I believe your STYLE matters when you teach Shurley English. I’m not referring to fashion, but I am speaking of classroom management style.
SPOILER ALERT: I’m going to get personal and invite you to reflect on YOU and your style for a moment.
What type of environment have you created in your classroom this year?
Imagine a classroom where students ask what time they will be working on Jingles; a boy with ADHD raising his hand to lead the Question & Answer Flow; 26 smelly pre-teens, above to below average, crowded around their teacher fully engaged in learning about compound and complex sentences; and a female on the Spectrum writing her VIP letter to a classmate.
Now envision a classroom full of children sitting quietly like robots in perfectly set rows reciting Jingles led by their monotone teacher; active in verbally analyzing the role of each word in a sentence; and quietly working on a pre-writing map and rough draft for a writing assignment.
Which scenario is more like YOU?
Are YOU and YOUR STUDENTS willing to take risks, make mistakes, and ask questions or are you more rigid and business-like? I’m not saying that either one is the best way, but I have experienced both in teaching Shurley English and both can be effective.
In my own teaching, I found these pieces to work best for me and my students when trying to successfully manage the Shurley puzzle.
- Non-verbal cues
- Immediate Positive Feedback
- Being Human
My 5th graders loved our Shurley block and they worked hard at it, I believe, because of the way I chose to manage our classroom; WE CHOSE TO HAVE FUN LEARNING!
I invite you to pay close attention to YOUR…
Energy/Enthusiasm-Does your attitude toward the curriculum or even life come across as positive or negative? Either way, your students sense it, feel it, and see it in your instructional delivery. I’m not saying you have to put on a performance, just a lift of the eyebrows and a smile. Your students will model you!
Pacing - There is a sweet-spot in pacing your instruction. If you teach too fast, you’ll lose your average to below average learners; if you teach too slowly, you’ll lose your above average learners. Remember, the repetition of the curriculum will lead to mastery!
Non-verbal cues- There are ways to use appropriate non-verbal cues to ask a specific person to adjust their volume during the Q&A Flow without stopping your instruction. The disruptive student knows you are speaking to him/her when your laser beam eyes are fixed in his/her direction. It IS possible to continue teaching the Q&A Flow and deal with minor disruptions.
Feedback-There’s ALWAYS time to give immediate, positive feedback, “Good Job!” or “Nicely Done!” during your instruction-even during the Q&A Flow. Make this a habit, and don’t forget to celebrate everyone’s “Wins,” including YOURS!
Being Human-Our bodies were not meant to sit still all of the time; kids and adults fidget, so get your students up and allow them to move. Get your kiddos moving during Jingle Time by adding hand and body motions to the jingles; invite your students to stand or sit on the floor during the Q&A Flow as long they’re focused; encourage group work and discussion around content topics and writing. Remind them it’s ok to make mistakes; let them see you make a mistake every once in a while.
I’m not asking you to put yourself in a “box,” I’m encouraging you to add Shurley English to your five star teaching style, so whatever style you choose, with solid classroom management, anything is possible!