Classroom Mangagement

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by AZMrs.S, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Mar 21, 2011

    I am a new teacher and I am still struggling with fine tuning my classroom management skills. I was wondering if you had any tips about what works and what doesn't work for you. Also, there is a possibility of me teaching an older grade next year and I feel like my current discipline/reward system would not be as appropriate for the upper grades?

    Any stratagies, tips or tricks that you have learned over the years?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mar 22, 2011

    Best tip ever: be consistent!

    Can you describe your classroom management system?
     
  4. cruiserteacher

    cruiserteacher Comrade

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    Mar 22, 2011

    Our entire fourth and fifth grade (and a few third grade) uses a behavior checklist. Students get checks for inappropriate behaviors. One check is a warning, two is 15 min. off recess, three is lose whole recess & discipline write up, four is office. Rarely do students get four checks. I recently started doing sticker sheets as well. Students turning in their homework gets a sticker, and they get a sticker for 0 checkmarks. 0 checks for the whole week earns them an additional 5 point sticker. Stickers can be cashed in for rewards (pencils, erasers, front of lunch line tickets, lunch with me, etc.)

    You should also look into Teaching with Love and Logic. It is a great way of thinking about discipline that puts the responsibility back into the students hands'.
     
  5. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Mar 22, 2011

    :yeahthat: My first three years teaching, people were always telling me that and I would (mentally) roll my eyes, but it's so true. It's very hard, but in the beginning you have to literally not let ANYTHING (that's against your rules that is) slide.

    It's difficult for me because I feel bad when I have a well behaved child that makes one little mistake (ie: chatting) and another child that NEVER stops chatting and I have to give them the same punishment, but your kids will respect you when they see you don't play favorites.

    Other tips - ​
    1) Speak FIRMLY but try not to yell. I used to yell all day and my kids would tune me out. Now, on the rare occasion I yell you can hear a pin drop because it's such a rare occurance

    2) Hand signals for the bathroom!
    -I got sick of kids raising their hand interupting my teaching to ask to go to the bathroom, so I have them cross their fingers if they have to go. Then, if I point at them, they get up and go. If I put up a finger, that means wait until the next person comes back. When I shake my head it means "no".

    3) Send home daily behavior reports
    -at my first school, we would print out a 1 page calendar for the month and I would color the kids box in each day on green, yellow or red based on their behavior. at my current school, we have the kids bring up their agenda books and we color it in for each day and their parents have to sign

    4) Keep your rules VERY simple (less is more)
    -I used to have an elaborate set of long winded rules. Stuff like "Keep your hands, feet and mean words to yourself"; "Respect personal, school and other people's property".

    Now I just write "Be Nice" because it covers both of those and it's simple enough for kids of all age to understand.

    5) Don't believe the hype!
    -You HAVE to do what works best for you. Just because a teacher swears up and down a method works for them, that doesn't mean it's going to be right for you. For instance, I struggled with management and I was always told, "You're too nice. You have to be a b*tch that first month and not smile until December and they'll respect you. But that's NOT my personality. So I acted like goofy, gentle, down to earth me, BUT I set my expectations and enforce them daily which means I rarely have any serious behavior problems the way I used too



    If you ever want more tips, to vent or whatever, don't hesistate to PM me. :thumb:
     
  6. MissAbbeyMarie

    MissAbbeyMarie Rookie

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    Mar 22, 2011

    I have this struggle between the age groups as well. With elementary, I find that discipline is a bit easier, though more tedious. I think that as a teacher, that one thing you can never afford to lose is the respect of your students. In the beginning of the schoolyear lay down what you think respect means to you. Respecting you is the students not talking in class, or doing other work in your class. If they know from the beginning of the year what your expectations are, then it shouldn't be hard to remind them throughout that they are being disrespectful and that will not be tolerated.
    Definitely do not yell a lot. You really don't have to yell at all. You have to set the tone of your classroom from the beginning. If you set it to make sure the kids know you are in charge and there is a mutual respect, then when discipline is needed, a serious talk may be all it takes. I once saw a teacher do this and thirty kids looked like they were going to cry. For the next to weeks in class, there wasn't so much as a whisper. But always make sure you are in control.
     
