Here is an updated version of this post that I launched my blog with. I thought mid-year…on the long haul to Spring Break…it would be a great time to remind all of us the importance of procedures, classroom expectations, and building a community. I would love to hear your WOW success stories or a video detailing a challenge you are asking for support with. I will answer your concerns with advice that may help YOU and ME! All of this will use an amazing program called flipgrid. You simply have to click on this link: https://flipgrid.com/af6a49a4 Password is Athowsandwows You will be prompted to add flipgrid to your computer, phone, or tablet. Once you have added it – you will submit a video that will be part of our community link. Others can see your post and celebrate or provide support. I will approve all video posts before they go live on the site. I hope this will be a great chance to share some wow’s and remind ourselves of some how’s.
Each year, teachers start full of excitement for the amazing year they plan to have. Everything is fresh and new. The possibilities for WOW moments and results seem endless. Unfortunately, no teacher feels this way all year long. Teaching has highs and lows that great teachers learn to manage by self-reflection, student self-reflection, and using data in every area to drive their decisions. Teachers that do this – get those WOW’s! WOW moments are the ones that make it all worthwhile. It’s the moment you realize a reluctant reader loves their first book or a child who entered your room with pain as their companion has found a safe place to be authentic each day. It’s the moment your kids come together to support each other or the test results that show that every kid has grown. Teachers get paid in WOW’s (way more than their check) and get rejuvenated by WOW’s. They make a kid leave your classroom at the end of the year feeling like they had the BEST YEAR EVER!
For new teachers, burned out teachers, stuck in a rut teachers, or just your standard doing their thing teachers; creating a classroom community that fosters a love of learning and a sense of inclusion can be the most challenging part of their jobs. However, this is the absolute, most essential part of great, authentic teaching. Some teachers think classroom community is not their job because they teach a subject (math, reading, science,etc.). Some teachers have no idea how to do it, so they avoid it until the classroom implodes. Some teachers are furious they are being asked to meet their student’s emotional and social needs when there are trained counselors to do that. Some teachers feel all this mumbo jumbo takes away from their instructional time. Whatever the reason teachers avoid crafting this community…. IT IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING THEY CAN DO TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS ACADEMICALLY.
I have seen time and again that students must take ACADEMIC RISKS to learn. This means a student must feel safe enough (emotionally, socially, physically) to raise their hand, ask for help, admit they don’t understand a concept, or even work with their peers. If a student thinks they will be made fun of, criticized, mocked, pushed, or any other unsafe behavior; they will not take an academic risk. Without an academic risk, students simply will not grow academically to their full potential.
That leads us to the 5 HOW’s! So, you want to get those WOW moments in your classroom to increase, expand, and just generally happen as often as possible? You need to intentionally create a classroom community that fosters learning by creating a safe atmosphere where students take academic risks. Taking the time BEFORE you start the year to reflect on your day and the procedures and expectations you need to create and teach will be the best gift you can give yourself as a teacher. So, watch each video where I explain the HOW’s and then think through the guiding questions below. On Teachers Pay Teachers, you can download a planning sheet for free to use while you read this article and watch the videos. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Sellers-Im-Following/Add/Authentic-Teaching-By-Kristine-Barberio Please comment on the blog with ideas, suggestions, or questions! Teachers get all their best ideas from watching someone else do it better!
GUIDING QUESTIONS – HOW DO STUDENTS ENTER/START?
- What is your vision for your morning check-in time with your students?
- What do you want your students to accomplish during morning check-in time?
- How do you want students to enter your classroom?
- What do students do while they are waiting for class to start?
- What do students do once you started whole class guided practice?
- How do students enter into workshop groups or start a workshop time?
- What do students do when they enter the cafeteria?
- What do students do when they enter special area/elective classes?
- What do students do at the beginning of a test or assessment?
- What do students do at the start of an assembly or special program?
- How do students get their materials/supplies/work when class is starting?
- Where are you during morning check-in?
GUIDING QUESTIONS – HOW DO STUDENTS EXIT/LEAVE?
