I have been asked MANY times about how I manage my classroom environment. My administrator mentioned that this is one of my strongest points when observing my classroom (although, I would have never pegged me as being good at this..lol - amazing that we do not see the things we do well, that it takes others telling you for you to see it).
Anyway, my HOPES is that this little bit of information can help someone, as you certainly do NOT want this to happen to you: (found this here: http://allthingslearning.wordpress.com/tag/classroom-management/)
First, I will explain (as best as I can in writing) how I manage my classroom. Then, I will share two ideas that my administrators shared with our staff (in a weekly newsletter) about managing classroom behaviors.
How do I manage my classroom?
It took a few years for me to realize that THE most important factor in managing a classroom is PLANNING ahead. In addition, you must assume (with all grade levels) that students come into your class knowing NOTHING!! Yes, nothing! If you assume they know how to sharpen pencils, but they really do not, then this can become an issue some time during the year. Also, you must have a CLEAR plan of what your expectations are for your students. Once you have these, you can really begin!
My plan is to spend 2 full weeks on routines. Yes, I know, I know... that is 2 weeks of non-instructional time, but you WILL gain that time back IF you stick to your plan. If you well establish the routines and expectations the first 2 weeks, you most likely will NOT have ongoing issues with these routines throughout the year. A lot of times, that is what takes your time away from instruction throughout the year - a lack on the part of the students know what to do and when to do it - then you have to stop instruction to fix the mistakes (not once, but more than once). Resulting in a great deal of instructional time lost.
During the first 2 weeks, there are many things I model and WE (the students, my parapro, and myself) practice. We practice it until it becomes automatic. If we are not automatic, we practice again... The act of modeling and then practicing is HUGE. Another important part is to model what NOT to do (I love this part, because I get to act silly and the kiddos LOVE it, as they know it is not the right way to do it...lol).
Additional piece of information: I am the full inclusion kindergarten class at our school - I have general ed students, but also have the special needs students who are in kindergarten as well. With this, it is VERY important that they have visual aids in the classroom (especially a visual daily schedule). Not only do all my models and visuals assist these Sped students, it also helps my ELL students :) So, if you do not use visual aids, I strongly suggest including more!
What do we practice?
- How to come into the classroom
- Morning procedures
- Restroom procedures
- How to tuck chairs under
- How to look at books
- How to line up
- How to rotate centers
- What to do when finished with work
- How to raise hand to speak (we set criteria for carpet time)
- How to sit on the carpet
- How to work with partners
- How to walk in line
- etc... EVERYTHING!!!!
One thing we spend a great deal of time doing during those 2 weeks is rotating center groups and how to work in centers. Modeling is the key, plus we have a fun chant we sing when we are cleaning up and getting prepared to rotate to the next group: "Five, four, three, two, one... Learning is so fun! (clap, clap) Five, four, three, two, one... Learning is so fun! (clap, clap)" By that time, students should be almost finished cleaning up and standing ready to rotate. Be sure you show them and practice what to do with their work (whether they are to turn it into cubbies or another container). There are SOOOO many little things you need to have a 'plan' for doing.
One last piece of advice: Be CONSISTENT. Stick to your plan. If you are constantly changing the way to do things, the children can become confused. Now, that does not mean do not change it if it is NOT working, but be careful not to change it just for the sake of changing it. If it does not work, definitely adjust it - but REMEMBER to model and practice it!!!!!
Now, if anything else pops into my mind, I will add that information. It is always more fresh in my mind right when I am doing it, so I may revisit this again at the beginning of the next school year :)
Also, let me know of any ideas you may have or have worked wonderfully for you & your students!!
Here are two behavior management strategies my administrators shared with our staff:
The Bead System: http://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/free-resources/behavior-management/bead-system
Angry Birds Anger Management: http://mrshsresourceroom.blogspot.com/search/label/angry%20birds