Maintaining good classroom management has always been a weakness of mine. It wasn't until I took a class through Walsh University this spring that I discovered many unique, successful ways to help me monitor my progress and help manage and chart student behavior. When charting myself, I focused on controlling my emotions, keeping my tone of voice in check, and confronting challening students individually. I kept a simple binder with each class roster printed with student names and columns for days of the week. The last thing I did before leaving for the day was pick up the binder at the door and reflect. After several weeks of use, it became very routine for me to rate myself and give myself a weekly score. I have definitely learned that, "I cannot manage student behavior if I cannot manage my own."
I was also very successful with monitoring student behavior. Very much like my own personal rating system, I used a Behavior Rating System for charting student progress. Now, I will say I was apprehensive about using this system because it is not like me to stop and reflect. Good teachers reflect though, and I discovered wonderful things about my students. First, I was forced (yes, the class forced me to try the rating system) to think about my students as individuals. I thought about their assignment completion, their classroom behavior, their attitude, their on/off task tendencies, and whether or not they followed classroom rules. My consistent use of this rating system allowed me to know my students better. I categorized them by placing them into groups including the Go-Alongs, Fence Sitters, Challenging Students, Leaders, and Model students. Each week, I picked up my binder and rated each student. The rating scale included: 5 points for model, 4 points for leader, 3 points for go-along, 2 points for fence sitter, and 1 point for challenging. After totaling the points, I always divided the number by the total students in the class, and this became my average score. The whole concept of points and 'moving my students' to new levels challenged me to do more. As Coach B. always says, "Who doesn't like a good game with levels?" I know I love to play a good game on my iPhone, and the progress chart challenged me to do more. I found myself looking for ways to help my students advance on the chart. I, in fact, became a better teacher! I used this system on a weekly basis. Sometimes there was very little progress, and other times, I thought I would cry. When you teach a student for months and you move them from 'Challenging' to 'Fence Sitter,' you truly want to cry with excitement. Sometimes, growth is small, but consistent charting over time, the small becomes enourmous and noticable.
The Behavioral Rating System allowed me to know my students on a personal level. It allowed me to see students that sometimes go unnoticed. The chart also caused me to have conversations with students that I would not have had otherwise. I want my students to know I care, and charting the progress of myself and my students definitely allowed me to 'know my students and their needs' more than I have in all of my teaching years. I can't wait to use it next year!
Behavior Progress Chart Rating Score: Two Thumbs Up and a Mighty Ten Finger Woo