Elementary Classroom Management

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by futureteacher13, Jun 20, 2015.

  1. futureteacher13

    futureteacher13 Rookie

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    Hi! I am developing a classroom management plan for elementary school students. I would love to teach 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade students. I have 5 basic procedures that will give my students the structure they need in my class. They are:
    1. Morning Routine: When your child enters the classroom in the morning, students will need to be in their assigned seats, put their homework on the star, copy assignments and homework in their planner, make their lunch choice, and begin working on their Entry Task (Silent reading in their AR Books, Previously taught/discussed Math lesson, etc.). Please make sure your child arrives to school on time, prepared for class, and ready to learn EVERY day! 
    2. Student Attention Signals: When your child needs to use the restroom, get a pencil, get water, need help with their work, or ask a question, they will need to use the following signals: 1=I need to get a pencil; 2=I need to use the restroom; 3=I need to get water; 5=I need help with my work OR I need to ask a question.
    3. Teacher Attention Signal: There will be times when I will need your child’s complete attention. At such time, I will say, “Give Me Five”, while holding up my hand. The steps for “Give Me Five” are simple:
    a. Eyes on Speaker
    b. Be Quiet
    c. Be Still
    d. Hands Free (put their things down)
    e. Listen!
    4. Lining Up/Walking In Line: Your child will be expected to stand up and push in their chair, line up at the door quietly & in a single file line, place their hands behind their back, have their mouths closed, and have their eyes forward.
    5. Dismissal Routine: Before dismissal, your child will be expected to ensure all of their completed work is turned in, clean their area, place their chair on top of their desk, check their mailbox (when prompted), stand behind their desk, and line up in dismissal order (when prompted).

    My questions are: Are these procedures too harsh? Too much? Are they realistic for an elementary school classroom? Will they provide the structure needed for students to be successful during the school year?

    On the first day of school, both myself and my students go over why we have procedures in our class and go over each one individually. I love talking with my students and want a community of trust and respect to be built. I want my students to feel comfortable talking with each other as classmates and comfortable coming to me as their teacher with any concerns they may have. I want to provide my students with an environment that makes them feel safe, positive, secure, cared for, and loved.

    Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
     
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  3. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    One quick piece of advice - instead of numbers they show, teach them to sign "b" or bathroom, "w" for water, etc...much easier for all to remember. And I have my kids make sure they start the day with two sharp pencils so that they rarely need to get a new pencil and if they do, they can do it during a down time.

    I think the rest are fine, but know that a lot of the safe, positive, cared for, and loved part will be developed not by just having these rules but by how you develop the first couple days with them. Get to know them, let them assist in creating the classroom environment, etc...
     
  4. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    They sound fine for 4th or 5th grade. I've only student taught in 2nd grade, and that was ages ago, but I'm not sure they could copy assignments into a planner on their own.
     
  5. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    Hands behind back when in line? I have a shoulder injury and would not be able to do that. I would imagine the same could be true for a child. Plus, I tell my students to walk with their hands by their sides because they to have their hands available in case they fall. Their hands could be put out to block the fall and prevent smashing their face on the ground. Also, what about when going through doors that need to be held open? How can you put a hand up to block the door from hitting your face?
    I would seriously rethink that part. As a parent I would object to my child walking with their hands behind their back. Plus, if a child reaches up to scratch their face, will they be in trouble?

    Also, I would not just talk about procedures, expectations, and reasons for these expectations just on the first day. These need to be discussed, taught, and reviewed throughout the year.
     
  6. BreezyGirl

    BreezyGirl Companion

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    I am all for routine! It's all about expected behaviour.

    Morning routine is great, especially when you're trying to do attendance, talk to parents if they come in, read notes from home, etc...

    For line up, I'm a stickler for quietly walking in the hall as I have been teaching when other classes come screaming down the hall. Not respectful at all. I let the students know why being quiet is important: other students are learning, taking a test, etc... If we've had disruptions due to other classes I use that as a teachable moment. :)
    For lining up, as long as they are quiet and hands to themselves I'm good. I have been known to send all the kids back to their desks if they line up loudly. And, if we are noisy in the hall I will send them back and try it again.

    For getting their attention, I have used several methods as one won't always work. What has worked for me is when they get loud I will not speak over them. I use a bell, lights off, etc. once they stop I explain I won't talk over them and if they are not listening to my instructions it means it's time they are taking away from themselves: the more we listen the more time we have to do other fun stuff. If I'm doing a lesson and it gets way too noisy I wait without saying a word. Sometimes it takes a few minutes for everyone to get the hint but it works.
    This one is really about experimenting to see what works for you and for your class. I've had some classes where me raising my hand worked beautifully while not so successful in other classes. If a class is really loud, I introduce logical consequences: If you take five minutes from me or the class, you owe me five minutes of your time. I'm also known to give free time on Fridays so I start a tally to see how minutes they get. If they are noisy I take away a tally. If they are working well, I add a tally. You get the idea. :)

    The key is consistency and fairness. :)
     
  7. futureteacher13

    futureteacher13 Rookie

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    I appreciate your suggestion and will most definitely rethink that part. Both myself and my class will discuss our procedures, I will model how they are expected to perform each one, and will review them throughout the school year. That not only demonstrates consistent on my part as a teacher, but also will give children the structure needed for the school year.
     
