Tag Archives: Behavior Management

Let’s Get Together: Promoting class unity

by Kristin M. Woolums, M. Ed. 

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Do your kiddos have spring fever? If behavior problems seem a bit more rampant these days, take a step back and focus on your classroom community. A little student bonding can go a long way toward squelching disputes and disruptions. Try this all-time favorite to get your kiddos showin’ a little love.

Make a Connecting Web

  1. Have the group sit in a large circle.
  2. With a ball of yarn in your hand, pick a student to praise (maybe an unlikely candidate), and toss the ball while holding onto the end of the yarn.
  3. That student then praises someone, and tosses the ball (while also still holding onto their end of the yarn).
  4. Continue until every person has heard something nice about him/herself and has had the opportunity to throw the yarn and say something nice to another student.
  5. Once the web is complete, go backwards to unwind the web: Now, the person who received a compliment will throw the yarn back to their compliment-giver, giving them a compliment in return. This time, don’t hold onto the yarn while you throw, and wind up the loose piece as you go. By the end, everyone will have given and received much-needed praise, and your ball of yarn will be a ball once more.
  6. To conclude, give each student a piece of the web to wear on his/her wrist to symbolize the friendship of the class. (Or make simple yarn bracelets with this adorable art yarn.)

Connection is essential to the success of the students in any classroom. Fostering those relationships, even during your final days together, will make for happy memories and a peaceful classroom.

Kristin M. Woolums, M. Ed., teaches fifth grade at a private school in Atlanta.

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Filed under Bullying, Classroom Community, Discipline

DIY Scratch-Off Card {love this!}

Looking for a unique Mother’s Day gift idea? Or a fun post-testing diversion? Or a creative way to review for the next big test? Check out this cool idea from Diane Burdick, M. Ed. 

{And let us know what you think. A comment below could land you a $20 School Box gift card. We like to reward loud mouths.}

If you’ve ever received a scratch-off card in the mail, you know the anticipation of selecting a spot and rubbing the coating off the paper…all in hopes of winning a special prize or discount. If you think those scratch-offs are only for the retail-minded or lottery-blinded among us, think again. Scratch-off solution is something you can make at home or school to create a fun craft activity (or greeting card) with your children.

Materials:

Cardstock

Drawing materials

Scissors

Contact paper (clear)

Dishwashing liquid

Metallic acrylic paint (from the craft store)

Small, flat paintbrush

Here’s how to make a greeting card:
Other options below, too. 

  • Create a card out of cardstock by folding the cardstock in half.
  • Decorate the card with a design, and then think of a message that could have three possible answers. For example, the outside of the card might say, “Guess how much I love you?” Then, inside, draw three circles. Inside one, write “To the Moon.” In another, write “To the Moon and Back.” And in the final circle, write “To Infinity and Beyond.” You will cover these three circles with scratch-off solution.
  • To make the solution, mix together one part dishwashing liquid with two parts metallic-colored acrylic paint in a disposable cup.
  • Apply a thin coat of paint to the contact paper with a small, flat paintbrush.
  • Allow the paint to dry for at least one hour, and then reapply one to two coats until paint is not streaky, allowing to dry between coats.
  • Cut the painted contact paper to the appropriate size and shape (so, circles in this case). Then peel the backing off the contact paper and apply the painted “stickers” to the correct spots on the card.
  • Make sure to put a penny down in the envelope with the card, so the recipient can scratch off their choice and see the message underneath.

Other Fun Options:

  • Reward Cards! Make scratch-off reward cards for your class. Using notecards, write various rewards on each (extra computer time, skip one problem on Math homework, serve in a class leadership role, bring a stuffed animal to school, etc.) Distribute the cards to deserving students, and let them scratch off to discover their reward. Students LOVE this!
  • Review Game. You can make up your own version of scratch-off bingo using cards you make, customized to your lessons.
  • Coupon Book. Instead of a traditional coupon book for Mother’s, Father’s or Grandparent’s Days, help students create a scratch-off card with chores the child can do or sweet messages the child writes.
  • Teacher Cards. Parents: create a card for your child’s teacher that lets the recipient choose a scratch-off square (or two) listing helpful things your student could do for the teacher. Include age-appropriate tasks, such as empty the pencil sharpener, erase the board, pick up trash from the floor, or collect trash after snack.
  • Principal Thanks. Or create a similar card for the principal, sharing the child’s favorite things about the school: What do I love most about P.S. 212 Elementary School? The teachers are nice (one scratch-off square), the playground is really fun (another), the principal is the best ever!! (the final option).

