Having a strong classroom management plan (or not) is the difference between loving your teacher life or dreading each day. No joke. That’s a strong statement but we’re not playing around here. It’s that important.
In this post, you’ll find everything you need to know, and practice, for a classroom that runs smoothly, with a strong family feel at its core. Sound like a dream? Well, grab your coffee and let’s dive in!
#1 Whole Class Reward System
In the world of classroom management, a well-structured whole-class reward system is the backbone of your classroom management plan. Even upper elementary students thrive in an environment where their positive choices are noticed and celebrated.
Speaking from experience, implementing a class reward system like a house system can truly transform the atmosphere in your classroom. I’ve seen firsthand how it encourages teamwork and cultivates a positive learning environment.
Wondering what class reward system I use? In a big fan of using a house system in upper elementary. I’ve tried lots of different systems and it’s the one that has made the most positive impact in my fourth grade classroom. Unlike other whole class systems where the excitement fizzles out, students are hyped on the house system all year long.
#2 Student Reflection
Student reflection is key in a strong classroom management plan. It helps foster self-awareness and personal growth. Using a tool like behaviour tracking at the end of every day gets your students thinking about their actions and how they can continue to make good choices or make better decisions in the future. Daily behaviour tracking is hands down the classroom management tool where I’ve noticed a significant shift in students’ behaviour within the classroom.
Now, you might be thinking, wait, do I actually need to use a whole class system and an individual system? If you’re new to all of this, you don’t have to start both of them at the same time however, in a nutshell, the answer is yes.
Here’s the deal: using both methods allows you to provide the positive reinforcement that the whole-class system provides, while also giving students a chance to reflect on their choices, both the good and the ones that could use a little improvement. That’s where the behaviour management comes into play. It’s all about striking that balance!
#3 Strong Routines
Alright, let’s be real – routines are it when it comes to a well-managed classroom. Practicing those routines a ton at the beginning of the year, setting clear expectations, and giving regular feedback on how students are handling them, truly pays off. From the morning bell to packing up at the end of the day, investing the time to teach and practice these routines is worth it to manage the day-to-day chaos. I promise!
#4 A Plan for Early Finishers
Maybe your students will stay focused and work hard during a task. But what happens when those speedy few are finished? Is there a clear next step for them? Providing early finishers with meaningful tasks keeps them engaged and focused but also reduces distractions for the rest of the class. It’s a win-win. Try implementing must do may do lists for your early finishers.
In this approach to a strong classroom management plan, the emphasis is on relationship building and creating a community with clear expectations. Now, you might be wondering, “What do I do when a student makes a mistake? Like, when they punch their friend at recess or refuse to do an assignment?” Truth is, we’ve all had students make these not-so-great choices even with strong relationships in place.
So, how do you handle it? You stay calm and provide a natural consequence, when appropriate. Here’s the deal – consequences aren’t about punishment, they’re about learning. It’s the moment when students connect their actions to the outcomes. Be fair, be consistent, and keep the focus on growth. It’s how we nurture a sense of responsibility and accountability.
Need an example of a natural consequence? If a student refuses to complete an assignment, they may have to complete it before moving on to a preferred activity, may have to take it home to complete or even start it first thing the next morning before diving into the day’s other activities.
#6 Post A Schedule & Be Prepared
You know those days when you forge ahead without a clear plan for the day? Yeah, not pretty. A clear schedule supports students in a predictable rhythm for the day and is a small but crucial part of your classroom management plan. It has a calming effect when they can see what’s to come.
Posting a clear schedule helps ease students into the day as they know what’s to come. You can even jot down specifics on the whiteboard beside each schedule card, so students know exactly what to expect in each subject. This provides even more information for your students which will reduce stress levels. For instance, next to the “science” schedule card, you might write “Animal Life Cycle Projects.”
Now, the same goes for you. When you’re well-planned and prepared, you avoid that frantic feeling that creeps up when you’re not one step ahead of your students. Trust me, they pick up on your vibe and will meet you where you’re at. If you’re feeling frantic, so will they.
#7 Lead with Respect and Love
Respect is a two-way street. The heart of a strong classroom management plan is in the relationships you build. Treat your students with respect and create a space where they feel loved each day. That truly will aid in your classroom management. When students feel respected, cared for, and safe, they’re more likely to engage and cooperate.
Remember, kids do the best they can with the tools that they have.
#8 Build Strong Class Community
Along the same lines, taking the time to build a strong class community, from the start, is truly worth your time. When students feel a sense of belonging, they’re more likely to be engaged and supportive of one another. Within a strong community, students are more likely to respect one another, be engaged, and be inclusive. Every teacher’s dream, right?
#9 Student Engagement and Choice
Keeping student engagement at the forefront of your planning will support your classroom management plan. The reason being that when students are engaged in classroom activities, they are more likely to participate and to have a positive learning experience. An easy way to boost student engagement is by providing student choice, when possible. One way to do this is by using student choice boards.
#10 Support Students
Often, when students “act out” it’s because they are struggling. As adults, we can act as detectives to figure out the reason and to support students with what they need. Be attentive to students’ individual needs, whether they need extra help with an assignment, or just need a listening ear. Supporting your students is an important part of your classroom management plan that will need to be adjusted each year, with a different group of students.
Have many students that need your support with academics? Consider trying station rotations to free you up to work with more students at a time.
The Complete House System
Tired of classroom chaos? Say goodbye to disruptions and endless arguments. Introducing the House System, the perfect addition to your classroom management plan! Designed for upper elementary, this comprehensive system transforms your class into a tight-knit family. With character trait houses, Latin-named houses, and animal-themed houses, students learn, grow, and lead together.
This isn’t just a resource; it’s a complete system! Picture vibrant bulletin boards and engaging house meetings. And the best part? A collection of 60 editable student reward coupons to celebrate your winning house each week. Get ready to motivate your students by earning points for their houses. Check it out now!
There you have it! These ten elements for a strong classroom management plan will support you to effectively run your classroom, with love. It’ll make for a smooth school year for both yourself and your students. Remember, you’re not alone.