A Well Planned Schedule
Just like room configuration, having materials prepared and organized makes the flow from lesson to lesson or group to group happen efficiently. In past years when I worked with six grade levels, I used color coding as a method to keep things organized. I used tubs labeled by grade level and assigned each grade level a different color of two pocket folders. I put all consumable materials I needed for my lessons in the tubs, and students kept work in progress in their folders. We use composition books a lot, so when materials are collected, I just tuck the composition books into the folders along with the child’s tradebook (if we’re still working with it). This year, I just have two grade levels for two hours each, so there are fewer transitions. Still, the color coding system works very well.
One of the biggest challenges for teachers is classroom management, and with students who struggle with learning, behavior challenges often come from frustration. Even as a seasoned veteran teacher, there are times when I find I really need to think quickly how to minimize the time lost by handling behavioral challenges. One thing that I’ve kept in my mind is the saying to “Pick your Battles!” I tell my students often that we have a job to do and need to get it done. I try to motivate and encourage them, and I try to minimize consequences. When kids are motivated by the activities happening in the classroom, feel successful with their work, and see the growth they are making, they understand the purpose and are more willing to remain positive. When issues do crop up, I try very hard to keep the others engaged and privately deal with the issue. Sometimes, I will table an issue until a time when I can address it if I know it will take more time to process. Ultimately though, we all have times when we must act, and when it’s needed, we definitely need to respond with confidence and with minimal explanations.
Now, it’s your turn…
What works for you? Please take a moment to share your thoughts in the comments or link up. Let’s face it. Even the best teachers enjoy improving their skills and learn from others.