Week 12: RECAP & Week 13: A Teachers Role in Managing Behaviors

Class began with a refresher of last weeks focus on Minor and Major Behaviors. As a large group we were prompted to describe/remind each other of the following key ideas from last week.

  • Minor behaviors – distracts teaching but doesn’t stop it; however, these minor behaviors do have potential to escalate into major behaviors.
  • Major behaviors – has potential to place students/peers in danger, disturbs whole class
  • Minor behavior solutions: proximity to the problem, a quick verbal remark in which tone and infliction remains constant in which not to disturb the whole class, “teacher look” and removal of distracting item (e.g. pen).
  • Major behavior solutions: *Teachers response to these behaviors can also determine how much time will be taken from lesson and how many other students will be effected and how the misbehaving student responds* relocation of the misbehaving student(s), call to the parent(s), and in extreme cases of safety calling a resource officer for assistance.

This week, we discussed how teachers can use proactive approaches to nip misbehavior before it starts and ways to address them should these behaviors take place in the classroom. We also had the opportunity to take on the ideas of veteran level teachers through text and video.

Here are some lists I made during class that are worth sharing on my blog because I will be using these as “anchor charts” in my classroom. No, not for the students to refer too but for my own personal and professional development. I intend to use the following list in my lesson planning binder that I will refer to and double check to be sure I have included these guidelines in my lessons. If and when (and let’s be honest when will inevitably occur) my lesson plans fail I will make a habit out of referring to this chart and asking where might I have had gaps in my presentation.

Levin & Nolan (2014) refers teachers to a collection of prerequisite behaviors that will help limit misbehaviors. An abbreviated version of the list is as follows:

  1. Be Prepared
  2. Provide Clear and Concise Directions
  3. Set a Purpose/Objective
  4. Be Clear About Evaluation Criteria (Rubrics are a great tool)
  5. Be Consistent
  6. Be Enthusiastic (Encourages Student Engagement Levels)
  7. Foster Caring Relationships/Build Sense of Community

As a class we included a few extra ideas (to the right I’ll identify where I think they fall in to the Levin & Nolan (2014) list from above):

  1. Remain Calm <— Foster caring relationships
  2. Plan For Your Students Needs <— Be prepared
  4. Classroom/Station Design Fits Lesson <— Be prepared
  5. Be Culturally Sensitive <— Be prepared & Foster caring relationships
  6. Create Interesting Lessons <— Be Prepared, Be Clear and Set a purpose

All of these ideas are really connecting to my other courses and texts. From Children’s Psychology where consistency and building trusting relationships can raise ones level of self-efficacy which ultimately results in higher performance levels to Teaching Elementary Mathematics where I’ve learned sparking interest levels is the first step to engage students in problem solving. Everything is beginning to connect and make sense.

In the following class assignment we took a look at the different ways teachers can adjust/monitor behaviors in their classroom. Assuming the ideas from Levin & Nolan’s list fail to work here are a few other approaches. To put concepts into practice, we were grouped and given a task of identifying solutions to each category below:

  1. Change the Pace – If students zone out encourage a quick stretching sessions, use tools and not the same structure of the previous class
  2. Interest Boosting – (see below)
  3. Redirect Behaviors – Remove distractors, “give notice such as – Erica, I’ll be calling on you next”, group reminders
  4. Encourage Appropriate Behaviors – Rewards, Specific Praise, Academic Parties, Calling out Student Models, ClassDojo App
  5. Provide Cues – Walk By, Tapping Desk, Teacher Look

My group was assigned #2 – Interest BoostingTechniques and here is what we came up with:

  • Utilizing technology e.g. Interactive Whiteboards, geoboards.org
  • Incorporate “play” in learning
  • Groups/Classes with rotating roles
  • Field trips as extrinsic motivation

One approach I had not immediately considered was to boost interest levels from daydreamers, distracted students, etc. by acknowledging their work positively (Levin & Nolan, 2014). Once you have the student(s) attention you can encourage him/her to show his work to their shoulder buddy or show us how you got to that solution using the interactive whiteboard. This will be an approach I carry on my tool belt and refer to frequently. While, daydreamers may not have started their work I can refer them to previous work they did well as a way to boost their esteem and in turn raise their level of interest.

Scenarios – What is a verbal cue to help him get start? 

  • Student won’t get started with desk work – First class reminder: “Is everyone clear on what the expectations are?” – Then student specific reminder: Repeat of question with students name first
  • Student barrels through to the front of the line – “Name, I know you know better, please be a good role model to your friends and go back to your desk and start again.”
  • Student blurts out to another student across the classroom while teacher is providing the class a lesson – “Really?” “Okay, that’s fine you and you keep talking..the rest of us will wait”

In the scenarios above I’m reminded of how the littlest response to behavior has the potential to make the greatest difference in the overall environment and outcome.

The BIGGEST take-away I had from today was when my professor said “I think for the next MAT cohort I will have observations begin with MAT students shadowing elementary students in order to gain their perspective”. My professor has 10+ years of teaching experience at various levels and it wasn’t until she came across the blog/article “A Veteran Teacher Turned Coach Shadows 2 Students for 2 Days — A Sobering Lesson Learned” that she was inspired to try something new (Wiggins, 2014). Why is this revelation so valuable to me? I am reassured that I will make mistakes and that things will still work out okay. I am confident that I will be open to learn from colleagues and other education professionals who may have a different perspective then what I currently can see. I am aware that one of the biggest mistakes a teacher (or individual for that matter) can make is being afraid to change; especially when change is brought about by scientific and academic research. As a teacher, my goal is to not only to encourage students to develop the skills needed to become higher order thinkers and learners but to also not let myself fall into a “stuck in my ways” mentality. Thanks for the unintentional life/professional lesson 🙂

My next blog will not be until the first week of December and will be the last blog I write until my second semester. I look forward to rereading these and seeing how my thoughts grow and change!

