CHAPMS is a classroom management system that is used a lot in elementary schools. I know, I know, this is a blog for secondary teachers. But trust me, this stuff is great for students of any age or socio-economic background.
Basically, CHAMPS is a way to quickly let your students know what you expect from them for whatever activity they are about to do. There are a lot of great resources out there - the book, numerous websites, CHAMPS posters and charts for display and use in your classroom like this FREE one below, and lots more. You can also click on the picture for a FREE copy!
I will continue to examine CHAMPS letter by letter beginning with my last post about "C" or conversation. It focused on managing voice levels. The next one, "H" is about how students are to ask for help. After that, "A" is about overtly explaining the activity. "M" will be about types and amounts of movement that will be expected and accepted. Finally, "P" will be about participation. If done properly, your students will get to experience the "S" of CHAMPS more easily - Student Success!
Clicking on the free CHAMPS poster will also get you the CHAMPS lesson planning worksheet seen below!
Okay, so before I discovered CHAMPS, I would hear the "magic" teachers talk about the awesome group work their students were doing while smiling and picturing the utter loud chaotic mess my room would become if I let my students talk to each other. I could see Andre and Drew at table three continually one-upping each other in loudness while the quiet girl at table six just puts her head down and wonders how she got stuck in Mr. Robinson's class of chaos.
Before I found CHAMPS, I'd see things like noise level stop lights that go from green to yellow to red as the kids get louder and louder. But, I quickly realized that if I got one of those I'd still have a loud class that got loud too many times. Wouldn't it be better if they didn't get loud in the first place?
Yes! This is where the C of CHAMPS comes in. The "C" stands for conversation, or voice level. With CHAMPS, this is the first thing you need to explicitly tell your students before beginning an activity. It might sound like an elementary thing, but I swear by my voice level chart.
Voice level 0 is no talking; this is used for and modeled before the students do individual work. Voice Level 1 is a whisper; I sometimes call it the "don't get in trouble in church voice." Students use this voice level when working with one other person. Voice Level 2 is used when students are talking with two or more people (i.e. group activities). I call voice level 2 the "nice restaurant voice level." By the way, when installing voice levels, it's fun to see what middle schoolers consider a "nice" restaurant (ex: the Subway that isn't in the Walmart). Finally, Voice Level 3 is the class presentation, or teacher voice. Calling it the "teacher voice" also sends a message about who is usually supposed to use it.
The picture above shows a Voice Level chart I use in my class. Some of the ways you can use it is to have a big one posted that you refer to, or you could have small ones at individual tables for students to readily access. Another interesting way, for those of you who are technologically inclined, is to embed it directly into PowerPoint or Google Slide presentations.
"Really? Andre's an angel in my class." Agh! Isn't that the worst? Andre seems to come into the room for the sole purpose of disrupting class and ruining the lesson plan while right next door he's an angel.
I used to have a lot of Andres, especially earlier in my career. Lately, in conversations with other teachers, I've noticed that more and more the Andres of the world are good for me and rotten for others. Why? I always thought there was just something magic about certain teachers - some mystical power that sealed the lips and opened the minds of the Andres in the school. But there isn't. So, what's the answer?
CHAMPS. CHAMPS is almost always the answer to any classroom management or participation issues. In my next several blog posts, we will be exploring what CHAMPS is, and how to effectively use it as a classroom management tool.
I think we can all agree that teaching vocabulary is important. We knew it before all of the educational brain research became popular, and it's just confirmed what we teachers always thought. Marzano says it's crucial, and Hattie says vocabulary programs have an effect size of 0.67.
With that in mind we spent a lot of time this past year focusing on vocabulary this year. It really improved unit test scores this year.
How did we focus on vocabulary? Games! After introducing and explicitly teaching the vocabulary words we played many games with words. I placed time specifically in the lessons to play the games, and if there was extra time we would get the games back out again to play.
The good news is that students LOVE playing games and it made learning and understanding vocabulary a lot of fun. What are the games we played?
Memory is the first game we play. The students match the words and definitions. The students that need it can have their vocabulary charts with them.
Vocabo is a great game were students make connections between the vocabulary words. As they play they need to show the connection between the vocabulary words. The first one done yells "Vocabo" (like Uno!).
The last game we play is Go Fish! Not only do the students need to make connections, but it becomes even harder because they need to connect the words, definitions, and pictures to make a match.
Want to play these games in your classroom? Sign up for my newsletter or go HERE to Teachers Pay Teachers to get a free copy of the directions.
Need vocabulary cards for your games? Find them HERE!
It's that time of year again. We all can't wait for it, but also dread it at the same time. The end of the year is coming and on the last day of school it was all worth it, but boy, those few weeks before it's all done sure can be hard. Especially for middle school students!
How do I keep them engaged the last few weeks of school? Talking! That's right, we talk, talk, and talk some more. Not me lecturing or teaching at them. Nope. They are doing the talking. But, it's all highly structured, educational talking.
What type of talking do we do?
Everything in my classroom revolves around cooperative learning or group work. We love using structures to keep everyone involved and talking. If you'd love to read about some of the structures I use in my middle school classroom the posts can be located here. A class favorite is Rally Robin to review content from the day before.
Reader's theaters have become a favorite of my students'. We read them for just about everything we learn. I blogged a little bit about why I love using reader's theaters for middle school students and you can read it here.
We LOVE games and debating (debating becomes a game to middle schoolers- am I right???). Games allow the students to talk, play around a little bit, be a little bit less structured, but still learn! Vocabulary games are really important in our room. According to Marzano games are associated with a 20 percentile gain in student achievement. Plus, they keep students engaged. Think about all of the times they play games throughout the day. They play them on their phones, and in video games, so why not at school? Class favorites are Vocabo!, Histopoly, Histopardy, and roll that die.
And debating - middle school teachers - need I say more? It's something that just comes natural to a middle school student. So, we tend to debate controversial topics, or topics that lend themselves easily to debating. One favorite is debating which bill of right a scenario falls under. Interested in this activity - click here.
Middle school students love to talk and by letting them talk, and using structures, the end of year jitters can be harnessed a little!