This past week I had my first Formal Observation as a contracted teacher. It was a nerve-wracking, exciting experience to say the least. I have a huge opportunity for improvement with my classroom management. The class is definitely no where near being out of control but it’s not a walk in the park either. With consistent, firm boundaries I think I will be able to regain control of my class. The biggest question at this point is, how?
My principal who has been an incredible resource and support system for me, especially as a first year teacher, has suggested working on my transitions between activities. Three examples of transitions that he recommended were 1) having a chime or bell that indicates I am ready to get started/move on 2) having a sing-song response (teacher-‘macaroni cheese’ students – ‘everybody freeze’) 3) putting my hand in the air and wait until all students put their hand in the air as well.
I’m worried that these are all very elementary transitions and I do not want to belittle my high school students. I am hoping to observe other teachers this week and get an idea of how they transition their classes to have a greater understanding of the techniques and really see them at work (I am a visual learner!).
As a teacher who wants to cultivate a culture of learning opening and closing the lesson are very important components. I am working on improving my sponge activities and exit tickets. It’s relatively easy to come up with things to get students going in the beginning of class or to wrap things up at the end, but to really have a high quality beginning of class warm up or end of class exit ticket that brings the lesson full circle, is difficult. By having sponge activities in the beginning of class to get students going and to have them jump right into the lesson will not only create routine for students but also set the standard of what is expected. I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection and appreciate that students are able to thoughtfully respond to their thoughts and actions. In order to improve my classroom management, engage more students, and use my time more efficiently I am working to improve the purpose and effectiveness of my sponge activities and exit tickets.
I’m really looking forward to the end of this week when I can observe other teachers and see their techniques for transitioning between activities and also what they do for sponge activities/bell ringers and exit tickets.