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Elementary Classroom Management Survival Tips


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  1. Make two sets of name tags – one for the child's table space or desk, and one for the child to wear around the neck to special classes.

  2. Hang name tags on a hook by the door.

  3. Make name labels and tape them over coat hooks and/or cubbies.

  4. Have a Weekly Room Helper's Chart. Put children in charge of jobs such as:

    • straightening the books (librarian)

    • cleaning the sink (plumber)

    • answering the knock at the door (host/hostess)

    • leading the salute to the flag and the song (director)

    • taking notes to office or another teacher (messenger)

    • cleaning up special Center areas (science director, writing director, math director, and so on)

    • helpers with snack time (health officers)

    • cleaning up the floor – all children should do this at the end of the session (room inspector)

    • general teacher's helper (teacher assistant)

  5. Assign two general house-keepers the task of straightening the area where jackets, boots, hats, and mittens are kept. This area should be straightened everyday to keep it looking presentable.

  6. Build “clean up time” into the schedule at the end of the day. Don't close the day on the run.

  7. Always evaluate the day with the children before they go home. Praise them for jobs well done and mention things that will need to be worked on tomorrow.

  8. Establish a routine. Children thrive on a schedule.

  9. Don't speak when children aren't listening and ready. Wait.

  10. Establish a signal for getting the group's attention:

    • turn off the lights

    • clap a pattern with your hands

    • say “Freeze!” and everyone halts right where they are, like a statue. Then say “Melt!” when you are ready for them to move again.

  11. Practice number ten above, in the beginning, even when children are doing well, just so they get the idea of how to respond to your signals. Then praise them.

  12. Establish and discuss room rules and consequences of misbehavior.

  13. Post room rules and consequences of misbehavior.

  14. Keep a large, clear, see-through plastic jug on a table or countertop. When students are being good workers, drop a nut (walnut) or (chestnut) or little pebble inside with much ceremony and praise. When the jug is filled, it's time for a treat (food, extra playtime, an extra story, a game). Then empty the jug and begin again.

  15. Special food treats like cookies, popcorn, or small candies work well for rewarding modified behavior.

  16. Have children practice walking in the classroom – two at a time while the rest observe. This way, they learn the appropriate speed for indoor walking.

  17. Convey the message that the teacher is the line-leader down the hall. That way the teacher controls the speed of the line and can stop at any time.

  18. Practice walking in the hall. Keep stopping and starting until everyone in the class gets the message that this is a quiet activity.

  19. Select a different student each class to be the teacher's partner as line leader. Be sure to hold hands.

  20. Establish good listening habits for story time. Sometimes we read and listen, and sometimes we read and discuss, but we always listen.



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