So cool, right? We’ve even seen scratch-offs used in wedding save-the-date cards, bridal and baby shower invitations, and shower games. So, now that you know how to make your own, go get crafty!

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Filed under Activities, Art, Behavior Management, Holidays, Study Skills, Test Prep

Creating a “Where Are You?” Board

by Rachel Stepp, M. Ed. 

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Do you ever have multiple students leave your classroom at once for various reasons (clinic, library, restroom, pull-out programs, etc.), and you have trouble remembering who went where? Has the fire drill ever buzzed, and you were missing children once you were outside because they were in the library? It’s time to set up an area (or wall) in your classroom where your students can display their location. This area might look different depending on the age of your students and the places they can go on their own in your school.

Magnet Board

In grades pre-k through second, it would be appropriate to have an area that displayed each child’s picture and name on a magnet. This could be a place on the magnetic white board or on a magnetic cookie sheet hung on the wall. On this area, you will create a place for each student’s picture to be displayed under the home section. At the end of the day, every student’s picture should be moved to the home area to show that they are no longer at school. In the morning, when a child first walks in the door, he or she should move their picture from “Home” to “Classroom” to show that they are present at school on the current day. When a child’s picture is shown as in the classroom, they are to be participating in classroom activities and within sight of the teacher. This is also a visual way to take attendance, without wasting time calling roll.

Other sections that you might want to include on your board are: boys’ restroom, girls’ restroom, office, clinic, library, other. Each section besides home and classroom should only have enough room for several students at a time, depending on your classroom guidelines. For example, you might only want to allow two boys to go to the restroom at the same time. If those two positions are in use on the board, then no one else should leave the classroom to use the restroom.

Students will need to learn the routine of automatically checking the board when they walk into the classroom to make sure their magnets are in the correct location. It’s important to make sure that students know that they do not need to move their picture every time the class goes somewhere as a whole group. You can also use the same picture magnets for other activities, such as to show which center students are in during center time.

Popsicle Jars

In third through fifth grades, students might find that moving their picture around feels “elementary” to them.  When students are transitioning grades and learning a new routine for leaving the classroom, you can write each child’s name on a popsicle stick and place them in different cans/jars to show their location. The jars can sit beside the classroom door so that students can access them easily when they enter or exit the room. You can also create a simple sign-in and sign-out sheet for your students. On this sheet, they would have to record their name, the time they leave, their desired location, and the time they return. This will help you keep track of your students when they are out of the classroom and in the case of an emergency.

Hopefully these ideas will give your students some responsibility when it comes to keeping track of where they are. You are one teacher in charge of many students, and anything to make the process run smoothly is worth considering!

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Filed under Behavior Management, Centers, Classroom Community, Classroom Decor, Organization

First Day of School

by Kelli Lewis, M. Ed.

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It’s that time of the year again…the time when you begin to think about how you’re going to start off the school year with your new set of students. Possibly you’ve been doing this for several years and have everything pretty much decided, but you’d like a fresh idea or two. Perhaps you’re starting your first year as a brand new teacher and don’t have much of a clue as to where to start. Whatever your experiences and reasoning for needing some worry-free tips, there is no need in worrying any longer. Here are some suggestions that are sure to be the perfect prescription to relieve those first-day-of-school worries.

1. Be sure to greet each and every one of your students at the door when they come in.

2. Have a fun activity on their desks for them to do.

3. Make nametags for students to wear for first week or so, until you feel that you’ve got their names down pat (and to help them learn each others’ names, too).

4. Have a meeting on the reading rug to hold some “get to know me” discussions, so that the students know who their teacher is. Be sure to include pictures of you, your family, pets, etc.

5. Read The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn

This charming book is about a young raccoon who is reluctant to go to school…until he gets some wisdom from his mother.

6. Take students on a school tour and hunt for “Chester.” You can use any name for any stuffed animal of some type. Have clues along the way so that students get acquainted with their school while having fun searching for the little critter you hid ahead of time!

7. Discuss expectations, behavior, and create class rules/norms together as a class family. Allow students to work together with you to create the rules, allowing them a say-so in how their classroom will run.

