Every year I begin my lessons with a focus on self esteem and this makes a huge difference to the tone of the class. Acts of kindness, bucket filling, and celebrating talents are integral parts of these lessons. I also include the seven habits for kids.
Establishing routines is very important if you want to have control in the classroom. I have discovered that children respond well to routine and structure. I have some routines that I use every year. I also try to make my timetable as consistent as possible so that the routines are similar each day. This has been a calming influence in my classroom.
This year I have been using some of the Whole Brain Teaching in my class as well. I am amazed at how well the rules work and how much more focused my students are. I will definitely be continuing to add more elements of this into my teaching next year.
I found that changing my focus to catching kids behaving appropriately and encouraging that behavior through verbal praise worked much better. Others also noticed and praised the students.
I still do some rewards and group challenges, but for specific goals and they are short term.
I will also continue with my self esteem lessons at the beginning of the year, as they set the tone for the rest of the year. We refer back to the concepts throughout the year and we build on them as well.
The establishment of routines and a consistent timetable will remain as well.