Classroom Management Ideas - Easy Ways to Positively Manage Students' Behavior



Here’s a quick list of simple ways to positively manage behavior in the classroom. These tips are designed to be easy and quick. You’ll find ways to manage the entire class and individual students. 

Many of the ideas are things you probably do intuitively. However, this list provides a simple reminder of some effective ways to positively manage students’ behavior.




If a student is becoming distracted or talking too much, stand right by their desk.  Continue your instruction as usual.  Just moving closer to them is often enough to alleviate the distracting behavior.



If a lesson is not going particularly well or if students are super chatty, just get out your seating chart and start changing seats.  Quite often a new seating arrangement equals a much quieter classroom.



On a particularly challenging day, write “PRIZE” on the board.  For even the slightest infraction, erase a letter.  If any letter in the word is remaining at the end of the class period, then the kids get a prize (no homework, pick their seats next class, stickers, candy).  However, it’s important to be firm and strict – erase letters like crazy.  Sometimes, it’s even more effective for students to NOT earn a prize to show that you mean business.


Arrange the desks in your classroom so that you can easily circulate in between desks.  Move a lot.  Teach from the back, middle, side, and front of the classroom.  


Establish a system that recognizes kids making positive choices (for example:  this FREE positive behavior punch card). 

Make a point to acknowledge students that are doing the right thing. The more you focus on the “good,” the happier you and your students will be.


It’s possible to spend most of your time with a select few students in the classroom.  One way to ensure that you are engaging each student in the room is to carry around a class roster for a few days.  Each time you call on a student add a check next to their name on the roster.  This will help you ensure that each student has an opportunity to participate.


If the room gets rowdy, go to your desk and sit down.  Busy yourself with tasks at your desk.  In a few minutes, an awkward silence will come over the room. At this point, just get up and start teaching again.

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I hope you've found a fresh idea or two, or that you've been reminded of a tip you had in your "teacher toolbox." If you're on the hunt for even more ways to positively manage students' behavior, be sure to check out this collection of classroom management ideas!

Thanks for stopping by!
Mary Beth 




    Easy Ways to Build Positive Relationships in the classroom

     



    As teachers, we're always on the hunt for easy ways to build positive relationships with students. That's because a strong connection with student can greatly increase their success in our classrooms. I'm sharing 15 ways to build relationships with students. I'm sure you already do so many of them....so I hope you find a new idea or two.

    Don't worry! I've put together all of these ideas in a printable set of cards. 
    You can download all the ideas for FREE HERE.


    Make it a practice to send out a set number of postcards (or even emails) a week celebrating students that made positive contributions to class.  

    TIP:  Be sure to record your mailings in a communication log.  



    Give a job that requires trust and responsibility to students that might be a bit more challenging.  By doing so and explaining to them why you think they is the right one for the job, you’ll instill a sense of trust.  

    TIP:  Many students benefit from the feeling that you see them as responsible.



    One of the most effective ways to compliment a student is to do it when they are not there.  For instance, when a student is absent or leaves the room, make a comment about something you really like about them.  Other students in the room will totally tell the student what you said later in the day, and it models genuine love for your students in front of the rest of the class.


    On day one of a new school year, you will most likely get a sense of who might be a more challenging student in your classroom.  So, if that more difficult student had a pretty good day, call home that night.  Note specific things they did right in your classroom.  By establishing positive contact right away, you make a bit of a deposit in the child’s “bank account.”  Then, if something goes wrong on another day, you’ve already established a positive relationship.


    DOWNLOAD the CARDS HERE.




    Avoid embarrassing or making an example of a student at all costs.

    Be positive – always. 

    Instead of “Bob get your packet out,” try complimenting the student next to Bob, “George, thanks for getting your packet out.” Highlight what you want to happen instead of embarrassing a student.  


    Make a connection with your most challenging students. Find a way to genuinely compliment them in your class each day.  Write kind notes on their paper.  Make an effort to reach out to their parents with positive news (it’s like a bank deposit – fill the bank with as much good news as possible so that when you have to make a withdrawal your contact will be primarily positive). Be excited to see the student each school day.

