Classroom Management Strategies

Rate Your Classroom Disciplinary Practices
Be honest ... decide whether you usually, sometimes, or never practice these techniques. Perhaps there is one you would like to work on - contact Tricia who can serve as an impartial observer to watch as you teach, collect data, and reflect with you on the results.

Reflect on who "owns" the problem. How much is in the teacher's control vs the student's control? Your chosen strategy depends on what you decide.

If the TEACHER has control over the problem, that means a change in instructional practice may solve the problem. Try these ideas:
1. Be sure your students understand your expectations. Depending on the maturity level of your students, involve them in setting "norms", accepted rules of behavior that benefit everyone. Make this a dynamic document, changing as circumstances warrant.

2. Keep the lesson moving. In a fifty-five minute period, plan three different activities. Try to get kids up out of their seats at least once during the class period. Those students with pent up energy will thank you for it.

3. Don’t lecture for the whole period. Students who are actively engaged in a learning activity are generally not disrupting the class. Hands-on activities work great for vivacious classrooms.

4. Separate students who feed off each other. Have a seating chart that places students where they'll have the most success with paying attention and staying on task. If necessary, create a study carrel where a student sits when he or she has trouble focusing with other students around. Monitor frequently to be sure there is work being done.

5. Talk to your students. If you see them in the hall, in the cafeteria or at the grocery store, ask them how they are. If you see a student in the local newspaper, congratulate them. If they do something nice, tell them that you appreciate their kindness. This lets them know that you really do care about them.

6. Use your physical proximity to send the message that you're watching but are not willing to stop the whole lesson because of a few attention seekers. The more you draw attention to a behavior, the more likely it is to recur. This is true for both inappropriate and desired student behaviors.

7. Catch 'em being good. If a particularly troublesome student has a good day (or even a good 15 minutes), tell them you appreciate that. Do so quietly, otherwise such a student may be embarrassed in front of his or her friends and never want to hear your praise again.

8. Are they disruptive because they're masking their lack of understanding or continued perception of themselves as failures in your content area? Find ways to scaffold your instruction for them or provide learning aids that differentiate for their particular level. This allows small degrees of success that eventually lead to greater effort and less disruption.

9. Use (and vary) grouping strategies. Deliberately place disruptive students in a group where they can be successful as a leader. You may need to provide explicit instructions on what the leader is to do, but you set these students up for success and can build on this later.

10. If you find that you need to address the entire class for a disciplinary issue, do so in a very deliberate manner. Stop talking or otherwise get students' attention. Once the room is quiet, walk to a different spot in the classroom. State what needs to be said about the issue at hand. When finished, walk back to your original spot and continue on with your content. This not only differentiates the discipline from your content, it provides a framework in students' minds ... they begin to associate your physical movement to that spot with an expectation for their behavior.

11. When you have stood by the student, talked to the student, and kept them busy with lessons, and they still are disruptive, take them in the hallway. Ask them, “Are you OK?” They may just crumble and tell you that they had a fight with their parents, didn’t get up on time or are having other issues. If they are defiant, send them on to Mr. Popham. Check back with them later to follow up.