You have spent weeks planning and perfecting your classroom and now you are finally ready for your students. So much of how the next few weeks will play out depends on your classroom management… no pressure! Even the most experienced teacher gets nervous and struggles to sleep the night before the big day. Reminding ourselves of tips and tricks to develop strong relationships with students from day one helps reassure our crazy teacher minds.
Get to know your students:
Plan activities to get to know your students. All about me activities are great to help students get to know each other but also for the teacher to get to know what makes a student tick. When we learn what are they passionate about, their strengths and weaknesses and their innermost dreams we can better connect as educators.
Have clear expectations:
Class rules, contracts or agreements are a great way of sharing expectations and can be created collaboratively giving students more ‘buy in’. Knowing the expectations and boundaries help us feel safe in our environment. When we feel safe, we excel.
Reinforce your expectations daily:
We all need reminders of what is expected of us and visual reminders can be helpful.
Behaviour cards for each student allow you to visually demonstrate how students are following expectations without disturbing the rest of the class. They can be labelled with students’ names and displayed in a prominent location. The Classrooms Behaviour Kit is a great set to get started with.
Regularly incorporating the rules and /or agreements into class discussions reminds all class members of the expectations.
Reward the positive:
Identifying and calling out the positive is habitual. If we make an effort to do it the rewards can be great. Having a visual reminder as a teacher is a helpful reminder.
Incentive Charts are a great reminder to us as teachers to notice the positive and can be personalized to each student. What one student is rewarded for can be very different from the next but the reward is visual and clearly seen by everyone in the class.
There are many other ways to reward positive behaviour including awards and stickers. Resources to incentivize can be found here.
Encourage positive behaviour towards others:
Filling buckets is a commonly known term now, thanks to the author Carol McCloud and her Have You Filled a Bucket? series.
A positive reinforcement pocket chart is a great way to encourage students to compliments each other and identify the positive in their classroom. Your job as a teacher is so much easier when students are being kind to each other!
A calm learning environment:
Keeping track of time and not having to rush to assembly or to a specialist class is a must to keep everyone on track and following behaviour expectations. Timers can help with this process. As a teacher we can get so distracted helping groups or individual students and a timer can help us stay on track as well as the students.
The Time Tracker is a visual timer that be set to give a visual and audible alert.
The choice in timers is amazing now and you can usually find something to fit your needs.
Transitions can be difficult for some students so any help is always welcome.
There are many resources aimed at younger students, which is also useful for elementary students. They can be helpful to move from the morning circle to the end of the day and is filled with movement activities, games, fingerplays, chants and songs.
When students feel they are trusted they will often work harder to achieve more responsibility. Giving class jobs not only helps you as a teacher but encourages responsible habits. We all like to feel we are helpful.
The Helping Hands Pocket Chart encourages teamwork and self-esteem as students take responsibility for their classroom. It features 10 class job cards (pledge leader, postmaster general, tech specialist and more) with blank reverse sides and 30 student hand cards. Reuse all 40 write-on/wipe-off cards year after year.
Good luck Teachers!
Having a classrooms that feels like a team is the ultimate reward. We at Quality Classrooms wish you all the very best as you start off the new academic year. We are here to help when you need classrooms supplies and will do our very best to support your teaching.