50 Awesome Classroom Management Tips You Can Use Tomorrow Reader Appreciation by Joel Wagner - November 27, 2007August 4, 20169 As we come to the conclusion of Reader Appreciation Month, I want to summarize some of the things that we have learned. Today, I’ll focus on the incredible wealth of knowledge that we have learned about classroom management with these 50 awesome classroom management tips. I found that when I put all of the tips together, I had over 70 suggestions. I combined a few of them and broke them down into categories. The tips all fell into four categories: Personal, Student and Parent Relationships, Organization and Teaching, and Behavior and Rules. After consolidating, I came up with 50 classroom management tips I have learned this month. Personal classroom management tips Find out who you are as a person; find your strengths, weaknesses, and how your chemistry works with others Pay attention at all times Keep your word Be excited about teaching what you teach Study leadership and be a leader Accept responsibility for everything that happens in your classroom, whether good or bad Assume the role of a captain of your classroom and be in control at all times Student and parent relationship tips Improve students’ self-concept Greet them at the doorway before they enter the classroom, use handshakes, high fives, nicknames, whatever Joke around with you students, but have a way to get them back on task LOVE! If we authentically show students that we are dedicated to loving them, believing in them-they will allow us to teach them Authentic honor, respect, and admiration goes the distance when you want students to engage deeply in learning You have to reach them before you can attempt to teach them Get to know them really fast; names in less than a week, absolutely Assign “math autobiographies” (or whatever) early, and learn more about them Share control where there are choices that control the environment, and where there really is a choice, give the kids that control (Which game will we play today if we finish fast? Would you like to take the quiz now, or go over homework first? Do you want sparkly stickers or smelly stickers?) Kids get told what to do all the time; make your classroom a place where they get to make some decisions Try to make a personal connection with each child — find out what their interests and activities are; if you know they have a game coming up, wish them luck, or ask how it went the next day Share (limited) personal information with them; this helps to establish a connection with the students Speak to students with respect, even when they are not acting respectfully toward you Praise! Praise! Praise! But make it specific — instead of saying, “You guys were so good at the assembly!” tell them you’re so happy they all stayed flat on their bottoms and listened quietly to the speaker Stop whatever you are doing whenever you see something remarkable happening in the classroom and point it out Do not try to make the kids like you; as you make them behave, they will like you Do not give in to every request, “This isn’t Burger King, you don’t have it your way all the time” Give in to some requests when it is educationally appropriate, “Fine, this is Burger King, have it your way” Do not be afraid to ask parents for help in the classroom or with events Keep parents informed about what is going on in your classroom (I first set up an email list, then turned it into a blog with email subscriptions) Organization and teaching tips Keep impeccable records. Pamela wrote about this in great detail The students need to be working on something constructive and meaningful from bell to bell Follow a regular structure; this will also help students know what to expect; establish a weekly routine like Jeremy Aldrich To keep focus, you need to break focus, never expect half an hour of silent attention to anything if you are lecturing, interrupt yourself (with jokes, stories, off-topic nonsense, discussion of what is happening elsewhere in school, random knowledge, etc.); plan a variety of work, so that they will need to take out notebooks, or put them away, or move desks, or stop writing and start talking Focus on what needs to actually get done; never walk into a class thinking “we’ll see how far we get” — have a target, reach it, and the other time, to the extent that it exists, is used to build a class that kids are comfortable in, that they look forward to coming to each day Teach students — even the youngest ones — to be responsible for their own learning; let them know that you expect them to use their class time for learning Behavior and rules tips for effective classroom management On the first day, give kids really easy things to do, like raise your hand if your last name begins with “G” and sit in assigned seats. have them fill in basic info cards, stand them up, sit them down, get them used to following directions and doing what they are told Whatever your rules, make them clear, keep them concise, keep them consistent, keep them fair Make your expectations (for both behavior and learning) high and very clear and reinforce them regularly (relentlessly pursue classroom management) Don’t make threats you won’t follow through on; actions speak louder than words Set the boundaries fairly close at first, then relax them later, once you’ve gotten to know each other If you have the kids seated in table arrangements, give tally marks to tables for doing the right thing — i.e. being the first to have all members with homework turned in or with book open to the right page, etc.; this speeds up transitions immensely Use behavior contracts Stay mobile; as they work, pace the room and watch for signs of confusion or distraction Gently tap off-task students on the shoulder Spot check what they are supposed to be working on I establish as few rules as possible, and then jealously enforce the ones I have — too many rules mean too many things you have to track Overexplain — ALWAYS review your expectations and go through the “What if?” scenario list before assemblies, field trips, guest speakers, substitutes, etc., no matter how many times you’ve discussed it before Find ways to correct students with as little distraction to your lesson as possible; develop “the look“ Use silence or whispering to your advantage — students are uncomfortable with unexpected silence; there will always be a few students who don’t immediately look up when you stop talking, so other students will start nudging them and pointing for them to pay attention, when all eyes are back on you, ask, “Are we ready to continue?” with an “I’m not very amused” look on your face Catch the students doing something right; if that doesn’t happen, lower your expectations for what they should do, and find someone who exceeds the expectations Do not be afraid to make kids call their parents and explain their misbehaviors during class; it’s amazing how much that fear of being found out does to your overall class behavior Don’t yell — or at least do it VERY sparingly and know that it will carry a lot more weight if and when you do; for example, saying “Don’t take that tone with me” to a disrespectful student will often escalate the situation Joel WagnerJoel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.