The Secret to Classroom Management

     I remember being asked how I was able to maintain classroom management so effortlessly.  I also remember looking at my co-worker with bewilderment at the question and answering, "I don't know".  I wasn't trying to be flippant with my answer; I had just never really thought about it.  There have been many days when absolute chaos reigned in my classroom.  I have spent many nights critiquing my classroom management trying to figure out what I needed to do to bring it back to a stable level.
     I will admit, I do not have a huge problem with managing a classroom.  I may have a few students who disrupt the learning environment, but that is common for any classroom.  Along the way, I have learned three very important rules that I follow that help in management.

3 Rules:
1. Say what you mean; mean what you say.
      If you say you will be giving everyone afterschool detention due to their behavior; you'd better be ready to stay after school to enforce it.  Students will quickly realize your threats are unsubstantiated, thus making them worthless. Be very careful of the "one size fits all" punishments.  They do not work.

2. Remember, your goal is to modify aberrant behavior.
     I believe a lot of teachers do not understand this concept.  If you have a student (or three, four, five) who constantly shouts out, is out of their seat, non-compliant, and/or unruly, the first step is to identify the behavior.  Please notice I used the singular form.  You will only be able to modify one behavior at a time.  Example:  Little student will not stay seated.  Little student randomly gets up and walks around.  You do not want Little Student to walk around the room bothering other children.
     In order to modify the behavior, you must look at the situation and figure out what the trigger might be (talking to the student usually helps to shorten the investigation process).  Little Student tells you they just cannot sit still.   Solution:  Seat Little Student toward the back of the room or toward the side.  Create a masking tape box beside or behind Little Student's chair.  Inform Little Student they may stand (and rock back and forth) only in the square created by the masking tape.  I have used this technique often.
     There are other methods you could employ to help modify the behavior (index cards with stickers that may be used as reminders/warnings, behavior cards (kids earn points for the week and receive a reward at the end of the week).  If you use a reward system to modify behavior, the student must buy into it and the rewards MUST be delivered.  If you do not deliver on the reward, the student will lose trust in you.  Rewards do not need to be monetary.  A note home, phone call home, being first in line, team leader for a day, etc.  Be creative!

3. Be Consistent!  Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, tests the boundaries (have you ever gotten a speeding ticket?).  Students are no different.  If you have stated and posted your rules and expectations, you must enforce them.  If you say there will be no talking during the pledge(s) and moment of silence, enforce it!  Yes, I know, it can be difficult at times.  This; however, is crucial to classroom management.  Students need to see that you will treat everyone the same.

Obviously, there is more to successful classroom management, but these three suggestions will take you far.

Busy Creating a New Novel Study

I am currently busy working on my next novel study.  I have decided to create one for The Boy on the Wooden Box  by Leon Leyson.  It is a very good read.  It details Leyson's life after the occupation of Poland by the Nazis.  Leyson worked in Oskar Schindler's factory (Schindler's List) during the war.

I thoroughly enjoyed (is that the correct term to use for a memoir about Jewish treatment during WWII?) reading Leyson's account of his life during the occupation of Poland.

As soon as it is ready for publication, I will let you know!

Image result for the boy on the wooden box

I am also beginning work on mini-lessons.  I will try to keep you updated as those begin to materialize.  It takes me a little bit of time to get my thoughts onto paper.  The one I created yesterday for use in my classroom was received very well by my students.