Classroom Management Tips And Strategies
When developing classroom management rules and routines, it is important to look at the bigger picture. Are you wanting structure and rules for the sake of order, or for creating a positive learning environment for your students? This may seem like a simple thing, but in some cases, it isn't. Some people are so focused on rules, they forget that the learning environment is different for different groups of kids.
One thing I learned during my years of teaching, is that no two classes are the same, and therefore the rules and routines for each group need to have some flexibility to fit the particular group. The focus should be on the kids, not the rules. Some classes will require more structure and direction than others. Some may require more flexibilities for varying needs in the group. It is important to make sure that you take this into consideration when determining what rules and routines you should use.
Include Students In Setting Rules And Routines
If you take the time to build relationships and develop positive attitudes and self esteem during the first few days of school, this will go a long ways in developing teamwork and ultimately creating a positive learning situation. If you and your students can develop positive relationships with each other, this will make it easier to agree to different rules and routines and there will be more success with them being followed. If children feel valued and respected they are more likely to want to be respectful and responsible members of the class community.
Including kids in the discussion and development of class goals and expectations will help to keep them accountable throughout the year. They need to know that they are being heard, but they also need to understand that they will have rules and routines that they need to follow in class. They need to understand why different rules are necessary and how they affect the learning environment. Working together towards a goal is way easier than dealing with conflict and constant reminders.
Of course, the age of the children affects how much input they will have in the setting of rules and routines. The younger kids are just getting started at school and they will have most of the rules and routines set for them. They would still benefit from discussion as to why the rules and routines are there and how they can help the team by following them.
As the kids get into the late primary grades and early intermediate grades, they have a better idea of what is important in the classroom to create a positive learning environment. They also know many of the school rules and expectations, so they would probably like to be involved in the setting of class rules. Their perspective might be very enlightening as well.
Using Classroom Helpers
Using classroom jobs or classroom helpers can help kids to take ownership of the classroom and this also teaches them responsibility. It is important to make sure that they are able to do the various jobs and that there are opportunities for everyone to have a chance to participate in the various jobs. Sometimes direct teaching will be required so that everyone knows what the expectations are.
Expectations For Moving Around The Classroom And School
Being able to move around the classroom in a respectful, orderly fashion will help during transitions and when small groups are working around the room. Again, some direct teaching may be required as different expectations may be desired depending on the group or the teacher. You will need to decide what is non-negotiable and what is flexible and then share the expectations with your students.
It was very obvious in my school that different teachers had different expectations when moving in the hallways and working in small groups. Sometimes there might need to be some discussions among colleagues to ensure that there are some common guidelines or expectations as it can be confusing and disruptive if kids see different rules for different classes and don't understand why.
Here are some templates I used for developing some of our class rules and routines. They are available in my TeachersPayTeachers store.
Set Some Routines
Routines and structure are important for most children. Even when there are changes during the day or unexpected happenings, the routines help to keep the kids from getting too overwhelmed or excited. Creating a class schedule will help prepare the kids for what is coming during the day. Try to make timetables as consistent as possible. This has a calming influence on the class as they know what to expect.
I found this particularly useful during special times like Halloween, Christmas, or Valentines Day. We would follow the daily routines and I would schedule in time for the special activities so they knew that they would be doing some fun activities, but that other things needed to be done first. While other classes were struggling with maintaining control because of the excitement, my class was able to follow the routines and then have fun with the celebrations. The structure and routine helped the kids to self regulate.
What Are Your Expectations For Activities Outside The Classroom?
Guidelines and expectations are important for activities outside the classroom as well. For instance, when going on a field trip, what are your expectations and rules? What about when working outside the school building? Have you talked to your kids about moving quietly past classrooms when heading to the field or going for a walk? I know it was frustrating for me when classes disrupted our lessons by talking and running past the window.
Remember To Include Emergency Procedures
Don't forget to make sure that you include the emergency procedures when going over your rules and routines. It is important to know what to do during a fire drill, earthquake drill, or lockdown situation. Practicing these procedures will be necessary too so that they will become somewhat automatic in an actual emergency situation.
