I’m excited to start a new Linky for classroom management! I encourage anyone who has any tips that have worked for them, or know of any they would like to try, to link up and join the fun! The below is an introduction to classroom management for the newbie, or for the veteran teacher looking to keep it all together! t I think all teachers can use some reminders and tips about classroom management – I know I can! I love to read about what works in other classrooms too - so be sure to link up below!
How Do You Manage a Classroom?
Classroom management is all things that a teacher does to organize students, space, time, and materials so that instruction and student learning can take place.
Some reasons to focus on effectively managing a classroom:
- Clear student expectations: assignments and tests are based on objectives
- High level of student involvement with work: students work well in class
- Work oriented, but relaxed and pleasant climate: teacher invests time in procedures, knows how to gain attention, and how to encourage students.
- Little wasted time, confusion, or disruption: set behavior plan, prompt, consistent, students know what to expect.
- Provides security: no surprises, yelling, disruptions. Students know what to expect from teacher and vice versa.
We all have heard about effectively classroom management tips. Some of the ideas we have heard are “buzz” words, or the BIG ideas of classroom management. Other ideas are smaller, and thus less focused on, but still are an important part of classroom management.
Some “BIG” Ideas of Classroom Management:
- Posting Assignments & Starting Class
- Classroom Procedures
- Rules and Expectations
- Rewards and Consequences
Some “smaller” Ideas of Classroom Management:
- Teacher Presentation
- Maintaining the “small” stuff
- Classroom Setup
Posting Assignments & Starting Class
Priority should be made to get the students on task and have the assignments posted daily and in the same place. This holds through for the daily schedule. Posting assignments is crucial for all age groups. When we think of posting assignments, we might think of recording homework in our homework log, or secondary classes in which we have independent work to complete. However, posting assignments can be the agenda for the class period, or expectations for quiet time. For example, I list the tasks, lesson, and assignments etc. for my whole and small group lessons. It usually looks similar to this:
1. Math Mini-Lesson
2. Math Worksheet
3. Math Video
Not usually that clear cut – sometimes I won’t have a name for something, but will give it a name. I might say “pattern practice” if it’s a less concrete math assignment (read: not just a worksheet) or “Race to 100” (a math game used by name). It’s less important that you use language to match precisely, but that you are identifying what the assignments are and how many. This way, especially for students working toward earning breaks or other rewards in many special education classrooms, students know just how many items they need to get through.
For one-to-one work (and/or independent work), I usually provide an activity schedule, or write the agenda on a personal white board. This way, the student can access the list of assignments themselves.
5 more tips for posting assignments and starting class:
1. Start the Class Yourself – do not rely on the bell. Get the students on task, even if the bell hasn’t rung. This ensures that you have control of their on-task behavior, not the school bell.
2. Post assignments daily/hourly. Post the agenda/assignments prior to students entering the classroom/transitioning to the next subject. This will eliminate the questions: “What’s next?” and “What do I have to do now?”
3. Post assignments/schedule/agenda in the same place. The assignments and schedule should always be in the same place, such as always on the front white board for whole group lessons, and/or always on the small bulletin board near the small group area for small group lessons. This will help students become independent with starting and completing their work.
4. Post previous assignments. This is especially true for older grades, in which make up work is required. If students have been absent the day before, they can still be held responsible for their own assignments and they won’t have to rely on the teacher.
5. Don’t teach by the book. This one is obvious, and I know we know this! But just some extra motivation: if you rely on the textbook to teach your class without understanding the concepts, tasks, or objectives, you will come across as unknowledgeable and confused, feel unprepared, and your students may have trouble understanding. The text is written for you – not for your kiddos. Make sure you are using the text as a guide for you so that you can better guide your students.
We all know the importance of classroom procedures. We’ve experienced this first hand! Teachers have procedures for everything; from how to sharpen a pencil, to when to blow your nose, to how to ask to use the bathroom, to passing in assignments. The
procedures possibilities are
endless! Regardless of what your classroom procedures are, there are
tried-and-true tips to ensuring your students follow your procedures…
Explain: State, explain, model, and demonstrate the procedure.
Rehearse: Practice the procedure under your supervision.
Reinforce: Reteach, practice, and reinforce procedures until it becomes a habit.
Techniques to Support the Above Tips:
Make a poster: Write out the procedures for the students to see. See an example of one of my posters here.
Make a syllabus/contract: Explain the rules by going over it with the class; have the students sign it (like a contract)
Make it a game: Turn rules into songs and games to help students remember the procedures.
