Highcroft Herald

January 4, 2016

Quote of the Week

“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Happy New Year!

Key 3: Management - Part 2

As Kagan and Kagan share in their book, Cooperative Learning, management is the key that frees teachers to teach and students to learn; simply put, it is critical. Management is not an end, but a means to establish the proper environment for learning, and like great medical care, a fully developed approach to classroom management has the aim to eliminate the need for itself. That is, in the well-managed classroom, students learn to manage themselves. As the goal is approached, the need for extrinsic rewards for desired behaviors vanishes.

There are several aspects to effective management. As educators, we utilize a variety of structures and techniques to manage student attention, noise levels, time, materials, energy levels and individual student concerns. We are most efficient in our management when we are able to simultaneously manage these facets of our lessons as “simultaneous management,” management that engages multiple students at once, saves time and creates greater student self-reliance.

While there are countless structures and techniques for managing these aspects, many of which I see daily as I walk our building, the following are some that I found as great reminders as I reread Kagan and Kagan’s chapter on management.

Quiet Signals

Each of us has a signal for gathering students’ attention during a lesson. Whether you utilize “Give Me Five,” clap in rhythm or choral response, being consistent in your implementation is what drives this management technique. Remember that whichever method you use the goal is for you to have all students’ attention within 3-5 seconds and that you should wait until you have all students’ attention prior to proceeding on with your lesson. If we bend on these expectations, we send a message that it is okay for some students not to engage and ultimately not gain knowledge. You might find that there is a need to practice your expectations for your quiet signal with our return from break.

Sponge Activities

When managing extra time, we call upon activities designed to absorb students’ extra time. Whenever students finish at different rates, we have “sponge activities” ready for students to work on so there is no excuse for off-task behavior. A former colleague of mine would create an anchor chart with her class titled, “I’m Done, What Should I Do?” Unfinished work was always number one on the list, followed by incomplete homework and then activities and learning games that students could complete without adult assistance.

Managing Energy

As students sit for any prolonged time, the supply of oxygen and glucose to the brain decreases and they become less and less alert. To combat this state, we must get the students up and moving their major muscles, as movement increases the heart and breathing rates and flow of blood to the brain. We can utilize techniques like StandUp-HandUp-PairUp, classbuilders and energizing music to assist in increasing energy.


We often try to provide instructions by talking. A far more efficient approach is modeling. Students better understand what to do if they have seen it done; it takes a greater deal of time for some students to understand if they are only told what to do. Think of it as “Show-Don’t-Tell” instruction.

If you would like further suggestions for management techniques, feel free to come borrow Aaron’s or my Cooperative Learning book.

Coaches' Corner

Be on the lookout for exciting articles beginning next week!


Monday, January 4

  • Professional Development Day
    • AM - District Development - 8:00 am - 11:00 am
    • PM - Building Development - 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Tuesday, January 5

  • 2nd Trimester Grading Window Opens
  • Lucas Out of the Building - Character Education Action Team - AM

Wednesday, January 6

  • Late Start
  • Family Group - 3:15 pm - 3:45 pm

Thursday, January 7

  • Choir Rehearsal - Music Room - 8:00 am - 8:45 am

  • DIA Meeting - CRB - 8:00 am - 8:45 am

  • Central Band visits 5th grade - MPR - 3:25 pm - 3:45 pm

  • Oleshchuk - Marcia Ponzar - PM

Friday, January 8

  • Crowell - Marica Kampelman - PM
  • Stilts - Debbie Spitzer - All Day

Upcoming Dates

Spelling Bee - January 13th

CPR Certification - February 8th - 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm