T3 September (3)

On September 21, 2017, ten teachers gathered in my office to discuss classroom management scenarios and strategies. (Add yourself to the Schoology course to join in on the conversations: 8TGGV-7R5F3).

Exciting things teachers are trying this semester:

  • Facilitated problem-based groupwork (Tom, Math).
  • Editorial cartoons to analyze primary sources (Brian, Social Studies).
  • Sports Science clips to understand how to diagnosis and treat injuries (Jay, Science).
  • Analyzing creation myths from different cultures to understand the history of science theories (Ming, Science).
  • Have students lead reflective prayer in class (Molleen, Religious Studies).


Classroom Management Takeaways:

How do I keep students/groups on-task?

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  • Walk around with a clipboard: Mark student participation (or pretend to).
  • Cold Call. Ask a question and direct it to specific students. Warn students ahead of time that you will do this.
  • Limit time for tasks. Give students 10, 5, and 2-minute warnings. Adjust as needed.
  • Require a deliverable to submit: Hold students accountable with an exit ticket or some sort of submission to demonstrate their efforts in class.
  • Plan your lessons: Make sure students have objective tasks and that they know what they need to do when they are done.
  • Assign Roles: Hold each student responsible for making the team dynamic work.
  • Technology-Related: Stand really close to students who are off-task, occasionally put hands up if you want to playfully bust students, close laptop lids when not expected to use, check live updates of work with Google Drive assignments, be clear and explicit with expectations of laptop use

How do I increase student voice and/or class participation?

  • Wrong answers are okay. Create a classroom culture of growth and participation. Students should not feel less of a person for not doing something “right”.
  • Think-Pair-Share. Take a moment to let students think about a prompt, talk about it with a partner, then share out “as a group” to the class. This reduces the stress of having complete ownership of an idea.
  • Wait Time. Wait at least 7 seconds after asking a question before selecting a student to respond.
  • Select students by random to answer: Try using a randomized name-picker, a spreadsheet with names, popsicle sticks, PowerTeacher seating chart random selector, names on 3×5 cards, etc). You could even have another member expand on another member’s answer to see if they were listening to the response.
  • Everybody Writes: Give students a chance to write out their response to a prompt. Then have them share out what they have written. This will allow time for questioning, analysis, and thought to take place.
  • Certify Students: The term “certify” is used lightly to indicate that a student has demonstrated mastery and is given the opportunity to lead others in learning.

How do I manage technology during online tests (Schoology quizzes)?

  • Limit online quizzes to formative assessments. Don’t use high-stakes exams on Schoology. Use it for practice tests where students can take it multiple times, and where they can use resources on the assessment.
  • Position yourself. Stand in an area of the room where you can see everyone’s screen.

How do I motivate students to take ownership of their learning?

  • Provide choice. Whether it be through an infographic, video, essay, or another form, let students decide how they study or how they prove their learning to you.
  • Set goals. Find out what the students want to learn in the class.
  • Apply. Connect the content of learning to student relationships, friends, family, extracurriculars, etc.


Next month, we discuss engaging reading & writing strategies.

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