Real teachers, real tips: featuring Tessa Maguire

July 19, 2012

in real teachers real tips, tips and tricks

real teachers, real tips on classroom managementToday I’m introducing a new feature on The Cornerstone. Each month, I’ll be inviting one educator to share a few classroom management tips that have worked in his or her classroom. I’m hoping to feature a wide cross-section of teachers from all different parts of the world, at all different grade levels, in all different teaching scenarios. Want to be featured here? Just fill out the guest blog form!

July’s featured teacher is Tessa Maguire, who has served in a huge variety of school-based positions over the years, and currently serves as Primary Grades Team Leader. She spends her days in K-3 classrooms discovering what works and hearing the best stories. Thank you, Tessa, for sharing your perspective here!

Classroom Management. Behavior Management. Your What-The-Heck-Are-You-Doing Plan.

No matter what you call it, classroom management is crucial.  We can dream about having 25 kids sit in their desks, listen, and do exactly what we ask of them.  But, it’s not going to happen.  In fact, I think it might make things a bit boring actually.  *gasp*  I mean, sometimes that kid who shouts out something so ridiculous that makes you all (including you) laugh, is a blessing in disguise because things need lightening up. But, none of us want that to happen all day long.  No one would learn anything.  So what do you do when you have 2 3  5 kiddos who don’t fit the mold?  How do you keep it from being 12 kids who don’t fit the mold?

 

Expectations

Explicit expectations are key.  I remember my very new self telling a fifth grader that he knew exactly how to behave and why didn’t he do it.  Well, because he didn’t really know.  I assumed, naively, that fifth graders just knew how to act in my class (I had them for 50 minutes but they belonged to other teachers).  Students need to be shown, on Day 1, exactly what you want of them.  If not, they spend so much energy trying to figure it out.  You spend so much energy correcting and redirecting them.  The first few weeks of school should be spent going over everything.  You explain.  You demonstrate.  They demonstrate.  You practice.  If it doesn’t go correctly, you do it again.  If it does, you PRAISE!  If the students know exactly what you want, *most* do exactly what you are looking for *most* of the time.

Notice I said most.  Most and all are not the same.  Most kids will do what you have laid out- but not all.  And even then, you have those kids who slip up.  Those slip ups can be fixed with reminders and redirections most of the time.  But, some students need a little more support for us.  This usually comes in the form of a behavior plan of some sort.

Individual behavior plans

There are different schools of thought behind behavior plans.  I don’t pretend to know all there is to know about behavior plans.  I’ve implemented some very effective ones, and some others that were not as effective.  Just this year I had a student that continued to push his limits and I had to continue to try different methods.  With that said, I believe in plans that focus on positive reinforcement.  I also don’t believe something can be taken away that a student has previously earned.  For example, if a student gets tickets for following directions, I do not think it’s fair to take a ticket away if the student didn’t follow directions.  It nulls their previously wanted behavior.  They earn the ticket for following directions, and if they don’t, no ticket is earned.  Behavior plans are also most effective when students can see that their reward is in sight.  Plans should start out small and then build.  It may be that students can possibly earn a reward at the end of the day.  Then it builds to the end of the week.  Then it builds to the end of two weeks.  Or, after trying it out after a few weeks, you may decide you need to scrap it and start over.

What about rewards?

Rewards are another interesting topic with behavior plans.  Some teachers use treasure chests that they fill with items from the dollar store.  Some would prefer to use rewards that don’t need to be purchased.  I believe that using non-monetary rewards, helps students build the intrinsic motivation they’d been previously lacking.  Need some ideas for non-monetary rewards?  Click on the pictures below to download two pages of ideas.

 






 

 

Tessa Maguire is a former reading teacher and differentiated instruction coach.  She currently is in a dual role administration and curriculum coaching position.  She spends her days helping her K-3 teachers find what works best for them and their students.  She blogs about the resources she finds and creates and she shares tips and strategies for effective instruction.  You can find out more information on her blog Tales from Outside the Classroom.

The following two tabs change content below.
Angela Watson was a classroom teacher for 11 years and has turned her passion for helping other teachers into a career as an educational consultant based in Brooklyn, NY. As founder of Due Season Press and Educational Services, she has published 3 books, launched a blog and webinar series, designs curriculum resources, and conducts seminars in schools around the world. Check out the free teacher resource pages for photos, tips & tricks, activities, printables, and more.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tessa Maguire July 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Thanks for giving me this opportunity Angela! I really appreciate it.

Reply

2 Ann Marie Smith July 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm

What a great post! Perfect for NEW and VETERAN teachers! Thanks!

Ann Marie Smith @ Innovative Connections

Reply

3 Shibahn Landry July 20, 2012 at 1:06 am

This is great! Thanks for this!

Reply

4 Donna August 31, 2013 at 6:19 am

I have a question about drawing the stars on the back of the hand. Do you see “higher happiness response” by you drawing on their hand, or would those cute mini-stamps be just as effective? {I am an aide returning to school to get my teaching certificate. I know different incentives have a bigger bang than others.} Thanks for your time. I love these ideas!!!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: