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Classroom Leadership

Managers react to change. Leaders create change. This is true for any form of leadership including a Fortune 500 company, a sports team,  and even a classroom.  We should no longer call it classroom management and in my school we are no longer referring to it as that.  We now call it classroom leadership. We have a folder on our shared drive devoted to classroom leadership ideas.  Classroom leadership is about creating the proactive routines of expected behavior. No longer should we practice the firefighter technique of waiting for behavior to flair up and then extinguish it.  We should be more like Smokey the Bear and prevent forest fires, I mean poor behavior. Routines are not rules. Rules are the behaviors students should avoid for consequences. Rules are usually drilled home the first day of school and only referred to when a student steps out of bounds.  Routines are about expected behaviors. What are your expectations for entering the class, getting into groups, exiting groups, turning in homework, and especially transitions?  In a former district, one of our teachers created a routine for turning in homework that looked like synchronized swimming.  Guess what that teacher was doing while the students were engaged in this routine?  She was teaching.  She actually found out that by creating this routine she could add three minutes of instruction to her class. Amazing, because the number one thing I hear teachers complain about is: TIME!!  Proactive routines actually will increase your instructional output. These routines and expectations should be behaviors that are teachable, observable, and can be acknowledged.  They should be taught and re-taught. They should be a part of your daily language. For example, "Class, today we are going to work in collaborative groups. Who can tell me one expectation for group work?"  So, when thinking about the behavior in your class be reflective in thinking about the routines you have created or didn't create. It's not too late to the change the world, even in the small portion of the world called your classroom.  Here are some tips:

  1. Identify all the possible routines in your class: entering/exiting, group work, handing in hw, presentations, returning from fire drill, getting the class refocused.
  2. Identify the expected behaviors in each area. Remember the expected behaviors are phrased with what you want to see (don't use don't). For example, Enter class, check objective and begin the starter activity.  
  3. Teach the desired behaviors explicitly with role playing, not just dictating them
  4. Practice the routines. 
  5. Make the expected behavior part of your daily language
  6. Practice the routines after long breaks from school.
  7. Recognize your students for meeting the expected behaviors. Research says you should have a 4:1 ratio of positive comments to negative comments
  8. Love what you do!

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