One of the toughest challenges of every teacher is to maintain classroom control and individual student behavior. Lack of classroom and student control causes a classroom environment that is not conducive to learning and frustrating for everyone.
There a MANY suggestions on how to maintain classroom control BUT the truth is YOU have to find what works for YOU!!
Over the years I have found these helpful hints.
1. Set CLASSROOM RULES
When setting classroom rules I like to keep them POSITIVE and SIMPLE.
(I listen carefully while others are speaking. NOT I don't talk while others are speaking.)
I also found that in setting the rules keep these 2 things in mind...
Finally, before you begin your activity, before you head into the hall, before you read a story, remind the class what the rules for this activity are.
Some need continued reminders. For instance a student who continually talks out placing a "I raise my hand to speak" on their desk helps. For the student who is always in trouble on the playground place "I will keep my hands and feet to myself." in their locker. Have them check it off each morning. For the student who struggles with all the rules prepare a behavior story for them with pictures of them following the rules. I then like to have a 5th grader come and read them the story before class begins each day. Keep the book positive with I raise my hand, I walk in the hall, I do my best work.
I LOVE this list from Melonheadz.
2. Set CONSEQUENCES
This can get a little tricky but do what you feel comfortable with.
For me the sequence is as follows:
- Reminder of rule being abused
- Loss of cube.
- Loss of another cube. Note home to parent
- Conference with parent
3. BE CONSISTENT
The minute you allow students to break rules and not "nip it in the bud" they will take advantage.
Sometimes right in the middle of a lesson I will say...Let's STOP!
What is happening here?
4. COMMUNICATE the classroom rules with students and parents.
I send a copy of our class rules home with parents along with the consequences.
This is so helpful and most parents are anxious to help!
Be sure everyone knows what you expect.
5. Keep your class BUSY AND CHALLENGED.
When the class is working on things they like and can do they are more than likely to follow the rules and be engaged in the activities taking place.
Whatever system you use be sure to keep it simple.
WHAT WORKS FOR ME
I use a Stop Light theme.
Each student has three cubes on the corner of their desk.
The first time I have to speak to them they get this small sign on their desk.
This is their warning.
The second time I have to talk with them I ask them to put the green cube in the container on my desk. Now I DO give them a chance to earn it back. If I notice they are working hard and not breaking the rule they are allowed to earn it back.
Should I have to warn them again they lose the yellow cube and the third time is the red cube and a note home.
At the end of each day we assess where we were.
All cubes are returned at this time and a reminder tomorrow is a NEW DAY!
The students color in how the blocks looked.
If they were missing a block they leave it blank.
These get sent home at the end of the week.
Parents know to expect them.
These notes go home throughout the week.
I like to send as many positive notes as possible!!
I stay consistent with this theme and have it available even for my subs.
I have gotten positive notes from the subs saying how it helps.
MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL STAY POSITIVE!!
Try all the positive comments you can and other students will try to copy them.
Point out kiddos who are following rules.
Point out kiddos who have done something creative.
Point out kiddos who have shared or done something nice for their classmates.
I like the way...
I appreciate how...
Thank you ________ for ...
ONE THING I STRONGLY BELIEVE IN...
A no hands raised policy to answer questions keeps everyone engaged.
Students never know who you are going to call on so they keep focused.
I also don't hesitate to call on someone not listening.
When students are allowed to raise hands to answer it gives many the opportunity to "check out"!
She won't call on me. In fact when you first try this students will say...I didn't raise my hand.
My reply...I realize that. I called on you. What do you think...
Some teachers use name sticks. If you use this system do not take the stick out once the student has answered or you may lose their attention. Put it right back in the container so they know they could be drawn again.
I also like to keep ALL students actively involved in the lesson.
If someone is going to the board to write or work a problem for you have the others complete it on white boards or in a journal.
That way everyone is still participating.
PRAISE, COMPLIMENT, LET THEM KNOW YOU ARE PROUD OF THEIR EFFORTS.