I recently observed in my mentor teacher’s Algebra class and noticed some effective management strategies that were employed during the opening of the day’s lesson, applied during the lesson and also as a lesson closure.
At the start of the days lesson the teacher had a brief discussion with the students about what they had learned about the day before and how she was going to expand upon that in todays lesson. She asked students for any questions they might have from the previous lesson before continuing on to todays lesson. While providing the lesson, the teacher would ask students questions to engage them. At times she even invited students to solve a sample question up on the smart board. Although this took longer to get through the sample problem it allowed the students to be taught by their fellow peer for a few minutes and it is interesting to watch how quickly everyone became engrossed in the sample problem once they realized a peer was up their solving it. The closure of the lesson included a review of what they were taught and the assignment for homework written up onto the board for all to see, it was verbally announced aloud to the students and all of this was in addition to it already being pre-printed in their lecture notebooks. The teacher transitioned smoothly from performing a homework completion check, to reviewing any questions on the homework, passing out the current Concept Quiz to taking attendance while the students are engaged in independent work (taking CQ).
I like the strategy my mentor teacher uses when the students start to get off task. Usually it will simply be a statement made to the class as a whole that she notices that there is a lot of commotion or talking going on and it definitely does not sound as though math/Algebra is being discussed. Or simply reminding students that it is individual work that should be happening right now so therefore there shouldn’t be any talking going on at this time. The strategy of pointing out to students what is happening and why it should not be happening right when it is occurring seems to work pretty well in the classroom and I like how it doesn’t point any fingers at any particular student.