Thank your teachers

Sunday, January 18, 2015

When there is a death in the classroom community

A new resource for educators offers insights and guidance to support students dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Toronto District School Board purported to be dysfunctional: blames trustees

TDSB report a stinging indictment of trustees and the Education Director's salary

Report by troubleshooter Margaret Wilson, citing a ‘culture of fear, orders Toronto trustees to stop meddling in everyday operations.

After watching Canada’s largest school board wallow in dysfunction for years, Queen’s Park has ordered Toronto trustees to stop meddling in everyday operations — no more interfering with principals, no more treating schools as personal “fiefdoms,” no more private offices at board headquarters — in a bid to ease the “culture of fear” cited by troubleshooter Margaret Wilson in a report released Thursday.

Sandals also ordered the board to drop education director Donna Quan’s salary to $272,000 from $289,000 because it violates the province’s wage freeze, even though trustees voted earlier this week to leave it unchanged.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Strong school health programs = Long term success

People for Education

People for Education 641 Bloor St. W. Toronto, On M6G 1L1 Canada

Strong school health programs = Long term success

new paper from Bruce Ferguson (SickKids) and Keith Power (Memorial University), shows that strong mental and physical health programs in schools have broad and long-lasting individual, social and economic impacts. But they say that despite the evidence, comprehensive school health programs are rarely implemented and are often squeezed out by other priorities.
Ferguson and Powers review a wide range of programs and measurement tools and their findings provide strong support for broader measures of success that include physical and mental health.

Why citizenship education matters

In the 1970's and 80's, the vast majority (more than 80%) of 18 to 24-year-olds voted in federal elections. In 2011, only 39% voted.

In a new paper released this week, University of New Brunswick professor Alan Sears argues that the "weak and fragmented" state of citizenship education in our schools may be one of the reasons for the plummeting voter rate. He says that developing clearer goals and success measures for citizenship education would help to turn around growing citizen disengagement among young people.
Citizenship is one of five new domains that People for Education is proposing should be added to broader goals and measures for our public schools.
People for Education is excited to have two new papers to add to our Measuring What Matters initiative. And in the New Year we're taking Measuring What Matters on the road - presenting at conferences in Cincinnati and Chicago, an international UNESCO/Brookings Institute conference in Kigali, Rwanda, and closer to home, in Ottawa and Toronto.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

There is more to education than the 3 R's: measuring what matters

Measuring What Matters

People For Education did a survey
More than 4000 people responded to the Measuring What Matters survey, and expressed strong support for broadening the goals for education to include areas beyond literacy and numeracy:
  • 84% said the general public definitely or probably does not understand how schools contribute to students' success in domains like social emotional skills, creativity, health and citizenship.
  • 47% would probably or definitely not assume that if a school has good literacy and numeracy scores it is doing a good job overall.
Percentage of respondents who agree with expanded goals and measures
 Set goalsExpand measures
Social-emotional skills89%79%
Quality Learning Environments96%89%

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Behaviour Management in the classroom

This is a lecture I gave to my student teachers at the Faculty of Education

A. Reasons for Misbehaviour  

Getting attention
– Focus on catching kids being good
– Ignore
– Do not nag, coax or scold
– Give attention to “good” kids – I like the way I see Jess’ agenda on desk”
Looking for Power
– “I can’t continue without your cooperation”
– Use the preganat pause
– “Do you think you could help by being an example?”
– Don’t lose your power.
Seeking Revenge
– Seek another student’s help.
– Use peer/class pressure.
Displaying Inadequacy
– Encourage and support the student
– Provide lifelines. “Call a friend”
– Do not indicate defeat or frustration – like animals who smell fear!
– Provide success at their level and react positively.

B. Preventing Misbehaviour

Classroom rules: assemblies, in class, school yard


C. Teacher Oath

“I will be fair, AND I won’t always be equal.”
I will always listen to your explanation of the story.
Because life can be unpredictable and unfair, consequences or penalties will
depend on ALL information and circumstances.
You will not always be treated equally.
Some decisions are private and will not be shared with the class.
I will attempt to be as fair as humanely possible.

D. Classroom management

When people become emotionally involved and are backed into a corner you have a
problem. We see destructive, angry, aggressive behaviours.
For students whose homes are Fight or Flight all the time – this is their reaction.
Reinforcement vs. Punishment
Punishment teaches: fear, aggression, avoidance.
Reinforcement - increases the likelihood of that behaviour happening again.
A student looking for attention e.g. Class Clown, will repeat his/her behaviour. Kids
looking for attention will ask for help and support and won’t make a move until they
know they will be right. Fear failure.
Breaking a curfew:
Punishment – consequence meant to decrease behaviour.
Both can involve something positive, to add something, or negative, to take something
away. Good marks on a report – you don’t give more work.
Postive punishment = to add something unpleasant: more chores, earlier curfew.
Negative punishment = take away privileges.
When kids come to school tired, I suggest they get to bed earlier.
Dr. Phil = TV in bedrooms, earn back TV time. 20 min HW = 20 min. TV. Manage the

