Series: New Teacher Survival Guide

New Teacher Survival Guide: Classroom Management
Lesson Objective: A new teacher uses 7 classroom management tips to change her classroom
Grade 6 / Social Studies / Behavior

Thought starters

  1. How do students react when Ms. V redirects them with a whisper?
  2. Do you see a difference when she tries positive narration?
  3. What advice would you give Ms. V to continue improving her practice?
176 Comments

1. The students resppond positively when Ms. V whispers to redirect them. I think the whisper is a positive way to redirect the age group she is teaching because they do not feel embarrassed. She never intimidates them or belittle them in front of their peers. Children have to feel respected just as well as we do.

2. There was a big difference when positive narration was used. It seemed like there was less behavior disruptions going on in the classroom because all of the children were trying to compete to make the teacher proud. 

3. The advice I would give Ms. V is to continue to use a daily routine to let the children know what is expected of them. And plan plan plan as much as she can. The more you plan the better your day goes. Lastly, I would tell Ms. V to always treat her students with respect. You have to give respect in order to get it. 

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  1. How do students react when Ms. V redirects them with a whisper? In the example we saw, the boy clearly responded positively to her personal attention. It's a private way to talk to someone that both asks for and gives trust, and I would guess her words were understanding and gentle. The boy nods and refocuses. It's both a teacherly redirecting of an off-task student, and a human interaction that recognizes the boy's feelings. The secret signal (I assume the index finger on lips, finger tip to cheek, maybe with one arm across waist?) to help the girl (I assume the girl shown at that point?) refocus and return to work successfully redirected her attention. I'm not sure either of these techniques would work unless there was already a fair amount of trust on the part of these students for this teacher so it speaks well for her that they work. 
  2. Do you see a difference when she tries positive narration? This works so well with kids at pretty much every level! I use "I love how Student is sitting and writing her name on her paper." Or, "I love how Student is standing in line quietly." It's a gentle and positive reminder of what they should be doing, doesn't call anyone out for NOT doing it, and gives recognition to someone who IS. It's especially effective if you keep your eye out to praise someone who often does NOT do things right. I know myself though, and would have to find a way to make sure I praise everyone at least once per session!!
  3. What advice would you give Ms. V to continue improving her practice? She made that comment to the Columbia professor about looking so drained; maybe she needs to remember to get enough sleep, eat right, exercise, and put down the work sometimes to take care of herself. I'd say teachers can easily find themselves so, so tired and in order to keep working effectively they have to stop working when they go home! But I think she's a fantastic teacher (only going to get better if she keeps up these kinds of self-awareness exercises), and I'd love to see what she's doing now (as opposed to when this video was made).
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  1. How do students react when Ms. V redirects them with a whisper?  I thought the whispering went well. The student seemed to used the redirect and I am sure they appreciated not being called out in front of the whole class, You can see the one student nodded to show understanding of whispering. I do LOVE the secret code between her and the one student. It is so important for students who can not recognize in themselves when they are loosing control that they can then see that symbol and be self aware to bring it back in. One thing I would do before whispering to a student is to use the postivie narration, if the student is aware of the positive thing other students are doing most likley they will figure out on thier own what they need to change.
  2. Do you see a difference when she tries positive narration? Her attitude seemed different when using the postive narration, she seemed happier and having more fun, and recoginizing the postives that the students are doing and saying them outloud is a good feeling! You have students that are engaged and pointing that out will engaged other students because they want recogntion as well. I see that her students are more engaged and having fun in the lesson. They are all raising thier hand and participating. 
  3. What advice would you give Ms. V to continue improving her practice?  Keep planning engaging hands on lessons! I love encorerating game into my teaching and the kids love it! Every kid has a perfered way to learn, I would give her the advice of getting to know your students and how they learn best. That way she can plan those enagaging lesson and build relationships with her students. 
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  1. The students seemed to react in a positive way when being redirected with a whisper.  By using the whisper tactic, Ms. V isn't embarrassing the student in front of the rest of the class.  Instead, she is keeping it between her and them.  They nod and understand what Ms. V wants from them with her whisper and even her nonverbal ques.  Silence and a teacher stare can go a long way with students.
  2. When she begins using positive narration, the students seem to become more engaged in the classroom.  Others are being praised for doing a good job, and you can see that the rest also want that positive reinforcement.  They enjoy knowing they are doing a great job and having Ms. V's approval.  All in all, the classroom as a whole become so much more fun for everyone.
  3. I would tell her to keep implementing all of the tools she learned from the classroom management expert, Jackie Ancess.  These are great foundations to begin building on.  I'd tell her that someday are going to be tougher than others, but you still have to put that teacher face on because the students mirror your mood.  If you're not in it, then they won't be either.  Make learning fun!  It will help both yourself and the students stay engaged.  I love the idea of implementing games and making learning a competition.  I've also found that food can be a wonderful incentive for students to work hard.  Students can earn candy or something for doing well in a learning game.  Implementing group discussions.  Having students learn from one another to gain ideas is also a tool I would have her use.
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  1. It felt like students had a positive reaction to Ms. V’s whispering. By her using a whisper, it set the tone for a more individualized and positive interaction. From a psychological standpoint, her whispering made it feel like she was saying “I see you struggling and want to help” without calling the student out in front of peers. I also appreciate her use of secret signals to help other students. Seeing students on an individual level builds a relationship and trust with them, leading a stronger learning environment.
     
