Classroom management is more than monitoring, rewarding, and assessing behavior. This post shares four key components to classroom management that each teacher needs.
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*Updated March 2021
I primarily write about classroom organization because I think it is crucial to being an effective teacher.
The more organized you are, the less stressed you are. The less stressed you are, the better you are able to maintain a positive attitude with your students.
But I also like to talk about classroom management because classroom management is a key component to setting up an organized classroom.
If students don’t know the expectations, routines, or structures of the classroom, then it will be really hard to keep it organized.
So, by taking time before the start of the school year (or even over a long weekend) to write out your classroom management plans and implementation strategies, you will be setting yourself up for success.
4 Steps to Classroom Management
There are SO many components that fall under the umbrella of classroom management.
“Classroom management refers to the wide variety of skills and techniques that teachers use to keep students organized, orderly, focused, attentive, on task, and academically productive during a class.”-Ed Glossary
Classroom Management includes things like:
- arrival and dismissal procedures
- engagement strategies
- routines throughout the day
- behavior management
- consequences and rewards
- brain breaks
- and so many more!
But my goal was to keep this video short (under 20 minutes!! Go me!)
So I chose the four aspects that I feel are most crucial to setting up a classroom management plan.
- Behavior Routines
- Daily Routines
- Engagement Strategies
- Brain Break Ideas
1. Behavior Management Routines
Behavior Management is what you are actually doing with your kids to manage their behavior. You need things like:
- a whole group plan
- a small group plan
- an individual plan
- a plan for consequences
You can check out this podcast episode (and video) where I break down the four behavior management plans you need.
2. Write Out Routines
According to Oxford English Dictionary, routines are a sequence of actions regularly followed.
Simply put, they are things you do every single day (or at least on some kind of regular schedule) that take the decision making process out of the equation.
You need teacher routines (things you do) and student routines (things your kids do).
Inside The Organized Teacher Framework™, I help you create your teacher and student routines for the school year.
Here are a few student routines to think about:
- entering/leaving the classroom
- bathroom breaks
- sharpening pencils
- classroom jobs
- station transitions (including putting materials away)
- what are they going to be doing at stations
- day-to-day transitions
- the system/workflow for papers
The point of outlining routines, no matter what time of the year, is so that you can confidently explain them to your kids and hopefully not have much confusion!
You want to be able to walk in on the first day of school (or the first day you are implementing new routines) and confidently say “Here is where this station is. Here is what you do here. This is how you put things away.”
Some Teacher Routine Ideas
Here are some routines you will do on a regular basis that will benefit from having a well-thought out plan.
- when will you lesson plan?
- how will you store lesson plan materials?
- process of papers from the office (or notes from home)
- grading papers
- responding to emails
Once the school year has begun or if you are already in the middle of it, time is limited. You want to be sure that you know how to make the most effective use of your time.
For example, if you don’t have a plan for where papers from the office go, they will end up in a stack on your desk. Day after day that pile will grow and clutter will ensue.
You might even forget to do whatever it was you were supposed to do with the papers. Not because you intentionally ignored them but because you simply don’t have the time to figure out a process of where to put the papers or to remember where you put them.
3. Student Engagement Strategies
Often we overlook all the other parts that go into managing students besides the most obvious of setting rules and handing out consequences.
Creating engaging lessons is super important to managing your kids. The more engaged your students are in the lesson, the less likely they are to get off task (and get on your nerves! 😉)
One of my favorite ways to engage my students is Kagan Cooperative Learning.
Cooperative learning and group work are different from each other. Cooperative learning has four distinct features.
- Positive Independence
- Individual Accountability
- Equal Participation
- Simultaneous Interaction
You can listen to my conversation with Dr. Kagan from Kagan Cooperative Learning to learn more.
Other ways I enjoy engaging my students are:
- room transformations
- change your speaking voice
- wear random hats (listen to Michelle Ferre explain it here!)
- stand on top of a table
4. Utilize Brain Breaks Frequently
Off-task behavior and not following directions can stem from exhaustion and simply not being interested in whatever it is you are teaching.
We also know how important oxygen is to the brain and to keeping kids functioning and paying attention.
Just by standing up, we add 15% more oxygen to our brain.
So even just having your students stand up and stretch in the middle of working will help increase the oxygen to their brains.
But, getting them up and moving with brain break will be even better.
I think every teacher knows about GoNoodle and I love this resource!
But I also remember what one of my grad professors said to us one time. She said that we need kids to have brain breaks that involve interaction with each other and typically GoNoodles do not offer that.
The book Silly Sports and Goofy Games (by Dr. Kagan) is a great resource to have in your teacher tool box.
In fact, I made popsicle sticks with some of the activities in the book (with the page number on the stick) so I could just draw a stick out of a jar to decide what brain break we were going to do.
When planning for, or troubleshooting, your classroom management plans you need to be sure to include more than just how you will manage behavior.
Behavior management is an important part of the classroom management plan, but there are so many other ways you can manage your kids effectively and create an environment where students are motivated and engaged.
Be sure to:
- Write out your behavior management (and implementation plans)
- Plan out all the routines you and your students will do in a day
- Utilize engaging activities and structures to keep kids on task
- Take frequent brain breaks to give kids a steady supply of oxygen to the brain
I shared a lot of links in this post. So, here’s a quick recap of them all!
- 4 Must-Have Behavior Management Plans
- How to Handle Consequences in the Classroom
- Organize and Manage Stations with these Resources
- How to Organize Student Papers
- Interview with Michelle Ferre (Pocketful of Primary)
- Simply Teach Bonus Episode with Dr. Kagan
- Steps to Implement Management Plans in Your Classroom
- The Components of an Organized Classroom
- 10 Classroom Job Ideas for Elementary Students
Until next time,
If you found this helpful, make sure to pin it to your pinterest board so you can refer back to it or so other teachers can find it!