E. Strategies

1. Privileges & responsibilities
2. Safety nets: taking risks
3. Office interventions
Have worksheets at the ready:
What did I do?
How am I responsible for it?
How can I prevent it from happening again?
4. Kiss of all kisses
Neutral response to misbehaviour. Godfather kisses betrayer. “I will see you at recess.”
Condemn the sin not the sinner.
“I do not like your behaviour.” Calm = control.
5. Reward or Consequence cards
Have cards handy: free recess, computer time or lines, write a letter, last out to recess,
One recess timeout in office.
6. Message on the desk - J L
7. Visual cues
– simple lists
– "Ignorance is not knowing. Stupidity is the active pursuit of ignorance"
8. Show me you are listening – what does listening look
9. Proximity control
10. Private appeal – private signals
11. One-minute correction
Could you rephrase that comment?
Can anyone help her find a better way of saying it?

One-minute discipline

1. Take responsibility- the buck stops here, the problem isn’t the kids, the
2. Accept your students unconditionally- they come to you wit so many
problems, accept them, care for them.
3. Commit to students growth through interventions-document, get help, read,
4. Delegate, work smart, and save energy. You have 25 helpers-use them. Make
sure that everything runs in your absence.
5. Open the gate of change. Teach each year anew – do not teach one year 20
times. Take a risk and try something new.
6. Add more tools to your repertoire. Keep adding new skills, tactics, strategies.
7. Be prevention-centered. Safety, Prepare them, let them know what you expect,
train them to disagree agreeably, teach them skills, standards, phone parents
early and teach manners so they know what your expect and demand it.
8. Promote self-reliance through transformations.
9. Develop relationships and a culture of appreciation.
10. Continually improve your instructional competence. Stay current; keep them
in the prefrontal cortex.

11. Constructive Criticism

1. Criticize privately
2. Give suggestions when you are NOT angry, ansulted, wronged
3. Condemn the behaviour not the person
4. Avoid the word YOU
5. Use I messages
6. Give the student a chance to be heard
7. Let the offender suggest a solution
8. Phone home /father – or not.
9. Be firm.
13. Behaviour modification
– Thank you for picking up that piece of paper!
14. Teaching while walking around – be visible
15. Seating arrangements -
16. Separate students -
17. Timeouts
– needs of group over needs of individual. Mathew- moving, disinterested, and
18. Consequences fit the crime –
If homework isn’t done – do it as recess. Make Recess Club an opportunity for extra time
and attention.
19. 90/10 rule
– 90% interactions should be positive.
– Building rapport increased likelihood of buying in.
– Catch them being good.
20. Voice Control -
21. Questions & requests
Desist Commands: “Don’t even think it.”
22. The laser stare –smile & wait
23. Pregnant pause
24. “See me after class” –whispered
25. Broken record
26. “3 Before Me”
27. Secret word – pizza
28. Sandwich technique:
positive, criticism, positive. “The first row is correct. You may want to rethink that
answer. I’m very proud of your effort.”
29. Routines & Class Jobs:
– Gopher, newspapers, calendar, attendance
– Procedure & practice = routine.
– Be consistent- don’t ask for hands sometimes and not others. This
confuses them.
– Entering the class
– End of the period: Clear off your desks. Don’t move until…. “5 pieces of
paper bigger than your thumbnail.”
– Responding to questions – “I disagree with that answer.”
– Handing in papers
– Participating in class discussions
– Regular morning routine i.e. “To do” list 
30. Paper clips
– 5 tokens per period/per question/comment
31. Manage Transition times smoothly
- give 5 min. warnings, don’t get them excited before a quiet activity. Use music.
32. Class meetings
33. Share Power
“If you want true power, you must give some of it away.”
Giving choices empowers students. Continuum.

34. Room arrangement

ClassDojo is a digital classroom management tool

This is an interesting high-tech tool, for teacher with some time to spend. ClassDojo is a tool to track children exhibiting particular behaviours. The teacher agrees to track certain behaviours, and reinforces the student when this behaviour is demonstrated.

behaviour management charts
Some say that the 'carrot and stick' mode of behaviour management is outmoded, but I disagree. This type of method tracks kids behaviour numerically. Unfortunately, some are using it to track negative behaviours, or deducting points for inappropriate behaviour.

This isn't the best method, in my experience, for improving behaviour in students who are working on their classroom self-control. I've used a fair number of tracking methods, but only for kids who need it. This seems humiliating if you have to be public about it.

There are privacy concerns about this tool, as parents can have access to the tracking system results. How humiliating to watch a kid having to walk up to a large SmartBoard and deduct a point.
There are some potential issues around the personal data collected and third party tools.

Personally, I liked my behaviour management charts. They are silent, easy, quick and do not embarrass the studetn.

New York Times article about ClassDojo and other tracking apps.
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