Sunday, October 21, 2012

Classroom Management Essay

The main classroom management approach I believe in is an assertive discipline approach, modified to incorporate some cooperative discipline techniques. My teaching philosophy is essentialism, so I believe that these two methods most closely resemble what I want my classroom to be like. The knowledge my students will learn in my class is essential, and they will learn that discipline is also something that comes from breaking the rules. I also believe that every student has the right to feel comfortable and safe in my room, which is why I also believe in cooperative discipline. In order to create a more harmonious atmosphere in my classroom, I want to include my students in my classroom decisions. They will come up with the classroom rules and help out with its enforcement, with my guidance (Kohn,1996). I believe that all students want to succeed and learn, and it is my duty to make sure they have the opportunity to do so.
One the first day of school I will make sure to establish the main unbreakable rules in my classroom, and I will call upon the class to come up with some of the other rules. I feel that when students are allowed to participate in the creation of their classroom, they are also more likely to participate in its management as well. Peer-pressure will be on method I use to make sure the rules aren’t being broken. There will be some consequences laid out for violation of these rules in a very structured way, for both my rules and my students’ rules (Canter, 1976). I want to be known as fair, but also that repeat bad behavior will be dealt with. For the most part I have noticed that just simply being in the area is enough to prevent most bad behavior in the classroom, so I will make sure to circulate throughout my classroom.
For my class to become like a family, I will have to take part in many of the activities. I will have to connect to my students, and share with them when they share with me. One thing I will do to accomplish this is what many teachers already do, I will allow my students to eat lunch with me and talk about things whenever they want. This can occur during times when it won’t disrupt instruction and before or after class. I want to remain approachable, and someone my students can come to when in need. My class will have many different type of activities in order to allow all my students to achieve success, and I will not accept failure or lack of effort. It is through this relationship I build with my students that I can discuss things of greater significance, like current events that can affect their life. By being there for my students, I believe they will feel safe to do their best in my classroom.
Since my rules will be laid out clearly, and my students will have their own input in their rules, the consequences will be pretty direct and consistent. The first violation of these rules will result in a verbal warning, and the next violation will result in an after class meeting. I want my class to be very personable, so they will know what they did wrong and exactly what I will say. The third violation will result in losing break privileges, the fourth will result in a call home and a conference with parents, and finally a fifth will result in detention or Saturday school. It will not be acceptable in my classroom to turn things in late, unless they have an excuse. Something I have observed is that when given a chance to turn things in late for half credit, kids will gladly turn it in late. If students continually turn things in late, then I will make sure they know I expect more. In order to make sure my students will complete the homework on time, I will allow them to write comments about the assignment, and get rid of assignments they believe are busy work.
In all the instances of my classroom management, I try to remain open and fair to my students (Mendler, 1983). If you present them with an assignment, or put them in a situation they deem unfair, then they will not give it their best.  If they think the class is fair and they feel safe and comfortable, then they are at the most optimal situation to learn. My philosophy played a big part in this decision because I feel traditional techniques can be used, if they are modified slightly to fit the classroom. My students will learn from a body of information that is important, but there is no reason why it can’t be fun. There is much room for improvement in my classroom management plan, and I’m sure many things will change once they are implement and reflected upon, but I feel that this is a good start. This management outline reflects my personality very closely, which is why I feel I can implement it into my classroom, and it should seem almost natural.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sociocultural Aspects of Schooling for ELs

In my two classes I co-teach, there are only two ELL students and a few more that have passed the CELDT test and are done. For the student I have in mind, I will try to get him more involved with his peers, because he is very shy and does not like to socialize. I feel this is because he has scored lowest on his speaking section and he is a bit embarrassed of his speaking abilities, but as I have observed my other students don't tease him or shun him because of this. He would fit in just fine, and by allowing my class to work in groups more, he will be able to learn this himself and become more social while in my classroom. This will provide him more chances to speak with native English speakers and perhaps improve on his speaking abilities through simple social interaction.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lesson Planning Blog Post #2

How does your overall lesson designing and planning incorporate knowledge of the teenage brain?

My lessons are designed in a way that show my directions in a very detailed way so that my students can follow them. The brains of adolescents do not follow directions that well and need a bit of guidance. Their synapses are growing and can become weaker or stronger based upon their usage, so I must as their teacher create connections and keep creating them. This can be achieved by repeating the information in many different ways, and encouraging all different kinds of learners.

How does your overall planning for learning, designed to access memory lanes and use what you know about how adolescents learn?

My lessons try to teach using different techniques so that they can be accessed by different kinds of memory lanes. There is the basic more traditional way of teaching that can access semantic memory, and then I also like to implement things such as discussion or debate which also accesses their emotional memory. Once I access these two kinds of memory lanes, then they own the knowledge and aren't just repeating things they learned in their short-term memory.

How are students engaged in the learning?

As a history teacher, I am lucky that I have many different strategies of instruction at my disposal. I can give students group projects, reflections, simulations, or other active hands-on activities to help with their learning. When they become a part of their own learning, they will be engaged learners. I can also give them a choice in how they want to learn, which makes their learning experience much more personal.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Accurate (i + 1) Assessment for English learners

For my SDAIE lesson plan I incorporated a quick lecture along with group work. It was about the French Revolution, and the question I would be asking the class to discuss would be "What do you think was the main cause of the French Revolution?" My assessments were informal, but they would be used to test if my ELL students met the Listening & Speaking Cluster 7 standard: Respond to messages by asking questions, challenging statements, or offering examples that affirm the message. My assessment is a formative informal assessment, and I would do it through observing the ELL students during group work.

 I would consider an approaching standards level if they were able to take part in the group discussion.

 I would consider a level of meeting standards if they were able to offer their opinion and provide some defense of it.

 I would consider a level of exceeding standards if they were able to offer their opinion, provide adequate defense for it, and question the opinions of their group mates.