  2. I did see a difference in students with the use of positive narration. Kids took notice of who was performing a task accurately, how it was being done, and tried harder to follow suit. I also think this ties back to the videos comments about breaking down lessons to their smallest component parts. It’s really all about defining expectations and creating a path for someone to achieve them. When Ms. V defined her expectation by calling out students who did well, she identified expectations for other students and showed them the path to achieve it. 

    I initially questioned the use of positive narration in the video. As a personal anecdote, I specifically recall not being on the “Good Speller” list in 3rd grade. As a young child, this made me feel horrible because I desperately wanted to be on that list. As an adult, I’m grateful for that list because it pushed me to learn. So, I guess this is first-hand anecdotal proof that positive reinforcement is effective.   :)
     
  3. Keep up the good work! Ms. V is doing a good job of integrating her current foundation of best practices and using her educational peers as a resource to build her teaching skillset. She’s showing she genuinely cares about how she teaches students, not just what, and how she can be a more effective educator.  I also think she’s doing a really good job of pairing being consistent with being flexible. She knows students need consistency to learn but is showing flexibility by reaching out to colleagues and imparting their best practices into her classroom.  It can be hard to seek out this level of feedback and it shows strength of character to accept and integrate it.
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Transcripts

  • Common Good Productions
    Episode Classroom management
    Program Transcript

    Series Title Sequence:
    New Teacher Survival Guide

    Program Title:
    Classroom Management

    ACT 1 Act 1:

    Common Good Productions
    Episode Classroom management
    Program Transcript

    Series Title Sequence:
    New Teacher Survival Guide

    Program Title:
    Classroom Management

    ACT 1 Act 1: Introduction to Lilia’s Struggle and Strategies:

    INTRODUCTION

    Beat 1: Teacher Introduction

    SEE Lilia walking from the Subway LILLIA VREELAND IS A FIRST YEAR TEACHER AT THE URBAN ASSEMBLY SCHOOL OF MATH AND SCIENCE IN THE BRONX
    SEE Lillia walking from the Subway
    I grew up in Massachusetts in a really small town. // I knew I loved working with kids, and there’s so much I think that needs to be done.
    SEE Lilia’s students begin to walk into class LILIA TEACHES SOCIAL STUDIES AND LANGUAGE ARTS TO SIXTH GRADERS.

    LILIA: It’s a very heterogeneous class with many different students on vary different levels with various needs, various behavior needs, academic needs. //

    When everything is going perfectly in a class I can’t think of a better job in the world. When it’s not going well, it’s probably the most exhausting, frustrating thing I’ve ever done.
    SEE two students picking on each other. OR find footage of Jasmine acting out. ONE OF THE BIGGEST DIFFICULTIES LILIA FACES IS MAINTAINING CONTROL OF HER CLASS WHEN STUDENT ANIMOSITIES DISRUPT CLASSROOM LEARNING.

    A lot of students just have a lot of trouble interacting with each other positively.
    Lilia: If you have people who don’t like each other and just want to start fights or pick on each other, that can really just kinda bring down the overall mood of the class. Really getting them to focus and use their energy the way they need to has been the biggest challenge.

    SHE HAS ALSO NOTICED THAT STUDENT BEHAVIOR DETERIORATES WHEN SHE PREPARES THEM FOR STANDARDIZED TESTS-- AS SHE IS DOING TODAY.
    SEE students bored in class. OR HEAR voice up of Lilia trying to get a student to answer a question. They’ve done test prep for a couple of years in their other classes. So trying to figure out ways to make it exciting to really latch them in, especially when so much of it is independent work when they are supposed to be working silently has been a challenge.

