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How-To: Manage Your Classroom
How to Home
How To: Manage Your Classroom
NYC Helpline: Manage Your Classroom

Assessment and Management Rolled into One!  Nancy Powell

The year is progressing nicely but now that students know each other better, their talking is starting to become a problem. Your students seem to be a bit too social and you feel as if you are losing valuable class time at the beginning of the hour trying to get their attention and getting started. Does this sound familiar? If so, read on….

As educators, we have a need to know what students have learned and what they still need help learning. As always and even more in the last few years, assessment seems to be a huge focus no matter what classroom you’re in. So, why not kill two birds with one stone? At the beginning of the hour, have 1-10 questions for students to answer. The questions might be review questions, questions from their homework, quick definitions, or a personal reflection on a concept or something you are studying. You can put them up on the overhead, on paper to pass out as students enter the classroom, or on the board. Allowing them use their notebooks sometimes encourages them to take notes, do homework, and become more organized. Those are good study skills that should be encouraged and rewarded from time to time. The questions should take about 5 minutes to complete. Let students know that they only have 5 minutes to complete them to encourage them to get right to work completing the task. Talking seems to disappear at the beginning of class without you having to say a thing, especially if you circulate amongst them while they are completing the task that was set up for them. If you notice that they need more time and you can allow them to take more time, you can always grant them more time. However, don't do that very often or students will work that to their benefit and it will be frustrating for you. Then you've only turned one frustration into another.

Then, depending on the intent of the problems, pick them up to read and react to/grade or have students "trade and grade" the papers for instant feedback and a quick review. If students grade each other’s papers, they sign their names at the bottom so that if the owner of the paper has any questions before they are turned in, they know with whom to talk with. Don't have them read their scores out loud since it will cause someone, maybe someone very vulnerable to become chastised or embarrassed. Respect and accountability are the characteristics of the positive classroom management game!


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