8. Allow students to make something for their parents. “What did you think/learn on your first day of ___ grade?”

9. Send students home with labels that indicate their transportation, bus #, etc.

10. Send home a letter to parents…welcoming them, and letting them know what a wonderful first day you had meeting their student. Be sure to share with them what you did on their first day and their agreement to the classroom rules/norms, as well as your expectations of their student and of them.

Kelli Lewis, M. Ed. recently received her masters degree from The University of Georgia and is currently staying busy setting up her third-grade classroom!

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Filed under Behavior Management, Classroom Community, Discipline

Classroom Makeover Part III: Behavior Management Procedures

by Kelli Lewis, M. Ed.

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Summer is the perfect time (read: only time) for teachers to think about giving their classrooms and procedures a spiffy little makeover. This three-part series shares a few ideas for polishing up your reading corner (Part I), procedures (Part II), and discipline (Part III). It’s makeover time!

Tackling Tattling: Refreshing Discipline Tactics

Complaint Box

Do you want a new way to handle complaining issues in your classroom? This idea will help students get over their complaints, clear their minds, and move on!

Students tattling or nagging about little things can use this as a way to vent, without bogging you down with non-essentials.

Create a Safe Spot: First, designate a special box (or trash can, so students know they are literally “throwing away” their complaint). Then, put strips of paper next to it, where students can write down their complaint before depositing it into the box/can.

The Power of Writing: By writing it down and giving it up, students learn an effective strategy to get rid of a complaint and move on with their day.

To Read or Not to Read: These can either be private (no one–not even you–will read them), or if you would like to read them, just tell your students they’ll remain between them and you. Some situations may warrant further action on your part, but mostly, you’ll find that the complaints in this box resolve themselves.

“Help Me Find a Resolution” Box

Sometimes student issues are a little bigger and do need an intervention on your part. Here’s where students can go when it’s not an appropriate time to vent to you, but they do need your help.

Create a Safe Spot: Designate a box or mailbox where students can write down issues they’re having with someone (even another student). They drop their paper in the box and “put it on hold” for now. They need not let it bother them for the rest of the day because they know it will be discussed later.

Resolve Every Morning: This box is opened every morning, during Morning Meeting, and the teacher reads them one by one. (Obviously, you need to read through them beforehand, to make sure they’re appropriate to read aloud. Some may best be dealt with privately, and some may need to be tossed–or given back to the student to transfer to the “Complaint Box,” above.)

The student who wrote the issue then states whether they still need to discuss it or if it has been resolved since they wrote it. If it has been resolved, it is tossed. If it is still an issue, students work together to determine ways to deal with it. Maybe there needs to be an apology. Maybe the people involved need to discuss their reasoning for doing what they did, as well as how they were feeling.

Peer Feedback: If need be, the other students can give suggestions to their peers on how they could have handled the issue differently.

Students need to be aware that this isn’t a place to put little bitty tattlings that they can resolve on their own (that’s the “Complaint Box”). This is where they come when they’ve tried to resolve it, but still need help.

If done correctly and with sensitivity, this Resolutions Box builds a sense of a classroom “family” where the students care about each other…and are held accountable for how they treat each other.

Talk to the Ear

This idea reminds me of that good ‘ol saying from a few years back: “Talk to the hand.”

This idea works best with younger elementary students–and is a good option for pre-writers who can’t use the two ideas above.

Post an Ear: Post a laminated picture of an ear in a corner of the room. Or–if you have access to one–put a plastic ear on an inconspicuous student-accessible shelf or table.

Redirect to the Ear: When a student comes to you with a trivial issue, tell them to “go tell the ear.” They can then go over to the ear and whisper their complaint or issue.

Of course, this only works with younger students–and should only be used when the issue really is trivial. But, surprisingly, it makes young students feel like they have been “heard” and helps them get on with their day…now that they’ve voiced their concern to a “listening ear.”

Kelli Lewis, M. Ed. recently received her masters degree from The University of Georgia and is currently staying busy setting up her third-grade classroom!

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Filed under Behavior Management, Bullying, Classroom Community, Discipline

Classroom Makeover Part II: Procedures

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

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Summer is the perfect time (read: only time) for teachers to think about giving their classrooms and procedures a spiffy little makeover. This three-part series will share a few ideas for polishing up your reading corner (Part I), procedures (Part II), and discipline (Part III). It’s makeover time!

Procedures that Make Sense

Establishing procedures for your students helps a classroom run much more smoothly…and keeps interruptions at bay. (“Can I sharpen my pencil? Can I go to the bathroom now? Is it time for lunch?”) Here are some tried-and-true tips for sharing your expectations and procedures with your students– from the get-go!

