Several years ago, I had the opportunity to open a new building. It was a different experience than any other school year because we were not only responsible for setting up our classrooms; we were responsible for designing the culture of the entire school! What would transitions between classrooms look like? What was an acceptable noise level in the cafeteria? How was parent pick up and drop off going to operate? There are a TON of details that every teacher and every student must learn.
I should mention that I had the opportunity to work with 4 amazing specialists: Music, Spanish, Computer/Library, and P.E. We all had used strategies in the past that worked, but did we really want students to have to learn 5 different sets of rules for our classrooms on top of everything else? Earn an art party, get a marble in your jar in Spanish, get a sticker in P.E… it makes me dizzy just thinking about it! Realizing this wasn’t the path we wanted to go down, my team of specialists got together and devised a common behavior record that we all could use in our classrooms (see below). We wanted to unify our front and provide one set of rules and expectations for students.
This plan offers:
In addition to expectations, you could also develop a common incentive plan (or “Healthy Competition”) for students in all special areas. Michael Linsin, author of the book “Dream Class” wrote a guest article on AOE called “A Classroom Management Strategy Elementary Art Teachers Can’t Live Without.” last spring. With both of these ideas working in harmony together, your team will be set!
Do you work with other teachers in your school to create a common behavior plan?
What other ways to you collaborate with other specialists in your building? Please share!