Classroom management strategies are easy to read about, but it can be difficult to choose which strategy to implement and when. Classroom discipline is a balancing act. It took me several years to really feel like I had some good strategies in my teacher toolbelt. Since there are different tiers of behaviors, there are also different levels of responses. Today I’ll focus on the reinforcing of desired classroom behaviors.
Classroom Management Strategies: The Basics
Before taking it to the next level of reminding or redirecting behaviors, try these first steps:
Reflect on your lesson. Is it clear, engaging, and do students understand what to do? Sometimes it’s difficult to admit that our lesson wasn’t the best, but this can often be the cause of student behavior. After some reflection, start with these steps for redirecting behaviors:
1. Use specific details to restate the desired behaviors.
You don’t want to leave any doubt about what’s expected.
For example, you might say “Today you’ll work with one partner for 15 minutes (until 10:15) to read aloud the short passage and to discuss the 2 questions below the passage. Stay in your chosen location and use a 6 inch voice when speaking with your partner. If you agree on the answers, each of you writes them down on your own page using complete sentences. If you disagree, write down your own individual answers and why you don’t agree with your partner’s responses. Be prepared to share your answers. If you finish early, work on your parts of speech coloring page.
Now, this is a lot of instruction. You can see where a student might be confused about the goal for the work time. This leads to #2 and #3.
2. Write directions & desired behaviors in a visible location.
Use a numbered list format to increase student understanding. Something like this:
- Work until 10:15 (15 minutes).
- Stay in your chosen location the entire time.
- Use a 6 inch voice.
- With your partner, read aloud the short passage.
- Discuss the 2 questions below the passage.
- If you agree on the answers, each of you writes them down on your own paper.
- If you disagree, write down your individual answers on your own paper and…
- Write down why you disagreed with your partner.
- Use complete sentences when writing.
- Be prepared to share.
- Finished early? Work quietly on your parts of speech coloring page.
Point to directions again without having to use your words. Using fewer words means your voice will carry more power.
Grab these parts of speech coloring pages for early finishers & morning work.
3. Have class verbally restate the desired behaviors without singling out anyone.
Again, leave no doubt about what’s expected. As a bonus, all students will hear the directions again.
4. Ignore undesired behaviors as one of your classroom management strategies.
I know this can be tough, but try to avoid reinforcing the behaviors you don’t want to see. It may be that your lack of attention to the behavior will help the student redirect their own behavior.
One of the classroom management strategies that’s always worked well for me is using the appropriate classroom seating arrangement. Read this blog post on which seating arrangements work best for specific times of the year.
5. Remind students of desired behaviors without using specifics.
Use sentences like the one below to remind everyone of the goal.
“The class is really making an effort to…”
6. Praising desired behaviors is one of the key classroom management strategies.
When you see a desired behavior, place emphasis on the the positive by saying something like,
“I like the way group B is using a 6 inch voice to read aloud the passage.”
Nods, smiles, a thumbs up, etc. also work well as praise.
These classroom management strategies may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget that students might find your expectations to be unclear. When you start with the basics, you’ll know that if the behavior issue still continues it’s not due to unclear directions or expectations.
Up next on the blog: More classroom management strategies-What to do when the undesired behaviors don’t change.
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