116: Contacting Parents - 3 Reasons Why You Should Contact Them Now

October 23, 2016


You don’t understand. You don’t have kids!


I will never forget these words.

A frustrated parent who was angry at a member of our team of teachers.

She blasted me with these words. Even though I have forgotten the reasons for the meeting and its outcome, I have never forgotten these words. It is now more than 20 years ago.

I have had kids now.

And now I do understand.


What I have learned the most is that you want someone to care enough about your child that they reach out and connect with you, the parent.

The older the kids get the more distance that starts developing.

It is easy for a teacher to put off or not contact a parent.

But...don’t listen to that voice.

It is important that you contact as soon as possible.

Not only that, be proactive. Call for good, not just bad.


Call because you want to inform.

Send home information just because you thought it was a great idea.

The more contact the better.

Today’s show is focused on the

3 Reasons Why You Should Contact As Soon As Possible

and the

3 Reasons to Call and Not Use Email.

Thoughts from someone who has been there and made the mistakes.

So what are you waiting for...contact ...contact...contact.


Length: 18:02

115: Classroom Management- Top 5 Classroom Procedures You Should Have in Place Now

October 14, 2016

Kids want and need to know how you do things.

You. The classroom teacher.


That is just one of the reasons why you should have procedures ready to explain to your kids on the first day of class. That way they know how you do things and what you expect.


Today I am talking about -

The Top 5 Procedures You Need to Have in Place in Your Classroom Now.

1. How you start and end class
2. How to transition between activities
3. If they need to use the restroom while in class what do they do?
4. If I am absent how do I know what I missed?
5. How do I turn in classwork or homework?

Often when a teacher struggles with classroom management it is actually a lack of procedures that stops the teacher from being successful.

As Harry Wong says, "The number one problem in the classroom is not discipline; it is the lack of procedures and routines."

When you have determined your procedures you have just begun because now you have to:
  • Tell the kids your procedures.
  • Practice the procedures.
  • Review the Procedures.
  • Practice Again.
It is tempting when creating procedures to confuse them with rules. Procedures are how you do things.

Here are some additional thoughts about creating your classroom procedures-

Keep them short.
Do not have too many.
Consistently observe your procedures.
It is a two way street. You must also follow your procedures.
Post the procedures where the kids can see them.

There are always other procedures that you may need to add, but determine what the most necessary ones that are needed in the beginning and put them in action.

Here are five procedures that I believe you need to put into action first:

  • How you start and end class.
  • How to transition between activities.
  • How to get permission to go to the restroom during class.
  • If I am absent how do I know what I missed?
  • How do I turn in classwork and homework? 
Take a look today and put them in action this coming Monday...Make Monday your do-over day!


Length: 18:18


114: Classroom Management - Starting Class

October 9, 2016


One of the greatest favors you can do for yourself as a classroom teacher is to learn to get the kids’ attention.

Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?

Most definitely.

Unfortunately, it is not that easy and too often this is where the adult takes a short cut.

You risk being run over by a freight train.

Quite simply once many kids realize that you don’t have a real way of starting class...your honeymoon is over.

Once they realize that you don’t have a way of getting their attention...you are soon going to find yourself talking over or above the kids' voices when you shouldn’t.

You have to have a way to start class and getting the kids’ attention. This is not a time to reason, plead or wish they would do what you say. You have to make getting their attention something that you always do.

In today’s episode, I am focused on the importance of getting the kids’ attention.


Here are my 5 Steps to Starting Class Right

  1. Know what you are going to do.

  2. Explain it to them

  3. Practice it

  4. Do it again

  5. Revisit

Here is an example of what that special piece of carpeting might look like.
Listen to Episode 42 and my talk with first-year teacher Melanie Knight to hear her talk about the carpet and other things. (She is now a 3rd-year teacher)


Enjoy working with the kids.

Thanks for listening.

Check out my interview with Ms Hair an elementary teacher who talks about deer antlers.

Episode 24: Teaching First Grade with Tonya Hair.

Check out info from Dr. Harry Wong on Gimme Five and other ways of getting the attention of your class.