    Voice Up: SEE and HEAR Lilia having trouble keeping a kid’s attention.

    Beat 2 eet the expert
    SEE Columbia University

    TODAY, LILIA IS TRAVELING TO COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY’S TEACHERS COLLEGE IN MANHATTAN TO GET SOME ADVICE ON CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT.
    SEE Jackie Ancess and Lilia meet. Lilia: Hi, how are you.

    Jackie: Good to meet you.

    Lilia: Good to meet you as well.

    Jackie: Come on in.
    SEE second shot of Lilia and Jackie entering her office.
    SHE IS MEETING WITH JACKIE ANCESS, A 30-YEAR VETERAN OF NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
    JACKIE TO CAMERA. Jackie: Classroom management is not an end in itself; it's to set up an orderly and safe space so that the kids can learn what it is that you want them to learn.
    SEE laptop on the table with footage loaded and ready to view. LILIA HAS BROUGHT FOOTAGE OF HER TEST PREP UNIT FOR JACKIE TO REVIEW.
    SEE Jackie and Lilia seated at the table. Lilia: So this is my humanities class, it meets for 97 minutes, just after the students have lunch, so 11:35 to 1:12 every day.

    Jackie: And is this their first year in the school?

    Lilia: Yes, it is. They are all brand new to the school. Along with me.

    SEE footage of Lilia’s classroom routines/signage.
    The first step is to establish ROUTINES so the students know EXACTLY what is expected of them.
    JACKIE TO CAMERA

    TIP: ESTABLISH A CONSISTENT CLASSROOM ROUTINE. Kids have to know where they sit. They have to know what the routine is, they come into the classroom, you sit down, you open your book, you do the assignment on the board, you just have so many minutes to do it. You're not in a situation where you're waiting for the kids to get quiet to start the lesson. The lesson starts the minute they set foot in the door.

    Lilia: One challenge I would say that I face in the class is there’s a lot of really big personalities in the classroom. So, figuring out how to effectively use what everyone has to bring to the classroom without letting [1:30] students speak out of turn, or giving them their moment to shine without letting it detract from other students learning.
    Jackie: OK, so let’s take a look at what’s happening in your classroom.
    Lilia: OK, this is the day where they were doing a listening section, so I had done the mini lesson and everything, I read a passage out loud twice and they took notes and they were responding to that.
    SEE Lilia teaching in the classroom. Lilia (to the class): You have two pages of notes, so flip over to the first page so you’ll see exactly where you will be taking notes. The unwelcome neighbor...

    NARRATION UNDER THE VO:

    LILIA BEGINS BY EXPLAINING THE CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES SHE HAS FOUND MOST USEFUL.

    SEE Lilia walking around students desks.

    TIP: USE PHYSICAL PROXIMITY TO HEAD OFF POTENTIAL DISRUPTIONS.

    Lilia: I am all over the place in that classroom. That’s important for me so I can constantly see what different students are doing, it’s important for me to feel like I can always keep tabs on students and also for them to realize that I’m not going to leave them alone. I want to help set the tone that I’m there to help push them along, we’re moving along together.
    SHE HAS DEVELOPED ONE-ON-ONE STRATEGIES TO TARGET INDIVIDUAL STUDENTS.
    SEE Lilia whispering to a student.

    I’ve found that whispering is really effective. I use the whisper a lot because it is a way to redirect students in a really private way.

    they don’t feel conscious about being called out in front of the entire class, which means they are less likely to react negatively to my comment or redirection,
    TIP: DEVELOP INDIVIDUAL STRATEGIES LIKE WHISPERING OR SECRET SIGNALS TO DEAL WITH STUDENTS WHO ACT OUT

    FIRST SEE JASMINE ACTING OUT.
    THEN SEE LILIA USING A SECRET SIGNAL.

    One student that I’ve worked with very significantly is a student named Jasmine. //
    We have a secret signal which has been really helpful. So, if she sees me go like that she knows she has to turn around and get re-situated.
    LILIA ALSO USES NON-VERBAL CUES LIKE A SHARP LOOK TO MINIMIZE DISRUPTIONS TO HER TEACHING.
    SEE Lilia staring at a student.

