My classroom in New Zealand is home to nearly 30 students ages 6-8 with only one teacher to control the group on an average day. In order to keep her room under control Ms. Sturge exercises many elements of classroom management. During mathematics all the level 2-3 classes switch up into skill-levels so she has to manage those students as well. With that many students keeping a track of assignments and papers could be an issue but Ms. Sturge has worked out a system to keep each child’s work organized and easy to grade and hand back. Each student has a notebook for each subject and after they complete an assignment they glue it into the appropriate subject’s notebook. They then hand in their books flipped open to the page they worked on into an appropriate crate. At the end of the day, Ms. Sturge is able to grade the work from each crate and hand it back to the students the next day. I thought that her system worked really well for keeping track of paper but also allowing for fast feedback to the students.
Because it is so late in the school year in New Zealand, the students have become very used to Ms. Sturge’s directions so there is not a lot of misbehavior amongst the class. She gives simple warnings to students by saying their name. This grabs their attention and pulls them back to what they should be focusing on. However, when a student is acting completely unruly and disrupting other students Ms. Sturge asks him/her to move his/her name on the behavior chart. I have heard of this technique done in other classrooms but for the first time I saw the success of such a system. The student is forced to get up and physically record the consequences of his actions and as a result has time to think about what he/she was doing wrong. This system was far more successful than simply telling the student to stop his behavior because it involved the student and caused him/her the inconvenience of having to get up and move.
Finally, the last successful management element I saw in the classroom was the classroom job system. Each week a pair (or trio) of children were assigned to one of the twelve jobs listed on the wall. Jobs were done in the last five minutes of the day and involved cooperation amongst students but also got the classroom in order. This part of the day was taken very seriously and was never skipped even if the bell had already rung. This made the students take responsibility for their environment and structured the ending of the day.
Overall, while these strategies are not extremely different from those used by teachers in America, it was nice to see them in practice and being used so successfully!