Label Your Drawers

So that your students know where the glue sticks, extra pencils, notebook paper and other supplies are located: type, print and laminate labels for all of the cupboards and drawers in your classroom. Attach them with rectangles of clear contact paper, cut a half-inch larger than the labels on all sides. Include a picture if you teach pre-readers. The labels will greatly help substitute teachers and parent volunteers, as well!

Post Your Schedule

Type or write each element of your schedule on cardstock, then laminate them (morning work, science, reading, lunch, recess, etc.). Post the components on your white board, and rearrange each day to show the day’s routine.

Communicate Your Expectations

At the beginning of the year, when you go over your expectations for procedures, print a list that includes when/how to leave the classroom (is there a pass to take?), go to the restroom (are their certain times that are appropriate?), sharpen your pencil, enter in the morning, order lunch, etc. Give each student a list of your expectations to keep in a binder, and post a copy in your classroom, as well. For an extensive list of procedures and ideas, see this article from Scholastic.

If you have older students (~2nd grade and up), ask for their input on classroom procedures: When do you think it would be smart for us to all sharpen our pencils? How should we ask for help so we don’t interrupt each other when we’re working? What might be a good way to walk in the hallway/enter our classroom/store our book bags? Engaging them in this conversation makes them aware of the reason behind the procedures: to ensure a smooth-running, courteous and safe classroom.

What To Do When You’re “Done”

To avoid the dreaded “I’m done…what do I do now?” question, try this fun idea from this previous post. Have your students create a list of classroom-appropriate ideas to fill your “When I’m Done” jar.

Giving a little thought to your procedures now, during the summer, will ensure a smooth-running classroom come August!

For more tools to help streamline your classroom, check out http://www.schoolbox.com/Teacher-Essentials.aspx.

Elizabeth D. Cossick, M. Ed. has a bachelors in education from The University of Georgia and a masters in curriculum and instruction from Lesley University, Cambridge. In addition to being the editor of A Learning Experience, she publishes Little Black Dress | Little Red Wagon Magazine. She resides in Atlanta with her husband, two young children, and a frisky Westie named Munson.

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Filed under Academic Success, Activities, Classroom Community, Classroom Decor, Morning Work

Combatting School Stress: Removing the “Grind” from Back-to-the-Grind

adapted from an article by Daniela Baker

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So, in less than a month, summer will be drawing to a close. *big sigh* Are your kids excited about the new school year? Nervous? Filled with dread? Whatever their emotions, here’s a rundown of how to help them (and possibly yourself!) stay stress-free this year.

Why all the stress?

So, first, let’s peek into the brain of a child and see where all this stress is coming from, shall we? Here are the top reasons that children experience school-related stress:

• Being away from home

• Adjusting to new routines

• Worrying about not making new friends

• Fearing punishment from teacher and other school staff

• Fearing not being able to perform as well as classmates

• Worrying about not being able to complete homework assignments

That’s a lot going on in the head of our wee ones, isn’t it? So, let’s see how all this pressure can affect them:

What childhood stress may look like

• Physical: nausea, stomach aches, headaches, wetting

• Emotional: fear, anxiety, irritability, depression

• Behavioral: crying, temper tantrums, repetitive movements (rocking, humming)

• Interpersonal relationships: withdrawal, isolation, extreme shyness, or bullying and teasing

How these symptoms play out depends on the individual child: one child may become depressed and withdraw from others, while another child may experience headaches, and another may lash out through teasing and bullying. In a school setting, stress reactions may also include difficulty focusing, inability to follow directions, or failure to complete in-class assignments.

Helping your child cope with stress

Okay, now here’s why you started reading to begin with: What you can do to help your child. According to Virginia Molgaard, Human Development and Family Studies of the Iowa State University Extension Center, there are several strategies to help your child effectively cope with school-related stress:

• Talk It Out. Encourage your child to talk about whatever stress s/he is experiencing. Allow your child to start the conversation rather than force it by asking too many questions. A good time to do this is at snack time when they first come home from school or during bedtime. Rather than asking “What’s wrong?” ask “How was your day?” a more open-ended question that allows your child to decide how much to disclose. Remain non-judgmental about what your child tells you so that he or she feels comfortable sharing.

• Work It Out. Participate in a family-oriented exercise program, such as biking hiking, or swimming to reduce stress levels.