  7. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Mar 22, 2011

    Thanks! These are really helpful tips! I actually do not have my own classrom yet. I am still finishing up my student teaching. But my mentor teacher wants me to seriously start thinking and getting some of my things done and created. Like beginning of the year packets and my rules/management plan. She uses a point system where the students earn points and can use them to buy things from the treasure chest. What about for the older grades? Besides check marks, is there something you can do to focus on the positive? Not just the negative behavior?
     
  8. MissAbbeyMarie

    MissAbbeyMarie Rookie

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    Mar 22, 2011

    There is a fantastic book you should read. It is called The Essential 55 by Ron Clark. It is filled with fantastic ideas, methods, and tips. Not all are agreeable for everyone, but many are very applicable. It is written for k through 6 grades, but sometimes I like to apply it to highschool. It is just what you need.
     
  9. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Mar 22, 2011

    yes, CONSISTENCY!

    Check out "whole Brain Teaching"!!!
     
  10. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mar 23, 2011

    I use a "monetary system" in my 6th grade classroom. So, it can be done. Basically, you look at a student's day and they earn play money for having a good day. You could use points or check marks instead of physical money, but my kids love the having something to hold onto.

    Then, these are used for the good kids. They can buy things that are free....buy their seat in the classroom, buy trips to their locker/bathroom/get a drink, buy the right to be a helper, etc. They love this. I have a whole list of free or cheap older kid rewards that they want.

    On the negative side, you really do need to have consistent consequences. I have my students fill out behavior forms that their parent has to sign. So basically, they get a warning, then fill out form without needing to take it home (just the process of articulating their behavior helps) and then take it home to get signed. Three built in consequences for the day. The fourth is at my discretion....so it could be work in resource room, office visit, phone call to parent, detention, miss recess/lunch, etc.
     
  11. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    That is really interesting. I like how you use the monetary system in your classroom. So often I come across older classrooms that do not do any type of positive reward system but rather they only focus on the negative. That is encouraging to hear that monetary systems can work in the upper grades! :)

    And thanks for all the advice and books to read! :D
     
  12. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Oh, my students love it. They love having the freedom to choose their seat and be able to go to the bathroom or grab a book if they forgot. I have to limit when they can go--only during independent work time, but it truly does empower them.

    I also notice that more of them are coming prepared to class or choosing not to go to the bathroom because they want the money to buy their seat or for other privileges.
     
  13. txteach26

    txteach26 Rookie

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    Mar 23, 2011

    I agree with TeacherApr - Whole Brain Teaching is a great place to start!

    I moved from 1st to 5th this year. I've found that with a few modifications, my mngmt. system still works. Instead of Daily Folders, we use "planners" that I write behavior notes in. Parents sign these planners nightly and points are deducted from their conduct grades for misbehavior. Severe/repeat offenders are assigned extra work in lunch detention (as we do not have recess).

    Conversely, I use an economy system with them as well. Though 1st Graders loved small prizes and trinkets for rewards, 5th graders love extra privileges. I give each child an index card with his/her name on it. They can earn a stamp for each day of responsible behavior. When they earn 10 stamps, they can choose one of the following:

    *sit at my desk for a day
    *have a Coke in class
    *a Homework Pass
    *have lunch in the room with a friend and the teacher
    *30 minutes of free computer time (this is when I allow them to get on "just for fun" sites)
     
  14. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    That is really cool. I want to do a monetary type reward system no matter what grade I am in. But I like these ideas for the rewards that they older kids can buy. :) Thanks for the great ideas... Keep em coming! :D
     
  15. crunchytxmama

    crunchytxmama Companion

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    Mar 26, 2011

    Cruiser, I really like this idea! Can you tell me what it looks like in practice? Does each student actually have a checklist? How do you make them and where do you keep them?
     
