5 Tips For Classroom Management That Work!
One thing always on the minds of teachers is classroom management. You can’t teach a classroom full of unruly kids who aren’t listening to your words and distracting any child who might be trying to gain some learning that day. How do you handle disruptive behavior in your elementary and middle school classrooms?
Here are some tips for classroom management that will help establish a pattern of respect and listening with your students without losing your temper, getting discouraged, or embarrassing anyone.
Hallway conferences. When someone is acting out in the classroom, ask them to join you in the hallway for a talk. That’s when you can take a minute or two to find out if there’s something going on you should know about (difficulty at home, illness, social anxiety) and ask the student to focus on the work at hand. An important part of hallway chats comes when you reenter the classroom—be sure to say out loud, “Thank you, child’s name!” as they walk back to their seat. This lets the rest of the class know that a respectful exchange just occurred and no one is in trouble.
Establish a ritual unique to that classroom. This is a great way for kids to get to know each other and you and to feel like a team instead of a random group of people! Some ideas include:
- Do Monday morning shares about everyone’s weekend.
- Create a hand signal that means “like” for kids to use when they’re listening to another member of the class share their writing or anything else as a quiet way to show appreciation.
- Start every day with each student sharing a metaphor that offers clues on how they feel. For example, “Today I’m a pink elephant balancing on a silver beach ball.” Encourage goofiness!
Like your students and expect the best from them. Even if a student is displaying behavior that you don’t like, you can still like the person. Make it clear that everyone in the classroom is someone you want to hang out with and that you assume their behavior and effort will be the best they can possibly do. Expectations can go a long way.
Call out positive behavior. You don’t need to gush with praise, but letting your kids know that you notice when they are meeting expectations can be powerful. It can be as simple as saying, “I notice that everyone here is quiet so they can hear the next debate question.” By recognizing the good behavior, you instill in your kids a desire to do more of it. Also, those students for whom sitting quietly and waiting for instructions is hard will have even more incentive to work at it—peer pressure can be a good thing!
Don’t embarrass kids who are behaving badly. In fact, don’t embarrass anyone in your classroom, ever. Kids in late elementary and middle school are highly sensitive to being different from everyone else. They worry about the way they dress, learn, act, and a multitude of other things. If unacceptable behavior is met with embarrassment, the behavior is likely to get worse because the kid will feel a keen lack of support.
Have a terrific rest of the school year!