• Bond One-on-One. Devote specific periods for one-on-one time. Identify hobbies or other activities that you and your child can do together. This provides a great way to have fun with your child while also fostering conversation.

• Eat Right. Maintaining healthy eating habits will teach your child that good nutrition enables their bodies to better cope with stressful situations.

• Relax Together. Teach relaxation techniques. One method is to have them sit quietly and take slow breaths while visualizing pleasant scenes such as a past birthday party, vacation, or other happy occasion. As with a healthy diet, relaxation provides a boost to the immune system helping the body to ward of the negative side-effects of stress.

• Hug, Hug, Hug. Provide plenty of physical comfort such as hugs and back rubs as these help your child feel secure and relax. Gentle touch is a very strong stress reducer.

• Combat Perfectionism. Teach your child that mistakes are okay and just part of the learning process. Everyone makes mistakes (including parents!)

• Set Rules and Consequences. Clearly define the ground rules for misconduct by letting your child know what is expected of him or her and together deciding on the consequences. Be sure to follow through as children need consistency in both word and deed.

• Role Play. Role play different ways to handle stressful situations. If your child will be starting school, use your child’s stuffed toys or dolls to act out the first day so they can know what to expect. It may be a good idea to confer with their teacher regarding the schedule so your role play can be genuine.

• Role Model. Share stories from your own life regarding how you handled stressful situations. Tailor your story to what your child is experiencing. For example, if your child is fearful, describe a situation in which you were afraid and how you coped with it. You can also read a story in a book that illustrates how different children cope with stressful situations.

Life is stressful. It is in how we cope with it that counts. Just think how better equipped your child will be for life after you help them through their school-time stress. Watching your child struggle is never fun– but teaching them lessons they’ll have for life is priceless.

Daniela Baker is a mother of two and a blogger at CreditDonkey, where she shares tips on college student credit cards and budgeting for success. 

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Filed under Academic Success, Behavior Management, Bullying, Parenting

Attention Grabbers (Keep students’ attention…even in May!)

by Bobbie Brownell

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Almost every teacher, whether they went to Yale or got their teaching degree online, thinks about using a big attention grabber to start class…especially in these final weeks of the school year when spring fever is rampant. Attention grabbers can range from a simple question to an elaborate demonstration. Either way, the message is clear: Wake up! Time to learn!

When to use an attention grabber:

  • Quiet a noisy room
  • Introduce a new topic
  • Motivate students
  • Demonstrate a theory or natural occurrence
  • Ward off summeritis

Have fun getting their attention, just be careful that the attention grabber does not take away from the overall meaning of the lesson. Try to keep their focus on the learning objectives. This benefits everyone in class and helps by taking away unnecessary distractions. We all know how easy it is to get the students’ minds off of the material. Daniel Willingham’s explanation on why students remember or forget material learned in class is linked to what the students are thinking about while new material is being introduced.

Questions to consider before using an attention grabber:

• Is the attention grabber relevant to the lesson?

• Could this be done in the middle of the lesson if students start to zone out?

• Will students be engaged and motivated to learn afterward?

• Will this continue to distract the students after the demonstration is over?

Tips to motivate:

• Timing is key – Try using relevant attention grabbers in the middle of the lesson. Students tend to mentally check out around the half-way point of class. This is a great time to reel them back in with something stimulating like a thought-provoking or a controversial question for them to discuss or write about.

• Give choices – If motivation is lacking, give the students a chance to have some input in what they are learning. Giving choices on what to read or research can be a huge motivator because it allows students to learn about something they are interested in. Have students come up with their own writing prompts; you’ll be surprised by all the brilliant ideas!

• Ask questions – Ask the students thought provoking questions to start a class discussion. Discussion is an invaluable tool since it invites the entire class to become involved with the lesson and with each other. Try something like, “Is murder ever justified?” or “What do you think would be different if this classroom was in Paris?” Use anything to get them thinking and talking.

• Relate concepts to the real world – Teachers sometimes forget that the best way to learn something is the simplest way. Ask yourself, “How did I learn this?” and “How does what we’re learning relate to the outside world?” Real-world examples work because students can relate to them. At any age, we learn by making connections from things we know to new ideas and experiences. Using examples that can be found or repeated at home can help deepen the understanding between the concept and the individual student.

Transitioning into new subjects is difficult for both teachers and students. Make it fun and be creative! Paying attention to transitions will make the change easier for everyone involved. Tricky Transitions…Made Easier! is a great example of thinking about transitions and how they can be used in a younger classroom environment.

