Your best tips for a well-disciplined classroom- HS

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Post Mon, Sep 13 2021, 9:09 pm
I haven’t taught much yet this year (this is after a several year hiatus) but I’m realizing fast that my methods for maintaining “control” of the classroom are rather weak. What are your best tips for making sure your class does not veer out of control?
For reference to my classroom:
1. I want my classroom to be a safe place for all students to share their voices. My subject includes lots of discussion and I’ve already realized that many girls have no issue talking amongst themselves while someone is sharing their thoughts. Besides for creating chaos, the girl I called on ends up feeling like her views are not important enough.
2. What I’ve been doing when students talk out of turn is first give them a long look, then call their name. Students are not supposed to be sent out unless there is a serious infraction so I feel like I just end up calling the same girls’ names again and again. Besides for the negative attention I don’t want to be dishing out, I’m not finding this method to be long-lasting in creating a respectful classroom.
I’ve already told them that respect is essential not only in my classroom but in all future interactions. It’s a skill that must be used in effective communication and school is great place to cultivate the feeling of respecting each other… besides, it isn’t fair to each other to talk and make it difficult for diligent students to pay attention.
What are your best methods in keeping a classroom quiet and respectful, both to the teacher and each other?
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Post Mon, Sep 13 2021, 9:32 pm
When kids are talking while I'm talking or someone else is sharing, I wait. I don't say names, I just ask the student who's sharing/speaking to stop and wait till we're ready to listen, then I stop and look at the kids who are talking. I don't say anything (it gets uncomfortable, but I keep waiting), until everyone else is quiet and looking at whoever's still talking. Sometimes one of the other kids will say something to them, sometimes it just gets so quiet and then they realize everyone is staring at them and they stop and apologize. It takes a little bit of doing that until they learn, and some classes definitely struggle with this more than others.

Also reconsider your seating chart if you have some habitual chatters. It might just be too much temptation if they're sitting with their besties. Rearrange them and if they protest, just explain that you really want them to be able to do their best work.
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Post Mon, Sep 13 2021, 11:35 pm

I understand that your school doesn't want kids sent out for minor infractions, but there might be a need if someone keeps talking and talking and not taking hints. you can also institute a warning system. so like 3 warnings and you lose points or something.
it is very hard when the class runs with discussions. I need tips too!!
what subjects do you teach?
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Post Mon, Sep 13 2021, 11:41 pm
BrachaVHatzlocha wrote:

I understand that your school doesn't want kids sent out for minor infractions, but there might be a need if someone keeps talking and talking and not taking hints. you can also institute a warning system. so like 3 warnings and you lose points or something.
it is very hard when the class runs with discussions. I need tips too!!
what subjects do you teach?

I wouldn’t do this.
I never ever send girls out.
I feel like once you do, it’s all over.
I also would just stop and wait, sometimes call out a name. I find that if I start the lesson with perfect silence and decorum, it sets the tone.
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Post Mon, Sep 13 2021, 11:46 pm
Teach Like A Champion 2.0
(Or the first book if you can't get the second)
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Post Mon, Sep 13 2021, 11:51 pm
I train my girls right in the beginning that when I lift my hand up in the air, it means I'm asking for silence. The motion looks like a stop sign and somehow they actually stop.

I also find that extended discussions don't work very well. Everyone always wants to talk among each other. The goal of a discussion should be clear, and you should guide it like an MC so it stays on track. For example, summarize what the girl said to help the rest of the class follow along (Not everyone speaks loudly and clearly enough to keep her classmates listening.)
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Post Mon, Sep 13 2021, 11:51 pm
1. Start the lesson with teacher standing at the door and wait there till every girl is standing and silent and the room is clean
2. If girls are speaking at the same time as someone else, ask the speaker to wait and explain that it is rude to speak over/ at the same time as someone else. Wait for silence and then ask the speaker to continue. Do this every time, do not allow someone to be spoken over which brings me to #3
3. If girls are chatting or speaking out of turn, walk over to their desk as you continue the lesson. The proximity should help them get the message and stop talking. If they start again stop speaking, look at them and wait for silence. Don't allow students to speak over you ever, it'll diminish all respect you have. They'll get the message and stop.
4. Even in discussions (especially early in the year) students can share when they have been called on.
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Post Tue, Sep 14 2021, 12:21 am
If your class lends itself to alot of these "thinking" conversations, develop a routine that works for you and the girls.

