BATs will Improve Your Classroom Management
You may be asking yourself what a furry little critter or a piece of baseball equipment has to do with classroom management. The answer is, absolutely nothing! BAT is an acronym I came up with for Bell Assignment Today. A bell assignment is something that the children know to do as soon as they come into the classroom without even having to be told. The information for the BAT is always in the same place and is there every day. The assignment you use can be tailored to the subject you teach.
As a history teacher I used definitions from the back of the textbook for the BAT. I had a large post it note, about the size of a poster, and every day I would put a word on it, next to the date, for them to look up when they came into class. Because they were always in the same place the students knew where to look for them as soon as they sat down. Also, because they were on the post its, instead of the white board, they were there for an entire nine weeks so any student who was absent could find what words they missed easily.
Now you may be wondering why in the world a student would do work for no reason. They wouldn’t. That’s why the second part of the plan includes using the BATs as a test grade. I usually made a multiple choice test at the end of the nine weeks that used some or all of the BATs and they could use their BAT notebook to answer the questions. This was an easy A that students could look forward to which encouraged them to actually complete those BATs daily.
That’s great, but how does it affect classroom management? In my experience the way your class starts is the way it will end. If the kids come in loud and unfocused they will stay that way throughout the class. If, on the other hand, they always have an assignment to do as soon as they walk in the class will be quiet and focused from the very beginning. A quiet class that is working is never going to have behavior issues. This one thing can improve the discipline in your class without you ever having to say a word of reprimand. Of course I do have a tendency to stand at the door and bark out BAT as they walk in, so maybe you will have to say one word.
How do you start your classes?