In a classroom full of kids, there’s bound to be chaos at one point or another. However, you can reduce the madness significantly by implementing just a few simple rules and procedures. For this week’s blog post, we asked a couple of former teachers for some basic tips on classroom management.
By setting expectations for student behavior, classroom rules help create an orderly, respectful environment that’s conducive to learning.
- Rules should be concrete and actionable. Rather than establishing a general rule to “Respect others,” offer something specific, like, “Listen attentively and respond thoughtfully to other students.”
- Students can brainstorm their own classroom rules. This creates a sense of ownership for the class, and students are more likely to hold themselves accountable for rules that they helped write.
- Teachers should explicitly teach classroom rules (even if they were written by students).
Dedicate part of a class period to teaching these rules. Present non-examples, have students act out examples of rule following, and/or facilitate discussion as to why these rules are important.
- Teachers should develop specific classroom rules for a variety of situations. How should students enter the classroom? How should they conduct themselves during group work vs. independent work? Focusing on these routines heavily at the beginning of the year will save time throughout the rest of the school year.
Teachers can develop various systems to reward students for demonstrating positive behavior. Here are some innovative ideas:
- Round up all those conference freebies collecting dust on your shelf and use them to start a class “store.” Students can earn tickets for good behavior, and a certain number of tickets can earn them a goodie from the class store.
- Have each student tape a small chart to his or her desk. Put a sticker down every time you catch the student working hard. A full chart earns lunch with the teacher.
- Set a class goal around good behavior (just be sure to define the terms), where the prize is a class party. Track students’ behavior using a banner with different colored sections. Each student can have a clothespin with his or her name on it, and every student starts the day in the middle of the chart (whatever color that might be). Students move up the chart for positive behavior and down the chart for negative behavior. Not only will students look out for their own behavior, but they’ll also encourage their classmates to do the same. After all, what class doesn’t love a pizza party?
- Other rewards might include:
- Certificate of recognition
- Positive note or call home
- Raffle tickets towards a weekly raffle
- Free time
Tell us, what are your classroom management strategies?