Classroom management is essential to learning. I have high expectations for my students. I consider myself to be firm but loving. But, I also understand that I work with kids. Kids need to be kids.
That said, it drives me crazy to hear my name called at the same time by 20 students. Here are a few things that help me through the day. Most keep me from losing my mind and save time and energy.
Another favorite are these signs. I have some posted on my Big Book Center where we do whole group lessons. Raise Your Hand and the Quiet sign are posted here as a reminder to take turns and to listen. I also like the Eyes on Me sign. It's great. At the beginning of the year, I walk with the Quiet sign as we practice walking outside for recess and lunch.
Music is also essential. I love to use music for lots of things (Post to come soon). Music is a great for crossing the mid line. When taking long tests, I love to have the kids take a break with music. Currently, Mark D. Pencil Exercise Songs are a big hit. This is a great CD!
I have recently starting using the term; My Turn, Your Turn. This is especially helpful for my special education students but works like a charm for all. When I get interrupted, I stop and say, "My turn." In most cases, the student stops talking. I apply this same language, "___'s Turn" to other students when someone wants to talk in the middle of someones conversation. I also use this term with my ELD students who I only have 3 days a week for 50 minutes. It has really improved their behavior. They know that during their turn, they may ask for water but during My Turn I am teaching information they will need to apply during their independent work.
Last year, I became familiar with A Help Box; a simple visual support for students. It gives them step by step directions. This really helps with disruptions and allows students to problem solve on their own. I keep my Help Box posted on the whiteboard. I also keep a sample of the work posted along with the directions. Students love the visual reminder.
Another management tip I use is an I'm Busy sign. I used this cut out and keep it by my table when I am working with students during Guided Reading or testing. Most will automatically turn around if they see the sign. If they don't, I hold the sign. That usually does the trick.
Sign language is also a great tip. Students sign if they need to go to the restroom. I love this. All I need to do is nod my head.
Many of these tricks were learned over time. I feel that as I've become more confident as a teacher, my reactions to a child's need has changed. I no longer sweat the small stuff. I try to focus on what needs immediate change. I try to keep it simple.
Do you have any tricks of the trade that you would like to share? I'd love to read your comments and I'm sure others would too. :)
Happy Teaching and Learning,