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Classroom Management for New Teachers!

  1. Classroom management is WAY easier if your students are excited about your lesson. So, how do you get them excited?

    1. Hook them into your lesson first. Depending on the age/grade level of your students, this can be a thought-provoking activity (demonstration), a short video clip that generates curiosity or a small group discussion centered around an intriguing question. For example: I just taught, as a guest, a 1st grade class. (The majority of my career I taught high school so this was quite a change for me). My question was, “Is this Magic or Science?” The “hook” looked like magic to the students (I poured purple cabbage juice into a clear vinegar solution with an immediate color change to bright pink). This stimulated student curiosity. My question to them, “Was this Magic or Science.” I then gave all table teams their own solutions to test with the purple cabbage juice and 5 prepared safe solutions. The students were well-behaved and on task because they were “hooked.”

    2. Choose activities that are relevant to your students and make it clear what the relevance is. If they find that there is a “Need to Know” they will be more interested in staying on task and hence be much easier to manage. A concrete example of this is when I taught chemistry. To get students interested and curious about studying ions I set them up with a case about the Ionic Foot Bath. I did not let my students know that this is a total scam. They figured this out on their own the more they studied the chemistry of what goes on in the foot bath. If you haven’t seen these foot baths advertised they are all over the web. When we studied pH, we studied Alkaline Water and my students were curious if this can really change your body’s pH. They were intrigued and learned that yet again, drinking alkaline water does not change your body chemistry. The more activities that you provide a “hook” and relevance for, the easier your students will be to manage.

  2. Create a classroom management step system that you are comfortable with enforcing. It should be uncomplicated, clear and easy to use.

    1. Here is one example:

      1. Step 1-START by remembering to tell students exactly what you want. For example, “Everyone look up here, stop talking and listen.”

      2. Step 2-Show appreciation to those that comply right away. “Thank you to all of you that are looking up at me and ready to listen.”

      3. Step 3-As more students begin to look up at you quietly focus on the few that you are still waiting for and let them know they have say, 10 more seconds to be ready.

      4. Step 4-ANY student STILL not listening get a warning.

      5. Step 5-The student/s still not paying attention are moved to a new location. Clearly they are way too comfortable with the students they are sitting with and are no longer allowed the privilege to sit there.

      6. Step 6-If a student is still off-task after you’ve moved their seat it is time for a one-on-one discussion. (preferably off to the side while others are working).

      7. Step 7- If this is still not working then it is time for a parent/guardian contact and a new behavior management system put into place.

    2. Be consistent with your classroom management system. Stick to your plan and even if a student complains when you move their seat (which they usually will), make them move. It is not o.k. for the student to plead with you about this. You gave them plenty of opportunity so follow through with your plan. If you don’t, then students will know that you don’t really mean what you say.

  3. Keep your students active. This means having a variety of modes of learning. For example: 5 minutes quiet reading, 5 minutes partner share of what they just read, 15 minutes of related activity, 10 minutes of table team discussion, 5 minutes of a quick write of what they just learned.

Final Thought: Once students are "hooked" into your lesson they are WAY easier to manage.

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