When managing a classroom, many teachers adopt a ‘trial by error’ approach. This is because no class is the same, and all students have different needs. With this in mind, it’s wise to learn from those who have been in the industry for many years.
Read on to discover five proven classroom management strategies. All are designed to help you plan, order, engage, discipline, and reward your students.
1. Make Movement Part of Your Class
Elementary students are not renowned for being able to sit still for long periods. To ensure they don’t become restless, you should try to incorporate movement into your classroom management elementary class plan.
Most periods last 60 minutes. On average, a child's attention span is about two to three minutes per year of age. This equates to between 10 and 18 minutes for an elementary student.
To ensure your students don’t lose focus, a transition period is key. Another tip that seems to work? Placing students in small groups and switching these up every 15 minutes.
Another point? Give your kids brain breaks. This could be anything from encouraging everyone to stand up and stretch to playing a quick game of ‘Simon Says’.
2. Ensure You Plan Lessons in Advance
Unlike traditional classroom teachers, as an elementary counselor, you may only see your students weekly or monthly. With this limited time in mind, you must plan classes.
Think of subject matters that break the ice and keep your audience engaged. Some counselors prefer to begin their lessons with a scoot game or a mindfulness activity.
For the body of the lesson, you may wish to use presentation slides or SEL books and videos to share content. During the lesson, to ensure your students are engaged, discussion cards, role plays and sorting games can prove effective.
When it comes to closing the lesson, adding an element of reflection is always a good idea, such as a call to action or a quick exit survey to find out what your students enjoyed most about your class.
Another part of the planning process? Ensuring you have all the required supplies for the lesson. You will either need to bring these items with you, or speak to the homeroom teacher in advance, and arrange to use school supplies.
3. Provide Anonymous Feedback Throughout the Lesson
One elementary classroom behavior management technique to adopt includes announcing feedback anonymously instead of calling individuals out. The latter can be hugely embarrassing for children, the former encourages students to consider their behavior as a whole. Interventions focusing on the entire class can be more effective than targeting individuals.
For example, you may say something along the lines of ‘I’ve noticed not all books are open, can everyone make sure they are on page 10’. Addressing students as a group will hopefully solve issues instantly, meaning you can avoid singling anyone out.
4. Reward Students for Effort and Good Behavior
Elementary students thrive on being commended for good behavior and hard work. Being rewarded keeps them motivated. Acknowledging the behavior of single students as well as the entire class encourages positivity in the classroom.
To ensure you reward students fairly, assess their abilities individually and provide them with activities and tasks suited to their skill set. Some students will be brilliant with numbers, but may struggle with creativity, and vice versa. Learning more about your students abilities will help you to help them strengthen their weaknesses.
Rewards such as outdoor activities, special parties, treats, or free time entice children to continue to do well by having a goal to work towards. When they realize they are being rewarded for good behavior, they’ll continue to work hard.
5. Set an Example
Leading by example is another great classroom management strategy. Setting the tone from the get-go is an effective way for you to instill exceptional student behavior. Instead of using words, use actions. This is particularly effective with younger students as their minds are still developing. This means they are more likely to learn from experiences.
Adopting a no-technology rule in class, respecting each of your students, and addressing them all politely - are just some of the rules that impact how children mold into adults.
One way to get children to stick to rules is to involve them in the rule-making process. Feeling like they have played a part in this makes them more likely to follow the rules. All students should be made aware of the consequences of breaking them.
The Bottom Line
There is no one fit for all in classroom management, which makes observing and learning from those who have been counseling for many years a wise idea.
Whether adopting indirect or direct classroom management techniques, following these best practices help you successfully manage your classes. The result? Content that is delivered coherently in an engaging way, and students who are happy, engaged, and willing to learn from you.