Observer __________

Date __________

Teacher __________

Subject __________

Number of Students __________

Start time __________

Interval

Task, activity, event, question

Off-Task Behaviors (Note # of students and describe behavior.)

Management Strategy

Nature of Intervention

5 min

Disrupting Others _____

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Negative

o

Visibly Disengaged _____

None

o

Neutral

o

10 min

Disrupting Others _____

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Negative

o

Visibly Disengaged _____

None

o

Neutral

o

15 min

Disrupting Others _____

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Negative

o

Visibly Disengaged _____

None

o

Neutral

o

20 min

Disrupting Others _____

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Negative

o

Visibly Disengaged _____

None

o

Neutral

o

25 min

Disrupting Others _____

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Negative

o

Visibly Disengaged _____

None

o

Neutral

o

30 min

Disrupting Others _____

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Negative

o

Visibly Disengaged _____

None

o

Neutral

o

35 min

Disrupting Others _____

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Negative

o

Visibly Disengaged _____

None

o

Neutral

o

40 min

Disrupting Others _____

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Negative

o

Visibly Disengaged _____

None

o

Neutral

o

45 min

Disrupting Others _____

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Negative

o

Visibly Disengaged _____

None

o

Neutral

o

50 min

Disrupting Others _____

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Negative

o

Visibly Disengaged _____

None

o

Neutral

o

55 min

Disrupting Others _____

Verbal

o

Comments

Positive

o

Comments

Nonverbal

o

Negative

o

Visibly Disengaged _____

None

o

Neutral

o

Notes:

Disrupting others would include students who are not only off task but also attempting to distract others from the teacher-assigned tasks.

Visibly disengaged would include students who are daydreaming, doodling, staring out the window or otherwise not focusing on the teacher's assigned tasks, but who are not distracting other students.

Management strategy would be any action taken by the teacher either in response to a lack of attention by students or in anticipation of possible disruptions.

Nature of intervention would include positive responses such as praising students who are attending or participating, negative responses such as yelling at students, or neutral responses such as changing the activity or moving near the student or students.

Under Comments, note the type of action taken or what was said.


Endnote

*  It is made using colored tape to form the outline, and the labels are on magnets. This makes it easy to remove in order to clean the chalkboard.