    TIP: Even if you have to fake it, loving the hardest kid to love is so important.



    Sometimes you’ll make a wrong call.  Sometimes you’ll overreact.  Sometimes you’ll make a kid sad.  When you make a mistake, say you’re sorry – publicly – in front of the whole class.  Explain what happened, what you did wrong, how you’ll make amends (with an action), and how you’ll try to improve in the future.  If this is what we expect from our students when they make mistakes, then it makes sense to model it for everyone to see.  Students don’t want you to be perfect.  They want you to be consistent, fair, and when you’re not those things, they’d love to hear you say sorry.  


    Say a friendly hello and create a quick connection with students every day by standing at your door.  This little gesture reminds them that you are there for them.  It shows them that you are excited and engaged as well.  

    TIP:  Say goodbye to each of them, by name, at the end of each day, too.


    Some teachers successfully give nicknames to students.  However, many students resent the nicknames that teachers give them.  While they may accept it (because what else can they do?), many times the nickname embarrasses them or highlights something different about them.  As you know, being different is often not a good feeling as a kid.  That’s why it’s important to ask what a student would like to be called and stick with it.


    It’s human nature to connect with some people more than others. That’s true with students as well. However, it’s important to never pick favorites!  If you’re the basketball coach don’t just engage with your athletes.  If you tend to like the girls in the classroom more than the boys, don’t show favoritism.  Kids struggle with teachers that play favorites.  As humans, there will be students we just like more.  Make a concerted effort to highlight and connect with those students that you’re not necessarily drawn too.


    One of the easiest ways to positively connect with students is by being consistent and fair. Students want to feel safe in their classrooms. They want to know that you have systems in place to help all students be successful. Stay consistent in your classroom management so that students can thrive in your loving, fun, and supportive classroom.


    Reflect on your own school experience growing up.  Who was your favorite teacher?  Why?  (Does it have something to do with how that teacher made you feel?)  

    TIP: Emulate your favorite teacher in your own classroom.


    Build connections with your students as they build connections with their peers. Intentionally plan activities that encourage students to get to know their classmates. While activities like positive pennant posters and team building games may seem to take away from instruction, they are actually powerful tools for creating a positive learning environment.


    Have you ever heard that the easiest way to get children to listen is to whisper your message within earshot of someone else? The same principle applies to students. They love to eavesdrop. So, why not brag about individual students to a colleague within earshot of them? Spreading the word about the great things kids are doing (in a whisper) is super powerful!


    Create homework and classwork with students’ names in the assignments. Make sure their names are associated with positive things and connected to activities and hobbies they care about. 

    TIP:  Personalizing assignments is not hard to do, but it helps students connect with you and their learning.




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    Thanks so much for checking out these ideas. I hope you've found at least one new way to connect with students.

    Talk soon,
    Mary Beth







    Back to School Activities - Perfect for Upper Elementary and Middle School

     


    Searching for fun and meaningful back to school activities? Looking for easy ideas that introduce students to you, their classmates, and your classroom? Wish you could grab some FREE back to school activities to try at the start of the new school year? Well...then you're in the right place!

    I've rounded up some of my favorite back to school ideas for grades 4-8. And...here's the best part...I've included 2 different freebies so that you can easily give some of them a try!

    1. ICEBREAKER

    Plan an activity to get students sharing about themselves in a fun and easy way. I'm a fan of starting the first day of school off with letting students create name tags. Download this freebie for a name tag activity that combines some "get to know you" questions.


    2. SET GOALS

    The beginning of a school year is a great time to lead students through goal setting. You can have students write their goals for different categories on strips of colorful paper. Then, you can loop students' goals together for a paper chain to decorate your classroom. Here's a DOODLE GOAL setting activity you might want to try too.


    3. GAME

    Set the tone for a fun and engaging classroom with a game. Some of my favorites are "Move if You" and "Palm Tree." Games are perfect to play when you want to get students up and out of their seats. Or, they're great to have on hand if your instruction ends early. Grab 12 simple games for FREE here.


    4. SHARE PICTURES

    Give students a glimpse into your life, hobbies, and favorite activities with a slideshow of pictures. You could even add a photo of yourself when you were your students' age. (That's always a hit!)


