1. How do I teach new behaviors?
Children learn best through imitation and repetition. So I do all of the behaviors I want the children to have all the time. And I repeat. And repeat. And then repeat some more. Some children are visual learners so I have lots of picture cues. Some of auditory learners so we read the classroom rules and other important information out loud every day until the new behavior is integrated into the daily routine. And for the whole body l learners, we role play and act out desired behaviors.
2. How do I teach expectations?
See above! And I think it is very important to let your students know what your expectations are upfront, before you start anything new. Most children want to please you, period. I believe that. They will do what they THINK you want them to do if you do not TELL them what your expectations are. Sometimes what they think and what you want are two very different things! Communication is key here, and I think they can also tell you what their expectations of you as a teacher are. This is great practice on teaching about expectations and what it means to meet, exceed or not meet expectations.
3. How do I monitor student behavior? whole group? small groups? individual?
I monitor by using all five senses. It is funny when they kids actually think I do have “eyes in the back of my head”. I had a child look for them once. When things are too loud, or too quiet I know something is going on. It may be great learning, sometimes that is loud, sometimes it is quiet. It may be great mischief happening. Any extreme in noise, activity or movement usually is an indicator that I have not set clear expectations. The students, as the school year progresses, learn to monitor their own behaviors. This goes back to them understanding, practicing and modeling safe, kind and responsible behaviors.
4. What do I do when a student is not exhibiting desired behavior?
I have a “What’s my problem” book that has pictures and ways of solving problems in it. The children will conference with each other to try to solve problems. If they can’t do it alone they learn to ask a teacher to help them. Again, I use lots of picture cues! That really helps those with language issue or learning delays. I also model having a temper tantrum, being mad and sad and have the children help me learn how to deal with those feelings. And sometimes, the kiddo just needs food, sleep or to be left alone. I think sometimes we forget kids are people just like us, and sometimes we just have “off” days, or something significant is going on in life that we don’t know about, or they are hungry, thirsty or just plain tired.
5. Whose classroom is it?
I am a lot like a parent on this issue. Just like with my own kids (wonderful college kids that they are), this is MY HOUSE (or classroom). I pay for it, supply it and lose sleep over making sure it is a safe happy place to be. BUT…… we all live here and we are all responsible for making it a great place to spend time in. We all are a critical piece of the family in the classroom and we all have our roles and responsibilities to make it a happy home. We all have ownership, although it is my ultimate responsibility as the adult to set the tone for safety, learning and emotional health for all who spend time there.
6. Locus of control?
I want a pay check for doing my job. My job is to teach. The children’s job is to learn and I am sure they want something for doing their job. What that is changes from student to student. It may be helping to choose the themes. It may be earning something extra like an ice cream party. I believe children should be intrinsically motivated to learn, but I also believe success should be celebrated and I have nothing against celebrating!
7. Where are supplies stored?Right now everything is at home because the new classrooms don’t have any flooring yet! But during the school year almost everything is out for the kids according to the theme (I like to change stuff around and not everything I have would fit in the classroom!). Learning through play is each students job when they are in my classroom, and they all need different materials to learn, so I try to keep as much out and in their reach as possible without overwhelming them.