Week 1: Establishing Routines and Creating Norms


Week 1 

In my experience, you have to go slow in the beginning to accelerate learning the rest of the year.  I also know, a well thought out room environment can eliminate behavior problems.   With the increase in class size from 20 to 30, it’s more important than ever for every student to be able to self regulate if I’m going to meet everyone’s varying needs.  

Choral Academic Language Rehearsal During Direct Instruction

I love watching teachers develop oral language! Lately I’ve been taking notes on how they do it. I’ve collected a number of examples of strategies teachers use to help develop students’ language. In the below example, the teacher uses choral rehearsal of math vocabulary to help students become more familiar with the language of graphing.  

What are you thinking?

Peter Johnson author of Opening Minds Using Language to Change Lives writes, “…much of the intellectual process actually takes place inside our heads, and making current mental processes available to ourselves and others requires that we articulate them.  Articulating these mental processes is most useful when they are still in process and can be capitalized on for assessment purposes and revised so they are most productive.  Asking“What are you thinking?” is a simple way to expand this process thread in

Language Structures

Educational psychologists like Jerome S. Bruner (1966) stressed proficiency in oral language because they regard it as a vital tool for thought.  They would claim without a fluent and structured oral language, children will find it difficult to think abstractly and symbolically.  That initial language, the basis of the child’s thought, will be his first language whatever language that is.  (M. Clay Record of Oral Language) 

What Does Good Listening Look Like?

“Much has been made for teacher modeling in literacy literature, followed by guided practice, and independent work.  Understandably, teachers have taken this to mean that they must model and think aloud constantly.  However, at times less is more, and teachers must also model what good listening looks like.”  ( Mason and Gallaway IRA, Reading Today Feb/Mar 2012.

Generating Norms

 “Central to developing classroom contexts where rich oral language development occurs, is the establishment of a norm that promotes listening.”  (Mason & Gallaway, IRA, Reading Today Feb/Mar 2012)

If I’m going to teach students how to have a conversation, which involves listening and speaking, the classroom rules did not suffice to support behavior management. So, I thought why not set norms like most adult discussion groups do to have a productive conversation.