7.08.2009

10 Ways to Create a Positive Learning Experience


Hustle & Flow: Classroom Style

The words hustle and flow describe one basic word to me: activity.

I want my classroom to be full of activity. Productive activity. You may not agree with some of the things I'm posting, but remember, I'm suggesting these for the long-term effect they will have on the student culture and classroom atmosphere.

The following are some ways to keep the hustle and flow going in your classroom and to help create a positive learning enrivonment.

  1. Address student by name. Our names are our identity and we should use them as much as possible. Learn your students names, and the correct pronunciation immediately!
  2. Using please and thank you. We take these words for granted but we need to keep in mind how important giving respect is in order to earn respect. Put these words to daily use on tests, homework, worksheets, presentations, etc. Saying thank you for an answer shows you hear them and appreciate them, even if the answer is wrong.
  3. Listening. Students crave our attention and focus on them. We should be extremely careful that in listening we are NOT physically turning away, sighing, frowning, rolling our eyes, talking to someone else, or looking away. We show people they matter by our body language, whether we mean it or not. My body language can create a division in the classroom.
  4. No bullying/teasing/put downs. Students need to know that they are entering a safe environment. They need to be comfortable and know where they fit in before they can learn and take risks in their learning. This needs to be implemented from the very beginning. No bullying from students or from teachers! We are responsible for what we allow in the classroom. For every one put down, require two put ups. That person now has to say two nice things. The put ups don't mean anything; what matters is your consistency in protecting life and creating a level playing field for everyone.
  5. Eye Contact. Making quick eye contact is important in creating a culture of trust. Students matter. They aren't lifeless objects just sitting our room (although they may look like it) and we should we treat them as the valuable people they are. Recognize them.
  6. Accept more than one answer. Instead of students reading their own mind, we want them to read ours. Don't set kids up for failure by only asking for one right answer. Don't damage the students in the process of learning. When kids get all the wrong answers, they start to think something is wrong with them. Ask open-ended questions to encourage divergent thinking. Ask "What do you think?" instead of "Why?". Say "That's not exactly what I'm looking for" instead of "Wrong answer."
  7. Anonymous positive feedback. Pass out blank papers with each student's name at the top. Every student has to write a honest, positive comment about every other student. Read and discuss. Have students sign their name next to the comment to check for participation and being positive.
  8. Lineup. Ask the students to line themselves up in order from who contributes/participates the most to the class to who contributes the least. This can be controversial as students try to explain their behavior. Once in order, give each student a chance to pick another student who should get to move up in the order.
  9. Use a variety of inquiry methods. Students need at least 6-8 seconds wait time after a question is asked. While you are anticipating their answer, they are processing the question, thinking about what they already know or have experienced, and deciding the best way to answer your question out loud. That takes time. Give students silent time to reflect, ask them to discuss with a neighbor, write down a few words, etc. This gives students long enough to think of answer or learn what their partner is saying. Now everyone has an answer and is prepared if you call on them.

    And probably the most important classroom management technique ever is....

  10. Greet students at the door. This creates a welcoming environment from the very beginning. For a better explanation, read Dan Meyer's view on this technique.

Strategies not linked to another website came from Lions Quest Social Emotional Learning Workshop based on the Skills for Adolescence curriculum. Or my brain.

3 comments:

  1. Very timely post! Check out this article in today's Missourian:

    Study: Positive teacher-student relationships necessary to raising achievement

    and the original study: Attachment in the Classroom.

    Good luck in September!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I forgot to mention that the original paper is a bit long. Go straight to the list of recommendations that begin on page 158 (PDF page 18).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the link. Pretty interesting that we would post these at the same time!

    ReplyDelete