This is how we do it
Lesson 2 of 5
Objective: Students will learn the necessary classroom procedures for behavior and movement.
Begin with the warm-up. This question is intended to illuminate the need for procedures and the issues that can arise when procedures are not in place that guide how we behave in particular situations. Ask students to describe specific actions they take when a tornado alarm sounds. Allow 3-4 students to respond to the question. Listen for recurring themes or descriptions regarding how students should act and move in such a situation.
Then ask, “What is the benefit of having a procedure for a tornado alert?” Take 2-3 comments from the group. Having established the basis of the need for procedures for a tornado alert, ask students why procedures needed in a classroom. Also ask, “What would happen if there were no procedures for how to respond if the event of a tornado or even a fire?” Look for students to identify that procedures are necessary. Also, look for student also to identify that issues may will arise when procedures are not in place. Once it is established that procedures are necessary, move into the introduction of the procedures that govern your classroom.
Introduce New Material
Thank students for contributing to the warm-up discussion. Inform them that now that we have identified the need for procedures and the potential outcomes when procedures are not in place, we need to identify the BIO procedures that govern our behaviors in the classroom. I tend to share information verbally and visually to address the visual and auditory learners in the classroom. During the presentation of procedures, take the time to stop periodically and check for understanding of the information being shared. Increase the engagement of students in the learning by asking for volunteers to act out certain behaviors or asking students to restate procedures in their own words.
Classroom Procedures are an integral part of effective classroom management. Each year, I review the prior year's procedures presentation and always end up making changes because I learn during the year how much more explicitly I need to communicate my expectations around student behavior and movement in the classroom. Decide how much information you want to include in the classroom procedures but I have found that it serves both me and my students well when I consider as many aspects of movement and behavior as possible right at the beginning. Knowledge is power and I like to say “you do better when you know better”. By providing my students clear expectations of behavior and movement up front, I alleviate distracting behaviors like students getting up from their seat 12 times to throw away paper.
My policies and procedures presentation consists of those necessary behaviors that I expect to see consistently throughout the year. The sole intent of this lesson is to give explicit instruction about classroom procedures for both movement and behaviors so that we can quickly establish a high performance learning environment. For example, I have procedures on how to enter, how to exit, leaving your seat, how to respond to a visitor at the door, what actions to take if the grade is not a passing grade, participation, etc..
I admit that this is an “information-heavy” lesson. But, although it is a lot of material, the benefit is that students gain a clear understanding of behavioral expectations right at the start of the year, which allows me to be proactive instead of reactive about potential behavioral issues.
If students are left to themselves without classroom procedures, their behavior can derail the instructional environment and their learning. It's important to note, that there's no need to cover specific procedures needed for a particular lab or activity. Specific lab instructions are best given “just in time”.
Present a scenario for students to read. Ask students to identify how many actions and behaviors do not reflect the classroom procedures. Randomly call on students to explain how to correct each instance of error in the story. Encourage students to use the method of academic discourse if they agree or disagree with the comments of other students.
Create sets of procedures with labels. Separate the description from the label by cutting the two apart. Place both parts of each classroom procedure in an envelope. Give groups of two students an envelope containing all the classroom procedures ( both descriptions and labels).
Instruct students to work in small groups of two for 5 minutes to try to match the headers to the descriptions, using the pieces in the envelopes. As a means of motivating the groups, offer a small reward ( a piece of candy) to the first group that successfully matches all the descriptions and labels. Walk the room and survey the groups while they work to ensure that everyone is engaged and on task.
I like this type of matching activity because it engages the tactile learner. I also play music as a method of engagement, for some students. Playing music also serves as the timer for this activity. When the music starts, they start and they stop when the music ends. At the end of the 5 minutes, ask for groups to share their matches with the class.
There is no student work that is collected from this activity. It is merely an opportunity for students to engage in a simple review of the classroom procedures playing a matching game. By walking around and observing students' ability to match the movement with the procedure, you will be able to assess students' understanding of the class procedures.
Start at one end of the room and select students to tell you one thing that they learned today. Ensure that enough time remains so each student has a chance to respond. Do not take more than 2 of the same remarks. Asking students to share verbally instead of in writing is an intentional act because I want to establish early on that verbal participation is an important part of my classroom culture.