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Sunday, September 8, 2019


As we were “hunkering down” for Dorian’s visit a few days ago, I found myself in a “cleaning” mode. As I was going through some old files I came across a handout titled “Top Ten Secrets of Classroom Management.” Although it was written years ago, I believe the points are as timely as ever. It was a reminder once again that GOOD TEACHING IS GOOD TEACHING! I hope you’ll find at least one or two tips that will ring clear for you this week.
*Note! I realize I could write a book or do a workshop on each one of these “secrets,” but I’ll let you fill in the details and make them work for your particular situation.

1. Be firm, fair, and consistent. (I actually learned this in my first education class. It’s one of those things that sounds simple, but it’s not always easy.)

*Keep cool, calm, and use a quiet voice. (As you lower your voice and breath slowly you will “pull” them in.)

2. Follow a daily schedule.

*Start each day in a happy way. (Of course, a Dr. Jean silly song always works.)
*Use routines and rituals. (My handshakes, attention grabbers, and cheers are what I’m talking about.)

3. Communicate clearly and concisely. (Say what you mean and mean what you say.)

*Use your body language, facial expression, and tone of voice. (Develop your own “look” that means “get it together now!”)

*Use sign language.

4. Have classroom rules that are few, simple, and affirmative. (Let’s hear it for the “Rules Rap.”)
*Be specific about what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. (You may do this, but you may not do that!)

5. Use positive guidance techniques.

*Redirect. (Give them something positive to do to replace the negative behavior.)

*Natural consequences. (You hurt Juan’s feelings. How can you make him feel better?)

*Discipline in private. (I found it worked best to pull a child quietly aside, hold their hands, look in their eyes, and talk to them about what they needed to do.)

6. Prevent problems whenever possible.

*Divide and conquer. (Separate those trouble makers!)

*Problem solve with the children. (Talk to them when there is a classroom issue. Get their input into how to improve the situation.)

*Observe and document. (Children tell us things by their behavior. Do they argue over a classroom object? Are they fidgety before math? How can you manipulate the environment and schedule to alleviate the issue?)

7. Use a variety of teaching strategies and grouping techniques. (Another timeless tip I learned my first year in college was to vary the instructional strategies. You can’t do the same thing over and over.)

*Large group.
*Small group.

8. Provide children with opportunities to vent energy.

*Brain breaks. (This is nothing new. Children have always needed to wiggle. And teachers need to wiggle, too!)


*Sing and dance. (I’ve got lots of free videos to help you.)


*Talking recess. (Let them have a babble break and just walk around the room and chit-chat with their friends for a few minutes.)

9. Only do what only you can do!
(Don’t wear yourself out doing menial tasks.)

*Encourage children to accept responsibility.

*Be a model for them. (They won’t know how to wash the tables or put away materials if you don’t demonstrate first.)

*Set high expectations. (It’s amazing what little children can do if you expect it.)

10.Keep a bag of tricks up your sleeve….and that’s what I’ll share with you today! Come back tomorrow for some of those tricks!