Dear Future Teachers,
I am nearing the end of my internship with my 5th Grade English and Language Arts class, and I've learned so much along the way. My internship has been very rewarding, and my mentor teacher did a phenomenal job at showing me tips and tricks that she uses in her classroom to make everything run smoothly. As a teacher, especially when you are just starting out, it can be overwhelming trying to manage all the moving parts of a typical classroom. This week I wanted to share some of the tips that my mentor taught me to help manage her students as well as keep herself organized!
One of the very first classroom management tips my mentor shared with me is the ticket system. There are multiple variations of how a ticket system can be implemented in the classroom. You can base your specific design based on the classroom activities you create, your students, and what is manageable for you! In my internship, we give students tickets based on various behaviors or tasks.
The most common way to earn tickets is by completing specific assignments or activities. We assign a ticket value to chosen assignments and when students complete the assignments, they are awarded the tickets. We use a roll of raffle tickets (but feel free to get creative!) that students can write their names on if they choose to do so.
Another way to earn tickets is to be engaged in classroom discussion, offering answers or volunteering to read a passage out loud. This really depends on your students and whether they need extra motivation to contribute to some classroom discussion during whole group learning.
Awarding tickets based on behavior that goes above and beyond is another method of giving out tickets! Do you ever see one of your students do something that you want to reward and show them how awesome they are? Give them a couple of tickets! Students work hard, and they deserve to have some fun tied into their school day.
At the end of the week, in my classroom, students are allowed to cash in tickets for candy or for a classroom raffle. Small pieces of candy are priced at 10 tickets and slightly larger pieces of candy (like chocolate) are priced at 20 tickets. Some special prizes (that you can find at your local dollar store) are worth 50-75 tickets! Our students love to save up tickets and purchase a prize they've had their eye on. Again, you can decide what works best for your room and if you want to offer other prizes (such as school supplies, stickers, homework passes, etc.)
Labels around the classroom can be super useful, especially when working with elementary students. At the beginning of the year, it can help students get acclimated to the classroom structure, teaching them where to find supplies, where to turn in assignments, or where to store their materials. With K-2 students, labels can also help their literacy development by providing words they will use a lot and have to learn to read/write! Additionally, labels can help substitutes or other adults in the classroom quickly find what they need in the event that you are unable to be at school.
Keeping Track of Supplies
As educators, we know how valuable classroom supplies can be, and how difficult it may be to keep a classroom adequately stocked. When you spend your hard earned money supplying your classroom, you want to make sure you keep up with your supplies to help it last! One thing that my mentor does is using a patterned duct tape on her classroom supplies. This includes pencils that the students use, bins that store supplies, her stapler, her ruler, her scissors, etc. If you have a classroom library, you can create small labels or markers in the books, too! When you have several students using your materials, it can be difficult to keep track of who is borrowing what. Put a visual indicator on your materials that help students, and you, maintain your classroom supplies as long as you can.
Setting Expectations and Routine
One of the most important strategies in classroom management is to set expectations and routines starting in the very first week of school. The expectations and routines should be heavily emphasized during the beginning of the school year so you aren't trying to introduce new rules or expectations halfway through the year. If expectations are laid out from the beginning, it'll be a little easier to get students to abide by the classroom behavior system. Expectations can be decided on as a class and then posted around the room for students to have a visual reminder. Expectations can also be integrated into the routines of the classroom. For example, the routines students have when they come into the classroom and when they exit the classroom can be tied into the expectations of the classroom. Set those routines early and students will be able to expect them every day when they walk into the room.
Utilize Classroom Whiteboards
In many classrooms, the whiteboard is a central focus on the wall. They can be easily updated each day and can be a part of your classroom routine. Constant information on the whiteboard can include the date, the schedule for the day, announcements/reminders, homework, and other information you want students to focus on that day. This information will provide predictability for students, and if they are expected to check the whiteboard each day, it can help students get in the practice of finding assignments/announcements on their own, leading to more self-sufficiency in the classroom. The whiteboard can be a resource to help students stay organized and on track without you having to repeat instructions solely by voice. It also helps students remember what tasks they should be working on if they get a little distracted.
These are just a few of the classroom management ideas I've picked up on this semester! They gave me a great starting point for how I want to manage my classroom when I get my license to teach, and it will help me brainstorm ideas that will work for my future students. What classroom management ideas do you use/have you learned about that you think should be added to this list? Send a message to email@example.com or leave a message in the Contact Form on my Home Page!