Author: cballek

Blog 6: Philosophy on a Productive Learning Environment

I want my classroom to be not only a productive learning environment but also a place that students have fun doing science. A productive learning environment takes a number of elements working together to create. These elements range from time management to good planning and from  respect to good behavior, but all of them are tied to increasing student engagement. My philosophy is to balance these elements using classroom management techniques.

When it comes to a productive learning environment I feel that classroom management is paramount. The number one thing that classroom management would provide to a productive classroom is increasing student engagement through carefully planned lessons. This includes the classroom management  ideas of time management, good transitions and well structured activities. Its important to use these elements intertwined into a good lesson plan to increase student engagement. Another thing that good classroom management can do for your classroom is increase student care, behavior and attitude. A classroom that is a safe and positive environment where students know they are safe and cared for is in itself a productive learning environment. Using classroom management to build a positive atmosphere in the classroom with good student teacher relationships is the important piece to this.

Blog 5: Observations Reflection

  1. Management Strategies
    1. Beginning of class
      1. I like the use of Bellwork at the beginning of class to get the students started on things. Its usually book-work, practice quizzes or vocabulary that gets the students going on classroom work. I like this  strategy because I have seen students come in like a hurricane of energy, sit down to start Bellwork and the energy dropped right down making them  a lot more manageable.
    2. Midway through class
      1. One thing I have observed my mentor doing is breaking up the class by  getting the students moving through  having handouts in a location that they have to get up from their chairs to grab them during class.
    3. Closing Class
      1. I like the use of short fun videos or videos to recap the concepts  in the lesson as a way to end class. This is a great way to re-engage students at the end of the lesson when they want to leave.
  2. Transition Strategies
    1. One transition I have seen is having the students get up and grab supplies while moving to the next project or assignment. weather that is art supplies of handouts. Its a great way to break up class as well as giving you time to regroup or prepare.
    2. Another transition strategy I  have observed is one used to go into the lab or transition to projects. The teacher gave the students a list of things to do or gather before they could move on to the lab or project, for example: “go grab goggle, an apron and gloves and when everyone is ready I’ll explain the lab”.
    3. the next transition strategy I have seen is the use of videos, explanations or demos to transition it the next concept. Videos, explanations  or demos that link the previous concepts to the new direction the concepts are going are the best for this strategy.
  3. My Classroom Strategy
    1. I couldn’t decide so I choose to list two, but wanted to list  more. The two strategies that I have observed in the classroom that I would use in my class is both the Bellwork at the beginning of class and the  strategy of breaking up the class by having the students get up to grab assignments or supplies.

Blog 4: Student-Teacher Relationships

This article is all about the importance of a healthy student teacher connection/relationship. It talks about the power this connection to our students can have on their lives, both academically and personally. It also talks about how teachers and parents can help build a better  connection to your students.

This video covers some of the ways to build up your student teacher relationship in the classroom. It also brings up the idea of why this is important as well. The ways it explains how to build up your relationship with your students is interesting.

There is a direct correlation with good classroom environments/relationships and student achievement. This blog talks about that student achievement piece that the other two really only touched on.


Blog 3: Future of Native Education

The article reminded me of my placed based education class. In that class we talked a lot about Alaska native education and how it works and should be working.One issue we covered is the difference in the western ways of knowing  and the native way of knowing. Cultures are different in many ways including ways of knowing.

One of our guest speakers in that class brought up some interesting ways to teach Alaska Natives while still maintaining the old ways of knowing  in the native culture. The article talks a lot about placed based learning and how this is an increasing movement looking  forward to different ways to improve Alaska native learning. This makes sense because as a teacher i’m trying to teach my students so why wouldn’t I  like to find the way that best educates them in that subject. I think this is really the only option that seems to work in this setting and that we should move forward in that direction.

I agree with the article that we need to get over this notion that the western way of knowing  is the only way of knowing  and need to embrace other cultures ways of knowing  in order to reach and educate the masses.

Intro: Chris Ballek


Hi, my name is Chris Ballek. I’m currently enrolled in the masters of education program at UAF and am student teaching at North Pole High School.


I’m hoping through this course I can learn more about how to me a good classroom manager and not a classroom dictator. I really want to be a teacher that doesn’t impose their authority over their students. I don’t do that now as I’m working in the classroom but I have noticed that with out a good toll set to work with anyone can slip into that behavior.


I was born and raised in the Fairbanks area, specifically I was raised in North Pole and went through the North Pole School system and graduated from North Pole High School.


I graduated in December from UAF with my bachelors in General sciences and now want to get my masters in education with my teaching licence, which I should graduate this May with both.

I have a number of hobbies but all of them either include building things or playing games.


I have coached football at North Pole High and volunteered  with a local Youth Ministry since I graduated from High school in 2003. I worked construction for many years before deciding to go back the school to become a teacher so I can work with kids full-time.