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Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Serene Classroom

One can wish for serenity in the classroom. 
I went to a training last Wednesday about positive reinforcement in the classroom. I realized that I needed to retrain my 2nd graders with our quiet hand signal. I have been a bit moody lately, and I tried really hard on Thursday and Friday to bite my tongue.
1) Getting them quiet
On Thursday I rearranged the seating order and went through a reminder of how I get their attention, without shouting or waiting too long. I use a hand signal, the quiet coyote. The kids learn it in preschool at our school. Then throughout the day, as I put my hand up, I would quietly speak and say "Now you can see my hand is up and now it is your turn to put your hand up so I know your ready". It worked fine, and the mood was calm. I guess I just have to retrain them. I also use a clap pattern during art and handcraft, because everyone is so spread out through the room. I just need to repeat the clap pattern more than once, so that everyone is participating.
2) Incentives
At this training, they also suggested promoting positive behavior with incentives. I am really not the type of teacher to give out prizes. I did however make a "I'm a Super Star" certificate, and gave one out on Friday to one of my slower workers, since he worked hard to finish his English tasks.
3)Transitions
I am a big fan of having students line up/go to recess in a random order I choose. I often call a color, and if any students are wearing that color they go line up/outside for recess. I sometimes do birthday months. But that is about as creative as I have gotten. Any better ideas you want to share?
Transitions are fairly smooth in my classroom. One suggestion given at the training was to use a count down to help them get focused and back to their seats. I have recently used an online timer when cleaning up after handcraft and art. I put 5 minutes on the timer, and they can see it on the board counting down. I only have a few students who would like to scream and run around "OMG we have to clean fast, 2 minutes left!" I calmly discourage their need to panic.

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