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The Formative Feedback Project is a collaborative curation of best practices in educational strategies, ideas, resources. Specializing in student ownership, engagement, feedback loops and collaborative, effective feedback.

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Start Here: Classroom Management

Taylor Meredith

I met a former colleague for coffee this morning and we had a great discussion about classroom management. After thinking about how my classroom management philosophy has evolved over the years I decided to try out the first series here on The Formative Feedback Project called "Start Here." In the age of internet and ideas (see my post here, featured on The Educator Collaborative blog) gathering information about a particular theory or strategy can be overwhelming. My aim for "Start Here" is to create simple, straightforward content rooted in best practice and suggest a few possible next steps. Let's see where this takes us. 

First up - classroom management.

1. Have a clear vision. Before a new year begins ask yourself three questions:

How do I want our classroom to look?

How do I want our classroom to sound?

How do I want our classroom to feel? 

I try to answer these questions in the general sense, as well as during specific instructional times. Discuss with your students, allow them to develop into a shared vision. This is where true ownership begins. 

2. Set your expectations impossibly high. Over the past ten years I have been lucky enough to teach students and classes that have been extremely challenging (I say this with complete sincerity). Hold them to those high expectations - especially during the most difficult times. 

3. Be prepared for hard work. Responsibility and social/emotional growth is hard, really hard. Tell your students that the work they are doing is hard. Be honest, own it and they will too. 

4. Authentic consistency is essential. I talk about our levels of responsibility, choices that we make, hard work that we are doing, recognize growth and share new adventures every day. I do this in slightly varied ways but always with curiosity and joy.

5. Get to know your students. Especially your most challenging students - this step is so, so important (the most important). Spend a few minutes each day getting to know them as individuals. Spend a few minutes each day getting to know them as a class. Practice Threshold (from Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov) Listen. Listen to what they love, what they wonder and what they know. Be an interesting person and let your students to get to know you. 

Possible next steps:

Is the Feedback You’re Giving Students Helping or Hindering? (Dylan Wiliam)

Storify: Creating Classroom Environments (Two Writing Teachers)

Carol Dweck's TED talk (via Mindshift)

The Risks of Rewards (Alfie Kohn)

The Power of Morning Meeting (via Edutopia) 

Everything I need to know (about teaching) I learned in Kindergarten (while teaching) (via Kristine Mraz)

Would love your suggestions for classroom management ideas, next steps and as always, feedback please! 

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