FOR SOME GREAT IDEAS ON EVERY
ASPECT OF CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT, SEE THE NEW 2ND EDITION OF
- WHAT NEW TEACHERS REALLY WANT TO KNOW
- THE ROOM ENVIRONMENT & THE FIRST WEEKS
- THE CURRICULUM & THE STUDENTS
- STUDENTS WHO HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS
- HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SANITY
THE STUDENT LEADERSHIP
Leadership is a personality
trait. All of us are on a "leadership" continuum.
At one end, there are those that thoroughly enjoy and search
out leadership roles. At the other end, there are those that
actively seek a non-participatory status when forcibly involved
with a group. Think back to your group work experiences in
college courses, or your association with committees in your
own school. Did you naturally "take over" the leadership
of the group? Did you take an active, but participatory role?
Did you sit back and take an absolute minimal role in the discussions
of the group? It was your personal leadership style that served
as the greatest determining factor as to amount of your group
To briefly explain this
phenomenon, during a study of Cooperative Learning in the classroom,
I videotaped small group work during four different Cooperative
Learning units. The videotapes were then analyzed, and the
types of leadership shown within the various small working
groups was explored. Each student was classified by predetermined
criteria as either a "Leader," a "Follower" or
a "Non-participant." The following are an explanation
of the categories of leadership and leadership roles:
STUDENTS SHOW FOUR TYPES OF LEADERSHIP:
student is concerned with the process--keeping others on
task, getting supplies, etc.
student offers a new idea to the group (versus simply answering
someone's question with a research result).
LEADERSHIP--The student gives praise or encouragement
to a member of the group.
student gives negative feedback, or creates off-the-topic
humor to disrupt the process, even momentarily.
STUDENTS TAKE THREE DIFFERENT LEADERSHIP
students "run" all facets of the group, and initiate
virtually all dialogue between members.
students readily answer questions and participate, but
usually only at the instigation of one of the leaders.
students never offer information unless asked; they never
volunteer for anything. However, they normally will do
whatever task is assigned to them.
Amazingly, it was discovered
that the only students who ever took significant leadership
roles within the group, were those students who had been
categorized as "leaders." "Followers" sometimes
showed some leadership characteristics, and always at the
instigation of the leaders. "Non-participants" never
took any leadership roles; they answered questions when
asked while using the shortest possible answers, and they
quietly did their work without any interaction with others.
What was fundamentally
interesting, and most important when determining Cooperative
Learning group roles, was that a student leader might show
leadership in "task" areas one day, or "intellectual" or "social" areas
the next. The leaders varied in their leadership roles
depending on what other leader happened to be in their
group on that particular day. However, in all cases, all
leadership roles were fulfilled by those students previously
characterized as leaders. A student classified as a "follower" or
a "non-participant" never took a leadership role
within the group.
The repercussions of
these findings are central to the development of a good
Cooperative Learning lesson or unit. For if only those
students with personality styles that enjoy and seek leadership
take leadership roles, then the previous espoused concept
of passing around group leadership becomes increasingly
problematic. For if you make a student with a "non-participant" personality
style into the group leader for that session, at least
one of three possibilities will probably result:
The students with leadership
personalities will take over the group process.
The students with leadership
personalities will exert their internal need for leadership
by sabotaging the group in some way, often unconsciously.
(See the description of "Coercive Leadership" above
student forced into leadership will be so uncomfortable
and distressed at this role, that either nothing will get
accomplished, or he will allow those who enjoy leadership
to take over the group.
In all situations,
if a "non-participant" type of student is artificially
forced into a leadership position, the group will not function
in the way that you originally planned.
Rather than incorporating
predetermined group "leaders," a potential solution
to this problem is to list tasks, or jobs, for the group
to fill, and then let the natural group dynamics sort them
out. For instance, you may tell a group that they need
a spokesperson, a runner, a secretary, et cetera, and let
them figure out who will do what job. You will find that
in most cases, the group will distribute its leadership
and task roles within minutes.
