After the newness of the school year wears off, behavior can get crazy in your classroom. The best time to improve your classroom management is in the middle of the school year. In this post, I share 3 tips on classroom management you can implement at any time of the school year to spruce up your management plan.
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I believe in consistency for students. They thrive on consistency and need to know their boundaries.
But what happens when the structure you are providing is no longer working? What happens when the structure you tried at the beginning of the year never actually took off and your class is in chaos?
In some cases, I think it’s a good strategy to shake things up in the middle of the year. One of the most beneficial things to change is your classroom management.
You already have a bit of a rapport established with your students and the second half of the school year is a great time to try out some new management strategies you want to implement on Day 1 next year.
What Is Classroom Management?
First, we need to make sure we understand what classroom management is. I love the following definition from the book Setting Limits in the Classroom.
“Classroom management is a very broad and inclusive term that refers to the full range of things teachers do to organize people, materials, space, and time for the purpose of teaching and learning. Classroom discipline, relationship building, community building, engagement strategies, and all the components of structure are included within the general term classroom management.”Setting Limits in the Classroom
We tend to thing of classroom management only in terms of ways we can get the students to do what we want them to do. But really, it’s so much more than that.
3 Tips on Classroom Management
Managing a class well comes down to communication. Students need to know what you expect of them and the best way you can do that is through communicating with them.
I have a free resource you can download with 9 classroom management tips that you can implement right away. But for now, let’s talk about 3 you can use right now in the middle of the school year.
1. Use CHAMPS
CHAMPS is one of my favorite ways to communicate with students about what you want from them. I was introduced to CHAMPS very informally during my first year of teaching. I don’t have a ton of education on it, but here is how I used it in my classroom.
Any lesson I taught to my students started and ended with an overview of the CHAMPS expectations. Each of the letters was pasted on my whiteboard and in thirty seconds or less I would talk through, and write, the expectation next to the corresponding letter.
- C- Conversation (voice level)
- H- Help (what to do if you need help)
- A- Activity (what the student is doing)
- M- Movement (here is where I would tell students if they could go to the bathroom, get water, etc.)
- P- Participation (I’m not really sure so here I just told them who they were working with)
- S- Success (I rarely used this one because I didn’t know it’s purpose)
As an alternative, you can use MAC for a shorter set of expectations
2. Classroom Organization and Classroom Management go Together
He equates a well-managed classroom to a well-managed store. It’s laid out in an organized way, there is plenty of accessibility, and the staff is friendly and efficient.
The more organized your classroom is, the more structure you give your students.. The more structure, the less distraction you present to your students. The less distraction means better management which is what we are all after!
It’s all intertwined.
Inside The Organized Teacher Framework™ I teach the cake model. Each layer of the classroom builds upon the other.
Learn how to simplify your classroom organization and create a better learning environment for your students.
3. Be Explicit
Kids need TONS of explicit directions. On the podcast I share a story about how frusrated I was by my kids getting up from the carpet and heading back to their desks the minute I said “here is what you are going to do.”
As soon as they started moving, I lost them. So I got really explicit with my directions and expectations.
I started saying things like “When I say go you will….” I would finish giving the directions and wait a few seconds before saying “go.”
This allowed me to have the full attention of my students while I was giving out directions or going over CHAMPS.
Part of being explicit means setting expectations and holding to them. That means sometimes you have to hand out consequences.
A teacher once asked me how to balance being a friendly teacher that students feel safe with but also being a teacher that holds them to the expectations. My answer might seem counter intuitive, but I think the answer to building a trusting relationship with your students is to start out strict.
If you have struggled with classroom management in the first part of the school, take some time over the break to think through what new management plans you want to put in place. (The Organized Teacher Framework™ is a great place to get started.)
Then, return to school and explain your reasoning for wanting to change things up in the second semester. Tell students your expectations and hold to them.
Believe it or not, your students will start to trust you more when they know their boundaries. That relationship will come in time.
As my mom always told me, it’s better to start out strict and loosen up than to start out lax and try to get more strict.
More Classroom Management Tips
On this episode of the podcast I shared a lot of blogs and podcasts I have created on this topic. Here they are:
- 4 Must-Have Behavior Management Plans (blog and video)
- Simply Teach #13- 4 Steps to Classroom Management
- Simply Teach #33- Classroom Management in the Secondary Classroom with Linda Kardamis from Teach 4 the Heart
- How to Implement Classroom Management Procedures
- Simply Teach #59 is a live coaching session with a teacher where we talk through her classroom management plans
- How to Implement a Classroom Economy and Behavior Management System
- Simply Teach #61- Classroom Economies in Middle School with course creator Thom Gibson
- Simply Teach #84– Interview with Brandie Rosen, a Special Education Coach, on tips to organize Special Education paperwork with last part of episode dedicated to management tips for severe student behaviors
- The Organized Teacher Framework™
- See the list above for all the blogs with tops on classroom management
Connect with Kelly
Classroom Management is more than just setting expectations and following up with consequences and rewards. It’s ALL of the components in your classroom you use on a daily basis to make your classroom run.
Behavior management is only a part of it.
Improve your classroom management by using a structure like CHAMPS and being explicit in the directions you give your kids.
Also, don’t neglect classroom organization because a clutter free classroom will help prevent some of those management issues.
Until next time,