Classroom Management for Elementary Teachers
Classroom management for elementary teachers might be different than you think. When you think about classroom management, most teachers immediately think about student behavior, rules, consequences, and rewards. Yes, these things are a portion of that, but it’s only a part of it. So what are the other parts? I’m glad you asked! Classroom management also falls into the following categories:
There are many different classroom management systems out there too. I personally use Class Dojo and my students earn points for classroom jobs, behavior, games, etc. They collect their points and spend them each month in our Class Store. I’ve used this system for about five years now and it’s been very successful. 80% of the time, students will respond well to a system like this. But sometimes you have students who need a little more support and using individual behavior plans and working with specialist teachers can be helpful.
My personal belief is that you can eliminate the majority of behavior issues by clearly teaching students what to expect in the classroom. Students don’t know how you want them to do something unless you explicitly teach them. They may do it the way they did it last year, or the way they do it at home, or even the way they think you want it done. It’s also important to make sure you are consistent with your expectations. If you expect them to line up a certain way, you need to make sure that is how they line up each and every time. Also, be mindful not to fall into the too many warnings trap. Where you give warning after warning and never follow through with a consequence.
Some teachers might not think classroom organization is a part of classroom management, but the definition of management actually says the process of dealing with or controlling things. So how you deal with and control the “things” in your classroom is important. Organizing can look different for many people and I firmly believe that each teacher needs to come up with their own system that fits their style and classroom. The number one rule I like to follow when it comes to organizing a space is everything has a place. I’ve written several posts about how I organize my classroom and you can read those here and here.
Students won’t care to learn unless they know you care. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I’ve experienced it! I’ve had students behave completely differently in my classroom than they do in other classrooms. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with those students and ask them why they can behave for me and not another teacher. And do you know how most of those students respond…they say something along the lines of…well that teacher doesn’t like me or she doesn’t care about me. Most of the time, I know that teacher cares, but the student doesn’t know that. Just as it’s important to explicitly teach our expectations, it’s important that we explicitly tell and show students we care. Teachers must get to know students personally. One way I do that is through Class Meetings and Student of the Week.
If you’re looking for more ways to rock classroom management for upper elementary teachers, check out my free guidebook.