- What do students do when you announce class is done?
- How do students line up or leave your room?
- What do students do when you end one subject and start another in your classroom?
- How do students behave in hallway?
- Where do students wait or go for next class?
- What do students do with their materials/supplies/work when class has ended?
- How do students leave their workshop group and return to whole group?
- How do students clean up and leave the cafeteria?
- What do students do at the end of a test/assessment?
- What do students do at the end of an assembly or special program?
- How should students be waiting at the end of a special area/elective class?
- How do students leave your classroom and go to dismissal?
- Where are you during dismissal?
GUIDING QUESTIONS – HOW DO STUDENTS MOVE?
- How do students move around your classroom?
- How do students get supplies/materials in your classroom that are not with them?
- How do students get in line?
- How do students walk/behave when they are in the hallways or public spaces?
- How do students play at recess?
- How do students behave in P.E. or Sports settings?
- When can students get out of their seat in your room?
- How does a student go to the restroom, to get water, or to the nurse?
- If you need something delivered, how do students go without the teacher? (ex. in pairs to office, groups of 3 to nurse, etc.)
- How do students move in a fire/tornado/earthquake/lockdown drill?
- How do students come to the rug/carpet?
- When/how can a student sharpen a pencil?
GUIDING QUESTIONS – HOW DO STUDENTS WORK?
- When you are giving direct instruction, what should students be doing?
- How are you going to teach group work expectations?
- What system will you use for putting students into groups?
- How do you teach partner work expectations?
- What are your expectations during a workshop time? Where will you sit to maintain supervision?
- Where do students have to sit during work time? What are the expectations for where they sit?
- Can students work with other students on assignments other than individual assessments?
- What happens if someone is not working effectively on their own? in a partnership? in a group?
- Where do students who need extra support sit? Who gives the extra support? How often?
- Are you going to have a help or answer station for students?
- How do you help students problem solve first before asking for your help? What systems and/or explicit instruction can you give them to increase their independent learning?
- What do students do when they are done? (This is a trick question – they should never be done! A classroom rule for me is “If you are doing nothing – you are doing something wrong!” One of my concepts is called 3 OUT. You should always have 3 activities a student will be able to complete if they are done early. These can be pre-made centers, online extension activities, reading with response cards pre-made, etc.)
- Where do students place their work when done? What are your expectations for how it looks? What is on it?
- What are students doing their work in or on?
- What is your procedure for giving students feedback on their work and how can they fix work?
- Do you give extra credit work?
- What is your policy on late work?
GUIDING QUESTIONS – HOW DO STUDENTS TREAT/SPEAK TO EACH OTHER?
- What are your expectations for the ways students talk to each other?
- What happens if a student teases, name calls, or makes fun of another student?
- What happens if a student speaks in a rude or unkind tone of voice?
- How do students solve problems with each other? Peer mediation? Teacher problem box? Classroom Meetings? Morning meetings?
- What happens if students are horseplaying?
- What happens if students are doing minor physical actions – pushing, tapping each other, kicking, tripping, pinching, the latest “slap” game, etc?
- What happens if a student does a major physical action (like hitting, starting a fight, etc.)?
- What is your system if a student needs a cool down time or space?
- How does a student let you know of a problem? Can it be in front of the class? Can it be loudly in anger?
- What is the procedure for tattling vs. reporting a concern?
- What is your policy for problems that arise from social media activities outside of school hours or jurisdiction?
- What system do you use in your classroom for management? Is it school-wide? Do you need something additional?
- How do students learn to intentionally praise each other? (ex. morning meeting or class meeting with compliments, “Fill your bucket” program, etc.)
- How are students expected to behave with a student who has a behavioral/emotional need? (Sadly, some students with significant behavior or emotional concerns are mistreated by their class often with the unintentional “blessing” of the teacher who feels that they child “deserves” it because of the way they behave in the classroom.)
- What happens if a student makes fun of another student after they have been redirected/reprimanded by you?
- Do you have a whole class system for addressing whole class concerns that allows students to generate their own solutions?