Friday, January 15, 2010

Classroom Management: A step in the positive direction!

Do you ever arrive at work with a new and exciting lesson prepared only to have the class arrive with less than stellar attention spans?
Don't answer that. I know what you're going to say. We all dream of the perfect class, filled with well-behaved, little angels (wink!) but then reality hits. Slowly and surely, all the excitement of unveiling a brand new lesson floats away as you try to corral the little ones back to their seats (or at least get them looking in the right direction!)
Sometimes, it's not about the cool project, but basic classroom management. You know, dealing with the late arrivals, kids who need a drink of water, the girls who can't sit with anyone but their best friend and I'm sorry, but the girl sitting beside me just isn't my BFF. That sort of thing.
I've gotten better at dealing with it all. A few years ago, I was eating lunch in the teacher's lounge when a teacher asked the principal how to handle a problem. One of her students was doing something he shouldn't. The principal responded by saying, Remember, every moment is a teaching moment. Be positive with the child. Instead of saying, 'don't do that', say 'do this' instead.
I'll always remember that little piece of advise, even though it was not directed at me.
So when my students come into art class, I choose positive words as I instruct them.
"Sit at a spot with a blue paper," instead of "Don't sit there."
"Put your hands on your lap," instead of "Stop touching the supplies."
I think it helps.
I certainly don't know the psychology behind it, but I do believe that teaching in a positive tone makes all the difference between an engaged class and a distracted one.
As you practice positive dialogue, you'll catch yourself when you say something negative. Your brain will beep into action and you'll notice it. And if you notice it, so will the kids.
Just something to think about!


William said...

Great Reminder!

Lola said...

Amazing how those little tweaks make such a big difference. That positive spin takes some getting used to ( I have to stop and think a lot how to word my directions), but I have found the kiddos are so much more inclined to respond positively!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. Had an art class yesterday and the kids were driving me crazy! As a parent volunteer, days like this make me want to throw in the towel but your post is very encouraging.

TeachKidsArt said...

Good reminder! I don't have assigned seats in my art room, so I always tell the kids as they are coming in, "Choose a seat where you can be successful... not next to someone you'll be tempted to talk to!"

april said...

What great advice. Applies to "big kids" in your life too, I am sure. Helps with family squabbles so no one's nose gets out of joint. You're not trying to tell them what to do, you're suggesting. A very good reminder. Did your winter tree with the red cardinal and red fox the other day with my granddaughter and it's a masterpiece! Thank you always.

Erin Laughpaintcreate said...

Great advice for teachers and parents alike! I just love your blog!


cromleyc said...

If you love this type of discipline you should read Teaching with Love and Logic by Jim Faye. All his books are filled with tips to use enforceable statements and how to make your life easier when dealing with your students and even your own kids.

Patty P said...

Thanks for the book rec! I'll check it out.

Paintedpaper said...

Thanks! I need this today! :)

Mrs. Lindhorst said...

Great reminder, especially for this time of year. It definitely takes practice to make it an automatic response and it really does work! Thanks.

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