Looking back, the year in Rm14 started with an overload of reward based management systems. We had The Throne, Teams, The Marble Jar, Brian the Bear. I found that these tools were successful to an extent: Children came to the mat quickly, they tidied their desks quickly, lined up well - but they were making my life too complicated with tallying points, making sure the same team didn't win week after week, nominating people to take Brian the Bear home etc The reward based system also wasn't something I was 100% sold with. I want to see intrinsically motivated children and I don't think constant chocolates is encouraging this. I also could see that many of the kids who i was really trying to target with these rewards were often indifferent to them. My lack of total buy-in also may have been evident to the kids. I also had too many systems running at the same time and for too long a timeframe. The kids possibly also lost interest I can appreciate the usefulness of an extrinsic reward as it DOES work, to an EXTENT. I think it could be useful to have 1 form of simply run reward system for the first term to help entrench routines and expectations. But it would have to be extremely simple and very easily managed.
I also had an incredibly useful piece of feedback from Helen King, one of my mentors at PES, who noticed that although I had expectations of classroom behaviour, I was not insisting upon them being met in the classroom. Specifically, I wanted the kids to sit quietly on the mat while I introduced the next stage of the day's learning. Some children were quiet while others were not meeting this expectation. So keen was I to carry on with the lesson, I would talk over them rather than insist on their quiet. This was a major learning for me and guided my classroom management for the rest of the year. This is also the key learning I will take into Term 1 Day 1 next year.
Through my term 1 inquiry group chats with Russell Burt and Rob Wiseman, I came to see the role that an engaging activity can have in managing behaviour. Consequently I have spent lots of time working on creating engaging and challenging Explain Everything Activities to follow on group reading sessions. My first activities were too complex and not scaffolded enough and didn't encourage learner autonomy. They have come on since then with recorded audio instructions, making full use of digital affordances, repeated slide templates etc.
What I need to do more of next year is provide more constructive feedback on the finished EE, share good EEs on blogs more and direct the children to them. My data was interesting. kids made more of a shift in the 2nd half of the year better readers made bigger shifts than average readers So what? get routines and expectations down quickly so learning can happen take regular running records of children and act on what i discover record the data beautifully and work with it use EE templates regularly and change up as we shift to a new term.
And finally ... I tried hard to create positive relationships with every child in room 14. Shaking their hand every morning and high fiving them on their way home. For me this felt like the right way to go about forging a classroom environment from which to build good behaviour, engagement and a love of school, and some learning.