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Lesson Plans

Re: classroom management

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Andrea Dunmire (artshui)
Thu, 02 Dec 1999 14:35:46 EST

Toni wrote:
>What are some useful techniques for effective classroom management in the
>art room?

I wrote about this in an abbreviated form in an earlier post, but I will try
to elaborate here.
I have what I consider to be a very effective method of class management. I
took 4 courses in "Reality Therapy" and applied this method to my classroom
many years ago and it has been great. To those of you unfamiliar with this
method, it was pioneered by William Glasser, MD in 1969 in his book,
"Schools Without Failure", and his findings were taught through our local
IU. I'll try to give you an explanation in a nutshell.
He believes that students should be expected to be responsible for their
choices. His method takes the responsibility off of the teacher and puts it
where it belongs- with the student. Class rules should be short, concise,
and positive.

Mine are:
1. One person speaks at a time.
(This is in effect when students first enter the room and
while I am giving the lesson or intro for the period.)
2. Whisper at work.
(We actually practice whispering at the beginning of each
3. No put downs.
(How can you say something to someone about their work,
clothes, heritage, etc. without offending them?)
4. Be in charge of you.
(Doing what you think, know is right, regardless of what
your classmates are choosing to do.)

We go over these at the beginning of each school year quite extensively, and
I send a letter home with each child that parents and students must read
together, sign, date, and return to me. This states the rules and that they
have seen and agreed to support them. I also list the consequences that
result in the event that a student chooses to break the rules. Consequences
are described as naturally occurring events that happen as a direct result
of student choices.

My consequences are;
1. Upon breaking 1 rule- a warning is given to the student.
This is a reminder.
2. Upon breaking 2 rules, the student must leave the classroom
and, once in the hall outside the art room, think about the rule broken,
decide what they can do instead, and then they are welcome to come back in.
3. Detention.
This is a longer version of #2. In detention, where they go instead of
going out to recess with their class, I have them write me a letter stating
which rule was broken, and what they will do instead the next time they came
to art. This is hand delivered to me to approve and sometimes, sent home
to be signed. When he/she returns to art next week, I'll ask them what they
will do differently this time.
4. Contact home. If the above has failed to get the student to
follow the rules consistently, I'll call home and ask the parents to help me
to help their child to follow the rules.
5. Meeting with parents, child, principal, disciplinarian, and
me. This has been necessary only once in my 22 years.

Once this foundation has been laid, it is a very simple matter in the
classroom in the event of a rule-breaking situation, to very calmly (this is
a necessary component of Reality Therapy) say to the offending student,
"What are you doing?" Amazingly, the response is usually, "I was breaking a
rule." But when it is not, I press forward with, "I know you were doing
something, I saw/heard you." If you still get a blank look, ask her/him to
go to the corner, or outside the room to think about what they chose to do
and then to come back and let you know when they have remembered. I have
rarely had a student come back in and still refuse to tell me what they were
doing. The idea here is for you not to tell them, because, of course, it
will be denied. If it comes from them, they must first think of their
action and them own up to it. The next step is easy, as the consequences
are well-known to all, they can be given with no anger- I often show only
compassion because, after all, this WAS their choice.

In addition to the above, I give tables "Art Awards" throughout the period,
which I made, when I "catch" them following the rules and trying their best.
They lose them if rules are broken. The table with the most awards lines
up first and each student gets a sticker.

This all works great for me and is surprisingly easy to implement once you
get accustomed to it.

Hope this helps and was not too longwinded.

Andrea in Pa.
- to contact me directly use artshui

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