There were many leadership-training ideas described in this chapter for helping students become leaders. I particularly liked the concept of counting off students by 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s. Whether students are reviewing a rule or leading a Teach/Okay session, this strategy allows specific students an opportunity to be the leader. I also loved the "small group" advanced technique of meeting with different students and introducing material to them and creating gestures. This small group session is a perfect way to spend quality time with students while creating leadership roles. Both of these techniques allow students a leadership role while creating more time for the teacher to observe, monitor, and assist individuals or small groups of students. When students are better leaders, I am a better teacher, so these strategies will definitely help me improve.
Wow! It was difficult to pick just one idea from this chapter that will improve my teaching, and it is important to note, I plan on incorporating all strategies from this chapter. If I had to pick one it would have to be the Scoreboard. I have tried the Scoreboard several different ways, and I have to say, it is so very important to use it like it is described within the book. The +/-3 rule and the student Mighty Oh, Yeah and Mighty Groan responses work. There's something about the whole setup of the Scoreboard that is appealing to students, especially middle school kids. They love competing and having an opportunity to beat the teacher, and this is a reward that motivates kids for months. Other rewards, like extra recess or talk time, can be added later in the year. The board is a great way to unite the class as a team. It offers a fabulous way to reward positive individual/group behavior and a great way to correct off-task behavior. This is the best technique I have ever found to motivate my students and by far one of my favorites for improving my own teaching.
This chapter was filled with what I call "little gems." I loved the Positive Behavior Reinforcement section best. I have found my sixth grade middle school students love the Scoreboard (as described above) and one simple phrase, "It's cool!" When a student makes a mistake during class, the others reply, "It's cool!" This little gem works wonders for creating a positive environment where my students were not afraid to be wrong. Last year, when I made mistakes, my students even told me, "It's cool!" I can't wait to introduce this phrase early in the school year, as I know it will help improve my teaching.
This chapter proved to be the most difficult to discover a way to improve my teaching. After thinking about the question and the message delivered by this chapter, I think I need to pay more attention to my own classroom data. The schools mentioned in this chapter showed measurable growth across multiple subject areas and in the area of behavior. By tracking and periodically monitoring my own classroom data, I will be more aware of both individual strengths and weaknesses and how much growth and progress my students make. Monitoring individual student behavior, assessing students through a pre/post test, and comparing student end-of-year test scores from 5th grade to 6th grade will most certainly help my teaching.