I have been observing Coby Haas and his student teacher at WVHS, and have noticed some very neat classroom management tools that are practically textbook. The main management tool I saw was the “withitness” and respect the students give for teachers who are “withit”. There were very few issues in either one of their classes, and as an observer, it was obvious they respected them when they were teaching. If there was an issue (usually very minor and were typically just off-task conversations) they would just literally re-focus them with a short “hey guys back on task” or something close to that, and the issue would be resolved. It was the respect, and fact that they didn’t over react every time there was a small issue, that kept students controlled and reigned in.
I didn’t really see many transitions, but in Mr. Kennedy’s class he would just tell the students to take a “cake and break” or a talking, get up and stretch, or go to the restroom time while he transitioned to another activity. He would also use this strategy if he felt the class was getting out of hand, bored, or in general just a lot of side conversation. It wasn’t really him giving in, he just knew they needed a break before getting them re-focused. I found it really worked well.
I would apply these strategies along with the discipline strategy I observed with Mr. Haas’ class. He would use the threat of staying after class (the entire class) when a student or group of students were disciplined multiple times and would not get under control. He would hold the class a minute later every time an additional offense was committed. So maybe three warnings and corrections, and then after that each outburst would cost the class a minute. They had to sit quietly for the extra time, and if anyone spoke or caused trouble, another minute would be added. This would be a great tool because it pressures students through peer pressure to follow the rules, and doesn’t really involve the teacher blowing his or her top. He or she can be calm, collected, and assertive, as well as not disrupt the class. Just make a mark on the board and the class knows you just tacked a minute on.