Your MiddleWeb editor also serves as editor for the Teaching Secrets series at Teacher Magazine. These articles from that collection, all written by members of the Teacher Leaders Network, emphasize classroom management strategies of particular interest to new and novice teachers.
Teaching Secrets: CREATE EXTRA LEARNING TIME
In her latest classroom management article for Teacher Magazine, middle grades teacher Marsha Ratzel offers a tour of Room 66, describing “some of the routines and procedures that make your classes run more like a well-oiled machine than a smoking jalopy.” Her system, she says, can create nearly a month of extra classroom time for teaching and learning. She even includes pictures.
Teaching Secrets: CREATING POSITIVE CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT
Veteran teacher-coach Marti Schwartz explains how helping students take pride in positive behaviors—and reflect on negative ones—can help change the classroom environment.
Teaching Secrets: FIRST DAYS IN THE ELEMENTARY CLASSROOM
Instructional coach Elena Aguilar's first-days routines have been honed over many years of practice. She divides them into three categories:building community, establishing routines, and launching the learning.
Teaching Secrets: TAMING CLASSROOM CHAOS
"My classroom is not neat and tidy and shiny like some," writes middle school math and social studies teacher Cossondra George. "It has that homey, lived-in, loved look. " So how does the semi-organized teacher hold the Mighty Dragon of Chaos at bay? In this article, Cossondra shares 10 "stolen" strategies that help her and her kids stay focused on learning.
Teaching Secrets: TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR CLASSROOM
Gail Tillery inducts up to 25 new teachers a year at her large suburban Georgia high school. Most have just graduated from college and suddenly find themselves standing in front of a room full of students only a few years younger than they are. “In many cases, the disaster is coming on fast,” she says. Dodge the disaster with this National Board Certified Teacher’s advice. (May require free registration at the Teacher Magazine site.)
Teaching Secrets: HOW TO SMILE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
When Kathie Marshall entered her first classroom nearly 30 years ago, “I found myself running to veteran teachers at the first sign of trouble, asking ‘What do you do?’ Without fail, she remembers, someone would say, “Don’t smile until Christmas!” Their advice to assume a “grim and commanding presence” didn’t square with Kathie’s vision of an inviting teacher. Her alternative? Early in the year, she and her students work together to develop class rules and routines. It’s worked for three decades, says the Los Angeles teacher-coach. (May require free registration at the Teacher Magazine site.)
Teaching Secrets: ORGANIZING MIDDLE SCHOOLERS
Special education teacher Laurie Wasserman shares time-tested methods that can help even the most “organizationally challenged” sixth grader find his or her way. “It’s hard sometimes to realize that students don’t deliberately misplace papers, forget pencils, or lose track of assignments… It’s our job to teach them the tools and strategies for getting organized and feeling successful.” (May require free registration at the Teacher Magazine site.)
Teaching Secrets: STUDENTS BEHAVE WHEN TEACHERS ENGAGE
Anthony Cody began his teaching career in inner-city Oakland CA almost 20 years ago. It was a rough first year, with many lesson preps. “My credential program had not really dealt much with behavior issues. The idea was to deliver a rich curriculum, and the management would take care of itself. If you are already teaching, you know this does not always work.” After floundering the first year or two, he got some good advice from down the hall. Follow his tips and you won’t have to way a year or two to establish a harmonious classroom environment. (May require free registration at the Teacher Magazine site.)
Teaching Secrets: THE MIRACLE OF CHOICES
Stubborn two-year olds respond to choices, why not adolescents? That was the thesis Mary Tedrow began with, some years ago, when she devised an engagement strategy that allows her high school English students latitude in selecting assignments. Which are, of course, carefully designed to produce the same learning effects – whatever they choose! As you’ll see in the Comments section of this Teacher Magazine essay, middle schoolers like to be choosy, too. (May require free registration at the Teacher Magazine site.)
HOW TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR CLASSROOM
This final article isn't technically a part of the Teaching Secrets series, but it could be. At her blog TweenTeacher, eighth grade teacher (and TLN member) Heather Wolpert-Gawron offers her "Top 10" ideas about "How to Take Control of Your Teaching." Good advice for newbies and veterans alike.