Quality Learning is an approach to improving learning and the quality of school life.
It provides simple tools, methods and concepts to make classrooms and schools more efficient and effective.
Developing Classroom Protocols:
▪ TO PREPARE BEFORE DAY 1:
▪ Ch’n must bring in their own earphones/headphones in a labelled gladbag to use for the year
▪ Send out half page introduction of myself to parents/ch’n. Ask parents to secretly list 5 kind/encouraging words that describe their child and send them with their child on day 1.
▪ Create BENCH – small masking tape square on floor away from others, make BENCH explanation poster, Red warning cards ‘name’ ‘date’ ‘reason for warning’, folder for completed warning cards
▪ late pass slips, folder for ch’n late slips,
▪ ‘have-a-go’ sheets, box to store ‘have-a-go’ sheets, an in and out-tray for the sheets to be collected and checked each day
▪ ear muffs and cd player for calm corner, ‘calm corner’ book for recording who has visited, blue cards for ‘calm corner’, CD player, CD with short guided meditation http://www.just-a-minute.org/resource_centre/).
▪ Comfortable cushions for chill out zone, ‘keys’ for the chill out zone, books, ipods?, paper, pencils
▪ orange hexagon for each child’s desk stuck down with blu-tak. One side is white with their name, one side is just orange. Hexagon should always be on white side. When they are finished work early, they turn hexagon over to show orange.
▪ ‘New words we can spell’ – poster. When ch’n have had the ‘have-a-go’ slip corrected they add the new word to the back of literacy book and to this poster for class to see
▪ ‘No Whinging Workspace’ sign
▪ Setup prayer space: Copy prayer prompts from 5/6TC, prayerful music, prayer table, cross, candles, matches, idea to create class prayer cloth
▪ Class organization:
– Class jobs chart
– Class name board with spot for sign in, chill out key, blue card for ‘Calm Corner’, toilet break
– Daily timetable board
– Current state of the room board ‘untidy’ ‘sparkling
clean’ ‘messy’ ‘ok’ ‘fine’
– Noise level chart
*USSW/R (uninterrupted sustained silent reading/writing) sign
▪ This morning Mr. Collins is feeling……..display. (‘well rested’, ‘happy’, ‘excited’, ‘sad’, ‘tired’, ‘nervous’, ‘scared’, ‘angry’, ‘upset’, ‘exhausted’, ‘unwell’, ‘sorry’, ‘anxious’, ‘worried’, ‘great’, ‘well’, ‘lucky’, ‘blessed’, ‘relieved’, ‘overwhelmed’, ‘shocked’, ‘terrified’, ‘terrible’, ‘amazing’, ‘hurt’, ‘unsure’, ‘grateful’, ‘thankful’, ‘lonely’, ’embarrassed.’) Have this as a short discussion point for beginning of the day. Explore how to work through anxiety, sadness, over-excitedness through modeling these thought processes
▪ Large world map poster
▪ Pernelle Ripp’s blog – parents handout forms
▪ Create class prayer cloth
▪ Label school books
▪ Do Wordle activity and create ‘Guess Who’ wall display with the parent 5 words plus one of child’s choosing.
▪ Ch’n write out their hopes for year, hobbies/interests, footy team, fav food/drink and TV show, fav song and movie. Once written these are rehearsed and recorded onto iMovie. At the end of saying it they could either spin or jump etc into the future. At end of year repeat activity and they start video by jumping/spinning in and can update on how things are at end of year.
▪ How we welcome visitors/guests
▪ Appropriate classroom and school manners
▪ Appropriate technology use
▪ Inclusion (sometimes we must work in a group of three so that no one is excluded) we don’t leave classmates out. What does inclusion look like? Show pictures/videos/stories. What do we do if we feel left out? Make role-plays and have students film them. These could be put on blog as examples of inclusive behaviour.
▪ How do we respond when things go wrong (eg PE is cancelled or we can’t have free time today or we miss out on something fun?) we don’t groan/whinge. We take some quiet deep breaths if we need, and move on. Maybe do another role-play group on this, which is filmed and put onto blog for how we respond when things go wrong.
▪ Discuss ‘Chill out zone’ – sometimes we need some time to relax, chill out, and keep calm. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 1 student is given ‘keys’ to the chill out zone and can use it for 10mins block during the day when the teacher nominates that it is open. No talking. You can read, write, draw, listen to music with headphones. These two ch’n are also responsible for keeping their chill out zone tidy.
▪ What does a tidy room look like? Explore pictures and words of a clean/tidy room. How do we clean up? (Begin at our area – desk, floor, then expand out.)
▪ The back 5 pages of each child’s literacy book are for new words they have learnt to spell – have ch’n rule these pages up. (if they don’t know how to spell a word they take a ‘have-a-go’ sheet from the box. Three attempts, circle the one they think is their best try, quietly ask a ‘good speller’ friend if they are correct, if the friend doesn’t know then place the ‘have-a-go’ sheet in the ‘have-a-go’ tray. These are checked/corrected by the teacher at the end of day and are the child’s responsibility to collect the following day. Once the ch’n have the correct spelling, they add it to the back of their literacy book and add it to the ‘new words we can spell’ poster.