As an additional anecdote
to this issue of group leadership, I had fun with the results
of an extra cooperative learning lesson, one not included
in the above study. In this lesson, among the various groups
constructed, I ensured that three strictly homogeneous
leadership groups were formed: one of all leaders, one
of all followers, and one of all non-participants. The
results were at times, humorous. The leaders group argued
vehemently about who was going to do what task and cover
what area. Finally, the students picked sections of the
project out of a hat, and each worked on his own material--with
no group cooperation or interaction. Since they were told
that there was to be a group grade, many of the members
covered areas assigned to other students, in addition to
their own, figuring that they could do a better job! The
followers had the best functioning unit, for within their
own group, some had more leadership traits than others,
and a natural hierarchy developed of leaders and followers.
The non-participants each worked on the entire task, each
on their own, with no feedback or discussion among the
members of the group.
DR. SCOTT MANDEL
PACOIMA MIDDLE SCHOOL
LOS ANGELES, CA
CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT MONOPOLY
This is a fun way to encourage students to have a
monopoly on great behavior!
- an old monopoly board
- token to move around board
- blank die
- I use an old monopoly board, but any game board with squares
or sections that have a beginning and an ending would work
fine. Our school is using a "on the right track" theme
with trains and train whistles, so I incorporated that theme
with my monopoly board. I glued "train tracks" around
the outer edge of the monopoly board. I attached velcro on
each space of the board and on a train token, so that the train
can "move" around the board. I took a blank die and
used a marker to put a 1 or a 2 on each side of the die. I
made a sign to place on the center of the board, titling it "We're
on the Right Track Monopoly".
- When my class receives a compliment, every student turns
in homework on time, does something special, etc, then they
get a roll of the die. We'll move the train either 1 or 2 spaces,
depending on what we roll.
- If they land directly on "free parking" they'll
get a small reward for making it halfway around the board.
I'm planning on giving them a Hershey Kiss or a couple of M&M's.
- If they land on "go to jail" rather than making
them go all the way back to the jail section, they'll be penalized
by having to run a lap around the playground at recess or do
10 jumping jacks - a fun and healthy penalty!
- We will draw a reward card from community chest to start
the game, so the class will know what they are working toward.
It may be a popcorn party or an extra recess - something they'll
work for. Once they pass "go" they've won the reward
- BUT - will have the option of trading in the community chest
reward for a chance reward! If they choose to trade the known
community chest reward for the unknown chance reward - then
that is what the receive instead. Of course, the chance rewards
are also true rewards that the students will enjoy - it's just
the surprise of the unknown - and adds to their interest and
- After winning their reward, we start out a new game with
new rewards and continue using the monopoly board for classroom
management throughout the school year.
HENRIETTA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
- circle cardboards from pizzas
- On one side of a pizza cardboard circle (poster board works also
but not as well), divide the area into a desired number of sections
by dividing the circle (across the diameter, like a pie).
- In each section print the desired information or questions and
then on the back of each section write the corresponding answer.
- On both sides of a clothespin, near the clip end, write the answers
to the information or questions.
- Place the clothespins in a plastic bag and attach to the circle.
- The students read the information or question, they select the
clothespin with the correct answer from the bag and clip it to the
edge of the circle near the corresponding question (a version of
- For a self check the student can flip over the cardboard and see
if they have put the correct answer (clothespin).
- This can be placed at a center or for when students are "done" with
all their work. Students can also be the developers.
- A few examples for the different areas:
- math: multiplication (all the 9 facts on one), addition, subtraction
or division facts; fractions, decimals and percents (pictures
and the fraction or decimal and percent equivalents); numerals
and expanded form; digital and analog time; pictures of coins
and amounts; angles and degrees; sin, co-sin and tangent
- language arts/ English: antonyms or synonyms; vocabulary and
definitions; authors and books; upper and lower case letters
of the alphabet; abbreviations;
- science: chemical equations (ions); animals and kingdoms,
- health: organs and functions; foods and food groups;
- social studies: people and inventions; dates and events; states,
capitals and abbreviations (countries also);
- Foreign languages: vocabulary and the English translation
- definitions and terminology for any content area would work
HANCOCK MIDDLE SCHOOL
A SCHOOL/CLASS RECOGNITION PROJECT
The concept is based on the ideas of "Pay It Forward" and
blue ribbon awards.
