Classroom management

Having trouble with discipline. Find out what teachers are doing to keep their students in line and on task.

Feedback Fridays & Contest

January 6, 2011

(Read on for contest details)

The newest member of our English department is a bright young lady named Uvonda Willis. Ms. Willis seems driven to meet the needs of her students and to constantly improve what she is doing, two goals she attempts to tackle with a strategy she calls Feedback Fridays. Each Friday, she solicits input from her students by passing out note cards and asking them to share their comments and ideas regarding the lessons and activities for the week. Students drop their cards in an attractively-decorated box; then, Ms. Willis reads them and facilitates a brief discussion.

A word of warning. This strategy is not for the faint of heart or the easily offended. The teacher must be willing to hear whatever criticism students offer and must demonstrate a genuine interest in student feedback. Sometimes that means being flexible.

For Students Who Don’t Care
Those teachers who have participated in the book club for Allen Mendler’s Motivating Students Who Don’t Care will certainly remember the author’s thoughts on building relationships, one of five key factors for motivating the unmotivated. Mendler writes, “It is as if we make deposits into a reservoir of goodwill from which we can make withdrawals when needed.” The Feedback Fridays strategy is exactly the type of deposit Mendler has in mind. By soliciting students’ input and making a genuine effort to consider it in planning and instruction, the teacher invests in the relationship. The return comes in the form of effort.

Going Digital
Ms. Willis is not yet satisfied with her feedback strategy. She recently discovered and realized that the reply function on the website makes it easy for students to provide her with the weekly feedback she desires. So, along with much of Ms. Willis’ communication with students and parents, Feedback Fridays might go digital this semester. Either way, it is a strategy certain to help teachers improve their teaching and foster stronger relationships with their students.

Building relationships is important for motivating students. Briefly describe one strategy you have used in the past or plan to use this semester to build relationships with your students. Please submit your strategy as a comment (scroll to the top of the screen and look for the word “comment”) by Thursday, 1/13/11.

All submissions will be entered into a drawing for a gift certificate to the Great Outdoor Provision Co. and will be posted to