Classroom Management Resources
If you are thinking about different ways of managing behaviors, I have some ideas and resources that may help. Some people use rewards and other incentives for recognizing positive behaviors. If this is your method, I have some student tickets that could be used for this. I would give these tickets out and then do a special draw at the end of the day/week.
You might prefer to give out a book mark or certificate for special recognition. Maybe you would like to have your students focus on self regulation and the zone they are in.
Another approach to classroom management that I explored just before retiring was Whole Brain Teaching. I found that using the rules as well as Class/Yes and Teach/Okay worked really well. I didn't get to use all the components, but I think if I hadn't retired, I would have incorporated more ideas into my plan. You can find out more here and get some free posters that I created.
Well, there you have it. I hope some of these ideas and strategies will help you to have a successful startup and that you have an awesome year.
Classroom Management Ideas For A New Year
Effective classroom management is a key element to having a successful year. This will create order and structure in the classroom and it will help make the learning environment better for your students. What strategies or techniques you use will depend on your own style and expectations, but there are some common strategies that many people will use. Here are some tips and suggestions to consider.
Mixing the old and the new
Sometimes changing things up a bit will help to engage kids and make it easier to get them on board with the expectations. Mixing the old and the new doesn't mean throwing away what works and trying something completely different. It might be approaching an expectation from a different angle or with a different tool. This can be effective when you have students for more than one year. Sometimes they get so used to a routine, they don't even think about it anymore, but in order to reinforce it with others, changing things up a bit will help them to purposefully reflect on what they are doing and why they are doing it as well.
Tried and true techniques
If you have found some techniques that work well for you, keep doing them. They will become part of your teaching style and your students will know what to expect with you. You may even become known for them with colleagues and parents. It isn't always necessary to go with every new trend or technique presented, although you should be open to learning about them as others will be trying them. Who knows, maybe some of them might even be worth exploring at some point.
Why are rules and routines important
Rules and routines help to give guidelines for everyone of what is expected in certain situations and they also help people to behave in a respectful manner with those around them. Just imagine the confusion and chaos if everyone was doing whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. By providing some guidelines, order and effective management of the class happens and this can lead to a better learning environment for the group. Of course, the group needs to buy in to the rules and routines and follow them.
Developing the class expectations together
You may have a basic idea of what you want for the rules and guidelines in your classroom, but if you are able to include your students in developing the expectations and rules, they are more likely to take ownership of them and this will help with keeping them accountable during the year. If rules are just given without some input, they may still be followed, but it might require more reminders and reinforcement from you. When students are included, they will help to make sure the rules and expectations are followed.
These are just a few suggestions about why classroom rules and expectations are an important part of classroom management. Next time, I will go into more detail about classroom management ideas and strategies.
In the meantime, here are some free posters from my Classroom Manners Dos And Don'ts set. Check out the full set here along with a couple of other themes.
As always, I would love to hear from you. Share your thoughts on the importance of classroom management in the comments.
What are core values and beliefs?
Core values are traits, beliefs, and guiding principles that direct a person or group's behavior and purpose. These values are sometimes deeply rooted and not easily identified, but they are the window to a person's perception of the world. It is important to understand what these values are and how they affect behavior.
Schools have values that they follow. They create mission statements that indicates these values. It is important to understand these values and then create a learning environment that demonstrates them. Some examples would be: mutual respect and responsibility, people-focused, inclusive, collaborative, positive and diverse, focused on developing student potential and excellence.
People have their own personal set of values and beliefs as well. These are the driving force behind everything they do.
Depending on where you look, you can find many different lists and categories for core values.
If we consider character traits as demonstrating core values, many of these are what we consider positive and valuable. What are some traits that are important to you? What do you hope to instil in your students?
Consider the following:
honest, responsible, caring, compassionate, curious, creative, determined, ethical, generous, giving, displays gratitude, hopeful, inclusive, kind, optimistic, patient, resourceful, inclusive, fair
These are a few of the different character traits that can also be part of someone's core values. There are many more, but I hope you get the idea.