- royal blue ribbon, the 3/4' works best and is sold on spools
- small gold safety pins, be sure they are the kind that have a loop
(or a curl) scissors
- thimble-you will REALLY appreciate having this
- zip lock type bags, gallon for class and quart sized for 3 ribbons
- optional: colorful or cheery computer paper, to write a personal
message or instructions
- optional: a children's book to illustrate kindness, selfless or
- Pre-teaching activities: Submit the idea in writing or verbally
to the principal, assistant principal and if possible your team leader,
it is crucial to have the support of your administrator and team
for the success of this project. Once you have the go ahead, enlist
help to cut, place on the safety pin (like the AIDS and Cancer ribbons)
count and sort into bags per student and class. On a Friday or Monday
present the idea to the class to gage interest and publicity
- Open with a short brainstorm discussion or children's story about
kindness, recognition or other related topics.
- After a few minutes, share a brief story of someone that you want
to recognize and why.
- Then call on a few students to briefly share similar stories.
- Then after they have ownership of the idea of recognition, pass
out blue ribbons to the students individually and help them put them
on if needed.
- Another way is to start with 1-5 students and individually recognize
them and have those students in turn recognize another student and
so on until the whole class has been recognized.
- Try to say something to each student, but in the interest of time
a whole class statement is fine.
- After they are wearing their ribbons, have them think about someone
that they would like to recognize for their positive contributions.
- Then pass out the individual zip lock bags with 3 ribbons to each
- The students recognize one person and present them with a ribbon,
then the other two ribbons that are left in the bag.
- The recognized person then recognizes another person and presents
them a ribbon and the remaining ribbon in the bag for them to pass
- To adapt this activity for the whole school: With the administrator's
approval, make ribbons for each student in the whole school-enlist
help for this if possible.
- Have a student from your class pass out the ribbon bags to each
teacher in the school, and be sure to have the students recognize
everyone on the campus with a presentation of a ribbon, and possibly
one to pass on. You might want to discuss this project in detail
with the faculty in writing (on the cheery paper) or e-mail, a brief
presentation at a faculty meeting is also good. You may also want
to have the students in your class create a mini-explanation and
type it up to copy/distribute with the ribbons.
- Upper elementary learners can write journal entries about topics
relating to the project including the person they gave a ribbon to
and why, personal reflections/opinions about the project. Lower elementary
can create a picture and a sentence, or dictate what is in the picture.
- The student excitement and enthusiasm for this project is contagious!
Not to mention the parents and the rest of the school. It is amazing
to see virtually a whole school wearing blue ribbons and a smile.
- Submitted by,
ALLEN ISD SCHOOL
This gives the students a sense of belonging and also pride in their
- construction paper
- star tracers
- pencils, crayons, markers
- Have each child color and decorate a star with their first name
printed across the middle.
- Hang just outside the classroom with a banner that reads "Stars
of Room 3" or "Bright Stars of Room 3".
- Tell the students every single day, that they are your "stars". Tell
them that you've never had a class of students who shine as brightly
as they do. Make them proud to be in your classroom. Make
them proud to be one of the classroom family.
- I've noticed that students become very protective of their classroom
family and take more pride in keeping the classroom neat and tidy. There
are fewer 'put-downs' and fewer problems because they are all taking
responsibility for being 'shining stars'. This activity works for
all elementary grades K to 6. The older students will spend
longer decorating their stars but they will all be very proud to
have them displayed.
- Submitted by,
Education Assistant, no school listed
KAMLOOPS, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA