As every new school year approaches, I begin to get my mind ready for a new year of students. This always includes thinking of my classroom management approach. I like to try new things each year because each group of students is entirely unique and has a different set of needs than the classroom before. To help ensure things run smoothly throughout the year, I do have a few favorite strategies that I thought I would share today.
I believe that in order to get the most of your students both behaviorally and academically, you must have a solid teacher-student relationship with them. They want to know you care about them and they want to know you're listening to them. And, quite honestly, getting to know my little school family is my favorite part of each year! At the beginning of the school year I like to have my students fill out a short, fun survey. The little survey gives me a quick overview of their family life and interests.
I keep these surveys in the front of their file folders that I keep in my cabinet filled with parent notes, test scores, etc. Throughout the year I fill out little updated notes about new interests or hobbies they may have. I tend to do this most when a particular student may be having a difficult time with behavior. I find the more I can try to connect with that student and find what he or she wants to work for, then we can work together.
You can grab a FREE student survey to try in your classroom by clicking the image above or clicking here
This is my all-time favorite hallway management trick. I came up with this a few years back because I would always call out a few students who were being excellent walkers in the hallway and they would get a little something special (maybe move their clip up, maybe a sticker, maybe extra ipad time, etc.). As time went on, I really disliked actually saying their names aloud and I thought it defeated the purpose of having a silent walk through the hallway as to not disturb other classes.
So now when my students are walking through the hallway, I will still look for students who are being role models and tap them on the shoulder. I love seeing their face light up! I also made a specific "taps" bin so I can quickly reward them with something small. My students know that if they are tapped in the hallway they get whatever is in the bin as soon as they get back to the classroom.
As for what's inside the taps bin, themed erasers are always a big hit! Sometimes there are stickers inside, pencil top erasers, a classroom coupon (stinky feet, line leader, extra iPad time, etc.) and towards the end of the year, when we really need the extra reinforcement, I switch to Skittles!
You'd be amazed at how quiet kids will be for one, little Skittle.
An added tip: I usually don't bust out this strategy until at least after Christmas break. I begin the year with strict and firm hallway expectations without a reward. When, I start thinking my class may need a little extra incentive, I randomly show up with this bin and explain all the details!
Writer's workshop is one of my favorite times of the day. A large majority of that is the peacefulness it brings because of the atmosphere in the classroom. After I have taught my guided lesson and students begin their independent writing, I immediately turn off our overhead lights and play some classical music.
It takes my students a few weeks to get used to, but as soon as the music begins there is an immediate calm throughout the classroom. It puts them in the "zone" and they produce some of the best writing. Honestly, it helps me
get in the zone as well!
You can read more of my starting Writer's Workshop tips by clicking below:
My favorite CD to use during my writing block is the Music for the Mind Kagan CD specifically for reading & writing. I have a few other CDs from this series as well, but this one happens to be my favorite:
**You can also purchase this CD on itunes by searching for Gary Lamb.
I hope some of these ideas can make their way into your classroom to make your life a little easier!
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Labels: classroom management