Classroom Management Strategies for Spring

06:00


Springtime brings such excitement to an elementary school.  We have Spring Break coming in a few weeks and the last quarter of the school year has arrived.  With this excitement, something else always materializes and that is an increase in student behavior problems.

I am going to share four strategies that have helped me survive the race to summer.

  • Clear Consistent Expectations:  One cornerstone of classroom management is to make sure that expectations are taught and that they are clear and consistent.  When trying to improve behavior, I first look for trouble spots in my day.  If a certain point in my day has been tough all year, it could become unmanageable toward the end of the year.  I have to review the routine to see if it must be restructured.  
    1. First, I take a look to see if my expectations are truly clear for the trouble spot.  I try to look at it from a student's point of view.  I ask myself, "Where are the students falling apart?"  Is there anyway to restructure it to suit their needs better?
    2. Next I need to evaluate to see if I am not consistent with my expectations.  If that is the problem, then I need to make a plan to implement the expectations in a truly consistent manner.   
    3. If there is room for improvement with either expectations or consistency, I try to fix it and reteach the students.  
    4. If I am convinced that everything is fine with my procedures and I am consistent, then I just re-teach to remind students of these expectations. 
  • Change It Up:  One of my mentors often changed up his classroom management plan a couple of times a year.  I love this idea because it keeps things fresh and helps make it new and exciting for the students and for me too.  There are several ways you can do this:
    • Add a game as an incentive to your current plan
    • Pick a goal for the class to work toward
    • Add Class Dojo or Bloomz
    • Add classroom cash or brag tags
    • Talk to other teachers about a system they use
  • Keep a Consistent Routine and Structure:  Nothing signals the end of the year for a student more than a teacher starting to loosen their structure.  Often we save some really fun engaging lessons for the end of the year.  This is great, but you might need to space them out and keep the normal routine the majority of the day.  Or try to plan fun activities that do not depart from the normal structure you have kept throughout the school year.  It might take some extra thought or planning, but staying within your structure will help you stay productive and sane to the very end.
  • Spend Two Extra Minutes of Quality Time with Students who Need Attention: Like adults, students have an emotional bank account.  Randall Sprick from Safe and Civil Schools talks about a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions between a teacher and students.  This does not mean we need to ignore misbehavior.  Quite the contrary, we need to correct misbehavior.  What this does mean is that every time we interact with a kid while they are misbehaving, we need to also interact three times more when they are acting appropriately. It fills an emotional bank account and tells students who are starved for our attention that it is more satisfying to get attention when they are not acting in a negative way.  One easy way to do this is commit two minutes to spend with a troubled students in a completely neutral setting.  My favorite time to do this is before school.  I take a couple of minutes, without distractions, to have the student do a job for me.  I think of the job so we have a chance to chat and fill their emotional bank account.  It truly helps when I later have to correct behavior to help the kid get back on track. It does not cure their misbehavior but it helps give a reason for them to seek my approval in positive ways.  
The end of the year is never easy, but hopefully with a little pre-planning, it can be manageable for you.  Please share your great end of year strategies in the comments!

by Camille from A Spot of Curriculum

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