During the lesson ….
Be organised and well resourced – you need to be in the classroom the whole lesson.
Only let one student leave your class at a time (with a pass). This should only happen in circumstances that, in your professional judgement, are exceptional.
The quality of the feedback you give to students is crucial because it sets the climate for learning within the classroom. Your feedback must be appropriate, descriptive and very regular. You will need to move between feedback that is for work and feedback that is for behaviour.
Teach verbal or visual clues to the class which signal when you need quiet attentiveness (eg. Teacher counts down from 5 with hand up and then SLANT).
Remember that the ratio of feedback should be 5 positive comments to every 1 that is negative. Students need know that you are acknowledging their efforts; this motivates them to work even harder. Use ‘mystickers’ to reward students and send postcards home to support this.
Use pre-consequence strategies for dealing with low-level non-disruptive behaviour. If you think you need to deliver a consequence, remember to issue the student with a choice first, often they will make the wise choice and begin to conform.
Keep judging the pace of the lesson and adapt accordingly. By constantly moving around the room, students are more likely to stay on task; you’ll will be able to gauge better the quality of the learning, build good relationships with individual students and, importantly, know when or if something needs to be re-taught to the class.
Just as you must build routines for the start of the lesson, so too must you think about the standards and expectations that you want when students do group or paired work. Again, these have to be taught, students need to know what you expect to see and hear when they work together. Do not set such activities, until you have put a framework in place for them to follow. If you don’t set your expectations, students will make up their own.
For students who become easily distracted, set timed tasks, use the timer on your whiteboard or stopwatch. Those students need to know that they will only get your attention when they have completed so many minutes of work. Set the parameters and stick to them.
As you work the room and look at students work, initial and put the time in the margin of their book so that you can keep a measure of their commitment to completing the task. This is a useful reminder of what you expect them to do. Remember, you are always going to focus on the positives of what has been completed.