Are your students not behaving? Do you have a classroom management plan? This isn't discipline - it's teaching kids how to behave in a structured environment.
You must always start your plan before the first day of school. This is an essential component discussed by Harry Wong, author of The First Days of School.
Even the best laid plans will likely have to be tweaked, changed and perhaps even discarded at some point, but you have to start with a routine that you are confidant will ensure success. Without it, you are like a lamb walking into the lion's den.
Routines and procedures are pre-planned by effective teachers. Behavior management is ensured from the beginning.
These are essential classroom management tools every teacher needs before the year even starts!
A well-organized room is essential for excellent classroom management. It is a room that is functional, has clearly designated areas for tasks, and has all materials easily accessible for students
Students' desks are not in rows. This usually only encourages poor behavior, and rows take up valuable space that could be used for students' to work together.
Desks are placed in groups of no more than 5 or 6 students (depending on my class size). The groups are spaced apart enough so that you can rotate completely around them.
The reading library is organized in tubs, by topics and authors, and all books are labeled with a number that corresponds to the tubs they are in.
Directions on the first day set the precedence for the rest of the year.
On the first day, you could have a variety of leveled books placed in baskets in the center of each group. Later in the day (the first day!) you can quickly assess each student's independent reading level and create a book bag for them to keep at their desk.
When the students arrive, teachers should be at the door greeting them. As a primary teacher, your attention is sometimes diverted by parents walking their child in, but this can be handled by saying, "Thank you for bringing Sue down. I will take good care of her." Then turn your attention to Sue, give her directions, and send her in.
(Yes, deciding how to deal with parents is certainly part of an effective classroom management plan!)
Once all students are seated, parents are gone, and announcements are finished, it is time to teach the classroom management plan and procedures. "Showing" and practicing procedures is extremely important, especially with primary students.
This is done every day for the first month of school. Repetition is key - don't count on one time being enough!
students need to be shown how to use a pencil sharpener, how to turn in
an assignment, how to line up, how to ask a question, how and when they
are allowed to leave their seats...everything.
My lessons even follow classroom routines.
Students need to know what to expect from a lesson, where they are
going with it and what they need to show for it. These are your
For example, my math lessons follow the same procedure every day:
We begin math after our morning group time at the Gathering Place, an area at the back of the room where we do our calendar work, morning messages, and other activities.
There is even a routine for how to leave floor time, proceed through the lesson and assess learning objectives. Lessons always end with a quick assessment to monitor comprehension.
I need to
know if my students understood the learning objective for that lesson.
If not, I need to provide interventions.
Knowing when to enrich or intervene needs to be a part of any classroom management plan. You will accomplish more during the day, your students will be more positive about school and you will be doing what you do best - teaching children.
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