A Teacher\\\'s Ramblings: Classroom Rules - The Quiet Zone
Jan 20, 2012 Classroom Management 3463 Views
I need quiet to work. I am made nervous and irritable when there are disruptions when I am speaking. Knowing that about myself I needed to create a quiet room. It turns out my students are also more relaxed and pleasant in a quiet place - even though they would NEVER admit that!
Our Classroom is a:
- Behave as ladies and gentlemen and follow school rules
- Give each other time to think
- Leave social talking and belongings other than class materials on backpack row
Behave as ladies and gentlemen and follow school rules
Students in my classroom, in an urban school, an under-performing school at that, students who were reading an average of seven grade levels below their age, had little if any understanding of how ladies and gentlemen acted! I truly never expected to have to INSIST that someone remain fully dressed!?! This was often a catch-all rule for things that were bothersome and disruptive. I firmly believe that the first step in bringing students up to grade level is teaching them how to BEHAVE like students, that is, to remain in their places quietly, pay attention [or give a good imitation of it] and not disrupt the learning of others. These are the things I taught with this rule.
Give each other time to think
Think? THINK? This was an entirely new concept to many of my kids. Even in a more 'normal' class it is often hard for the teacher AND for the students to give a person even a few seconds to THINK. This rule reminded us that silence is not a bad thing. I also taught my students a specific gesture [hand up, fingers crossed] that meant "I'm thinking; please wait" for the purpose of this rule.
Leave social talking and belongings other than class materials on backpack row
Ah! Backpack row! One of my greatest achievements! Students learn to leave EVERY SINGLE THING in their backpack in a marked area along the wall. With no electronics, no 'outside' reading material, and no 'toys' at the desks, my job becomes much easier! There is a simple tradition, phone rings in backpack - we ignore it...in pocket - INFRACTION! Also, since nobody goes to Backpack Row without specific permission and nobody leaves the room until ALL of the students have their belongings in hand again, personal property is actually safer in the classroom.
Quiet, as I envision it, is not focused solely on not talking, although Social Talking is included in the rules. It is also about quieting all the distractions - those that come from outside and those we create ourselves - and paying attention to our time together and how much we have to teach each other.
Quiet Zone is just one of the three Zones in my classroom: Safe Zone, Quiet Zone, and No Parking Zone. My ramblings will get to the other zones soon!