Sit Down vs. Drive Through Classroom Management and Engagement September 2, 2013

Posted on September 3rd, 2013 in Podcast Archives | No Comments

Did You See This List?? Who Needs Planning?

Posted on September 3rd, 2013 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Would you do the following without a plan?

  • Build a house
  • Travel to a foreign country
  • Create a budget
  • Purchase Christmas presents
  • Create a garden
  • Hang pictures
  • Lose weight
  • Start a business
  • Go to the beach with children
  • Go anywhere with children J

Most people would create some type of plan to complete the above.  Yet, many teachers spend so much time on classroom management and engagement DURING class that planning is neglected.

What I found to be very helpful was putting more time into classroom management and engagement planning which resulted in putting less time into managing student behavior in the classroom.  Isn’t that great!  And to top it off more learning took place.  Isn’t ensuring student learning more important than hanging pictures or really most things?

The seven components of Sit Down vs. Drive Through Classroom Management and Engagement will improve classroom engagement and student performance.  Continue to listen to our pod-casts, newsletters, and blog posts as we cover each component in the next seven weeks.

Check out our resources page for a quiz to see which type of classroom you have.

5 Ways to Improve Student Engagement in Your Classroom

Posted on August 28th, 2013 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Teachers always have to be at the top of their game.  If you are looking for a classroom to go into to watch true student engagement go into a Kindergarten classroom, really!!!!  What is it about K-2 that keeps students so engaged in learning?  And 3-6 is a close second, but once students enter seventh grade and then the transition to high school….we lose them.  Why?  Here are five things that I have noticed that change between primary and secondary education:

1.  Meet them where they are!  Primary teachers take great pride in differentiation and meeting the needs of multiple levels of students.  As a middle school teacher, my response to that would have been, well they don’t have as many levels to catch them up on I have k-6 kinder teachers only have preschool and kindergarten.  WRONG!!!!!  Kinder teachers have multiple levels too some students come in unable to recognize ANY letters, shapes or colors and some come reading and doing simple math.  That is a huge gap when a teacher is setting the ground work for numeracy and literacy.  Meet them where they are!

2.  Make your classroom visually engaging!  If you were to line up 4 classrooms primary, upper primary, middle school and high school classrooms in a row and walk into each one, what would you say would be the biggest difference?  YES!!!  What the room looks like.  Primary teachers engage their students in learning by flooding their classroom with things students of that age would want to look at to learn.  If you have never worked at the elementary level you would be AMAZED at the time teachers put into their classroom, they see it as an extension of their lesson plans, not something that needs to be decorated.

3.  Subjects must be at the STUDENT’s interest level.  In one of our resource articles this week from US News and World Report there is a great example of how a high school teacher ties in Romeo and Juliet to the student’s interest level.  Everything in the primary grades is done by interest level, children count apples, animals and bikes.  Really what more in life does an eight year old need.  So in the middle and high school levels make EVERYTHING about what they are interested in, if you don’t know “Google” It!!

4. Smile and know your students.  This one the primary teachers have it easier, they simply have less students.  Unfortunately for middle and high school teachers it just doesn’t matter, why?  Because relationships is what engages students.  Even though you have four to six times that amount of students the primary teachers have…’s a must.  The need doesn’t disappear because you have more students.  Use interest surveys, on-line surveys, index cards, two truths and a lie, whatever you need to do to get to know your students…..DO IT!

5.  Include students in planning.  Project based learning is becoming more popular, why?  Because it is engaging to students especially middle and high school students.  Let students choose projects with specific guidelines.  It is much more engaging to learn things together than to just pour out information.

If you have other engagement ideas, please share it with our Key Classroom’s community.

Student Engagement August 27, 2013

Posted on August 27th, 2013 in Podcast Archives | No Comments

Student Engagement is an issue for everyone in a community.  Listen as we discuss the implications of student engagement on a community.

Improve Your Efficacy

Posted on August 21st, 2013 in Uncategorized | No Comments


Efficacy is not an easy concept!  You have to believe that through effective effort you can improve your performance.  You also have to believe that your performance needs improving!  Caught ya with that one, right????  The best teachers I have known are the teachers that are constantly seeking out new and better ways to improve their skills to impact student learning.  The best teachers I have known do not make excuses or blame other people or groups of people.  The best teachers I have known look within to change what THEY do to impact student learning.

This is right out of one of our resource articles on, it was published by ASCD here:

Over the years, since the concept was first developed, researchers have helped to provide answers to both these questions. In his review of research, Jerald (2007) highlights some teacher behaviors found to be related to a teacher’s sense of efficacy. Teachers with a stronger sense of efficacy:

  •  Tend to exhibit greater levels of planning and organization;
  • Are more open to new ideas and are more willing to experiment with new methods to better meet the needs of their students;
  • Are more persistent and resilient when things do not go smoothly;
  • Are less critical of students when they make errors; and
  • Are less inclined to refer a difficult student to special education.

Isn’t this what we all want?  Everyone in the community!  Yes, so let’s dig in and work hard at improving Teacher Efficacy.  Listen to our podcast to find out how YOU can help improve teacher efficacy.

Homework! Are we all on the same page?

Posted on August 7th, 2013 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Parents, Teacher, Principals, Community Members PLEASE read this!!

What are your thoughts?

Middle School Teachers

Posted on August 2nd, 2013 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Middle School teachers this is a must read as you prepare for the start of the year.

Parenting Tips for Back to School

Posted on July 30th, 2013 in Uncategorized | No Comments

What are your thoughts on this article?

Engaged Teens

Posted on July 25th, 2013 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Great inspiration for helping teens become engaged in life!


Posted on July 3rd, 2013 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Welcome to Key Classrooms!  You will have EVERYTHING you need to engage students and improve learning by using our processes!  Explore our new website at and start YOUR journey to complete student engagement.

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