Building strong character is a critical component of our classroom community. Each child is expected to participate, show a growth mindset, and try their best at all points. There are four classroom expectations which guide our daily interactions and learning:
I primarily use the guidance behavior management style. I believe that all behaviors are choices and as a teacher, I need to help students make the right choices. Punishment or rigid discipline is not my goal; I see poor choices as a chance to conference with the student and help them to learn and grow. Often times, we will discuss why the student made that choice and what to do in the future, without any traditional "discipline" occurring.
Students will earn positive feedback and extra privileges for making good choices and being a good member of our classroom community. If students do not make good choices, they will meet with me to discuss. In some cases, it may result in further consequences. Each consequence may be different for each child depending on their need, but I will remain firm and consistent across the class. I will always communicate major issues to you directly.
Highlight System and Fun Friday
Each Friday, all of fourth grade spends extra time at the end of the day participating in "Fun Friday," which is an extra time for students to have a break. All students begin each week with this privilege.
Throughout the course of the week, students may earn "highlights" in their agenda for not following classroom expectations. For each infraction, the behavior will be written and highlighted in their agenda. If a student gets three or more highlights in a week, the student is not allowed to participate in "Fun Friday." The highlights will reset on the following Monday.
A major focus of our classroom will be Growth Mindset. The concept of Mindset was researched and explained by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck.
A fixed mindset is defined by believing that basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are traits that cannot be changed. People with a fixed mindset spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. In their minds, talent creates success—without effort. Statements like "I am not good at math" or "I'm not an artistic person" are fixed mindset statements.
A growth mindset promotes that most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just beginning. Developing a growth mindsets leads to a love of learning and a resilience that is critical for great accomplishments and long lasting achievements. People with growth mindsets would say statements like "Math is challenging to me, but I will work to get better."
I have personally used growth mindset strategies in my classrooms for the past few years and have seen amazing results in my students. Students who were "not math people" became some of my highest achieving students. Below you will find videos we use to promote growth mindset and statements to help reinforcement growth mindset at home. Consistently using the phrases below instead of statements such as "You're so smart!" or "I was never good at math either" will help develop a common language between home and school and will aid students in fully embracing and appreciating growth mindset.