▪ BENCH -(*B*e still, remember that *E*verybody makes poor choices sometimes, *N*ow take one minute or so to think about why you are on the bench, *C*ould you have made a better choice so that you didn’t have to remove yourself from the class? *H*ave 10 slow, quiet but deep breaths in and out- this helps you feel better and to calm yourself. Your teacher will let you know when you can join the class again) if you have made a poor behaviour choice in class time you will first be given a verbal warning. If behavior continues you may be asked to remove yourself from the group and sit on the BENCH facing away from the class until the teacher thinks you are ready to join the class again. Absolutely no talking or distracting others. This is time to reflect on your behaviour choice and think of a better choice you could make next time. (Bench could be masking tape square on floor). Once teacher instructs that you are to rejoin the class, you must first quickly fill out a red warning card. These red cards are in a special tub and say ‘name’ ‘date’ and ‘reason for warning.’ Completed red warning cards are to be put in the warning folder. Any red cards will be discussed with the teacher at a separate time (miss out on some lunch time to discuss).
▪ We are in a ‘No Whinging Workspace’ (e.g – I can’t draw, moaning when we are doing maths etc, if someone contributes to discussion and we put them down).
▪ Discuss breathing techniques. Have students jog on spot to get warm rate up. Discuss how they feel. Now, 10 slow, deep but quiet breaths in an out. How do they now feel? Power of breathing.
▪ morning routine (sign in, set up table, do morning job, riddle, role, class prayer)
▪ being late – sometimes it happens. When it does, this is what we do [protocol], if class prayer is on we wait at certain table until teacher invites us to join group
▪ assign class jobs (technology assistants, class tub, etc.)
▪ Explain the ‘today Mr. Collins is feeling…..’ board. Have this as a short discussion point for beginning of the day. Explore how to work through anxiety, sadness, over-excitedness through modeling these emotions and thought processes
5 CLASSROOM PROTOCOLS:
▪ Explain to class that we begin the year with 5 classroom protocols (if, then): create role plays based on each one. Cover a new protocol each day and make role plays. As year progresses, protocols may need to be adjusted or more protocols may need to be added :
[if you are late then enter classroom quietly, take a late pass from the tub and fill it out, place it into folder, sign in on the name board, hand in any special notes to the teacher quietly, join the class.]
[if you are unsure how to spell a word then collect a ‘have-a-go’ sheet (3xtries), ask a friend if any attempts are correct, they might not know so then place it in the ‘have-a-go’ tray which is checked/corrected at the end of each day. You are responsible for collecting the sheet the next morning. You can only hand in one sheet a day so choose the word you want to learn carefully.]
[if you need to go to the toilet, then before you ask the teacher – did you take the time to go at recess or lunch? Is it urgent? If so, you may quietly ask the teacher “may I please go to the toilet?” You must go with your buddy, signing out on the name board before you leave. You must sign back in when you return.]
[if you are feeling an EXTREME emotion (extreme anger, over-excited, very sad, very nervous, very scared, alone, other) you may need a little break – you or your teacher may decide that you need to move to the ‘calm corner’ for 3 minutes. Then go to the special tub to collect a blue card. Place this blue card next to your name on the name board to show that you have chosen to take some time out to calm yourself. Here you can put on your headphones and listen to two short guided meditations or meditate in silence with the ear-muffs on for three minutes (downloaded onto CD from http://www.just-a-minute.org/resource_centre/). No one is allowed to interrupt you during this time other than your teacher. Once your time is finished, pack up, record your details in the ‘calm corner’ book, put the blue card back in the special tub, and re-join the class quietly. Your teacher will speak with you about your time in the ‘calm corner’ at another time. **If you have visited the ‘calm corner’ more than once every two weeks, your teacher might need to chat with you and the principal to discuss how we can manage these recurring EXTREME emotions together.]
[If you have finished your work early then flip the hexagon on your table over so that it shows orange. Answer these questions in your head before asking your teacher what to do – have you proofread your work to make it the best it can be? Can you complete a ‘have-a-go’ sheet for a word you aren’t sure how to spell? If you are doing maths – have you double-checked your answers. Is there any other work you haven’t finished yet which you could go on with? Is the table and floor around you spotlessly clean? If you have answered all these questions and have completed each one, only then is it OK to ask your teacher what you can do. If your teacher finds that you have not checked through each of these questions then you may need to fill out a warning card.]
The following are 3 items I will check off as I prepare the classroom for RE next year:
1. Ask for copies of school policies/practices such as homework, RE programs, proformas, school reports etc.
2. Prepare room for RE (setup prayer table, liturgy box, sacred space, prayer promts etc.)
3. Plan first day – welcome liturgy, get to know you, class prayer etc.
Recess and lunchtime can be scary, lonely, and dreaded times for children who have no one to play with. As someone entering the teaching profession, I have found that lunchtime and recess are often the last things on my mind during the busy day. Upon reflection though, I have come to realise that my duty will not end once the children walk of out the classroom and onto the playground. How soul crushing it would feel as a child to never have anyone to play with – especially since you don’t know why or what to do about it.
I would argue that children who have happy play are happier and more connected in the classroom.
I spoke with a young teacher recently who told me something she does EVERY DAY before recess and lunch, which has almost eliminated this issue in her lower primary classroom. She asks each child: “Who are you playing with today?” And the class does not leave the room until everyone has at least one person to play with. The children might be given a minute to meet in that group to discuss what it is they will play that day.
According to her she has seen lower incidences of bullying within her classroom, and has noticed improvements in classroom cohesion since she began doing this 6 months ago.
I will begin adding this little step into our pre-recess and lunch routine this week and look forward to reflecting on the results!
Animoto turns the camera roll into beautiful, pro-quality videos. Choose music and photos/videos to create and share videos.
Watch video here: Classroom Vision video
Created by the class at the beginning of the year to express the vision and hopes they had for the year.
Another three great posts from Pernnille Ripp! Her blog is a wealth of great info for new teachers.
Here are some key points which have really sparked my interest. On the first two days (article 1):
Some admin items I had not considered when beginning the new year in the classroom (article 2). I particularly like the idea to use numbers/characters instead of names on the boring stuff: