The first few days of a new school year are an important time for classroom management.
You have a captive group of students, fresh and open to your way of doing things.
But it won’t last.
You have to take advantage of it.
If you don’t get them on board your program in the first week or two, they’ll fall back into the same old habits, behaviors, and attitudes of the past—and then some.
Teach Framework Procedures
During the first few days of school, you don’t have to teach every classroom management procedure. In fact, you only have to teach a few. But those few are vital and should be taught more thoroughly than anything else.
Those important few form the basis, or framework, for successful classroom management. They prepare the way for all the other procedures, routines, and expectations to be taught.
Some of the procedures on the checklist below may not seem so important—like walking in line, for example. But walking in line is a barometer of how well things are going in your classroom and how ready your students are for further learning.
A sloppy, distracted line means that more of the same shoddy habits and behaviors are happening, and will continue to happen, in the classroom.
Happily, the inverse is also true.
First Days Of School Checklist
Start the year off right by teaching these framework procedures first:
- Your classroom rules
- Your consequences
- Your restroom policy
- Entering and leaving the classroom
- Lining up
- Walking in line
- Giving attention on your signal
- Sitting and listening during lessons
- Raising their hand
And that’s it.
Yes, it’s a short and simple list. But the idea is to get your students heading in the right direction, doing things the right way, and readied for more advanced learning.
This checklist will do the trick.
Four Awesome Teaching Strategies
To teach classroom management procedures thoroughly, try the following four strategies:
1. Explain why.
Students are often resistant when asked to do something they don’t understand. “What’s the point?” is always rattling around in their heads. Explaining why cuts through this resistance.
This is especially true of classroom management. Your students will follow you just about anywhere… as long as you explain why.
There are few teaching strategies that rival the effectiveness of detailed modeling.
Have your students follow you as you model precisely how you want them to enter the classroom in the morning, how to raise their hand, and how you expect them to sit in time-out. The more you can become–even channel–a model student, the more effective the exercise will be.
Give students a chance to “try it on” before asking for perfection, or even competence. Let them practice. Ask them to show you how to line up for lunch, how to ask a question, and how to get ready to go home at the end of the day.
Make them prove to you they’re able to apply what they’ve learned before asking them to do it for real.
If after the initial learning, and at any time during the school year, your students aren’t giving you exactly what you expect from them, stop everything and reteach. Make them do it again until they’re back on track.
If you let something–anything–go, you’re communicating to your students that what you originally told them, taught them, and asked of them, is no longer valid.
An Effective Combo
The checklist and the four strategies form an effective combination.
Use them and your students will retain the same open, eager, and mature attitude they bring with them on the first day of school.
Note: If you’re a Kindle user, Dream Class is now available for download at Amazon.com.
Also, if you haven’t done so already, please join us. It’s free! Click here and begin receiving classroom management articles like this one in your email box every week.