Using Notebooks for Classroom Management, Part 1
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Using Notebooks for Classroom Management, Part 1

Hi, this is Jennifer Gonzalez,
I’m here for Cult of Pedagogy, and today I would like to talk to you about
using a notebook for classroom management. This is a two-parter; we’ll start with part 1: Notebooks as…sanity savers.
This is for somebody who is still pretty new to teaching and for situations when you start to feel like your class is
really getting out of control, and you’re at your wits’ end and you really just don’t know what to do.
You’ve got a lot of kids talking, you’ve tried lots of different things and you’re maybe about to cry, so this is a really good emergency flotation device for you. A plain notebook.
And this is something that I did many times my first few years of teaching
… and even later. When you start to feel that you’re at your boiling point, you can just get a simple notebook,
pick it up, open it to a blank page, sit down,
and start to write. You can stop in the middle of your teaching
— abruptly. You don’t need to make any announcements or anything. Just sit down and start to write. Every time I did this, my whole class would be silent within 60
seconds, because they were really confused about what I was doing. Sometimes they would talk to each other
and try to figure out what I was writing, or they would say, “She’s writing down
your name!” or “She’s…” you know… writing a referral to the office, or whatever…
I would just be writing. Sometimes — a lot of times — I would be
writing my own thoughts to try to diffuse them a little bit and get my anger out. Sometimes I would be just writing a little analysis
of what was actually happening in the room. It would help me to sort of figure out where the problems were, and so The thing that would really get the students
is that I would write for a while and I would occasionally look up, and not give dirty looks or anything,
just sort of thoughtful… and it really caught them off-guard and got them quiet. And the beauty of this is that it got my blood pressure way down and it got them calmed down,
and I was able to make a smart decision from that point forward instead of just reacting and blowing up. So… There is a much more advanced way to use
this same strategy for classroom management and I will talk about that in part 2. But — when you are in an emergency situation
and you don’t know what else to do to get through the rest of your class period, pull out a notebook and start writing. I’ll see you in part two because once you’ve stopped
using it as an emergency tool, you can actually use it in a more organized way. So we’ll talk about that in part 2.
Thank you.

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