  16. ami6880

    ami6880 Companion

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    Mar 26, 2011

    We have a check book system. Each child has their own checkbook (the cover is a manilla file folder cut in half and decorated), which has a envelope for deposits stapled on one side, and check registers stapled on the other.

    Each child gets $5 per week for being a 5th grader and $10 if they have a class job for the week. They subtract and deposit money throughout the week based on virtues.

    Each quarter I add another dollar to the deduction, in the first quarter I take away in $1's, 2nd-$2, 3rd- $3, and 4th-$4.

    They work towards a class party and an auction. This really does well and it teaches them the responsibility of balancing a checkbook. Once you have it all together it really is a simple management system.

    Also, I have a binder with the glass ledger and one student's job weekly is the banker. If a child is deducted money they need to write a check and turn it into the banker. If the kids run out of checks, they must purchase a sheet of three for $3.

    I also take away recess time if there is repeated behavior issues or the whole class cannot quit talking, I just watch the clock and time how long it takes to stop...that is the amount of time they give me of their recess.
     
  17. cruiserteacher

    cruiserteacher Comrade

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    We made the checklist in Excel. It has all of the students' names on the left side. At the top, it has columns for common infractions: talking, inappropriate behavior, disrespect to student/staff, hallway behavior, not prepared, etc. We also have a column for restroom. This obviously doesn't count towards discipline, but it's easy to keep track of who goes to the RR since our students switch classes. At the bottom is room for notes in case we need to explain a check. Usually this is for inappropriate behavior since it is such a broad category. The teacher is typically the only one to be in control of the clipboard, but students are well aware of when they receive checks. That is the only complaint I've heard of the checklist, that it takes away the responsibility from the students. (In other discipline plans, students have to move their card/clip, etc.) It really works for us because our students switch classes, and it travels with them to fine arts as well.
     
  18. crunchytxmama

    crunchytxmama Companion

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    May 22, 2011

    I love this idea! I am looping with a tough group next year. Can this work with kids that have behavior problems and need a behavior contract? How do you work that in?
     
  19. massteacher

    massteacher Companion

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    May 22, 2011

    Cruiser- this sounds great! Is there anyway you could share a doc. format of this? I'm not really good with Excel. Thanks! :)
     
  20. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    May 22, 2011

    I found this website last August and practically based my entire classroom system based on what it says to do. It is simple, makes sense and is FREE. It has helped me focus and know what to do in almost every situation. The man who writes it has even responded to my emailed questions a few times. Go here;

    smartclassroommanagement.com


    You will be so glad that you did. It is brilliant and easy...no bells, whistles or other complicated stuff to worry about. IT WORKS!!! That's all I can say, or it has worked for me. I don't know what I would have done without the help this year.
     
  21. crunchytxmama

    crunchytxmama Companion

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    I just perused that site and already love it! I love his philosophies on homework! I have spent most of today grading, and easily half of my stack is homework! His method would save me so much time and energy.
     
  22. daveo

    daveo Rookie

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    May 22, 2011

    Fred Jones Tools For Teaching saved my career. After my first year teaching my management was so bad that I was considering taking a job at a factory in my home town. My wife found the book and we both read it. Now I have teachers with more and less experience asking me how to handle situations. The students jr. high students I teach have respect for me and I have never ever yelled or raised my voice in the slightest.
     
  23. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    May 23, 2011

    So many great ideas! I love that there are so many variations that you can use to modify to what works best with you and your students! Thank you for all of the great tips and ideas... My brain is really working now! :D Can't wait to get my own class so I can implement some of these!
     
  24. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Yes, I love his HW plan. It is the best and it is appropriate. I don't have stacks and stacks of homework to check like my mentor teacher did. What a headache. My plan takes five minutes in the morning to check who has it. Then we correct key concepts together before we start the math lesson. It's pretty slick...
     

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