This week we read Chapter 5. Respond as you did last week and reply to someone’s reflection on their blog or below as you wish.

1.  This chapter begins by stressing the need for teachers to determine routines, clarify the rationale for them, teach them to students, apply them in daily classroom work, automatize them with students, and revise them as needed. Examine these steps one by one. What happens when a step is skipped or skimmed over?

I have always made it a point of teaching class rules and procedures the first days of school. In fact, I make a big deal about how important it is for our class to work in unison in order for everyone to succeed, thus I explain, clarify and practice them.  I tell my students that we are a room full of rock stars and that we have been put together by our principal to make the newest best selling album of the year. I elaborate on this concept about each of us having a “job” in order for us to make beautiful music together. If a student is not following along, (yes, there’s always one!) I use them as an example to demonstrate how important it is to get back to the rest of us, so he (or she) stays “in tune” with the rest of the band. It’s usually a very inviting scenario and mostly all students understand it right away.  Without such guidelines a teacher cannot have the automaticity needed for a smoothly managed class.

2. What characterizes the classroom rules or guidelines proposed on pages 102–103? How might these guidelines benefit student behavior? In what ways are they aligned with a philosophy of differentiation and with the goals of differentiation?

These guidelines give students clear parameters as to what is expected of them as learners and peers.  Furthermore, the students benefit because they (rules) are encouraging to the individual and allow for making good choices.  The rules by default give the responsibility of learning to the student; thus, the teacher gains the opportunity to differentiate according to those needs.

3. Take a look at the ideas for starting and ending the day or class (pages 104–107). Which of these ideas have you used effectively? Why do they seem to be helpful? Which of the ideas might you try? Why does a particular suggestion seem worthwhile to you?

After teaching so many different grade levels I have had the need to change my welcome and end of the day routines several times! I love welcoming my students in the morning, albeit in the pick up line or once we get into the classroom and begin our day. It has varied depending on whom I am teaching at the time. For example, this last year, I rarely picked up the students in the morning. My co-teacher would have that duty as I got ready for the morning lessons, but I always had bell work (sponge work) on the board for them. I always started the day with the pledge of Allegiance in spite we did not have a TV monitor to do it with the rest of the student body and I always told my students what was “on tap” for that day.

I like the suggestions in the book but I especially like the quadrants suggestions for labeling the room into four distinct areas for gathering for different tasks. I’ve used pocket charts and a a Velcro schedule and they work so well that sometimes when I forget to change it for the next day, my students are quick to remind me who goes where next!

Mrs. P