  8. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I taught at a school where the hands behind the back were a requirement. I have a shoulder that needs replacing so I didn't model that as allowed students who had a medical need to be exempt. I also had a door holder (actually two since we had two sets of doors to go through most times) so the kids didn't have to hold the door. I never had problems with kids not being able to catch themselves should they trip.

    At the school I'm at now, it's not part of the school culture so I give kids the choice. Some kids have trouble keeping their hands off the wall so they end up putting their hands behind their backs. I like being able to give the option, but if it's a school thing, the OP may not have a choice.
     
  9. futureteacher13

    futureteacher13 Rookie

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    Thank you for your suggestion! I greatly appreciate it. I will be looking more into theses. I definitely want to get to know my students and letting them assist in creating the classroom environment needed for them to be successful. In fact, that will be a great first day of school activity. Thank you so much! :) Also, do you have any suggestions for getting to know you activities for the first day of school?
     
  10. futureteacher13

    futureteacher13 Rookie

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    Thank you for your suggestions! Greatly appreciated! I have done counting down from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and that seems to work well (I've been a middle school teacher assistant for 5 years), "I'll Wait", or waiting silently until students' voice are off and I have their complete attention. Those have seemed to work well with me over the years. But I would definitely have to explain these with my future elementary students.
     
  11. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I have never used the hand signals you talk about for student attention signals. I have always taught my classes that they may sharpen pencils, get a drink, use the bathroom, etc. as long as it is not during direct teaching. If they need to leave the room, they just sign a sheet by the door. This way my teaching isn't interrupted by children raising fingers in the air.

    The same thing is true for teacher signals. In the beginning of the year, as I teach procedures, I demonstrate that when I stand quietly, I will wait for the class to respond to me. Usually, it only takes seconds for someone to announce that I am waiting.

    I have found throughout the years that my students will raise their behavior to meet my expectations. I do have a wonderful teacher glare, if I need to use it!

    However, as another poster mentioned, you will use trial and error to find the best way for you to handle your class. Good luck!
     
  12. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Agreed. That's too much to expect of second graders, particularly in the beginning of the year. Even some third graders will struggle with it.
     
  13. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I don't think it is necessary to have all the different hand signals for restroom, help, pencil sharpening, water...etc.

    I would teach a routine or method that puts the responsibility on the students for using the restroom, getting water, and sharpening pencils. Maybe the times that are appropriate to do those things.

    All those hand signals, imo, are going to become very distracting and time consuming.

    The "give me five" attention getter, is by far the most effective method I have used to date. It works fantastic.
     
  14. 4815162342

    4815162342 Companion

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    I taught kinder last year and a lot of the kiddos came from a montessori preschool that used sign language type cues. The sign for letter r for restroom, sign for letter w for water, and i forget what was tissue.
    Personally, I hated it. I would have never implemented it on my own, but since the students were familiar with it, I went with it for sake of routine. I like the old fashioned "raise-your-hand-and-just-ask" method.
     
  15. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    To clarify, I only have the bathroom hand signal in use in my class. The others were a suggestion in place of the complicate numbering system.

    I would rather have knowledge when a kid is leaving the classroom - and the signal is never even a minor distraction.
     
  16. London

    London Rookie

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    I use hand signals in class (restroom, water, tissue, pencil sharpening, "I have a question", and "I want to answer the question you just asked") and they are a major time saver, plus I can answer back (yes, no, or wait a minute) silently. BEST system ever!

    I use the hand signal for "r" for restroom, much easier to see and distinguish than "b". Best part is that my kids use signals in the cafeteria, outside, auditorium, and I can easily see what they need, catch their eye and answer back from across a large room.

    I use "r" for restroom, "w" for water, "i" for "i have a question", "a" for answer, "d" for tissue (doesn't make sense, but "t" is too hard to see and they just imagine picking their nose!), and raised pencil for pencil sharpening.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I've taught both grades 2 and 3...and totally agree here with Pashtun.
     
  18. SCTeacher23

    SCTeacher23 Comrade

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    I teach K. In my last school, it was a school wide procedure that we had to teach signals for bathroom/tissue/pencil. In prior positions, I would just allow them to get up and get a tissue but I noticed some kids would get up when they didn't really need a tissue just to get out of their seats and it would be distracting having kids constantly getting up. I know with bathrooms too, it would sometimes be too many students raising their hand for the bathroom once one student asked and it would be disruptive to the lesson. I'm debating on whether to do a hand signal or to just have them raise their hand. Does anyone have any experience in K/1 having a system without hand signals but wasn't distracting to the lesson?
     
