Part 1 Finding your own Classroom Management System
Some people use the term "classroom management" as code for "controlling students." I try to run my class without coercion; to control the environment not the people. Because I have refined my rules over the 20+ years I've been a teacher I DO NOT let my students make the rules. I am an expert in how I want the class to run. They do not know yet how well things can go with my method, so I don't invite them making the rules until we've lived by my rules for a while.
For teachers who are looking for a system, my advice would be to pick and choose from methods of teachers you observe. Here are mine.
If you wish to add your own ideas please share them in the comments section because I know my method won't work for everyone. Creating climate is highly personal and there are many ways to create a positive one for learning. Teachers should use others ideas to cobble together a method that will work for them, their students, and their climate goals.
My most effective classroom management strategy is a paper"Activity Wheel" hung where every student can see it. The activity wheel is an oval bright yellow handmade poster with the name of each main type of instructional strategies we use. In the center is a red arrow that spins around the wedges. I actually move a paper arrow around the wheel to point to the activity title as we begin it. I might also read aloud the rules again as a reminder. I may do this several times a class because I always had a lot going on.
When I did have problems, I usually could nip it with a discussion and by showing true caring. Sometimes when things went south for the whole class, I had a lot of luck going in the next day and saying to the child, to the group, "I am still thinking about last class and I am coming in today ready to do what I can to fix what went wrong." Then I could either say "here's what I will do and what I needed to see from you" or invite a discussion " What did you see that was out of line? What can we do to fix it? What if that doesn't work."
OK today's a fresh start.
The best thing to work was showing that I really cared about them and about making sure everyone could learn and be respected. One thing that always worked is never letting a putdown slide, but that was because it was like nails on a chalkboard to me so easy for me to care about and stop right away.
Below are embedded google docs my presentation slides when I teach the concept of respect and the activity wheel to my students. You can download to your google docs and personalize it according to the procedures you want to see.
Relate the animal school story to Multiple Intelligences (helps you and the students understand each other and minimize your differences while working to your strengths)
Sample Rubric - for Class Discussions without Raising Hands
Sample First Day Setting the Climate and Explaining Procedures lesson- A Visual Scavenger Hunt:
I am Lisa Gurthie the PD facilitator at Piedmont IB Middle School. She specializes in tech and arts integration, interdisciplinary, holistic education, and unschooling school to make it more real and relevant. One day I will modernize my "about" page. Check out the other blogs on this site for Lesson Ideas, Celebration of Good Teaching, and Piedmont PD