Consistent parent involvement dramatically increases the likelihood that quality learning will occur. Parents play such a crucial role in their children’s academic, physical, social, and moral development that we, as teachers, make a huge mistake if we view them as anything other than indispensable collaborators. If we are committed to bringing the best out of our students, we need to build and maintain long-term relationships of loyalty, trust, and respect with their parents. Investing the time and effort to work closely with parents throughout the year maximizes our chances of helping students reach their incredible potential.
By the end of the course, you will be able to establish a strong home-school connection with parents. Specific topics include:
• keeping parents informed and involved in a variety of meaningful ways
• creating a favorable first impression with parents
• making the most of major events such as Back to School Night, Open House, Parent Conferences, & Student-led Conferences
• helping parents help their children at home.
"Great insight. Very informative." - Vanessa Khani
"This course gives some excellent advice on the best way to make sure there is 2-way communication with the home. Really smart ideas coupled with practical suggestions. I highly recommend!" - Marc Fienberg
Traditional classroom management approaches tend to focus on getting students to comply with rules through the use of extrinsic rewards and punishments. These coercive approaches produce, at best, short-term obedience and have the potential to thwart the development of many positive student behaviors and dispositions that we promote in our classrooms. This course presents an alternative classroom management approach rooted in intrinsic motivation and designed to create a learning environment in which children work hard, work together, and work with purpose.
By the end of the course, you will be able to implement a progressive approach to classroom management that fosters responsibility, nurtures intrinsic motivation, and brings out the best in students. Specific topics include:
• encouraging students to invest their hearts and minds in the class mission
• establishing a strong sense of purpose in your classroom so that students find meaning in their work, experience joy, and understand the many reasons why pursuing an education matters so much for their futures
• empowering students with lasting habits of mind and habits of character
• establishing the routines, procedures, and expectations necessary to create a classroom environment in which students consistently behave well and produce quality work
• seeking opportunities to engage and inspire students
• understanding the problems associated with the use of extrinsic motivation
• learning how to nurture the intrinsic motivation to learn and grow that all students possess.
"I had the privilege of hearing Steve speak in person on this topic at a local conference and left wanting more! This class delivers! Very comprehensive and full of great methods and ideas. I encourage educators, facilitators, and administrators to take this course!"
- Sandra Bowers Courtois-Lawrence
"The information was delivered in an organized, applicable manor. great ideas for running a super classroom." - Patrice Law Murphy
"I found Steve's course very informative. It gave me some insight on how to prepare for and support my son's education and I now have better insight about what to look for in my son's teachers. I also found that many of the tools discussed can be replicated (with some tweaking) in my home in order to create a family environment that will encourage positive behavior...for all of us!" - Sandy King
"This course went well beyond my expectations! Fantastic insights into creative ways to motivate my students intrinsically. I never realized how simplistic and inadequate simply offering rewards was. There is really a lot of brilliant, insightful information in this course that I'm already using." - Marc Fienberg
"Steve Reifman has captured the essence of accomplished teaching and how these important elements contribute to student learning. His sense of classroom structure, mutual respect and knowing your students enhance the learning environment. Steve's course, his books and his presentations are very practical and easily implemented for both novice and experienced educators. I highly recommend his course for educators at all teaching levels." - Clara Carroll
"Steve Reifman has done the deep dive on what it takes to improve learning for young people. I particularly like the emphasis on techniques that apply not only to the four walls of the classroom but to the big classroom we call "Life". Kudos for the great work!" - Chris Kahn
Recently I learned of a tremendously helpful tip that builds cooperation among students, increases class efficiency, and holds students accountable for heading their papers correctly. I am excited to share this idea with you in this Teaching Tip. The idea may seem a bit complicated at first, but once you implement it, you will never know how you got along without it.
Let's imagine your students are about to start a math activity on lined paper. You want everyone to head their papers by putting their name and the date in the top right-hand corner and the title of the activity in the center of the top line. Any time we ask students to perform a task such as this, it's important to hold them accountable for doing it correctly, but it takes time to get around to everyone, time that would be better spent helping individual students or focusing on more important responsibilities. With this tip, students can now hold one another accountable quickly and effectively.
Here's how it works. I have 4 students at each table, and I assign them each a number, 1-4, so they can take turns performing this job. (I have a spinner on the board with four spaces, and I keep track of whose turn it is to perform this task by moving the spinner.) Let's say on this day, it is the #2's turn to do the job. As I am about to dismiss the class from the instructional lesson on the rug so that they can start working at their desks, I call up all the 2's and hand them a set of 4 index cards. The 2's then put a card on each of their tablemates' desks as everyone begins to head their papers. Once everyone at the table is done heading their paper, the 2's go around to check to see that all papers are headed correctly. If so, that person brings me back all the cards. If not, the leader politely reminds any student who hasn't yet finished this task to head the paper correctly and then brings me back all the cards. The kids love this system, and usually within about a minute or two, I have the cards from all the tables.
To make things even easier, each table has its own unique color of cards. On one card I write a circle, and the leader keeps the card with the circle. (Printing a circle on the card reminds me which student is acting as leader that day). This strategy can be used with any subject area. It works best when students are heading their papers, but it can also be applied to any situation where the kids are completing a routine task for which we need to hold them accountable, and we want to focus on more important matters. Any time the kids can accomplish a task on their own while building cooperation skills and improving class efficiency, that's a win-win for everybody.