First grade classroom management

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by mkate, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    Jul 1, 2017

    Hello! I will be moving to 1st grade (from 5th-6th), and I'm thinking about making my classroom management plan. Obviously it will have to be quite different from what works with 5th-6th graders! Can anyone suggest ideas, resources, websites that are useful with this age group?
     
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  3. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Jul 1, 2017

    I made the same move my third year of teaching - from 6th to 1st. Grade 1 is magical, you are going to love it!! Here are some tips - please note that I did not have a formal management plan, like a clip chart or anything like that.

    1. You have to explain every step of everything, then model it and then practice it, over and over. There are no blanket instructions at the beginning of grade 1 or anytime you introduce something new. It goes something like this:
    "Boys and girls, in a minute I am going to invite you all to sit on the carpet. When you move to the carpet, you will walk quietly the whole way and then sit down with your legs crossed like this (model sitting cross legged). Who thinks they can show the class what that will look like? Alright Timmy, show us how to move to the carpet. That was perfect, Timmy walked carefully and quietly and then sat down in the spot I showed him. Look at how patiently he is sitting now. Wow! Does anyone else think they can come to the carpet as nicely as Timmy?"
    You will feel like a cheerleader all day long!!

    2. I had a set of chimes that I used for transitions. I trained them to start cleaning when they heard the chimes, so it was a nice nonverbal cue for them.

    3. We had a marble jar - when everyone was on task, I added a marble or two to the jar and when it was full we celebrated with an activity of their choice.

    4. I sang nearly all day. I made up songs about what we were doing and they loved following my song directions.

    6. Get a digital timer. They will do just about anything to "beat the timer". Also, I used it to help them build stamina to work independently. It goes something like this, "Today when you go back to your desks to work, you are going to work all by yourself for 1 minute. That means for 1 minute there will be absolutely no talking. Not even whispering. If you need help, you will put up your hand quietly and I will come to you. Who can show us what that will look like? Jenny, can you show us. Let's all watch Jenny. Wow! She walked to her desk so quietly and look how she is getting her pencil and starting on her work right away. (Pause) Now listen, not a peep! That is perfect. Who thinks they can work as quietly as Jenny?"

    Send students to their desks and praise them for moving quietly. "Alright class, now I am going to start the timer and for 1 minute no one is going to talk, we are just going to work." If someone does talk, restart the timer. After 1 minute of quiet work praise, praise, praise!! Work on 1 minute until they are successful three times in a row and gradually start to increase the time. By the end of grade 1, most of my students can work for 15-20 minutes by themselves. It's rare that we would do that, but it is nice to have that trick up your sleeve, because sometimes you just need it to be quiet for a few minutes!!

    5. Mostly it's about coaching, cheering and meaning things the first time you say them. Like classroom management at any grade level. They just need super explicit instructions! I can't keep up with a fancy plan consistently, so I run my classroom as "I'm the adult and just gave you an instruction. I know you will follow it on your own. If you don't, I will help you."

    Oh and one thing I was not prepared for was how long it takes them to get ready in the winter. Not sure about your climate, but our Arctic weather requires a lot of outdoor gear. We spent most of Nov-March just putting on and taking off our outdoor clothing!
     
  4. Kat.

    Kat. Companion

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    Jul 1, 2017

    Routine is SOOOO important. You'll need the first 2 weeks of REALLY reinforcing behavior, but you'll still need to reinforce it throughout the year. Consistency is key.

    Like MissScrimmage said, you really have to explain everything step by step. The simplest of tasks need to be demonstrated and practiced. One of the best things for me was really easy - just praise a student for doing a great job. "I LOVE how still and quietly Johnny is sanding in line!" The others will follow, because they love hearing their name being called out in front of everybody for doing something well. There's some awesome books out there you can read (My Mouth is a Volcano was one of my favorites).

    Again, as MissScrimmage said, they take foreeeever to get ready. Not even in cold climates - just to line up, clean up their belongings, unpack/pack up their things, etc. Give yourself extra time (especially in the beginning) to get them lined up before lunch/recess/specials/dismissal. They'll eventually get faster.

    Friendly competition is a great tool! I gave my students table points. Last year I just had a tally chart on the white board, but I want something at each table this year. I'd give them out to the first table that looked ready to line up or go to the carpet, a table that was working nicely together, and the first table to have all of their friends in the morning. The next day, whichever table got the most points got a "pride ticket" (our school's reward system - students exchange the tickets for prizes).

    We used a clip chart, and each day I signed a calendar on what color the children were on that had to be initialed every night by their parents. I haven't decided if I want to do this again this year or not.

    A really great thing my partner teacher did was Mr. Potato head. If another teacher gave her class a compliment in the hallway, she'd add a piece to Mr. Potato head, and once it was filled up, the students got a donut party.

    This will be my first year starting off as having my own classroom in first grade, so I'm playing with a few ideas. I'll be watching this thread! :)
     
  5. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    Jul 1, 2017

    Thanks to both of you! I am taking note of your suggestions. An added difficulty for me is that I am teaching in a bilingual program overseas, and I am supposed to speak to them at all times in English. They have had exposure to English in preschool and Kindergarten, but for most of them school is their only exposure. So I will have to adapt everything to use lots of visual aids, gestures, few words, modeling, etc. It will definitely be a challenge!
     

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