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Pinto's Classroom-Management Strategies

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The 45 classroom management strategies in From Discipline to Culturally Responsive Engagement run the gamut from ways to get students’ attention to broader strategies for communication between students, teachers, and parents. Author Laura E. Pinto recommends that teachers carefully reflect on school community, students’ cultural contexts, and their own attitudes and habits when considering classroom-management strategies for adoption. Here are a few techniques she mentions in the book:

Retroactive Rules
In this strategy, students collectively design rules for the classroom in response to issues that arise throughout the school year. Students are responsible for both identifying problematic situations or patterns and for creating rules in response. Pinto writes, “Applying retroactive rules requires a great deal of trust” because it “invites students to make mistakes and discover what rules are needed based on experience.”

Mental Set and Emotional Regulation
Pinto writes that teachers must “establish personal strategies to stay neutral even when faced with the most difficult situation.” In other words, modeling emotional regulation for students is key.

Getting Students’ Attention
Active, engaging, and even surprising strategies can help teachers get students’ attention quickly. Among the methods Pinto suggests are:
• “Give Me Five”: The teacher holds up a hand and says, “Give me five.” Students within earshot each put up a hand and reply, “Five.” The teacher counts down—“give me four,” and so on— until the entire class is engaged.
• Clapping patterns: The teacher initiates and students gradually join in.
• “Clap Once If You Can Hear Me”: a combination of “Give Me Five” and clapping patterns, counting up.

Saving Up Time
To engage students in managing their own class time, together, Pinto suggests establishing a system through which students may “bank” several minutes a day by staying on-task. When a certain number of minutes have been banked, students may use the time towards a collectively agreed-upon activity.

Pinto offers this suggestion—creating a parent/teacher/student contract to set communication, collaboration, and behavior standards—with caution. It is particularly important, she writes, to consider cultural expectations and how individuals might respond to a contract.

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