Rules and Expectations
I could write an entire series of posts about classroom rules and expectations. But, I won’t. Not yet at least. In terms of this brief overview of classroom management, we will focus on the best way to introduce these rules and expectations.
Rewards and Consequences
Starting the school year on the right foot includes establishing classroom rules that will last the whole year. Many teachers involve students in establishing these rules (see above). Students want to attend school in a safe environment, and boundaries are crucial to this security. Students want to know these boundaries prior to entering a classroom or school. It’s important to implement these rules and expectations immediately.
Additionally, providing rewards for following rules and behaving in expected ways, as well as providing consequences for maladaptive behavior and rule breaking, are at least as important as the rules themselves. Every teacher must create consequences with when they are comfortable setting (and/or follow a set of school procedures).
Examples of Rewards (Reinforcing Consequences):
- Stars next to name
- Notes home
- Marbles in Marble Jar
- Extra break-time/recess
- Minutes lost at recess/choice time
- Behavior Think Sheet
- Time out
- Overcorrection procedures (practicing the broken rule over and over again)
- Calls home
- Principal referrals
Of course, you may not be comfortable with all of these consequences, both reinforcing and punishing ones. It’s important that you identify what youa re comfortable with, because if you are not comfortable following through with your set of consequence procedures, your classroom management attempts will fail. Simple as that.
I’ll also add that you should be pairing the consequence provided with the rule that was followed or broken. For example, you may say “Wow, nice job raising a quiet hand Gino! I’m going to add a marble to our Marble Jar!” Conversely, you may say “Anthony you need to go take space in the timeout area because you aren’t showing me a calm body.”
How a teacher presents his or herself to the class can be very important, especially in the older grades. Here are some ideas for your “teacher presentation.”
Introducing Yourself- Say your name, room number, period or grade level, and a warm welcome. In younger grades, meet your students at the door and greet them individually with a warm small and handshake (if appropriate).
Before School Starts- Send a letter home to parents and/or students welcoming them to class.
Important First Words – This is an opportunity to show express the importance of you classroom expectations. Discuss these first or within the first part of the morning. Introducing kids to their lockers or cubbies is a good place to start!
Maintaining The “Small” Stuff
By “small” stuff, I mean really big, annoying, time consuming stuff.
· Grade Books: A grade book or record book must show the results and progress of each student. To keep a good grade book you need 3 or 4 lines after each of the students’ names for attendance, scores, and running totals. Record individual assignments, such as tests, projects, papers, worksheets, and homework. An up-to-date overview of the progress of each student should be available.
· Attendance: This involves keeping track of who is absent ad who is present in a classroom. If you can help it, don’t take attendance right when class starts. Have folders or something independent for students to complete when they walk into the room. You can refer to a seating chart quietly, without disrupting the group. Another tip is to have clothes pins attached to an object with the students names attached. When the students arrive to class they pin their name to the chart (maybe to their lunch choice if necessary). The names that stay in pace are the students who are absent.
· Endless paperwork and emails: This is tricky for even the most veteran teachers! You need to find what works for you. I often rely on my To-Do list and place a number next to the most important tasks. I also try to respond to parent emails and any other pressing emails as soon as I receive them. This way, I never fall behind. Easier said than done, right? What I’ve done is set aside time at the end of the day to respond to these emails before I leave. That way, you are responding within a timely fashion, but not while you have other things you need to do during the day. I also have a set day where I plan to stay later (or come in early) if needed for paperwork. Lately, I have been focused on my teacher evaluation and district-required SMART Goals.
Assigned seating facilitates roll taking, aids name memorization, and separates potential “problem” students. Arranging your desk in a manner that is appropriate for your spacing and intention of your room makes it easier to see your students, teach your lessons, and have students move around the room.
Think about what “areas” you want in your room. Do you want a listening center? Do you need a “timeout” or “quiet area”? What about a small group area? Many classrooms have different sections of the room, devoted to different subjects – such as science area, a library, and the pocket chart station. Deciding on what you will incorporate into your teaching prior to organizing your classroom will help you uncover the best way to utilize your space.
As mentioned before, this is a brief (despite the lengthy post), overview of the large topic of classroom management; there are BOOKS devoted to this topic! I hope this post is useful to teachers with all different years of experiences, especially those who are new to teaching. I would love to hear your ideas for how you manage your classroom, especially in the first few weeks of school.
Link up below to share your classroom management tips and tricks! Be sure to include the button to your blog post with a link back to this post so other's know where to join!