I've listed a few things I found to work well for me in a suburban high school with freshmen and sophomores taking advanced math courses. The majority of my students were already motivated. They were interested in learning and especially interested in good grades. But there were a couple of students in each class who for whatever reason were not so interested, and not motivated to do well.
Key ideas that worked for me included:
- Being excited myself about being at school, about the lesson, letting my passion for kids and math be obvious.
- Greeting students daily, getting to know them, asking about their extracurricular events - building relationships.
- Planning lessons with multiple activities - some with movement and/or group work.
- Letting go of the small stuff; i.e. I kept a supply of pencils and paper in the room; I stopped grading homework*; most of the time students could choose their own seating.
- Keeping parents in the loop by sending out a weekly email blast with class announcements, links to presentations, and updates on class events.
- Keeping a class website with presentations, notes, and class assignments that both parents and students could access.
- Maintaining a standardized testing routine - phones on front desk, backpacks in the front of the room during the class period when tests were administered.
For that kid who was not interested, didn't want to work ... I tried to be pleasant, friendly, firm, consistent. I looked for areas of his/her interest that I could connect to. I gently insisted on participation - nudging, cajoling. I also talked with his/her mom or dad to be sure we were on the same page.
Our school administrators required us to write a classroom management plan. This is a copy of the last one I wrote.
*I know homework is a hot topic ... in a future blog post I'll explain why I stopped grading homework.
I teach an online continuing education course on classroom management. In that course we review eight models of classroom discipline. Each model has benefits. When creating our own classroom discipline models, we often take bits and pieces from these models. Below is a summary of those models: