Managing a classroom effectively
For this activity, three special education classrooms were observed. My own K5 Special-Ed class, Room 31 4th grade Special-Ed class, and Resource Special-Ed class. In these observations I observed how the rules and procedures were implemented, and how teacher and staff interactions affected classroom behaviors.
PERL K5 Room 32 Special Education
Teacher: Janelle McGee
Activity Observed: Social Skills
When observing classroom 32, the rules and procedures were listed on a poster and visible to staff and students in the classroom. There were three posters placed around the classroom that reminded students of the school rules. Those rules were “Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be a problem solver”. There was also a work done procedure in the classroom. This poster indicated the options that a student had when they completed their work. Those options included drawing a picture, writing a story, reading, and completing worksheets.
These rules were being implemented in the classroom observation. Student’s were required to raise their hands before speaking or shouting out answers. When students occasionally forgot to raise there hands, they were asked by the teacher or a staff to reframe and try again. Because the class is special education, some students have goals that require them to raise their hand in order to answer a question. Per my observations, a student was required to raise his hand without speaking the answer out loud. This student was successful in three out of 5 trials. All four students during observations were being safe, following the raising hand rule before speaking, and they were being respectful.
Some rules that were not being implemented was the no running rule. When students were dismissed into their stations, a student ran to the blue station and was asked to reframe and try again by the teacher.
The rules and procedures established in the classroom during the observation had a positive impact on the application on student behavior. Student’s were calm as they followed the safe procedure. Student’s were on task as they knew what behaviors were expected of them. The teacher and staff modeled high behavioral expectations, and the students worked hard at meeting these expectations.
In the observation, the organization of the students included group-like setting. As there are only four students in the class three stations were being ran. Those stations were the red station which was ran by the teacher and had two students, and the other two stations was the blue and purple station. The blue station had a staff and two students, while the purple station had one staff and one student. This organization of students had a positive impact on behaviors because the separation of students allowed for one on one student and staff interaction, which created a positive classroom climate for motivational learning. Student’s were staying in their seats since it was separated groups, and they did not have the need to get up.
The type of activities students were engaged in during the observation included independent work with ten minute station intervals. Each student had an assignment to complete while a staff sat next to each student for guidance and support. This resulted in positive impact on student behaviors because a staff was always besides a student to remind them of the rules.
In special education classes students are expected to misbehave. During the observation there was no misbehaving. When students did not follow the rules and directions, the students were asked to reframe. The impact that this had on the students was positive, as it reminded students of the class rules that need to be implemented.
The strategies and withitness used by the teacher included setting clear expectations and directives. The teacher modeled positive behavioral expectations and was a positive influence in the class. Consistency is key as it creates positive habits in the classroom. Positive reinforcements by use of praise allowed students to feel respected in the classroom. Each student is different, and requires different methods to handle behaviors. In special education students have behavioral intervention plans (BIP's) to assist students in on task behavior in the classroom.
Room 31 Special Ed
Activity Observed English Language Arts
For this observation I observed the special education class next door to mine. This class contains five students with a large staff to student ratio. During this observation the activity the students were engaged in was ELA (English Language Arts). The students were sitting in a circle on the rug in the middle of the classroom while the teacher read a book and asked questions about the book. During this time four students were participating in this activity while another student was at his desk typing on his Chromebook, while a staff was sitting next to him.
The rules and procedures were posted around the classroom. The school rules posted in the classroom included “Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be a Problem Solver”. There was also a work done procedure poster in the front of the classroom. The behavioral expectations in this classroom were very high. The teacher modeled high behavioral expectations, and the students knew how they should behave on the rug when sitting down next to their peers listening to the story. The teacher required hands raised before speaking when asked a question about the story. Also the students were well behaved and kept their hands to themselves while on the rug together. They followed the rules while in this activity, although the teacher had to remind two students twice to keep their hands to themselves, or by the warning they would return back to their desks. When given this warning, this teacher student interaction had a positive impact on student’s behavior because the students got a reminder of expected behaviors, as well as were able to get a warning to turn around their behavior. The students who were on task the whole time were rewarded with positive reinforcement in the form of tokens on their token board in which they could earn candy when the token board was filled up. This was a similar reinforcement strategy next door, as all special education classes follow this positive reinforcement procedure.
The students were organized into a small quiet group on the rug for teacher and group instruction, while one student had individual work at his desk while a staff was near him monitoring him. This organization of the students had a positive impact on student behaviors because the expectations for behaviors were set high since students were expected by teacher, staff, and peers to follow all rules while on the rug, otherwise they would have the consequence of returning back to their desk. This group work activity had a positive effect on academic behavior since students were able to be in a group setting and interact with peers as well as teacher and have a group discussion.
The teacher’s response to the misbehavior on the rug group activity breaking the rule keeping hands to themselves, resulted in a positive impact on the students behaviors, as it provided warnings to the students misbehaviors which allowed them to fix the wrong behavior. This also served as positive praise to the students who were on task, as they received tokens for modeling positive behavior, and the impact of this allowed for the on task students to continue being on task.
The strategy that the teacher implemented of giving warnings and then the consequence of returning to the student’s desk when they became off task was a memorable strategy in which I also use in my classroom. I thought it resulted in positive behavior from students, as well as reminded students what proper behavior should be implemented. I believe students behaviors could be improved in a group like situation if the teacher reminded the students of the rules she wanted implemented prior to the students getting released to join as a group for activity.
Some withitness and behavioral management techniques that are useful when keeping a positive impact on behaviors in the classroom include keeping structure and consistency. Teachers should also model positive behaviors that would like to be seen in the classroom. The behavioral expectations in the classroom should also be set high by staff, teachers, and students themselves in order to result in positive classroom climate, in turn motivating students to learn.
Class Observed: Resource Special Education Grade 2
Activity Observed: Writing
This last observation I observed Special Education Resource class. The activity being taught was writing and the population of the student was a second grader. It was individualized instruction, since there was only one student in the classroom.
The school rules were posted in this classroom as well. Those rules were “Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be a Problem Solver”. There were no visible classroom rules posted. Since the teacher was giving one on one direction whiles sitting directly next to the teacher, the safety behavioral expectations were set high, as the student was expected to be safe and keep hands to himself while completing is writing assignment with the pencil. The teacher student interaction had a positive impact on the student’s behavior, as the student was expected to be safe with the pencil while completing his writing assignment. The student followed the safety behavioral rule while with the teacher, and no consequences or warnings were given for misbehavior since the student did mot misbehave. This student was great completing his work with his pencil without having to be reminded of behavioral rules when using a pencil. I think it would have been beneficial to the student to go over rules of behavior regarding pencil usage prior to working on the writing assignment.
Strategies and withitness of the teacher in this resource program are that there should always be consistency and structure in the classroom. Clear expectations and directives should always be addressed. Creating positive habits in the classroom will make for a positive climate which will help motivate students to learn.
Marzano, R. J. (2010). The art and science of teaching: a comprehensive framework for effective instruction. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Reading Specialists and Classroom Management. (n.d.). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Classroom Management. doi:10.4135/9781483346243.n270