Friday, July 29, 2011
Only for elephants.
There is a very good reason pen and paper were invented, and I'm guessing keeping track of information is at the top of the list.
This past year I switched from teaching second grade to first, and the transition was rough. First graders in September are VERY different than second graders in August. Needless to say, I've spent a lot of time recently studying classroom management. My new favorite blog is www.smartclassroommanagement.com, written by Michael Linsin. He's also the author of the book Dream Class, which I just bought and am very excited to read.
Last year, I found managing my classroom pretty challenging, and part of the reason was I'd try to keep track of warnings mentally instead of writing them down. I'd constantly forget how many warnings I'd given a student (they are only supposed to get one), so then the kids would count the warnings themselves, and then no one would be sure how many it was, I'd end up giving them 2 or 3 (or none, if whatever they did was particularly annoying and I thought they already had one) and it ended up being quite disruptive.
This year, I just added a warning as the first consequence on my color chart. Problem solved! Now warnings keep track of themselves, and I can focus on teaching. It's much better than marking tape on my wrist (ouch!), or carrying around a clipboard (and forgetting where I set it down), or writing students' names on my whiteboard (which distracts the whole class), or any of the other methods I've tried (that I also can't remember).
Creating effective systems that work for you is one of the most important aspects of teaching, and I'm so glad that I finally figured this one out. Phew...
Do not rely on your memory as a classroom management tool. Unless, of course, you're an elephant.