When you train to be a teacher, you are taught many classroom management tips and tricks. It is only once you are in the classroom that you identify the tricks that work for you and your “teacher personality”. What works for one person, may not work for another!
Over the years, I have found a few strategies that work for me. I decided to share three of my favorite strategies with you to use as you see fit.
Classroom Management tips:
Be Over-Prepared for Class
We’ve all been there, the copies we forgot to make, the manipulatives we didn’t grab from the storage room, the folder of tests left on the counter of your house. We are only human! But, doing our best to be prepared for class a day ahead or having some extra materials handy for those “D’Oh” moments will save you from the mid-class panic!
This may sound like an easy, obvious thing to do, and you are probably thinking that you don’t need to be told this. But the bottom line is… over-prepared lessons leads to smooth lessons.
I always make sure I have some board games for early-finishers; center activities for when the smartboard or technology does not work; and that my worksheets are photocopied way before the lesson to avoid the dreaded jammed-copier problem.
Use a Question Board
We all know that feeling… You spent the last 10 minutes explaining the concept. “Does everyone understand what to do?” You are answered with smiling faces and nodding heads. Great! You give your kiddos the go-ahead to start the task…only to be faced with a hand in the air! How is it possible? You JUST gave them all the information they need AND they didn’t have any questions!
This is such a common occurrence in most, if not all, classrooms. Answering these ‘should-know’ questions wastes a lot of time and takes away from real learning problems in the class.
I came up with the Question Board for Classroom Management solution.
I designed this product for students to become more independent classroom workers. Students are encouraged to use the “Question Board” to try to answer their questions before approaching the teacher.
I came up with prompts based on questions I am super sick of answering 😊 These are the questions that my students should be able to answer on their own and shouldn’t require assistance. Simple things like, “Can I use markers? Or “Can I work with a partner?” can be answered with this product. Trust me, you NEED this!
How did I prepare my Question board?
I printed the cards on cardstock and used a 3” circle punch to cut them out. Then, I laminated them and stuck big, flat magnets on the back. I like to use business card magnets which I cut in half.
I usually leave the questions up all the time and then put the answers up as I explain the task. My students can then refer to the questions and answers if they need help.
What are the positives of using this method?
Well, for starters, I don’t go crazy after answering the same question over and over and over again. Sanity = priceless.
Next, my students can get on task far quicker because they are not waiting for me to answer their questions like, “Where can I sit?”
It also allows me to be free to help those that have concept-related questions or need additional support.
You can grab this Question Board Classroom Management product for FREE (because sanity should be free) in my TpT store. Click here!
Students love group work, mainly because they can spend time chatting with one another and sharing ideas. There are many times during a day, that you may feel the need to raise your voice above the noise level in the class. Often, however, this can lead to students not hearing you and you are left shouting to get their attention. Especially if you have a mousey little squeaky voice as I do!
I found that using a non-verbal method to get things under control can be very useful and effective. Some teacher use hand signals, like putting their hands on their heads and waiting for the class to follow. Some teachers flick the lights on and off to get their students’ attention. Like many others, I use a portable doorbell. I loved my bell and so did my students (I think). One little DING DONG and they would stop what they were doing, put anything down and give me their attention. It worked like magic (most of the time)!
If it’s one of those days, Lighten the Load
We all have those days. Maybe you got a crummy e-mail from a parent, or you were up with a sleepless child of your own and are barely hanging on. Whatever it is, don’t let it tip you over your breaking point. Have a few extra activities handy that your students will enjoy so you can take a minute to regroup. This will help you gain your patience and avoid the “snap-yell-guilt” cycle teachers and moms know so well… I recommend a podcast or BookFlix for an easy calming activity, a “Physical Activity Break” outside if possible (we all know fresh-air is one of the best mood improvers!), or maybe you move that art activity you had planned for Friday to this afternoon. This isn’t a free-pass to put on a full movie every time you feel less than 100%, but taking 5-10 minutes to catch your breath, sip some coffee, and regroup is totally worth it!
I hope you enjoyed these three Classroom Management Tips. Don’t forget to grab the original FREE Question Board here or sign up for my newsletter and freebie library to get the new updates!
I would love to hear what Classroom Management Tips you can’t live without.