Monday, December 8, 2014

Tracking Behavior Interventions for a Difficult Class

Behavior Interventions for a Difficult Class
Difficult classes come in all types--the one where students come in after lunch wild from running through the halls, the one where students want to pack up early and never, ever do any work, the one where student punch each other when you are not looking, and the one where students shout out inane words in an effort to annoy each other and you. The list could be endless. Sigh.
When confronted with a difficult class, there are lots of viable options to take to help them learn to control themselves. One action that you can take is to be as systematic as possible in your approach. Here is a little form to help you do just that.
Behavior Interventions for a Difficult Class
Period__________ Major Concerns________________________________________________________
Level of Success
 1: Not successful             2: Somewhat successful  but needs modification                  3: Successful      
Date of Intervention
Level of Success
Recorded or videoed self to determine how I could be contributing to the problem
Asked a colleague to observe the class and provide feedback
Analyzed the time use by students at the start of class, during various activities, and at the end of class
Made sure that expectations are clearly expressed in several modalities and taught to students
Made sure that procedures for all activities are in place and known to students
Made sure that students are aware of the class rules and the positive consequences for following rules as well as the negative consequences for disregarding rules
Held individual conferences with key students
Held a brief conference with entire class to solicit their suggestions
Used exit tickets or other written formats to elicit student suggestions
Adjusted the pace and types of instruction
Increased student choices or options for instructional activities
Praised positive behavior of entire class
Gave class positive labels to use to identify themselves
Mad their successes as concrete and visible as possible
Involved other staff members in creating solutions
Involved the parents or guardians of students in creating solutions
Shared a pleasant activity together to build a sense of community
Made sure everyone has access to materials and supplies
Worked with individual students to set and achieve goals
Worked with entire class to set and achieve group goals
Made sure that the level of work is neither too easy or too difficult so that students will find it easy to stay on task
Used all available class time in a productive way
Offered a variety of relevant learning activities including games and technology based instruction
Taught students a courteous way to respond or to behave
Included motivational activities in the lesson to increase engagement
Provided opportunities for students to be in the spotlight for positive reasons
Established signals for students to indicate that they need help
Involved students in as many helpful roles in the classroom as possible
Established ways for students to help each other in productive ways
Offered a combination of tangible and intangible rewards
Taught students how to modulate their noise levels
Made it obvious that the purpose of class is to learn and not to misbehave
Posed encouraging mottoes to remind students to stay focused
Allowed students to redo a failed assignment for credit so that they have a reason to continue to work
Communicated a strong belief in the ability that students have to succeed
Established predictable routines so that students know what to do
Provided different role models and mentors for students
Appealed to a variety of learning styles in each lesson
Established a time-out area in another area of the school so that students can gain self-control
Gave a student a second chance
Made sure the lesson was as exciting as possible
Gave written and verbal directions that are easy for students to follow
Made sure the traffic flow of the class is conducive to on-task behavior
Offered frequent checks for understanding to reduce frustration
Involved students’ interests in the lesson
Acknowledged student effort
Ignored as much bad behavior as was possible and prudent
Asked students to help teach a lesson
Varied instructional activities so that students could interact as well as work independently
Kept expectations for academic and behavioral success high

Monday, October 27, 2014

Teach Students to Monitor Themselves

Here is a quick excerpt from Discipline Survival Guide for the Secondary Teacher that is appropriate for this time of the school year. By now, we are past the initial stages of getting to know our students and setting the expectations of our class for them. At this point in the school year, it is time to help our students move toward self-discipline!

One of the most powerful techniques for teachers who want to direct their students to become self-disciplined is to teach students to monitor themselves. When students monitor their own behavior, the responsibility for improvement and success rightfully shifts from teacher to student.

            When your students learn to monitor themselves, you no longer have to assume the role of overbearing adult in charge of a room full of students who have perfected the art of learned helplessness. Instead you become a learning partner with your students. Below you will find a list of strategies or activities that you can adapt to help your students stay on track by monitoring their own progress.

·       Offer rubrics in advance of an assignment

·       Give students checklists of tasks to be accomplished

·       Ask students to reflect on their learning or on their work habits

·       Set and work toward a goal

·       Make  frequent progress checks

·       Allow students to see their grades at least weekly

·       Encourage students to chart their grades

·       Have students break assignments into smaller parts and setting their own due dates for each small part

·       Give students a syllabus so that they can plan their work

·       Have students complete admit tickets with their plans for the day’s work

·       Ask students to assess their own strengths and weaknesses

·       Ask students to keep a list of what they have learned and what they still need to know in a unit of study.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Just like everyone else, I want my students to leave our class feeling that they learned something useful and that they know how to build on the day's learning. While there are many different ways to make sure this happens, this process does not have to be difficult or tediously time-consuming to grade. Here are just a few very simple ways that you can end class in a productive way. You can adapt these activities to reinforce the day’s learning and insure that your students leave with positive attitudes. Consider asking students to:

          1.      Play a quick (4-5 minute) review game.
          2.      Use the current lesson to predict what they will learn in the next one.
          3.      Write three things they learned, two things they found interesting, and one question they still have.
        4.      Highlight their notes and then list the top five most interesting main ideas.
          5.      Rewrite information in their own words.
          6.      Complete an exit slip that begins:
·                 I learned...
·                 I am still confused about…
·                 This lesson was valuable because…
         7.      Share five facts from the lesson with a classmate.
          8.      Tell the class one new fact they learned. The next student must repeat that fact and add a new one until all students have had a chance to participate.
          9.      Sketch a fact, definition, or event from the lesson.
        10.    Write a question about the lesson. Then form two lines facing each other.  Students ask the person in front of them the question. After one minute of discussion, they change places with other students. After a few exchanges, they return to their seats to write out what they have learned.