Here is a Gimme Five Poster


Here are some thoughts about Call Backs


Also...Call Backs here.


Length - 17:24


113: Classroom Management-Withitness & Emotional Objectivity, part 2

October 3, 2016


This is a conclusion of a two part series concerning withitness and emotional objectivity.

Good classroom management requires the teacher to become emotionally objective. This doesn't mean that you don't connect with the kids, but it does mean that you get control of the part of you that might start believeing that everything the kid does is to get under your skin. Too often adults working with kids can easily get fixated on the idea that a kid does everything at or toward the teacher. For example, not getting his homework done, failing to be on time to class, getting into arguments with other students, or simply not following classroom procedures.
This type of thinking can drive you batty.

It ultimately can drive some adults to the point to be angry at the world, see every student behavior as an issue and become completely grumpy about every misbehavior. 

As a result, the teacher may actually develop what appears to be a grudge against one particular student. You know what I mean. If a name is going to be called, it's Evan's or Rita's. Even if he was quiet at that time of the class, one little seemingly touch or move across the line and whammo!! 

Evan! Rita! 

His or her name is announced. Hmmm...This is not good.

At this point the teacher may need to have an attitude adjustment. Simply speaking it is time to watch something funny. Talk with another adult who can make you laugh or seek guidance in dealing with the issues that are causing you pain in the upcoming class. One of my favorite ways of adjusting my focus is to watch something funny like an episode of Gilligan's Island or Home Improvement and even Last Man Standing.

It is important that each class have us at our best. No one is perfect. So when there are those aspects of kid's behaviors that get you twisted and torn or wanting to avoid dealing with the issues (which is just as bad as getting angry) find that tool that will help you calm yourself. 

I often play soccer with the kids at lunch or after school. I also play my trumpet with the marching band. Each of these tools work like a charm. I start seeing kids back as a kids instead of accidents waiting to happen or trouble in the making.

My all time way to get myself refocused was by taking a ride in the golf cart/ Nothing like a few minutes of fresh air to readjust your attitude. 

Keep in mind that classroom management requires the teacher to not only be in tune with what the kids are doing (withitness) but to also become emotionally objective so that every little thing doesn't start bothering you. Letting go of any and all negative feelings you may have developed about a kid and how she will act in class today is a must so that every day or class is a new chance.

Additional Resources:


112: Classroom Management - Withitness and Emotional Objectivity, part one

September 24, 2016
Dr. Robert Marzano talks about every teacher needing a common mental set when focusing on classroom management (Marzano, Classroom Management that Works, 2003). This mental set is comprised of withitness and emotional objectivity. 

This is part one of a two part look at this mental set.

For this episode we will focus on withitness which is being aware of what is going on around you. It is often that sixth sense that a teacher needs to have. Often it is spoken of as an extra set of eyes in the back of your head. 

No matter what, withitness is a condition that you have to teach yourself to turn on and stay tuned to.

In the Marvel Comics realm there is a character named Spider-Man. He has the ability to recognize danger and foretell the potential of disaster approaching. When he feels that tingle in his brain he knows that he better pay attention or move out of the way. The classroom teacher is no different, He has a Spidey sense as well. 
It is a matter of paying attention to it.

The better a teacher gets to know his kids the better he will become at recognizing warning signs of impending danger.

One sure fire way to turn on your withitness is to stand at your door during class changes. Yea, I know it is easy to get distracted, but the more you make this a priority the better you will become at recognizing issues are entering your classroom.Talk with the kids when they enter. Shake their hands. Look into their eyes Chit chat with them in the hall. If you do you these things you will notice when there is anger, sadness, or other issues walking through the door.

The same applies for during class. You have to pay attention to their eyes. You have to pay attention to their mannerisms. Listen with your ears and eyes. If you are truly paying attention you will notice when there is something wrong. Once you notice it. Address it. Go to the kids. Find out what is wrong. You will be happy that you did.

This is withitness.

Work on turning yours on and you will be able to address issues before they become issues.

Next time we will focus on emotional objectivity.
Here are some links for more information on withitness:

Length: 14:10