Presentation on theme: "Urban Classroom Management: Creating a Community of Learners One Promise at a Time Presenter: Mary Beth Rolak-Sieracki: NBCT Illinois Reading Council Springfield,"— Presentation transcript:
Urban Classroom Management: Creating a Community of Learners One Promise at a Time Presenter: Mary Beth Rolak-Sieracki: NBCT Illinois Reading Council Springfield, Illinois October 4, 2014
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About me… National Board Certification in English Language Arts (2010) Reading specialist/teacher in urban, suburban, and rural schools for more than three decades Created professional development workshops in vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, and writing for District leaders, administrators, teachers, parents, and community partners Co-authored Grades 4-12 recommended practices: "High Quality Literacy Instruction Handbook; Chicago Public Schools" (Revised, 2004). Created city-wide literacy intervention programs for Grades 4-8, including Enrichment and Learning Academies, and Keep Kids Learning (KKL) Targeted Intervention Program.
The Challenge After achieving National Board certification I accepted the assignment of teaching 2 nd grade in a neighborhood school in a neighborhood struggling with unemployment, poverty, and high crime rates. Students in the school had struggled with chronic underachievement for many years. The school feeds into a lower performing high school struggling not to be a “drop out” factory. My challenge was to create a community of learners that would enable them to collaborate with others, to compete, and to achieve at high levels of performance.
The Plan We had observed within the school’s neighborhood a culture where meanness was viewed as an expression of strength that was to be respected; and, kindness was viewed as weakness to be taken advantage of. The overarching goal for this Classroom Management Plan would be to provide a different, opposite view of life for these young learners. Kindness would be rewarded in Room 105 and would become a trait embraced by the community we were trying to build. Meanness would not be tolerated, but would be addressed publicly and sanctioned. To achieve this goal we would need a strong, flexible classroom management plan and all the incentives we could find in, create for, or bring to Room 105.
The Plan We needed a set of rules and a system of enforcement that would support teaching and learning. I chose to call our classroom rules “Promises”, instead of rules. This fit into my plan to sing “I am a Promise…” and to chorally read the Classroom Promises as a part of each morning’s routine. These “Promises” were stated as broad behavioral goals that would enable our community to live harmoniously and grow together as learners. Then, I chose a system called “Surprise Cards” to enforce these classroom promises.
The Plan Our community began to form; the gaps in background knowledge began to close. Consequently, student self-esteem emerged and began to grow. Soon it became possible to give more responsibilities to those students who needed less supervision to accomplish a task. Students began participating in classroom discussions wherein they learned to critique each other’s work according to a shared rubric. They learned to trust each other and to accept criticism. In general, behavior improved.
Earl: Ms. Rolak? Ms. Rolak: Yes, Earl? Earl: Did you notice that I haven’t lost a letter from my Surprise Card in two weeks? Ms. Rolak: Yes, I have. I’m so proud of you.
Big Ideas Reward kindness. Sanction meanness. Classroom rules should be clear, positive statements of the social/ emotional behaviors necessary to be a member in good standing of the learning community. You are your students’ model for friendship. Sometimes being tough is tough.
Big Ideas Students need to be told that their behavioral choices harm the whole community by denying them learning opportunities. Never back a student into the corner. Students need to know that at the beginning of a new day they would get a fresh start. On certain days, at certain times, even good students make bad decisions. Ultimately, it is your patience, tolerance, consistency and fairness that will determine the success or failure of your strategy.
If only there was time… Motivators and incentives Routines Strategies for social/emotional/academic learning Teacher voice Fun foundational teaching activities Individual and group Urban Classroom Management: Creating a Community of Learners Study Guide for teachers