Saturday, June 22, 2013

Classroom Management - A Linky Party

"Look, Mom!  I'm blogging!"  Sound the trumpets!  

Honestly, it is just so sad.  I have no idea why blogging is so difficult for me. Thankfully, Leigh over at the The Applicious Teacher sparked my interest with her "An Apple a Day Linky Party." 

Last week's theme is a topic that I am very passionate about - Classroom Management.  I am already thinking about this year's class (Which by the way, may end up being a 1/2 combo.  Eeek!) and what, if anything, I want to tweak, try, or ditch when it comes to behavior management.  Here is Part 1 of what I know will remain constant for me:

1)  Be Relentlessly Consistent:  The teacher down the hall recently retired.  Sad. She is, not was, a model teacher.  She is, not was, the very essence of what a great teacher is all about! She has been incredibly inspirational, and I have learned many things from her.  But the most important lesson that I have learned from her is to "Be Consistent."  If I have appropriately explained my expectations about any part of our day, and my students do not fulfill those expectations, then we review the expectations orally, and then spend time practicing them again.  I do this without fail each and every time.  All. Year. Long.  

Sometimes, I have to admit it is a real drag to be "Relentlessly Consistent."  Like when it's lunch time, and I'm starving, and the kids decide to go berserk during line-up. I just want to leave quickly, and drop them off at the cafeteria, so bad!  But, I don't.  I send them back to their seats.  We review our class expectations for lining up.  Then, we spend time practicing.  I cruelly call attention to the other second grade classes who are walking past our classroom on their way to lunch. You get the gist.  If any of you have done the Daily Five, you probably can relate to this method of "perfect practice."  In our class we say, "Perfect practice.  Every time.  All the time."  It really does work. Yes, yes, I know it's controlling, and very Type A.   I have already accepted that "the shoe fits," in this case.  But, I also tell my students, "I will only control you until you are able to control yourselves."  

I should clarify that the expectation is not that my students will attain "perfection" or be "perfect" - That would be unfair, and too much to ask of anyone.  But, I do expect my students to practice everything the way it was taught.  When they slip up, and they do, I gently guide them back to the routines and procedures that make learning possible.  

2) Devise systems to keep students focused, motivated, and safe.   A couple of my favorite classroom management tricks are:

Musical transitions:  LOVE! If you have not visited Rick Morris' website, New Management, go now.  He has tons of classroom management tips, including music that he uses to transition students from one activity to another.  My students' favorite is the tune for "Mario Bros."  It is 50 seconds long.  Each student knows 1) I will only give instructions one time, and 2) they must be in their place, with the proper materials, ready to learn, by the end of that tune.  If not, my students change their behavior cards (clips), and pay back any wasted time during their recess (where we will model and practice quick transitions, organize materials, whatever the obstacle may be) Transitions in my room are usually very efficient and smooth, and this tool has helped me move towards my goal of reducing unnecessary "teacher talk."

Behavior Cards:  I love this idea that I borrowed from Rachelle over at What the Teacher Wants blog.  She has been so gracious to allow me to adapt this idea to meet the needs of my classroom.  These cards are a critical part of of my day-to-day management.  They are fun, differentiated, and extremely effective!  The basic idea? Students get a card that has 5, 10, or 20 boxes.  Now, it is personal, and must be appropriate for each child.  When students are on task - they earn stamps or "punches" in their cards. When their card is full, they receive some type of reward.  

I have created many themed sets including Beach, Zoo Animals, Owls, Robots, and Pirates. These sets are available in my Tpt store now.  You can read more about this, and try this tool for FREE by clicking the image below.

Ok, I'm going to stop here.  Part 2 will continue with more systems (behavior clip/card charts and more!) that I have in place to keep my classroom running smoothly.  

I would love to here your reactions to this post.  Even better, if you have a classroom tip that has worked wonders for your classroom, please share it below. Oh, and don't forget to check out the other bloggers participating in this linky.  They have a lot of other great tips and ideas about classroom management.



  1. I often get, "Wow you got a really great group of kids this year." or "Being a man must really help with classroom management, huh?" and many, many compliments on my classroom behavior.

    I always tell people that it has nothing to do with the group of kids or my gender. (that's actually kind of insulting to me, and if anything I think I often get the behavior challenges in my class) It's all about having high, reasonable expectations AND enforcing them. If my kids don't line up quietly, we sit back down. If they don't come to the carpet quietly, we do it over. If they can't handle doing a fun activity, we stop doing it. Not reading silently during D5? Start over.

    I let my kids know on the first day of school that we are going to have a BLAST together, BUT meeting my expectations for behavior is non-negotiable.

    Before you know it, the kids are behaving in a way that gets them what they want, and me what I want. I think the kids appreciate it, and after a while they start to notice other classes' behavior that aren't up to snuff and I can tell they are kind of proud of themselves for not being that way.

    Sweet Rhyme – Pure Reason

    1. I agree completely Nick with the power of expectations and consistent enforcement. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and for stopping by.


    2. I always transition with music! And usually I try to find music that correlates to our theme of the when we studied Sharks, the kids heard "Fins" by Jimmy Buffet. I think music in the classroom is a great tool, too!

      Your newest follower! :-)
      First Grade and Flip Flops

    3. Love the theme idea, Leslie! Makes it so fun for them, I bet!

  2. I'm going to check out your suggestion for musical transitions. This is something I'd like to incorporate. Thanks for sharing!
    First Grade Found Me

    1. You should check it out. It really tightened up my schedule. Transition times were short and sweet, and I know I gained a lot of instructional time! There are a lot of different tunes on Rick Morris' website where you can gradually start picking shorter and shorter tunes to decrease your transition time, throughout the year. But, my kids never got tired of the Mario Bros. tune, and protested when I tried to change it!




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