Posts tagged classroom management


I forgot to mention this when the subject of rewards came up.

I had a class clown when I taught 2nd grade.  He was in no way disrespectful or mean and did not purposely misbehave (most of the time).  But he loved getting the class’s attention, and it was not easy to keep them on track in the first few weeks of school.

I gave the student a sticky note, and I told him that when I go like this (modeled making a tally mark with my finger in the air) to make a tally mark on his sticky note. I told him I would do this every time he was talking out of turn, that it would be between the two of us, and there were no consequences tied to it.  By the end of the first day of doing this, his sticky note was covered and he was in tears (which was not my intention).  He had written “Bad” at the top.  I told him it did not mean he was bad and that the only reason I did this was him was because I didn’t think he knew how much he interrupted his classmates and me.  I said that I knew if he was aware of how much it was happening he would do his best to stop.  I erased bad and wrote “Room for Improvement.”  I told him that tomorrow, we’d do the same thing, but his goal was to have less tally marks.  No specific tally mark count, just “less.”  I said if he could do this, I would let him pick 2 jokes out of the joke books I had to tell the class at the end of the day.

This was the best solution to any problem I may have ever had.

Each day, the goal was to have less than the day before.  It whittled down to a much more manageable number.  He was proud of himself, and the other kids loved the jokes.

So You Want to Teach: 15 Tricks To Transform Yourself From Classroom Bully Into A Favorite Teacher

How do I manage my classroom without humiliating the students?
So how then do I do it? For me, it’s a combination of a number of factors:

  1. Stay personally engaged in the class the entire time (be on top of your game)
  2. Nurture a culture of encouragement
  3. Compliment, compliment, compliment
  4. Be prepared (students, especially middle school students, smell fear)
  5. Have a backup plan
  6. Have a backup plan for the backup plan
  7. Choose your words mindfully
  8. Create a sense of urgency — I have created the habit of beginning every class by telling my students, “Get set up quickly, we have a lot of work to do today”
  9. Keep the students engaged for as much of the class time as possible
  10. Be aware of what’s going on in the classroom; often misbehaviors will have early warning signs
  11. Don’t take yourself too seriously
  12. Have fun
  13. Avoid stress
  14. Avoid burnout
  15. Read the comments below

There are surely tons of other nuanced things that I do from day-to-day, but hopefully this list will help get those of you struggling with this issue started. Did I miss something? Add it in the comments below.

A little while ago, I had a question about classroom management and dealing with defiant students.   I strongly feel that classroom management and promoting and environment where students feel safe and respected are the essential components to having a successful classroom.   Click the link to read the entire article.

Winning With Strong Class Behavior

A common situation in most classrooms occurs when a teacher gives a direction and not all of the class complies. Lemov asks, should the teacher proceed and ignore the lack of 100 percent compliance? According to Lemov, the answer is a definite no. Why? Lemov explains that to ignore the non-compliance by some of the students is to risk creating a negative culture of “only the good kids do what they’re asked.” This usually causes students to see non-compliance as an option. Before you know it, the teacher could end up pleading for student cooperation which is totally unproductive.

The more serious you are about student compliance, the more you should be concerned about the fairness of your commands. Focus of the champion teacher should be to “help students achieve, not an empty exercise in teacher power.” This is why good teachers spend lots of time teaching their students how to do routines and rituals correctly.

Click to read the suggested steps for creating a classroom where students comply, and avoiding power struggles.