Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lessons from the Classroom - Hal Urban

Wonderful, wonderful book. Inspiring and practical, duplicable information.

Hal Urban was a classroom teacher (high school) for thirty-some-odd years. and he was an excellent teacher at that. This book covers the 20 things good teachers do.

I already greet my kids at the door every day. I might try to make it more formal next year. They couldn’t care less this year, it seems.

I love the way he always established the atmosphere of his classroom before he ever got into the curriculum. If I had one thing to do over about this school year, it would be that. I would have spent more time on guidelines, procedures, and the classroom environment. His sign examples and toxic word pictures are great.

I already plan to go through a unit on goal setting using his plan with my 7th and 8th graders. Although I think I’ll wait until December. It will be something good to do right before Christmas.

I also will be implementing his “Good Kid” notices. I do try balancing my phone calls/emails home between the good and the bad. But I think just jotting a note on a postcard and popping it in the mail might help me be more proactive in recognizing and letting parents know of the good in their kid.

Definitely going to do the teacher performance review at the end of the year.

Where The First Days of School by the Wongs is great to set up your classroom, establish your guidelines, procedures, etc., Mr. Urban’s book covers some of the more intangible things that are still necessary for education and learning of the material to take place – effort, attitude, environment.

A recommend it to any teacher…whether you’ve taught 20 years or just a year or two.

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