Why is it important to know your core values?
As a teacher, I feel that my core values affect how I approach my students, teach my lessons, and engage in collaboration with my colleagues. One of the goals in education is to teach children to be responsible citizens and to help them reach their potential. We share values and beliefs with them and help them to develop positive values and beliefs in themselves. If we don't have a clear idea of our own values, how will we be able to effectively do this?
Knowing your own core values will help you to create positive relationships with your students, teach them to be successful and valued members of the community, and create a positive learning environment.
Identifying core values
I changed my values somewhat over the years as I developed my understanding of what was important and non-negotiable in my teaching career. I began to recognize that certain approaches and behaviors impacted my teaching and my relationships with my students. I found certain things key to their success and these became the cornerstone for my teaching.
My biggest belief is that everyone can learn and be successful. If we support kids and believe in them, it is amazing what they can accomplish that they never dreamed was possible. I still remember substituting in a resource room early in my career and doing activities with children with many different challenges. It was interesting to discover that this didn't phase me. We did many things that were unexpected and engaging, and it was so exciting to see the children participating in whatever way worked for them. The support staff were surprised to see them accomplish some of the tasks. I think sometimes it is good not to know what limitations people supposedly have so that you don't let that determine what you can or cannot do.
Another important value for me is teaching kids to have a positive attitude towards life. I often start off my year teaching about optimism and pessimism and how attitude has the power to affect your daily life. We use the phrase "Attitude is contagious. Is yours worth catching?" and we focus on attitude being everything. It is amazing how things in the classroom change when we approach things with a positive attitude. Nowadays, this is looked at and approached as having a positive mindset.
As I became more aware of how my attitude and approach to teaching impacted my students' learning, I made sure to find ways to improve and help my students to strive to reach their potential and be successful in their learning.
These core values and beliefs directed my teaching instruction and my interactions with my students. I will be sharing some of the ways in future blog posts.
As you reflect on what your core values are, I hope you will be able to see how you positively use them as you help students thrive and reach their potential. Just as we want our students to recognize and value their strengths and talents, it is important for teachers to do the same.
Thank you for all you do for your students.
Time for a well-deserved break
The last year has been one of the toughest and most unusual teaching years for most teachers. Surviving a year of uncertainty, constant change, strict protocols for engagement and contact, and a pandemic has been a challenge. It is now time to take a more than deserved break to relax and recharge.
So many questions
As we headed into the school year last fall, there were so many questions and concerns about how to make all of this work. Nobody knew what to expect and teachers were constantly adapting and changing their teaching styles, lessons, and means of sharing information and ideas with their students. They had to learn to teach digitally, in person, and in hybrid situations and still engage students and help everyone to feel safe.
You made it!
Well, my friends, you made it. It may have been ugly at times, and you may not have felt the same joy and satisfaction as in other years, but you need to congratulate yourselves for making it through the year and doing the best you could under the circumstances.
Being retired, I was on the outside looking in most of the time, listening to my colleagues and teacher friends share their experiences and difficulties, but I did get a bit of the experience with how difficult it is to teach online. My husband and I spent the last several months trying to teach our ukulele students on Zoom.
I have to admit, it was very unsatisfying, and we just learned that it is not always a very reliable way of assessing how the kids were doing. Because we were not able to actually hear the kids in a group situation, we had to trust that they were playing correctly and that they understood what we were showing them. We struggled with screens freezing, kids turning off video, kids saying they were playing, but weren't really, and many other things.
When we had them send in videos of their pieces for a virtual concert, we discovered that they didn't always know their own parts, and that they were struggling more than they let on. Luckily, some of the restrictions were just relaxed and we were able to do some one on one sessions this last couple of weeks and fix some of the problems and salvage the season.
I am sure that many of you are looking forward to returning to a more normal teaching situation in the fall. Here's hoping this is true and we can move on. For the next few weeks I will be focusing on getting ready for a new year and providing some tips and ideas for classroom management and the first weeks back at school.
For now, relax, refresh and enjoy your summer break. You deserve it.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.