To use literature as an example

If you are discussing a theme of a story or a value/character trait that develops

Have a format you can move through quickly

Maybe you put a question on the board, sort of like a quiz on assigned reading

Our character chose to remain quiet in place of a bold response. Is that weakness or strength?

Let each girl write the question and answer on the front of a paper.

Ask a girl to quickly summarize her thoughts out loud (help her be clear if necessary, mirror the thoughts of someone not so articulate so even weaker students can be heard)

Quickly ask for someone to reply to that thought differently

Move quickly in asking for a girl to support the first girls statement

and so on...

when you feel the issues have been developed enough, ask the class to turn their papers over and readdress the original question based on the responses they have heard. (they should incorporate the ideas in a paragraph)

VERY IMPORTANT: At least some of these must be graded, without accountability its just a group session. You can collect a few at a time if its too much grading, or have them keep a special journal for this to be turned in whenever is convenient for you.
Also important: The process must move quickly - dead time leads to chatting. The combination of needing to be busy and being graded should motivate better participation.
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Post Tue, Sep 14 2021, 12:55 am
Your mannerisms and tone are very important. If it's already got out of hand I would tell them at the beginning that if someone talks you are stopping the discussion and everyone has to write their own thoughts down. You will read a few. Discussions are only if people can keep quiet and respect each other.
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Post Tue, Sep 14 2021, 1:08 am
The suggestion above about proximity is so important. You just keep talking or teaching and walk right over next to the talkers and stand there. It really almost always works.

You can let the girls have five minutes to discuss with a partner or a small group before opening the big class discussion. Then you can say when the whole class is speaking that a student needs to share what another student in the group said rather than her own opinion. This really encourages active listening.

Also, you should pull the main talkers aside separately on different days, after class, for a firm but loving discussion about respect.

Rather than kicking a student out, you can ask them "do you need to take a walk for five minutes"? Then it's not a punishment, or you not controlling the class, it's you being sensitive to the talker's needs.

Another great option is to invite the talkers up to the board to summarize others' points as the discussion is taking place.
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Post Tue, Sep 14 2021, 2:36 am
When my class has a discussion component, I use something like the "think-pair-share" method. I like the idea of the poster above who puts a question on the board. Students can think about it quietly for a few minutes, or write or even draw a picture (good to vary it, I think). Then they talk to their seat mate or neighbor about their answers for a set amount of time--not more than 3-4 minutes at first. For a big group, they can then put two pairs together and once the four students have discussed their answers, they choose one point to share with the whole group and one member to speak for them. Then I give each representative a chance to say their points.

From here, you have a few options.

Sometimes I write (or have a student write) a short summary of each point on the board. Then we have a focus for whole group discussion. You can have the class vote on which point they feel is right, and give their reasons for choosing it. This is also the point at which you may want to bring in a text on the topic.

A related type of activity is the Anticipation / Reaction Guide. Make a list of statements related to the topic that are opinions. Ask students to mark whether they agree or disagree with each. Then they read the text with or without discussion. Finally, they go back to the same set of statements and see if they have changed their minds based on the text and conversation.

You can also ask the students to choose a point that was not their own and find evidence to support it (either by going back to a pair discussion or by writing on their own). If you have a very clear debate (two opposing or very different ideas), you can have students "take a side" by physically standing on one side of the room or the other. Then ask them to write support for the side they did NOT take.

I also like to have students make a shared product, usually a simple poster or a short creative text as a way to conclude the lesson. If you have technical means they can make a padlet or canva.
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Post Tue, Sep 14 2021, 3:36 am
Super counter-intuitive but works really well for me (8th grade girls). I never send out or call out by name and never say "shhh". I hold up one finger (this signals to whoever is sharing her thoughts to stop talking) and I look *down* not up and not at anyone and stay silent and don't move. I make a big deal that I don't want to embarrass anyone etc. They will stop the chit chat. When you show over the top respect for them and treat them with high expectations, they will respect your classroom and each other. It is your classroom. Stay super calm always. Loud voice only for dramatic teaching, never for misbehavior.
Once in the middle of the year last year some girls did something and I felt it needed to be addressed. I said: I'm going to shut the door because I might raise my voice at you and I don't want anyone in the hall to hear. It's between us and I know it won't happen again. That way you are protecting their dignity and they know that if you need to raise your voice its from a place of planning and control.
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