Author: rethony

Blog No. 6

My personal philosophy on creating a productive learning environment in my classroom for my students is pretty simple: I believe highly in creating a place where students are comfortable to learn and successful at it. I also believe firmly that in order to achieve a high level of production in a successful learning environment, classroom management must be taken seriously and considered thoroughly.

In my observations so far this semester, I’ve picked up several strategies of classroom management that I see working to establish a productive learning environment. For example, my mentor teacher gives something she calls “love” to students who contribute something outstanding to classroom discussion. The “love” she gives is simply a smiley face drawn on the board with the student’s name and hearts and stars drawn around it. She generally causes a bit of a ruckus and gets excited for the student she’s giving “love” to, which makes the student proud and the rest of the class a bit envious. While the “love” she gives them isn’t necessarily tangible (though a lot of students tend to take selfies with their “love”), the idea is something that helps regulate classroom management while urging students to up their productivity. Getting “love” from the teacher is something every student strives for, and when one of their peers gets it, you can see the rest of them buckling down to hopefully earn their own “love.”

This example is something so simple, and arguably silly, but it’s very effective. I’ve seen this simple strategy in classroom management up the success in the classroom as well as strengthen the productivity of each student.

It’s comforting to know, I think, that something so simple can be so influential in the classroom because it reminds me that I have the ability to shape how successful my classroom is with very basic measures.

Blog 5

Effective management strategies:
Opening a lesson:

  • Teacher did a good job getting students focused almost immediately after the bell rang.
  • Every single lesson Teacher instructs begins with a genuine, warm greeting. For example, “Good morning, pumpkin heads.”
  • Reviewing previous day’s lesson.

During a lesson:

  • Lighthearted and jokes throughout.
  • ENTHUSIASM about material.
  • Pauses for discussion (while reading aloud).

Lesson closure:

  • Again, a genuine farewell to send them out and on with their day.
  • A lot of repetition and review of what they’d done during the lesson and what was homework and what was on tap for the next day/lesson.


  • Before moving on after a discussion, there were several checks for understanding. For example, “Do we understand?” “You guys, that was a really good point. Do we understand it?”
  • Reminding students of what had been previously discussed (in days/lessons past).
  • Jokes to refocus after interruptions or side-tracks.

Strategy to apply in my classroom:

  • I very much enjoyed the lighthearted nature of the lesson, the jokes, the laughs, the smiles. Teacher did a great job maintaining order and focus while showing great enthusiasm about the material. While this may not be a strategy-strategy, really, it is definitely something I am going to consciously try to incorporate into my own classroom regularly.

Blog 4: Three links

This article was such an interesting read. It shows the relationship between student-teacher relationships and the type of school or community. While it may seem obvious, the article reveals that positive student-teacher relationships impact high-poverty schools more than they benefit high-income schools.

Another super interesting read! It was also neat that Nome was  mentioned. 🙂 The article says there is little research about the correlation between technology in schools and student-teacher relationships, but it explores how to make sure the relationships between students and teachers remains the most important aspect of education.

This video isn’t very long, but I appreciated how it explored cultural aspects of schools.

Blog Numero Dos

Evening all! 🙂

The first four rules that come to my mind when I think about what I want established early in my classroom are pretty basic, simple and arguably obvious, but important no less. I want my students to know I have a zero tolerance policy with cheating. It’s important for me to have them know that I will know if they cheat, and that regardless of the excuses they can come up with, cheating of any kind will not be tolerated. In addition, a simple rule about respect will be established, as well. I want my classroom to be full of respect at all levels. Students will respect themselves, their peers and their teacher at all times. I’m a firm believer that a lack of respect at any of those tiers can result in a less effective learning environment. Another rule my students will be well aware of is that speaking out of turn, while anyone else is talking, or without raising your hand is not accepted. Of course, there are times when I’ll announce that I want answers openly discussed and shouted out, but unless explicitly stated, students will know to raise their hands and wait to be called on. The last rule that comes to mind when I think about my own classroom is that students need to have their assignments turned in on time. There are exceptions, of course, but very few that I think are justifiable for students missing work or not turning something in. If a student handles themselves like an adult and with respect (to both me and themselves), things can be worked out, but for the most part, students will understand that late work won’t be accepted.

658 Wordle

Oh, and check it out! –>
I was super stoked when I stumbled upon this article simply because of the way its laid out. The piece is about classroom procedures that put a damper on behavior issues, but it’s not just a list of ideas; it’s a list based on situations. For example, a few of the 30 items listed include: “Leaving the room,’ “Beginning the day,’ and “Ending the day.’ I really like that the article is organized this way, and I got some neat ideas, as well. There’s nothing earth-shattering in this text, but it was an easy read (again, because of how it’s laid out), and I finished with several things jotted down.

(And, PS, I’m really bad at coming up with titles for things, so don’t judge my ever-so witty title of this. :))

Introducing Renee!

Hi guys,

My name’s Renee Esparza (Thony is my maiden name and what UAF knows me by!), and I’m embarking on my final year of my Master’s degree. I’m currently student teaching at Eagle River High School in an awesome English classroom. My mentor teacher and I have three sections of Honors freshmen and two sections of “regular” sophomores. I got so lucky with my placement and my mentor; I’m loving it so far!

My husband (who’s a high school special ed teacher and football coach) and I live in Eagle River with our one-year-old daughter Olivia (that’s her in the picture!) and our skitzo dog, Dax.

We love Alaska and spend a lot of time outdoors. I’m originally from Wisconsin, which is where I got my Bachelor’s in Journalism, so I’m all about drinking in the  mountains and ocean.

I’m looking forward to all I’ll learn in this class with you all!