Reflecting on Classroom Observations

Hi Everyone!

Sorry my post is a bit late this week! I have been dealing with some sod roof issues (aghhh!), but thankfully everything is now squared away.

I am observing under a wonderful mentor teacher who has been teaching in the bush for over twenty years! One thing I really like about my mentor teacher is that she begins each day by talking with the students about a quote written on the board. This routine seems to focus students and get them in that “school mindset.” Plus, it is a great way to assess who is in a good mood and who woke up on the wrong side of the bed based on their reactions to the questions and classroom discussion.

Another classroom management technique I have come to appreciate is the uncomfortable silence. My mentor teacher will stop talking and stand awkwardly at the front of the classroom until everyone is quiet and sufficiently uncomfortable. Once she has everyone’s attention, she will resume the lesson. I like this strategy because it works well in the middle of a lesson, the teacher does not have to raise her voice, the teacher does not have to call out to a particular student, and the students peer-regulate.

At the end of the day (or class period), my mentor teacher often uses exit passes as a way to transition. This exit pass is only assigned during the last 5-8 minutes of class, so students must wait for the assignment. They are then busy until it is time to go, so they do not waste time talking at their desks or noisily packing up their things while others are working.

Three transitions I have observed are arriving in the morning, going to PE, and going to lunch. As I mentioned earlier, my mentor teacher handles the morning arrival by discussing a quote on the board. This gets the students into school mode and perhaps gets them thinking about the author or subject matter. PE is handled by giving students a five minute warning before it is time to leave the gym, so that students are expecting the change and can begin to wrap up the game. For lunch, my mentor teacher usually requires an exit pass to leave the classroom. Students must answer a question or two on an index card before they can head to the kitchen.

As for the strategy I will be using, it will definitely be the AWKWARD SILENCE! It is effective, and I am secretly laughing inside when I see the kids start to squirm!

Hope you all are having a good week and staying warm!

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