    5. CRAFT

    Let students get a little creative with a back to school craft. Not only are crafts engaging, they're also a great way to turn students' work into a classroom display. Just imagine, you can decorate a bulletin board in your classroom with students' creations right away. There's a craft in this FREEBIE.


    6. SCAVENGER HUNT

    Set up a textbook or classroom scavenger hunt to help students learn about the classroom. You could even "bury" some hidden treasure for students to find.


    7. PHOTO BOOTH

    Set up a simple photo booth in front of a bulletin board. Photograph students on their first day of school. These photos are great to display in the classroom. In addition, they can be incorporated into Open House presentations, class scrapbooks, or an end-of-the-year reflection.


    8. BUILD COMMUNITY

    Give students a chance to get to know one another at the start of a new school year. One of my favorite ways to do that is with Paper Airplane Introductions. First, students fold a paper airplane. Then, students write interview questions on one wing of the paper airplane. Next, they launch them. Everyone grabs a plane at random and finds the "owner" of the paper airplane. When they meet with the plane's owner, they answer the questions. If you like this activity, grab it for FREE here.


    9. POEM

    Have students work in small groups to write a rhyming poem about the first day of school. Groups can share their poems with the entire class.


    10. WRITING PROMPT

    I love to get students writing when school starts. Having students complete creative writing prompts is a great way to get a baseline of students' skills. It's also a way to show students how fun writing can be! Check out my back to school writing prompts here!



    Ready for more ideas? I've put together a RECIPE for a great FIRST DAY of SCHOOL that you just might want to "cook up!"


    Wishing you a great school year!

    Mary Beth


    P.S. If you'd like MORE free resources for your classroom, be sure to join the Brain Waves Instruction club!







    4 Analysis Tasks for ANY Poem

     


    Analyzing poetry is a skill all our students need to develop. While students are required to investigate poems often, poetry analysis is still something that many students struggle with. That's why I'm a big fan of practice! I love to give students lots of opportunities to closely read and analyze poetry. 

    (And I've put together a FREE one-pager that students can use with any poem!) 

    POETRY ANALYSIS TIPS

    When putting together a poetry analysis lesson, here are some tips I follow:

    ✔ TIP 1: Select a poem that is long enough for students to adequately investigate, but not too long to make the process overwhelming.

     TIP 2: Provide students with background information about the author of the poem. This helps to build context and connections to the poem.

     TIP 3: Choose a poem with at least one form of figurative language for students to identify and describe.

     TIP 4: Have students read the poem multiple times. You might read the poem out loud first. Then, students might read the poem in a small group or with a partner. Finally, students can read the poem independently.

     TIP 5: Give students tasks that become more complex with each reading.


    POETRY ANALYSIS TASKS

    Then, when I'm actually teaching an analysis lesson, here are 4 analysis tasks that work with ANY poem (Don't worry, you can download the entire lesson for FREE here.):

    Task 1: Reflect

    After students read a poem, have them reflect on what the poem made them think about and how the poem made them feel. When students share what the poem make them think about they'll be able to pull main ideas from the text. Then, when they share how they felt, they'll need to think more deeply about the poem.



    Task 2: Visualize

    When students have completed a second reading of the poem, have them select a line or lines from the poem that helped them create a mental image in their minds. Students should write the lines down. Then, have students doodle an actual illustration to portray the words in the poem.



    Task 3: Figurative Language

    Share the definition for a type of figurative language found in the poem with students. Then, have students read the poem a third time. As they read, encourage them to be on the lookout for an example of the figurate language. Once students find an example have them write it down before explaining its meaning.


    Task 4: Theme

    Once students read the poem for a final time, have them respond to a short answer question that requires them to identify the theme of the poem. As students write their analyses, encourage them to include direct quotes from the poem.



    These analysis tasks build in difficulty and encourage students to naturally dive deeply into the text. If you're looking for poems for students to analyze, check out my favorite poems to teach here:


    Download the FREE Doodle One-Pager HERE.


    Thanks for stopping by!

    Mary Beth



    P.S. Check out these 5 fun ways to teach poetry!





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