Focused classrooms maximise students’ on-task learning time by minimising disruptive behaviour and disengagement. See how the Year 6 teachers at Loxton Primary School work to create a focused classroom from the beginning of the year.
Megan Hoile: Focused classrooms, I think, are essential, because if we don't have a focused classroom and we don't have students listening to us and knowing what their routines are, we can't get very much teaching done, we can't have very much learning happening within our classroom. So it's really important to have that focus from the students right from the beginning of the year.
Telesha Winter: Rules and routines are often established first day, basically. So the first day of school when they come in, we tell them what we expect of them, we brainstorm different expectations that they feel they need. Got the school values as well, which all the children at the school know. They know that's expected of them as well.
Megan Hoile: I think high expectations are really important so that the students understand that we will be modelling the behaviour what we expect from them is the best for their learning. And the reason is because we want them to learn and enjoy school. And if they want to have an enjoyable experience, then these are the things that we will do within our classroom.
We have a whole-school approach. So it's really easy for us to establish something between the two of us that's clear and consistent. The students know that we know the rules. And if I went into any class in the school, I'd be using some of the same strategies. So both of us model our behaviour and I guess the steps within this school.
Students: [inaudible 00:01:29].
Telesha Winter: Okay. Thank you.
A simple prompt that we use. So instead of focusing on the children who might not be ready to learn, or haven't got their books out like we've asked them to, we'll focus on the students and say like, "Well done. I can see that. So and so is ready to begin the lesson. They've got their book open like I asked." And then often, the children who aren't doing the right thing will see that and get their books out quite quickly.
Megan Hoile: I think the go to classroom routine for us is starting the date with the welcome circle. I think that if our day starts with our welcome circle and it's a really positive beginning of the day, our students are much more successful, our lessons are much more successful. So we always start with positive touch, we call it, whether they'll high-five each other or do a foot tap. They'll use another student's name to say, "Good morning."
Students: [inaudible 00:02:23].
Megan Hoile: A positive primer really starts our day off on that positive note. So it gets them to have a little bit of a laugh and engage with each other in terms of their relationships. And the other thing is that we do have different types of games that we will use. So some of them are the deescalating games where we actually have noticed maybe today they've come in very hyper. We need to settle our class. So we'll choose a game that's deescalating. Other times we are needing to get them up and moving and really enthusiastic about something. So that might be where we'll use a slightly different game where it involves a little bit more loud, laughing a lot. And that will get them into that mood. So it depends what we are needing from them the next lesson.
Telesha Winter: 3, 2, 1. And track the speaker.
Megan Hoile: It's really important because the students can then maximise their learning. We, as teachers, know that they're able to focus on what we are teaching and get the most information from us and practise their skills. And so I think it's all really about making sure they're comfortable and they're very aware of what's happening within the classroom.
Telesha Winter: Well, I think it's important just so that the students actually know that we believe in them. So we think that they can achieve those expectations, both like academically and just in their behaviours in general.
Keywords: classroom management, engagement, disruption, disruptive behaviour