Until next week,



Wiggins, A. (2014). A Veteran Teacher Turned Coach Shadows 2 Students for 2 Days — A Sobering Lesson Learned. Retrieved       from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/10/24/teacher-spends-two-days-as-a-student-and-is-shocked-at-what-she-learned/

Levin, J. & Nolan, J. (2014). Principles of Classroom Management: A Professional Decision-Making Model. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Week 11: Discipline Theories….Round 3

Week 11: Kohn’s Beyond Discipline Theory & 3-Part Venn Diagram

As we are nearing the end of our first semester of the MAT program classroom management theories are really beginning to take shape. The more approaches or behaviors I learn of and witness in real time the more I am able to start recognizing what my teaching style will look like. Hypothetically, of course, because teaching behaviors and practices are circumstantial but just as many theorist provide “visions” of ideal classroom environments my own images are becoming more clear. Well, before I get to into my personal preferences let me honor my promise from last week and review the third discipline approach.

This week we analyzed Alfie Kohn’s vision of discipline in the classroom. Below you will find the graphic organizer I used to to analyze Kohn’s Beyond Discipline theory.

Kohn's Beyond Discipline Theory

Kohn’s Beyond Discipline Theory

Do you remember my “light bulb” moment from last week? I described the reality check I had when I was “forced” to use a graphic organizer that became too distracting for my thought processes to focus on the task of analyzing Albert’s Cooperative Discipline Theory. I vowed that as a teacher I would provide many “tools” to my students because all minds do not organize and process information in the same way. This week I was quite pleased when I was advised to complete Kohn’s theory in ANY organizational style I desired. As it turns out I still felt limited in my layout because I would’ve preferred to use more color (ink or highlighters) to help me recognize ideas that fell into multiple columns. Honestly, its likely I’m overthinking it a bit because I was able to pull out main ideas but if given the chance I would create all of my organizers on poster boards using all different colors and fonts as I’m a visual learner.

Okay…I’m getting carried away but let’s check out what ideas Kohn brings to the management world. For me, the name alone immediately differentiates Kohn from Canter and Albert’s theory; Beyond Discipline. Kohn has criticized discipline practices deeming them counterproductive (especially reward and consequence systems). He claims they do things to students rather then involve students in the processes of classroom management and behavior regulations. Kohn’s approach is built upon the theory of Constructivism in which learning is identified as the cognitive experience of building on ideas and experiences. Kohn feels strongly that classrooms should reflect a community of engaged and self-regulated individuals who choose their behaviors and choose to learn as a collective. While his approach to management reminds me of how my graduate level classes are conducted part of me feels that it would be unlikely to succeed in elementary grade levels. One difference is the fact that I (and my cohorts) are willingly attending classes (that for some of us will take 5+ years to pay off financially) and are deeply passionate about the knowledge we are accruing. Students in k-6 classes might not all feel this way as school tends to feel more mandatory then seen as a privilege. However, I choose to hold on to my possibly naive view of how I will manage my classroom and say its possible to foster an environment that Kohn envisions in his theory.

Now we have three ideas and many different ways to apply them to practice. Lets first compare and contrast the theories. In class, we completed a Venn Diagram of the three theories (see below) and that helps me recognize how many characteristics are shared between each approach. Oh yeah, this is the fourth graphic organizer used to conceptualize these management styles and I liked this style better then my own but nothing is without flaws. For me, the Venn Diagram definitely made comparisons easier to visualize but contrasts (in this case, not necessarily in every case) were a little more challenging because the ideas were not black and white. Speaking of black and white, the fact that the organizer was color coded definitely helped me process the ideas more effectively.

Venn Diagram - Discipline Theories

Venn Diagram – Discipline Theories

Now that we have touched on the three different discipline theories discussed in class I want to pick out a strength from each and suggest how I will apply one or more approach in my own vision of teaching.

Canter’s Assertive Discipline: Expectations of behaviors are clear and consistent

Albert’s Cooperative Discipline: Uses misbehaviors as an opportunity to learn

Kohn’s Beyond Discipline: Provides a “least” restrictive environment for learners

I have to say the three strengths listed above are exactly how I want to manage my learners. As I discussed in my first post, I want to foster an environment where students feel safe and secure and learning takes place with little to no unnecessary interruptions. My ideal approach will be a cooperative community in which expectations of rules, procedures, learning and self are clear and consistent and set and agreed upon from day one. Misbehaviors and challenges that go against the agreed upon behaviors will be used as a tool to encourage higher level thinking and self-regulation that will allow learners to feel less restricted and more available to learning. I cannot state that one model above is the “right” model for me but I do believe having resources that back up your teaching style is important for administrators and parents so if I had to choose it would be Albert’s Cooperative Discipline but with more time and experience I’m sure I can find a theory or merge the theories to defend my ways. Also, it does all matter who my students are so I cannot definitively give my answer but I feel my foundation has been laid 🙂

Wow! Only four more classes left this semester! What will the future weeks hold? Stay tuned!


Charles, C.M. (2002). Building Classroom Discipline. Allyn and Bacon: Boston.