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One of my greatest desires as an educator, and I believe strengths, is the ability to create and maintain effective environments for student learning.  This has been demonstrated through establishing clear expectations for positive classroom behavior, maintaining friendly, caring, relationships with students, and teaching clear routines and procedures so that the students value and respect the care of the materials.  

Creating and Maintaining Effective Environments for Student Learning.

December 12, 2017

Clear expectations of positive behavior is a foundation to establishing and maintaining an effective learning environment.  Not only do the expectations need to be clear, but the class needs to help create them and agree to them.  In our class, during the takeover, we established some new classroom expectations.  Being a 2nd and 3rd grade combination class, I felt it was relevant to emphasize the importance of the agreement.  To add a little interest, we wrote the new rules on an "official, yet ancient, scroll."  The students then signed the document and we hung it in the room with pride.  Not only did we set up the rules, but made mention of them on a regular basis to maintain the environment. 

Structures Opportunities for Students to Monitor Their Own Behavior

December 12, 2017

One of my greatest areas of growth this quarter was in classroom management of 2nd/3rd grade students.  Although I have spent a fair amount of time with older students, I was relatively new to this age level.  I found it necessary, in order to maintain a good learning environment, to continually reinforce the procedures and expectations.  I also solidified my pedagogy by practicing my ability to help the students manage their own behaviors.  During the course of the quarter, I found that I was constantly speaking with a handful of the students (visible students) where some of the students could glide in and out of the class on a daily basis without much interaction.  I created a self evaluation sheet so that we could have individual talking points with each student.  I really enjoyed hearing the students concerns and excitement.  One of the students, that girl that had ongoing behavior issues, did not like completing this form.  After two questions she determined that she would not score well throughout the form and got discouraged.  Knowing her personality, I turned the form over and thought of three questions she would surely rank herself as a "10."   I turned the paper back to her and she read the new questions.  She gave me a huge smile and then completed the form.  My hope in the form was not to make the students feel bad, but to open the door to conversations.  The form worked extremely well.

December 12, 2017

Teaching students to value and care for the classroom materials is almost as important as teaching them to care for each other.  Knowing the procedures and expectations for the classroom materials is extremely important.  To give the students this responsibility, I introduced a small programmable robot named HotCakes. The students were allowed to program the robot by using a classroom iPad.  This was a privilege for them and they showed that they could handle the responsibility.  In this process, I also created a unique worksheet that allowed the students to try to "think like a robot."  Throughout the quarter, we continually went back to the robot for more individual time and learning.  Not only did this lesson teach them the strategy of creating logic, it also taught them to be respectful of the materials.   

I also noticed in this process that the students that often had behavior issues were the most focused during the programming lessons.  This whole process proved to me that allowing the students to own the responsibility of the taking care of the materials was both possible and positive.

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