Before I began teaching 14 years ago I imagined sweet little boys and girls who would hang onto my every word and do everything I asked…was I ever wrong! Student behavior challenges are happening in classrooms across the country. Learning what I like to call the “Three Rs” changed me, my students and the classroom atmosphere.
Number One - Routine
Classroom management begins with routines and procedures. You must have a routine in place from the moment your students walk through the door. But it only works with consistency, consistency, consistency. Just as GPS helps navigate us to our destination, routines help you maintain order and help students navigate through their day. Disruptions are minimized when there is an activity in place for every part of the day. Down-time is wasted learning time and an opportunity for kids to “be kids”.
Number Two - Relationship
Get to know your students. Ask them questions and show interest. Knowing what they care about, what their hobbies are, etc will reveal valuable information that you can use to inspire their learning. It lets your students know that they matter to you. I remember having 60-second conferences with each student, every day. It usually took no more than 20minutes and I allowed the student to share whatever they liked with me. We made a rule that no one could interrupt a conference. The students loved it and will love having you all to themselves. That little bit of undivided attention made all the difference. Students work hard for teachers they love and building a positive teacher-student relationship will make classroom management that much easier.
Number Three - Reward
Recognize and acknowledge good behavior. Praise and rewards keep students alert and looking for your “shout out”. Give it to them and acknowledge positive behavior when it happens. High fives, class chants, and SMILING… yes smiling, make all the difference. I frequently keep a bag of mini marshmallows with me in the classroom. You’d be amazed at how hard a student will work for a marshmallow, seriously. Whenever I pulled the bag out and set it on the front table, chairs pulled up to the desks and backs became a little straighter, and their eyes followed me like a hawk. The delivery of the lesson flowed because I had their undivided attention. The power of a marshmallow, who knew?
The goal is to instill positive behavior and so the reward should not always be tangible. We want students to behave because they are supposed to and not just because they may receive a material (or edible) reward. There are plenty of Non-Tangible rewards to provide students to inspire their best self… extra tablet time for example, eating lunch with the teacher, a homework pass, and more. You'll find twenty-five of my favorite non-tangible rewards to pull from that you can Download Now for your reference. Need a personal behavior chart to help your student set goals and track their progress? Check out these Individual Behavior Charts.
Please comment below to share what has worked for you! I’m always looking for new and fresh ideas to put in my bag of classroom management tricks.