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classroom management during experiments | Posted in Early Childhood
I am currently a student teacher in a math and science classroom, and I get the chance to watch my mentor teacher enforce the most effective classroom management skills I have ever seen. She uses positive reinforcement constantly. The school I am at has a reward system where they give "merits" and "demerits" for behavior. These are backed up by a system where if students accumulate a certain amount of merits, they can choose to spend them in the classroom "store" or save them for a special privilege. My mentor says things out loud to the class like "I appreciate how ___ is following my instructions, I am going to give them a merit." or "These students are showing patience as they wait for the next activity quietly, I will give them a merit." Sometimes it is while some students are off tasks, so they will redirect their actions so that they can also receive merits. If it doesn't help, she will give demerits after fair warning.
Another really great technique is giving access to science experiment materials after modeling and giving explicit instructions on what they are expected to do with them. First, tell them what to do, then tell them the voice level you expect them to be at. Showing appreciation for those that followed instructions constantly. I hope this helps! Good luck!
Science Trips | Posted in Informal Science
Pam, I really like your idea of visiting a local university with students! I know from experience that children at this age look up to young adults, which provides a much greater chance for the students to listen! A great idea for them would be to visit the greenhouse (in the university has one) or, doing something even in a science class, or EL ED methods course.
Assigning Homework | Posted in New Teachers
I am in early childhood which can be very different from 4th and 5th. However, I personally view homework to be extremely important in all areas. The most effective methods that I have seen homework done is in large packets for the week and baggy books with comprehension questions each night. In the large packets I have seen a teacher do all reading and math or a couple pieces of the packet to be reading, a couple math and some for writing, science or social studies. I have heard of some elementary schools doing away with homework all together. However, I personally feel that homework is important to help support the involvement of the parents in their child's education and if you do away with homework that is not giving the parents the opportunity to see what their child is doing and learning.
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