Ready for a fresh start? Whether you have great classroom management, or you’re struggling with it, this show should offer you a lot of value! The focus is on two things that have been KEY for me as a teacher of English Learners.
You can listen to the show in iTunes or right here:
- Assume all kids want to learn. Once you offer them an opportunity to learn in a classroom where they were successful, they will surprise you with the high expectations they will set for behavior.
- Use the following four questions adapted from Capturing Kids Hearts training by the Flippen Group.
- How do you want to be treated by your peers?
- How do you think your peers want to be treated by you?
- How do you want to be treated by the teacher?
- How do you think your teacher wants to be treated by you?
- Give those questions one at a time to your students. They should spend a good bit of time collaborating and being specific. I suggest changing partners many times with that first question so they can use native language and really talk about how they want to be treated.
- Ask students to consider what types of behaviors stand in the way of students taking risks. NONE of the norms should come from you. But if no one brings it up, be sure to ask them about laughing at one another or anything you know is an issue for ELLs.
- Nothing goes on the Social Contract until the entire class agrees on it and they all sign it.
- Return to it frequently. Anytime there is an infraction, you should stop and point out who broke the contract and ask if it needs to be altered.
I was recently honored by Sarah Lalonde with these notes she took from Boosting Achievement and shared on Twitter. Yes! Please share this. More teachers should know about the impact of this practice.
IT IS POWERFUL.
But don’t take my word for it. My students have continually said that the social contract has been one of the biggest factors in their success. My ESL students will also tell you that choral reading was important to them. Reading in unison may or may not fit into your classroom style but if you have ELLs I would strongly suggest that you at least read your key vocabulary out loud with all of your students. For more on that, you can watch the video below. It has teacher and student reflections on choral reading and social contracts.
The video includes a few seconds of Ginny Looney reading her objective with her 6th grade math class. And then there are a few words from some 8th graders in a low socioeconomic area of my district who are talking about why it is important for them. (These are students from Joseph Maurer’s class – a class which scores very high on standardized assessments despite being in a low income area and with many ELLs). At the end of the video you hear from Ginny. She was a teacher who was struggling in her first semester but her 2nd semester was completely different because of those two things. The Social Contract and reading objectives and other things in her classroom in unison (chorally). It’s obvious that Ginny is inspiring her students to collaborate more and giving them ways to do it in a safe environment.
There is no better time to radically improve your classroom climate than after a break. Why not try these things? If you listen to the show I go into detail about how I present them to the students. That is key.
Also… check out UPCOMING EVENTS to connect in real life!