Opening the lesson:
The teacher was very down to business and began with the morning announcements. She was patient with their “wiggles” but eventually she wound the conversation down. I liked how she let the students chat a little bit before getting down to business. This gives them a little chance to get some of that disruptive behavior out of the way before class really has a chance to begin. The teacher was obviously sticking to a routine, and since the students seemed to be well acquainted with it, they were secure enough in their environment to be able to eventually completely focus on the content (they were seventh graders, hence the word “eventually”).
During the lesson:
At this point the teacher was a lot more strict on students paying attention. She gave them the opportunity at the beginning of class to talk a bit, so it was expected that they behave accordingly to the bit of a compromise she gave them. The students realize that she did not have to give them that privilege, so they need to recognize that this is a privilege and not a right. She also made her way around the room and included everyone in popcorn reading, answering questions, filling in the blanks, etc.
Close of the lesson:
The students tried to pack up early, to which the teacher reminded them that class had not yet ended. It is important to stick to that rule-once the students see that you are willing to bend on that, they will start to stealthily pack up earlier and earlier each time. Once the students start packing up, that means their interest and attention is focused elsewhere. She reviewed what they had done and what they would pick up in the next class, along with going over the homework and asking the class to repeat her directions.
In making transitions, she would be lighthearted and make jokes to reroute attention for a little bit before jumping into another activity. Rerouting students attention once in awhile helps to reset their attention span. Others were when students would get passes to go to the office or wherever they were needed. She interrupted class as little as possible and continued with the attitude of going on and subtly prodding the students to follow her, not this new distraction. Bathroom breaks were also something that the students knew about expectations, so things went on without a hitch for the most part.
To apply in my own classroom:
I liked the respect she had for her students, especially in allowing them to chat a little bit before she started class. That showed her students that she trusts them enough to reward them with this privilege. It helps the students to feel more important and validated, while helping to control disruptions later on.