1) For my observation I will use my mentor teacher as I have been learning most of my classroom management skills from her. To open lessons she makes sure to wait until she has everyone’s attention, to do this she will usually call attention or at least stand in the front of the room waiting for the class’s attention. Generally students understand the procedure for beginning class however sometimes they need to be told to sit in their assigned seat so we can take attendance. To begin a lesson we usually try to start with a question or two to get students thinking, I feel that this holds their attention much better than simply jumping into a lecture. During a lesson she makes a point to call out students who are misbehaving, this serves so somewhat embarrass them and hopefully prevent them from continuing the behavior. If it does continue she is quick to move the student away from others who may be contributing to the disruption. For concluding the day she sometimes has the students all sit at their assigned seats before they are dismissed. This is an annoyance for the kids but helps to keep order in the classroom.
2)Three common transitions I have seen are first to transition from direct instruction to group work. She will first hand out instructions or a rubric, explain it, then have the kids get into groups. If she were to explain the project after they got into groups it would be much more chaotic as they would be chatting with their friends without any sort of instruction. This way they know what they are doing right away and are more likely to get onto it. To transition from group work to direct instruction it is usually better to have the students move back to their original seats. This makes a break in their focus but hopefully prevents them from being too distracted by their group partners. A third transition method would be to go from direct instruction to individual work, this is generally easier as the students are already in the seats they need to be in and they are generally quiet and focused. The best way to do this would be to hand out material or have students take it out, clearly give instructions, then have students work on their own. The teacher should then walk around the room making sure that everyone is focused and offering help if needed.
3) Most of these strategies are things that I will eventually employ in my classroom. One great strategy I witnessed while observing a teacher on our team was using candy to motivate students. He used it for a variety of activities, first of all he would have short review games at the beginning of class, anyone to get the correct answer would win a piece of candy. Secondly he would reward student with it for good behavior. It is amazing how much motivation candy gives to high school students, they seem willing to do just about anything for it.