By now, the first hectic weeks of school have come and gone. Familiarity has settled in, and the daily routine of education has started to take hold. It also means that most teachers have finally gotten a firm idea regarding the character of their new class. There are loud students, shy students, eager students, clever students, and a whole host of others who make up this new community of learners. For a teacher, juggling so many personalities and individual needs can be tricky. Patience and communication will be essential in the days to come, but these are only the first steps toward successful classroom management.

Classroom management provides a necessary foundation for a thriving community of learners but there’s more than one way to manage a classroom successfully. Below are just a few strategies that educators can experiment with as they determine the best way to lead their students toward a successful year:

  • “But What Did I Say?”: Never argue. When students attempt to engage, simply listen, nod empathetically, and say, “But what did I say?” If they continue to argue, kindly repeat, “But what did I say?” Be caring and be consistent, and this approach will work wonders!
  • Shake Your Sillies Out: Do you have an activity coming up that might cause your kids to get silly? Create space for them to be energetic and silly by taking a designated “Shake Your Sillies Out” time! Keeping your sillies in silly time can help them focus when it’s time to be serious!
  • Sticky Note Surprise: When students feel like they matter, they’re more likely to be engaged and curious. To make sure each student knows you value them, put your calendar to work! Each month, place students’ names on a day in your calendar. For elementary, you may have one student per day. For secondary, you may have 3-4 per day. On that day, write a quick sticky note with a positive message for that day’s students and leave it on their desks. Each student gets a note from you each month, building the rapport and connection that is required for a culture of risk-taking.
  • Brain-gauging Transitions: We spend lots of time transitioning from one activity to another. Figure out how to keep minds engaged by adding academic content to these transition times. For instance, while walking down the hall, have younger students silently count their steps by twos or fives. For older students, have them estimate the amount of time it takes them to clean up after an activity.
  • Connect Throughout the Year: Throughout the year, encourage sharing by your students. The more they know about each other, the safer they will feel and be more willing to share innovative ideas. Around Thanksgiving, they can share what they are the most thankful for. Around Valentine’s Day, they can share what they love to do in their free time. Use the holidays as opportunities to connect with one another and foster a supportive classroom environment.

If you found these ideas to be helpful, be sure to check out Blue Apple’s Strategy Explorations – a collection of free, teacher-tested strategies that teachers can instantly implement in the classroom. There’s much to be done in the year ahead, but with careful planning and consideration, teachers can guide their students through a season of growth and opportunity. So, use this time to try new things, connect with your students, and remember that classroom management is never a one-size-fits-all endeavor.

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