    TIP: USE NON-VERBAL CUES TO REDIRECT STUDENTS.
    Lillia: My teacher stare I’ve just found is pretty effective in terms of making them realize, “Oh, I got caught.” it’s just one of those little things I use to redirect them.
    That’s me just trying to be in many places at once without actually trying to spread over the entire classroom.

    SEE students acting out or talking. AFTER WATCHING LILIA’S CLASS, JACKIE OFFERS SOME SPECIFIC FEEDBACK.

    SEE Jackie and Lilia seated at the table.

    Jackie: So, what do you notice from watching it?

    Lilia: My energy. I just felt like I looked drained, which I feel like translates through my eyes and my face and the way that I walk around the classroom.

    Jackie: I also think these are deadly lessons that have no value, other than the fact that they have to pass the tests.

    TIP: USE GAMES AND COMPETITIONS TO KEEP STUDENTS ENGAGED. Jackie: What I would suggest, and what I used very successfully as a teacher is games, where’s there is some kind of competition.// The kids love the game structure, so to put this into a competitive game structure where everybody can be a winner, and where you’re just teaching one little skill at a time, will make the lesson go much more smoothly with much more participation.

    Jackie: One of the other things I picked up was that you wanted them to tell you what was missing from your notes. And they struggled with that.

    Lilia: Yep.

    Jackie: When kids struggle, it’s often because you haven’t broken down your lessons into component parts enough,
    JACKIE TO CAMERA

    TIP: BREAK DOWN LESSONS INTO THEIR SMALLEST COMPONENT PARTS TO IMPROVE STUDENT ENGAGEMENT. I can't overstate the importance of planning And planning in a way so that you've broken down the tasks that you're asking students to do into their smallest component parts, because the more a teacher can do that, the easier it is for kids to move through the task successfully and without frustration. And then, the more successful they feel, the more cooperative they'll be; the more they'll look forward to the class, the better they'll do.
    Jackie: Another thing I think you can do is, you’re spending a lot of time individually with the students. And one of the things you will want to do eventually is to make them not so dependent on you to self regulate.
    TO REDUCE HER RELIANCE ON INDIVIDUAL STRATEGIES, JACKIE SUGGESTS USING TARGETED PRAISE AND POSITIVE NARRATION TO IMPROVE THE BEHAVIOR OF THE ENTIRE CLASS.

    TIP: USE WHOLE CLASS STRATEGIES LIKE TARGETED PRAISE AND POSITIVE NARRATION. Jackie: You could write on the board: “The following beautiful smart wonderful students have cleared their desk. And you just write the names down. And I can assure you in three seconds all the other desks will be cleared. And you don’t have to say a word. They’ll want their names there. And if someone isn’t doing it you can go over and say to them “don’t you want your name on the board? Hurry up and do that.”
    Jackie: But, you’re doing great for a first year teacher. I cried my whole first year. I went home and cried.

    Lilia; There are some times...

    Jackie: People don’t realize, if you want to do a good job, it’s very hard.

    Lilia: Yes.
    Jackie: So it’s really good to meet you.

    Lilia: Thank you so much, I really appreciate the feedback. Great to meet you as well.

    Jackie: And I’m really glad to hear you plan on being there for awhile.

    Lilia: Thanks. Thanks so much.

    ACT 3: IMPLEMENTATION TRODUCTION – CHALLENGE

    SEE students filtering into the room TWO WEEKS LATER, LILIA HAS BEGUN TO IMPLEMENT JACKIE’S ADVICE.

    Voice up Lilia: [Introduces the lesson]
    SEE Andrea speaking with Lilia LILIA HAS ASKED HER MENTOR, VICE PRINCIPAL ANDREA POMPEY,TO OBSERVE HER CLASS AND ASSESS THE NEW TECHNIQUES.
    SEE Andrea and Lilia walk into the Principals office and introduce each other.
    Bennet: OK. So how do you think it went today with the lesson?

    Vreeland: Overall it went well. // It sounds kind of silly, but it just felt so much more fun.

    SEE LILIA, NOT Andrea. Vreeland:
    So I know you met with the expert from Columbia and we also talked last time, so what are some things that you’ve implemented based on what you heard from me or her?

    GRAPHIC:
    BREAK DOWN LESSONS INTO THEIR SMALLEST COMPONENT PARTS TO IMPROVE STUDENT ENGAGEMENT.

    SEE montage of Lilia going through a variety of transitions. See students engaged.

