Teacher Communication In The Classroom

Communication In The Classroom with Mrs. Labrasciano

Every teacher knows the feeling of standing in front of a class, delivering a lesson and then quickly coming to the understanding that most of the class has no idea what they said.  We go through the lesson in our heads and sometimes we may wonder, WHAT WENT WRONG?????? Often times it's not just one aspect of the delivery that went asunder, but instead a lot of factors that play into communication within a classroom.

Over 400 languages are spoken in the school system of The United States.  That's a lot for any teacher to keep up with.  Couple these languages with different learning styles and learning disabilities and we have a big task at hand.  Thankfully for us, visual communication is universal.  Below you will find suggestions for communicating within the class that will benefit all students and ensure student comprehension.
Clear communication with visual cues and consistency can help students to understand what is expected of them.  This provides a sense of security for the students that allows them to focus on learning.  In the pictures above and below, you will see a CHAMP model.  It stands for Communication, Help, Activity, Movement and Participation.  This model was adapted from the book CHAMPS: A Proactive and Positive Approach To Classroom Management.  You can see in the top picture how each letter is introduced to the students.  Below you will see that each option has a picture with it so that students who may not have complete language acquisition yet get a visual representation of what is expected of them.  The only pictures missing are for Participation.  Our report card has four options for primary students: Excellent, Satisfactory, Needs Improvement and Unsatisfactory. For each lesson students brainstorm what is expected of them and come up with a rubric.  After they brainstorm the rubric, the teacher writes it on the board with the "E,S,and N" letters.  Discussing this CHAMP model before work is started allows the students to have a firm grasp on what is expected of them.  This helps assure clear communication with the students.  It also helps students to understand where their report card grades come from.

 Another way of  communicating with students  through pictures is to allow the students to have copies of anchor charts in a notebook.  This is a great way for students to reference what they are learning.  In the picture below, you will see an example of one anchor chart.  I included a picture within the anchor chart to help with student comprehension.  Students tab the pages with the topic of the anchor chart so that they can reference it at a later date if needed.
Personal Anchor Charts

Below you will find an anchor chart that stays up in the classroom for communicating expectations of writing conventions.  Writing can be difficult for all students.  It is exceptionally difficult for students acquiring the language or with learning disabilities.  Students have a big task at hand.  They have to understand sentence structure, conventions and vocabulary meaning.  Pictures, color cues and highlighting are used to draw attention to important aspects of writing in the anchor chart below.

Classroom Communication
You may notice in the picture below and throughout this post that students are given a lot of personal resources to communicate learning objectives.  This decision to give them personal resources allows them to focus on the task at hand.  It lessens the information coming from other sources helping to keep the objective clear to the students.  It also helps to keep the learning environment free of clutter so that the students feel at ease.  Feeling safe, secure and at ease helps the students to focus on learning.
Personal Writing Offices

Building Vocabulary
 Vocabulary is another big factor in communication within the classroom.  Building vocabulary is a must for any successful class.  In order to help with communication and comprehension in lessons, I build background knowledge of vocabulary.  You can do this by starting with a simple lesson on a certain topic.  Some examples are shown in the pictures above and below.  Above you will see the students learning about butterflies.  Below you will see a sports theme.  The subsequent lessons to the butterfly lesson will include butterflies.  However, the objective of the lesson will change from vocabulary to another standard.  Now that students feel comfortable with butterfly vocabulary, they will be able to focus on comprehending the text's main idea or another objective.  Once the students have a schema for a certain topic, you can increase lesson complexity with success!

Building Vocabulary
Tackling all aspects of communication within one post would be next to impossible.  I hope that I have given you some tips that you can take back to your classroom.  Please leave any questions that you have in the comment field.  If you would like to read more about how students communicate with one another in my classroom you can read my post on Classroom Discussion over on my collaborative blog The Primary Pack.

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