Monday, September 21, 2009


Data, data, data. It really doesn't matter exactly how accurate or useful the data might be, it only matters that we collect it and analyze it. Perhaps I should be careful here; this blog continues to be open review.
Don't get me wrong, I am a strong advocate for personal reflection on classroom practices, but when the process is nothing more than a show, my rebellious nature comes out. We have two data teams we belong to--our grade-level team and our department data team. The grade level team focuses on instruction; the department data team focuses on behavior improvement: Positive Behavioral Support.
I wish I were more into the PBS system. It is just hard to remember to hand out coupons or rewards for behaviors that every high school student should have mastered 5-10 years earlier in their career. But again, I digress.
Two areas of focus for my department is improving student behavior through classroom arrangement and classroom systems. Even though the data won't have much validity (how does one measure the effect of teacher desk placement on student action?), I find great value in these two areas.
First, classrooms can have a great impact on student perceptions. A dingy room makes students feel neglected and put off. A vibrant room makes students feel accepted and welcomed.
Second, classroom set up can effect the success of systems. For me, my desk has to be in the back of the room. This way, I can watch students without being watched myself, and it also eliminates clutter at the focal point of the room.
Third, I have incorporated the Steppingstone system (others certainly do it as well, but I learned it this summer) of Do Now, Homework, Agenda, and Objectives posted for students each day. I continue to struggle with following my own systems, but I feel like I've improved in some ways as a result of the system.


At 4:44 PM , Blogger Mr. B-G said...

We're doing the Learning Objective, Do Now, Homework, and Agenda too. I've put all those things on my board in the past except for the LO, which I would verbalize rather than write out.

Usually I'll have a couple of different activities each day, with different objectives for each one. So far I've tried to write the main objective for the day up top, while verbalizing the others. It can be a lot of writing and time consuming to get that stuff written down, but I think it does help focus the class.

I actually have a "Homework Board" where a week's worth of homework assignments can usually be found. It's helpful to let the kids know what's coming down the pike, and also useful for students who are absent.

As for data, we collect it too. Not sure how it's being used, but it is being collected.

I think teacher desk placement and student desks are critical and send a clear and immediate message about what the teacher values. My students sit in desk clusters of four, as we do a lot of pair-share, group-share, class-share type things. When I give quizzes we transform the room into "quiz mode," where the desks are separated and students sit isolated.

At 7:00 AM , Blogger Criss said...

I love coming up with systems, but can never follow through and keep them in place. *sigh* No wonder I had so many problems with classroom management and discipline...


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