Classroom management can be difficult! I have six classes. Some of them are jewels … students arrive on time, they have done their homework, they are ready to begin work, they listen, participate … wow! Those classes are joyful … we can even relax, play a game, laugh together.
But not all of my six classes are like this. I have a couple of classes in particular where there are students who are jewels … but they have classmates that are less engaged and less cooperative. I find it hard to relax, to laugh, or to play games … and yet I know that those are the very things that students need!
These are the strategies I am trying …
1. I’m planning at least 3, sometimes 4, 5 activities for our 90 minutes together. I know that keeping the class moving is essential.
2. Integrating more group work so that I “lecture” less is essential. A student said the other day how much she enjoyed the group work and pointed out how much better the class flowed! I am using the “group maker” function at http://www.superteachertools.com/ to create instant groups.
3. Originally I had planned to use a “Behavior Reflection and Contract” for disruptive students to reflect on their behavior. I have not implemented it yet … but I plan to start now. On the flip side, I am looking for ways to reward students who pay attention. There are not many free or almost free rewards for 9th graders … they like the jolly ranchers that I keep handy and they like “free” homework passes. Any other ideas??
4. I am trying to build relationships with students … most important for sure! I am finding that I am more relaxed with the students who come to my after school tutorials. One young lady remarked, “I like how we can just talk together when it is just a few of us here – not like the whole class.”
5. Last I created email distribution lists for my classes. I am committed to emailing home once a week … with what we are doing in class, positive comments, encouraging words … so that parents will be in the know and work with me!