Looks like, sounds like

Young kids listening to teacher

Classroom management is about students meeting expectations. However, often students are unaware of what the specific expectations are really are.

“Pay attention.”

A phrase I’ve heard directed to students, or used to describe students. “They can’t seem to pay attention.”

However, unless students are completely aware of what the expectations are, they will continue to fail to meet your expectations of them.

If your expectation is for students to walk in the hall, don’t tell them to “Stop running.” You are giving them the excuse to skip, crawl, gallop, or summersault their way to recess. Instead, make the expectation clear “Walk in the hallway.” You’re not only prompting a change in the behavior, but you are letting them know clearly what you expect.

One way to make expectations more concrete, is to discuss what an activity, environment, or behavior, should look like, and sound like.

Confused street sign

Teacher: “When we are on the carpet, and the teacher is reading a book to the class, what should it look like?”

If necessary, model this by having the conversation while you are sitting with your class in a circle, on the carpet with a book in hand. Talk about what it should, but also should not look like. Why should it look this way?

Teacher: “What happens if someone else, besides the teacher is talking when you are trying to listen to the story?”

This is also a great opportunity to talk about making mistakes, and how we help those who have made a mistake. Brainstorm ways to support each other even when they may be doing something that makes you mad or frustrated.

Teacher: “Maybe someone if talking and not following our classroom rules/expectations, what can you do to help them remember? Remember, we all make mistakes.”

The following pdf can be used to have students work on creating their own looks like, sounds like chart. However this can be done as a whole group (using an interactive board or chart paper), in small groups, partners, or even individually. This could also be used as a reflection activity for a student who is struggling to meet the expectations.

Looks like, Sounds Template

Looks like sounds like


Remember that once this is done as a class, a reminder of the looks like, sounds like expectations before starting an activity can take a minute, but save you ten in the end.



Web Browsing Fonts for People with Dyslexia

Research is starting to point toward ways of making text easier to read for people with Dyslexia.  This can be a change in font, size, color and even letter spacing.  Recently a font that has been getting some buzz is Open-Dyslexic.  More information can be found here.

I am always impressed by people creating tools to make the world a better place for others and then sharing it free of charge.  This is just the case with Open-Dyslexic.  This font can be downloaded for use in word processing or creating materials.

If you are a Mac user or Safari Browser user however, there is a very quick add-on that can change the fonts you see on websites as well to utilize this font.

When in Safari, click on Safari in the tool bar at the top.  From there click on Safari Extensions…


A webpage will open with a list of extensions.  Use the left side category options and select Productivity.



Next scroll down until you see the extension Open-Dyslexic.   Click on Install Now.


It is as simple as that.  You should now see all text in Safari using Open-Dyslexic.  There is also helpful shading to differentiate the lines.  Hope this helps.

Teacher Challenge’s 30 Days to Kick Starting your Blogging

I am gearing up to start a new position at a new school.  I want parents, students, and fellow teachers to have an easy resource to get to know me and my interests, along with what I will be doing inside the school.  I hope this will build into a resource for people looking for ideas on differentiating instruction, and collaborating within a school to create a seamless integration of special education into the classroom.

I am looking forward to learning how to make a blog accessible to not just parents and teachers, but also students.  I want this to be a resource for students and a way to show off all the hard work they are doing.

So thank you for the Teacher Challenge’s 30 Days to Kick Starting your Blogging.  I look forward to following many other new bloggers out there and expanding our knowledge together.