California Educator

April 2013

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Page 37 of 47

> SHARING Teachers Teaching Teachers STORY AND PHOTOS BY BILL GUY CTA���s Good Teaching Conferences are outstanding professional development opportunities. Last month���s Southern conference in Los Angeles had 1,225 educators learning more about Common Core standards, special education���s impact on all Simple Solutions to Classroom Management A retired San Diego Education Association member, Rick Morris taught grades 4-6. Session takeaways: ��� Relationships act as an achievement multiplier. That���s not to say what we can all sit around singing ���Kumbaya��� and everyone���s magically pro���cient. Mastery of any subject matter ��� and especially math and reading ��� requires three ingredients: direct instruction, student engagement and follow-up tutoring. ��� It���s about classroom culture. Bottom line, the secret to a happy, productive classroom is rooted in the concept of student autonomy and self-direction. However, for independence to ���ourish, students need to develop self-control. And self-control is best learned when students are given freedom. ��� Of all the ideas and strategies I shared during ���ve sessions, Class Cards, the Freedom List, and Safe Engagement (the ���Thank you��� strategy in which teachers take multiple responses before evaluating any responses) are the ones I most recommend for helping to transform the classroom into a productive environment. Good resources: ��� Robert MacKenzie, Setting Limits in the Classroom ��� Dream Class and the soon-to-be-released Keys to Classroom Management by Michael Linsin ��� Want to know more? E-mail Rick at 38 California Educator April 2013 teachers, and new ways to engage students. CTA members who lead workshops pass rigorous muster to share their knowledge, skills and expertise with colleagues. Here is a sampling of two members��� presentations. Refocus: The Most Powerful Solution to Problem Behavior Moreno Valley Teachers Association member Greg Solomon is an instrumental music teacher and coach at Vista Heights Middle School. Session takeaways: ��� Kids are wired to challenge teacher authority in the classroom to ���nd their boundaries. Boundaries create safety. Wellde���ned expectations with ���rm, fair and consistent discipline create a safe environment for kids at all grade levels to learn. ��� Challenges should not be taken personally. Expectations must be clearly de���ned and methodically practiced by all students. Teaching to expectations takes time and energy, but it will pay off huge dividends throughout the year. ��� Punishment alone will never change behavior. Students must be allowed to make choices regarding their behavior and must be held accountable for their actions. A great resource: Want to know more? E-mail Greg at

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