Monday, April 29, 2013

Guest Blogger: Classroom Management

Here at New Teacher Talk, we're trying to find new ways to get you helpful, interesting, timely ideas for your teaching. Sometimes our posts are designed to get you thinking, others have helpful tips and strategies. As a new initiative, we'll be occasionally sharing posts from guest bloggers from different TC2 teacher preparation institutions as well as local school district partners to keep things fresh and relevant. Up first is a guest blogger from Minneapolis Public Schools!

Guest Blogger: Terry Peña, Lead Induction Mentor for the Minneapolis Public Schools PAR Mentor Program.

It is hard to believe that we are into already into April with May rapidly approaching.  As you enter the last quarter of the school year it is a good reminder to reflect on behavior management strategies that have been successful for you and your students and also strategies that you might want to begin to implement.  A strategy that we will look here at is called:  Positive Narration.  

Positive Narration:
  • Positive narration enables you to create positive momentum
  • Positive narration enables you to repeat your directions in a positive manner
  • Positive narration enables you to demonstrate positive “with-it-ness”
  • Positive narration enables you to recognize student behavior without the shortcomings of praise
  • Positive narration is descriptive

When you use Positive Narration you are simply making a non-judgmental description of the behavior you are observing, providing examples of success for students to follow:
  • Example:  Sophia is working with her partner using her whisper voice.
  • Example:  Elisha is tracking me.

Start narrating within three seconds of giving directions. When positively narrating, you will simply make a three-part statement:
  • Student’s Name: Jamal
  • Verb: is
  • Behavior: silently writing in his journal.

Use positive narration before you correct off-task students (3 positive then redirection).

Questions to consider and share in the comments:
  1. Have you tried Positive Narration before?
  2. If yes, what were the benefits and hesitations?
  3. If no, when would be a good time to start?
  4. Why is it so important to maintain rules and procedures the last quarter of the school year?

This strategy comes from the on line course called The No Nonsense Nurturer which is currently offered to probationary Minneapolis Public School teachers as a pilot.  Your thoughts and opinions of how the strategy worked for you are greatly appreciated.


  1. I have tried some aspect of positive narration using a non-judgmental description of behavior I am observing. When I am using the document camera, I give the instruction for the students to cross their legs and look up at the Promethean board. When I am delivering a lesson and I notice that some students are being distracted I look for a few students who are doing exactly what they should be doing. I point these students out by saying “I like the way _____ is looking up at the Promethean board when it is ______‘s time s/he will know what s/he has to do, thank you ___________ for looking up. The distracted students start looking up immediately. The benefits are it acknowledges the students who are being attentive and give them a reason to continue paying attention. The hesitations are sometimes it is the same students are being singled out for on- task behavior. The other students may continue doing whatever they were doing. Rules and procedures should be maintained every day of the school year. Students need to know that in a school environment rules and procedures are enforce daily therefore they need to be obedient and follow the rules and procedures every day of the school year.

  2. Mary, I agree with your statement that students do need to follow classroom rules and procedures. It is our job as teachers to facilitate these rules, and I believe that positive narration is a great way to encourage students to follow the rules. When I am teaching my students, I try to use the positive narration technique was well. At the end of last week, I tried a new ticket idea. In the past we have given students 2 tickets, they lose them for bad behavior. I decided that on Friday students would start out with 0 tickets, but could earn them through doing positive things in the classroom. For example I would say ____ has all his materials ready for math and he/she would then get a ticket. This way, students could be acknowledged for their positive behavior. Students responded very well to this technique and all wanted a ticket and to receive acknowledgement so they got their materials ready right away. Sometimes as a teacher it can be easier to point out that 1 person that is not doing what they are supposed to be doing, but I believe that encourage some students in a negative way. With just a couple weeks left of school, using positive narration will make for a smooth end of the year

  3. Having a good classroom management is important in order for the teacher to have less worries on how are they going to handle their students and to promote effective strategies in teaching because everything is set and planned.