This chapter focuses on the necessity of creating a strong classroom culture in order to sustain and drive excellence. These fives principles: discipline, management, control, influence, and engagement are synergistic and a positive classroom culture won’t sustain itself without all of them.
1. Entry Routine – How students enter the classroom. The routine created when students enter the classroom is about making a habit out of what’s efficient, productive, and scholarly after the greeting and as students take their seats and class begins. (Pg 151)
· Students should know where to get materials for class on their way in
· Students should know where to sit
· Students should know what to do with homework
· Students should know where to find the “Do Now” (Technique 29)
I am all about the entry routine as this is probably one of the most important management techniques for a teacher to establish in a classroom. Not only does it allow teachers to take care of routine business at the beginning of class but also it empowers students to take learning into their control and students thrive with this empowerment.
2. Do Now – A short activity that you have written on the board or is waiting for student on their desks before they enter. This works because of consistence and preparation. (Pg 152)
· Be clear about what students should be working on
· Eliminate the excuses that lead to distraction
· Students can complete without direction from teacher
· The Do Now takes 3 – 5 minutes to complete
· The Do Now is in the same place every day
· The Do now requires putting pencil to paper
· The Do Now should preview the days lessons
Do Nows are my warmups. They are an essential beginning of my daily lessons and students expect them on a daily basis. Often, I will circulate the room and check their work, increasing the accountability. This activity gets students into the classroom and working immediately.
3. Tight Transitions – Quick routine transitions that students can execute without extensive narrations from the teacher. (Pg 154)
· Critical piece of a highly effective classroom
I’ve been known to practice and time transitions with my students.
4. Binder Control – A technique that emphasizes and teaches a system for storage, organization, and recall of what your students have learned.
· Required place for notes
· Required format for organizing paper, homework, etc…
Another one of my favorite techniques – I used to use a notebook method where there was a place for everything. Because the students relied on their notebooks for everything, they did not forget them. Those that did did so only once or twice.
5. SLANT – Five key behaviors that maximize students’ ability to pay attention. (Pg 158)
· S – Sit Up
· L – Listen
· A – Ask and Answer Questions
· N – Nod Your Head
· T – Track the Speaker
I think it’s very important to teach students how to listen and pay attention. Too often we expect they already know these skills when nine times out of ten they haven’t been taught them or they could benefit from a reminder. I hadn’t heard of the acronym SLANT before – I like it.
6. On Your Mark – Every Student must start class with books and paper out and pen or pencil in hand. Teach and use this expectation in every class, everyday. Teaches students how to prepare before they begin. (Pg 159)
· Be explicit about what students need to have to start class
· Set a time limit – be specific
· Use a standard consequence to administer without hesitation
· Provide tools without consequence to those who recognize in advance the need
· Include homework
Another favorite because being prepared is the key to being successful. I like the idea of providing tools without consequence when students recognize the need for these tools in advance. I also think that when students have an entry routine, a do now, and binder control it’s easier for them to be on their mark.
7. Seat Signals – A set of signals for common needs (Pg 161)
· Students must be able signal their request from their seat
· Students must be able to signal their request nonverbally
· Signals must be specific and unambiguous to keep them from becoming a distraction
· Teacher should be able to manage both request and response without interrupting instruction
· Explicit and consistent – Discipline yourself to respond only when signal is used
I like the idea of using seat signals for using the bathroom and getting a drink of water during classes. Once students are taught appropriate times to use these signals I think the time saved from distractions using them will be extremely beneficial. Look forward to implementing these into class this year.
8. Props – Public Praise for students who demonstrate excellence or exemplify virtues. (Pg 161)
· Quick (1-3 seconds)
· Visceral – Rely on movement
· Universal – Everyone joins in
· Enthusiastic – Tone is fun and lively
· Evolving – Students may suggest ideasProps are a great thing and I need to celebrate more greatness in class period! Need to watch the DVD for this one. We don’t do enough of this in our culture