    I would say my big takeaways are that I want to start planning kind of more purposefully and really thinking about each minute of the lesson.
    Vreeland: At first it was tough to transition because I was chunking everything down including like the do now-time and the next introduction, // Once we got into the flow of things, it seemed to go well. I did like always being able to have something to move on to the next time, I could just let something have its due time and then we could move on to the next thing rather than, yeah, people just kind of getting bored with doing the same thing over and over again. There's always something else coming. Especially with that group and their energy level.
    SEE BINGO preparation LILIA ALSO USED A GAME TO KEEP HER STUDENTS ENGAGED AND TOO BUSY TO ACT OUT.

    SEE students getting ready to play bingo, protesting when it comes to an end.

    SOUND UP of Lilia introducing bingo in the class.
    Lilia (to class): OK, I’d like to play bingo to help us review.

    GRAPHIC:
    USE GAMES AND COMPETITION TO KEEP STUDENTS ENGAGED.

    SEE small box next to graphic check-marked like in Differentiating Instruction.

    Bennet: So how did it work with your efforts to engage students with the bingo game?

    Vreeland: It was really funny.

    Bennet: Really?

    Vreeland: They got really into it. [24:26] It was kind of a nice way to review what we had been talking about just because one of the advantages of the class is we can cover so much information, but it's also hard for kids, it all gets jumbled up. So there was a lot of participation and they were asking for more questions at the end.
    LILIA ALSO USED TARGETED PRAISE TO MODEL BEHAVIOR SHE WANTED HER CLASS TO FOLLOW.
    SEE Lilia teaching and HEAR her praising various students

    GRAPHIC:
    USE WHOLE CLASS STRATEGIES LIKE TARGETED PRAISE/POSITIVE NARRATION.

    SEE small box next to graphic check-marked like in Differentiating Instruction. Bennett: So how did you use positive narration today in the lesson?

    Vreeland: Particularly when we were filling out the charts of the characteristics of the Gods and stuff like that I would just mention like oh I see Freedom's filled in his top line of the chart so everyone knows their top line of the chart if they're not there they should be moving on it, things like that. That just kind of gave people who needed a little bit of extra time the time to finish without feeling rushed and then also reminded people if they were getting off task what their job was.

    SEE LILIA supporting Jasmine

    GRAPHIC:
    USE PHYSICAL PROXIMITY TO HEAD OFF POTENTIAL DISRUPTIONS.

    SEE small box next to graphic check-marked like in Differentiating Instruction. Bennett: OK. Are there any other techniques that you used that you feel were effective today?

    Vreeland: I think I rely a lot on my proximity,Like there's a student named Jasmine and I knowif she doesn’t get that extra support she's just going to say something and distract other people.

    So it's being able to anticipate when those things happen, so making sure that when she was finishing up the story I was standing fairly close to her desk and being able to kind of get it before it even turned to something.

    Bennet: You went down on your knees to her level and were supporting her.

    Vreeland: Yeah. She just hadn't read the story all the way through, so she didn't really understand how to answer the questions so we just read the story through and then she was able to do it.

    Bennet: Good.

    SEE students reading silently.

    Music up. Bennet: I even noticed today when I went in that the class just felt better. There's a better feeling to it, there was a positive feeling to it. When you said read silently and everyone read silently I thought that was awesome and everyone was focused, they were doing what you expected them to do, so I definitely think you're moving in the right direction and I admire how, we just spoke about it earlier, the things that you should do such as speaking in a positive tone and you did that and it made the difference right away. So I'm really glad of the progress that you're making.

    Vreeland: Thanks. Thanks for your help.

    The Takeaways

    CREATE A CONSISTENT CLASSROOM ROUTINE.
    USE PHYSICAL PROXIMITY TO HEAD OFF POTENTIAL DISRUPTIONS.
    DEVELOP INDIVIDUAL STRATEGIES LIKE WHISPERING OR SECRET SIGNALS TO DEAL WITH STUDENTS WHO ACT OUT.
    USE WHOLE CLASS STRATEGIES LIKE TARGETED PRAISE/ POSITIVE NARRATION.
    USE NON-VERBAL CUES TO REDIRECT STUDENTS.
    USE GAMES AND COMPETITION TO KEEP STUDENTS ENGAGED.
    BREAK DOWN LESSONS INTO THEIR SMALLEST COMPONENT PARTS TO IMPROVE STUDENT ENGAGEMENT.

School Details

Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science
1595 Bathgate Avenue
Bronx NY 10457
Population: 619

Data Provided By:

greatschools

Teachers

Lilia Vreeland
Jackie Ancess

Newest

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Collaboration