  19. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    No K/1 experience, but could you put a limit on the bathroom so that not too many go at once? I made it a rule in my second grade classroom last year that only one boy and one girl could be out at any given time (with a rare exception for a student who had a medical issue and needed to go immediately when she needed to go). If a student displayed the hand signal while another student was already out or at an inopportune time, I just shook my head no. Their hands went down, and there was no disruption.
     
  20. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I am glad that you are setting up clear routines for your students. I don't think it is worth the great effort that it will take to get 4th and 5th graders to put their hands behind their backs in line all 180 days of the year. I would take that out and focus more on the other procedures.
     
  21. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    In 2nd grade I encourage drinks and bathroom at recess time and then just have one signal to leave the class for such. Not my business if you're hydrating or getting rid of it.

    Pencil sharpening must be done in the morning or during independent work.
     
  22. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    I think it's wonderful that you're starting to think of procedures and routines. Some solicited feedback. :)

    1. Restroom/water/sharpen pencils - I teach 4th grade, and I tell my students that when it comes to using the restroom, they need to ask me every time. I want to know where my students are at all times. We do have a sign-out/sign-in sheet. Regarding getting water, if I'm not directly teaching, they may do it at their discretion. Sharpening pencils is pretty much the same.

    For restrooms, I also tell them that may not ask me to use the restroom 15 minutes before/30 minutes after recess or lunch. Why? Because I have found many students use the restroom during class time so they can use their recess for play time. That being said, I always tell them that if the instance is an emergency, then I freely allow them to go. I'm always impressed with how honest my students are: "I can wait, Mr. M. No big deal."

    2. Standing in line - my three rules: Hands to your side, mouth closed, facing forward. If they feel they aren't able to handle these simple rules, I have them go to the back of the line. I also wait until all rules are followed before we head out, to an assembly, etc.

    Something that is crucial that I tell many new teachers - don't ever assume students should "know" how to stand in line, get water, etc. Perhaps their previous teacher had different policies. Spend the first week or two going over procedures again and again. Praise those who are taking them to heart and catching on. Soon, you'll have others follow suit.

    Best of luck in your new role! :)
     
  23. ludoak

    ludoak Rookie

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    I'd just remember to stay flexible and be prepared to adjust your plan based off of your school or class. The school I work in has specific procedures for walking in hallways and attention signals that all students and teachers must use. Also, I've taught some classes that needed the structure of signals to use the bathroom and get water, others that were more independent and worked better on a "if you have to go just go" philosophy.
     
  24. futureteacher13

    futureteacher13 Rookie

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    Thank you so much for your suggestions and feedback. I'm currently working towards earning my teacher certification in Florida in Elementary Education K-6.

    How many total procedures do you use for your classroom? I have 10, but I'm starting to rethink that number just because I think a few of them can go along with each other. Here's a list:
    1. Entering the Classroom
    2. Morning Routine
    3. When You are Tardy to Class
    4. When I need the students' Attention
    5. What Do I Do Next? Activities
    6. Passing In/Handing Back Papers
    7. Dismissal Routine
    8. Using the Restroom & Other Basic Needs (Water, Tissue, Asking a Question, Pencil)
    9. Lining Up/Walking in Line
    10. When You are Absent from Class

    Do you think this is too many? I want to teach 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade students. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.
     
  25. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    It's really not about the total number. I would bet that most teachers can't even tell you the number of routines and procedures they have. There is one for everything, and some are so ingrained that you don't even realize you have them. Many of them get created and implemented as you go. You don't always realize you need a procedure for something until things get a little chaotic without it. Also some routines aren't always clear cut... "What to do next activities" might be different from day to day, as might passing in papers.

    I think it's great that you are thinking about this as a future teacher, but I think that, by focusing on the number of routines/procedures, you're focusing on the wrong part of it. Don't worry so much about the number. Figure out what your students will need to know on the first day and then add on from there. It's almost guaranteed you'll need to add new routines/procedures as your school year goes on. You'll probably even adapt or eliminate some of the ones you start with. It's also going to depend on what school you work at, as some schools have school-wide procedures that all teachers and students must follow. Start coming up with ideas, but don't worry so much on the specifics the numbers right now. :2cents:
     
  26. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    I couldn't have said this better myself. In fact, when you asked how many is "right"...I immediately thought, "Hmm...I don't even know how many routines I have! I just sort of teach them as they are needed and/or come up." :)

    Don't overthink things. Some essentials:
    1. Lining up.
    2. Walking to/fro your classroom.
    3. Assembly behavior.
    4. Bathroom usage.

    Things like: how to turn in papers and where...well, those will come when you find the layout of your classroom, the grade, etc.

    You'll do great things... just relax and enjoy your kids. When they see you enjoy them, they'll pretty much bend over backward to please you. If you "over-routine" them, they'll feel as if they're going to a job and you're the overseer.

    And what's great about the older grades (Particularly 4th and 5th)...is you can ask them: "Hey kids...how do you think we should handle turning in our papers?" And watch the hands shoot up. :)

    Ownership is TREMENDOUS as a teacher.
     

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