Work Smarter Not Harder:
Use these simple Smart Classroom Management Techniques to help your classroom run more smoothly.
Blog written by Teresa Engler, K-12 Instructional Technology Coach
Do you feel like a hamster in the wheel when it comes to classroom management? Do you wonder why some teachers make it look so easy, but for others, it is a daily struggle?
Follow these steps to help improve student behavior and bring calm and joy to your classroom
Students are more likely to follow the rules they create.
Teachers have a set of standards and general practices they’d like students to follow, and those particular ideas should not be compromised. During the first few hours of the first day of school, teachers review these standards and display them on charts or posters in the room. To the students, the rules (and the poster) belong to the teacher, not to them.
When students are asked to contribute to the rules and procedures for their classroom, they gain a vested interest in actually following them. Take time to ask students to discuss what rules should be in place. Ask what the expectations were the previous year, and add to them, or take away ones that no longer make sense. Encourage students to write the rules on their own posters. Let them decorate their posters and use the colors that mean something to them. When the rules are broken, refer to their posters and remind them of the expectations they collectively agreed to follow.
Students are more likely to behave when they are involved.
Classroom jobs are common in elementary schools but are just as valuable in middle and high school classrooms.
Some examples of modern jobs could include the following:
*Tech Assistant: helping with simple tech issues
*Charging Station Monitor: assist with making sure devices are charged or helping students with finding the correct charging cord.
*Safety: regularly check the hand sanitizer, masks, and paper products supply
*Office Runner: periodically take things to the office or pick things up from the office
*Class announcements: compile a list of announcements and post them to a class chart or online
*Class Ambassador: greet any new students, show them around the building, explain class procedures
*Transition Specialist: announce when there are 5 minutes remaining in class or when it is time to take a break (similar to a traditional class timer)
*Gaming: Yes, gaming. (See the next section for more information)
It’s important to include everyone by rotating the positions weekly or monthly. Post the job descriptions to eliminate any confusion and to support accountability. As with developing the class rules and procedures, be sure to get student input about specific jobs as well as the job descriptions. This reinforces the importance of engagement, and it encourages students to take ownership of what happens in the classroom.
Students thrive with consistency.
The unknown is confusing and can cause chaos. It also gives students the power to test the waters and to push boundaries.
When clear, concise, and consistent rules are in place, students feel safe and secure, and the mystery of “What would happen if….” disappears.
Make it clear: Eliminate any gray areas when giving directions or defining expectations. Checklists help set boundaries, and, in turn, give students a sense of security knowing that if X occurs, then Y will happen.
Be concise: Use very simple terms when giving directions or explaining procedures. Less is best. The more you write, the more confusing it becomes.
Maintain consistency: Start class on time, keep your routines exactly the same on a daily basis, and stick to the rules and procedures without wavering. Unpredictable management of the classroom causes confusion and uncertainty which can be unsetting for students.
Students respond positively to kindness.
Do you know that old saying, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?” Well, it’s true. The more kindness you show your students, the better behaved they will become. It’s a mutual respect, a collaborative effort, and the end result will be worth it!