Effective teachers use classroom management strategies to help maintain an educational environment conducive to learning. When teachers implement these classroom strategies in their classroom, classroom behaviors that impede learning are decreased.
“High expectations are the key to everything.” ~ Sam Walton
All classrooms are different, but I have had much success when I provide my students with clear expectations and solid procedures for students to follow. You must day one being firm and consistent. Explain, teach, and model all classroom procedures and routines. The success of your school year will all depend on how well you provide clear expectations for your students.
I always begin my new semester of teaching with a blueprint of how I want to setup my room. The flow of the room arrangements is very important in keeping order. As students walk into my classroom I have my Student Center set up. My Student Center is where students turn in their assignments (Inbox), pick up absent work (Absentee Folder), Weekly Notes Notebook (where all notes for the week is kept for students who are absent to copy), and sign-in if they are tardy. On the board behind the Student Center, students will find the daily agenda, objectives, important information, homework, etc. This gives students an opportunity to know is expected each day in class. It definitely eliminates the questions such as: What’s the date? What’s for homework? What are we doing next?
Clear expectations are provided to students for turning in assignments and collecting missing work when they are absent. It takes 21 days to form a habit, so I make sure to say and correct mistakes in these procedures for at least the first month of school. Most students get it after the second week, but I give them a month before they are penalized for not following my expectations.
At the back of my classroom I have my Supply Center, which includes a paper, a pencil sharpener, calculators, math manipulatives, scissors, markers, etc. This has worked great for me because it eliminates classroom interruptions while students are learning. Students are free to borrow any supplies to assist them in being successful in my class.
I am always rearranging my student’s seating arrangements base on the assignments we are doing in class. From single rows to grouping, I believe seating arrangements should be an important part of your lesson plans. Seating students base on ability and behavior is key to a successful lesson. To help with the constant change, I create a seating chart using a file folder and post-it notes. This allows me to rearrange the seating arrangements daily, weekly, or whenever. At the beginning of the year, students completes a getting to know you card that is used as name plates for new seating arrangements.
Procedures and Expectations
Teaching and modeling procedures and expectations for students is essential to an effective classroom management system. I define procedures as a list of expectations students should follow to make the classroom conducive to learning. Procedures include, but not limited to, how to enter the class, turning in work, sharpening your pencil, using the restroom. The key to students correctly doing exactly what you need for them to do is modeling, and correcting, until it becomes second nature to them.
Expectations are a set of rules that creates a safe and orderly environment for students to thrive successfully in. Expectations should be stated as positive statements and be limited to no more 5. In my class I have a class motto, mission, and vision instead of rules. My students are scholars in my classroom and we use the motto, mission, and vision to make wise decisions. When students are not choosing to make good decisions, a quick reminder that the behavior is not what a scholar would do redirects them. I have found this method to be very effective.
Of course their will always be a student who decides not to demonstrate the best behavior or make the best decisions, in this case use a combination of redirecting and refocusing techniques to remind them what scholars do. If you have started the year by developing a relationship with your students, this redirecting and refocusing will be effective. They key is how well you have developed that relationship at the beginning. Base on your class, other consequences (removal from the class, detention, etc.) might be needed. A great guide is using the RESPECT model (page )for defusing classroom behaviors. Just remember to be firm and consistent from day one.
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