Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Philosophy: Classroom Management

My cooperating teacher’s philosophy in classroom management is positive reinforcement. Especially at the 1st grade level. She encourages this in several ways throughout the day, week and year.

First, she has a program called Character Counts, which was implemented to manage the student’s behavior. Through this program, the students have a small envelope on the bulletin board that has a series of laminated cards in them, starting with green. If the student’s card remains at green the entire day, they are rewarded at the end of the day through placing a sticker on their behavioral sheet. Once their sheet is filled up, the student’s are able to pick a prize from the prize box. However, if their card is turned through out the day (meaning their behavior did not match the classroom or teacher’s expectations) they do not receive a sticker for their behavior chart for that day.

Two of my CT’s reward methods are centered on the student’s behavior outside of the classroom, in particular their behavior in the hallway. One of these methods is a challenge between the boys and the girls. The line that is the quietest to a location and back receives a point. The points are tallied all week and the sex with the most points at the end of the week earns the opportunity to pick a prize from the prize box.

The other method is the compliment jar. If the students receive a compliment on how quiet and/or well organized they are while walking in the hallway, my CT puts a hand full of Smarties into the compliment jar. Once the jar is full, the students receive a class party. For example, it can be pajama day, in which the students would wear their PJ’s for the day.

During one of my observation days I witnessed the process and methods my CT used to handle a particular discipline issue. This issue is a reoccurring one in her room, in which one student is continuously disruptive to the other 3 students in the pod. Therefore, my CT moved this student from the pod by moving their desk away from the others, facing forward towards the board. I immediately saw an improvement in this student’s ability to focus on their work, as well as the other student’s. This was a noninvasive way to handle the issue without disrupting the positive classroom environment.

After my CT addressed this situation, she came to me to explain why she did what she did and how she has handled this particular student in the past as well. I appreciated this, as it was a great learning experience for me. Additionally, she made me aware that this was the 3rd time she had to remove the student from their pod and therefore a call into the parents was the next step.

Many of the classroom management techniques used by my CT would be ones that I would try in my own classroom. Some, however, may not work depending on my students. The one thing that I learned and truly believe in is that one of the best things you can do for your students is to know them!

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