Classroom management is hard, no question about it. However, it’s crucial if you want to have a successful classroom. Routines and expectations need to be established right away, especially this year when things look very different and there’s a lot our kiddos need to remember.
Start right away and spend time reviewing rules and expectations.
This year, by day three of school, my kiddos were tired of going through the rules. We talked through them, we used motions, we echoed, we danced to songs that represented our rules, and we recited expectations daily. Repetition is crucial, especially in the beginning. Honestly, you should feel like it’s overkill by the end. Then, you get to go back and remind students of those days and that practice when later in the year, they forget. I’ve heard it said that it’s always better to start of stricter and get easier going, rather than the other way around.
Form relationships with your students.
Knowing your kids is so helpful when managing your classroom! Someone asked me the other day if I “already know my bad kids.” First, I have no bad kids. I have challenging students who need a little extra love. Second, yes- I identified them in the first five minutes of class. Whether a student needs to move, needs a little extra attention, acts out due to self doubt, or just isn’t used to being in school, most of the time their behavior isn’t on purpose. Once you can figure out what they need, you can better serve them and improve your classroom environment. Getting to know your students and forming relationships so that they feel safe and comfortable with you is of upmost importance.
Utilize class and individual reward systems.
This is more of the nitty gritty, but students like rewards for good behavior. During the first few days of school, I start simple with a class reward. They get a donut drawn on the board with the phrase “our behavior is so sweet” and if they earn 20 sprinkles, they get 20 minutes of free time. Then, once rules are established, we move into a three strike policy for individual behavior. If strikes are avoided, students get a ticket at the end of the day and eventually, tickets can be cashed in for rewards. Sometimes, a behavior system work better for one class than another. Sometimes I need to change things up. I find that variety is beneficial and that in the end, students want to be engaged and learning. These managements simply help that process along.