Bobbie Brownell holds a bachelors degree in English and is currently in the NC Teach program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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Filed under Activities, Behavior Management, Critical Thinking, Discipline, Motivation

Gooooooaaaaaal!!!!!!

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adapted from Rachel Stepp

Okay, so this post may not be as exciting as the World Cup, but they do have something in common: in both, goals are a very good thing!

By now, your crew is settled back into the routine of school after the holidays, but this doesn’t mean life has to be ho-hum. To keep students motivated for the remainder of the year, give them a little ownership over their learning. One of the best ways to do this? Setting goals.

A Goal-Setting Lesson Plan

  1. Talk about different types of goals, such as short term and long term, personal goals and academic goals. Ask: Why would we want to set goals? Discuss the importance of visualizing growth and success. You have to conceive it before you can achieve it!
  2. As a class, come up with several categories for goals that the students would like to set. Write the categories on the board or chart paper as you brainstorm. Some ideas: Academic, Family, Friends, Future, Sports/Hobbies/Talents, or Projects.
  3. Then, once you’ve selected three to five categories as a class, have students brainstorm one or two specific goals for themselves for each category. Discuss and model how to create specific, attainable goals that are within their control (i.e. “make every soccer practice until May,” rather than “win every game”).
  4. After students have brainstormed individually, allow them to work with a partner to share their goals and provide feedback to each other.
  5. Once your students have solidified their ideas, give them strips of different colored construction paper. Encourage students to write one goal on each piece of paper. Allow them to write anonymously if they would like.
  6. Once students have written the goals, arrange the strips of paper in a firework pattern and build a bulletin board or a door display that showcases the explosion student-generated goals. This festive display will be a daily reminder for students of what they plan on achieving…and the celebration that can happen when a goal is met!
  7. Then, follow up: on a regular basis (morning work is a great time), have students journal on how they’re doing with their goals. Do they need to tweak any of the goals? Allow a time for students to share their progress…and be sure to celebrate successes, too!

And…don’t forget to set goals for yourself, too. Just because you’re the teacher doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve something new and great everyday!

Rachel Stepp is a graduate student at The University of Georgia and a regular contributor to A Learning Experience.

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Filed under Academic Success, Behavior Management, Classroom Community, Motivation

January = A Fresh Start

by Elizabeth Cossick, M.Ed.

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The candles have all been extinguished, random evergreen needles have been vacuumed up, and the presents have all been opened and enjoyed (or returned and re-gifted). But the end of the holidays is actually the beginning of something really special in your classroom: the start of a brand new year. And unlike the newness of the year in August, this “new year” is even better because your students will return to a class of friends and a teacher they know (and love, of course).

All of this old-newness is the perfect opportunity to revisit your classroom management plan and strengthen the bonds of community (not to mention obedience) with your students. Here’s a simple first-day-back plan to get your group on the right track for 2011:

  • Brainstorm “The Ideal Classroom”

Start the day by asking students what the “perfect” classroom would be like. Tell them that you’re not talking about having recess all day or never having homework (dream on!), but rather you want to know how the students and teacher would treat each other. Ask: How would you like to be treated by your classmates? By me? How should we act toward each other? Lead students in a discussion on mutual respect, kindness…and (my personal favorite) self control. Rather than lecturing or preaching, let the students share their thoughts on what makes them feel respected when they’re talking (eye contact, no interruptions, etc) and how they can show extra kindness to each other. How can we become even more like a family?

  • Revisit and Revise “The Rules”

Then, look over the classroom rules together. If they’re posted on your wall, have a student volunteer read the rules out loud, pausing after each one to ask, “Why is this a good standard for our classroom?” Then, ask the students to thoughtfully consider if the rules need to be amended. Do we need any additional standards? Do any need to be reworded? A thoughtful conversation on classroom behavior will impart ownership to the students and be a better motivator than any lecture.

  • Play a Team-Building Game

Next, solidify the unity of your class with a team-building activity. Try a connecting web (see this post for the how-to), where students are encouraged to compliment each other.

However you choose to greet your students come January, here’s to a happy, productive, positive New Year!

Elizabeth Cossick, M.Ed., holds a Bachelors in Education from The University of Georgia and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University, Cambridge. She is the editor of A Learning Experience.

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Filed under Activities, Behavior Management, Classroom Community, Discipline