Six Positive Classroom Management Strategies

“Students don’t care how much you know, until they know
 how much you care!”  John C. Maxwell.

Take time to get to know your students.  Give each student the opportunity to talk, write, or draw about themselves each day for the first two weeks of school.    Do they participate in a sport?  Do they have a pet or pets?  What do they love to do when they have free time?  What do they like to do with friends?  Would they rather spend time working alone or with a friend?  Who are the members of their families?  Keep these drawings, writings, and notes that you take when a child is sharing orally in a file for each child.  These will be valuable when you need to give a student assignments that fit his or her interests.

Grab the students’ attention before transitions.  I would often break into song.  The songs were usually made up on the spur of the moment, but some were favorites that I used year after year.  During the crazy holiday season, I would sing, “Deck the halls with boughs of holly.”  The children would sing, “Fa, la, la, la, la.”  Then we would all but our fingers over our lips and say “shhhh”, very quietly. This was very calming to the students and to me.  Clapping hands, turning off the lights, playing a chime, are just a few of the strategies for getting the students’ attention.

Establish routines, and model, model, model!  Once in the middle of the school year, a new student joined our class.  He did not speak or understand English.  This is when I learned the awesome power of modeling behavior expectations.  I would pull out a card with a situation such as walk quietly to the carpet.  I would demonstrate an incorrect way to follow the direction, and then call on two or three students to act out the correct way.  The whole class loved this.  Anytime the class needed some reminders of routines or expectations, we would act out the incorrect and correct way to follow the directions on our behavior choice cards.

Correct students privately.  No one likes to be criticized in front of his or her friends.  If it is a small correction, quietly whisper to the child.  If a serious talk is needed ask the child to meet you at the door, step out into the hall and talk quietly with the child.  Remember to keep the door open, so you can hear what is going on in the class, and stay very close to door.  Don’t scold, use a quiet voice and discuss the situation. 

Keep your composure.  School can be overwhelming for both students and teachers.  If you feel stress building, take a deep breath and center yourself.

Let your students know that you love them.  Establish routines and remind students of the routines whenever needed.  Model the routines.  Remind students of classroom expectations in supportive ways.  Be firm and kind.  Sometimes your tone of voice can make all the difference.  

What are your favorite tips for classroom management?  We would love to read your comments.

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