Classroom management plan not working?
I don’t even need to tell you that this year behaviors have increased dramatically. It’s so weird how much difference a year out of school can make for these students!
The most common behaviors I’m seeing in my room are a lack of respect for following the rules which includes non-stop talking and noises throughout lessons. The other issue I’m seeing is students being very mean to each other and quick to want to physically fight to solve problems. Unfortunately this is also stemming from parents as I’m told several times a week that their mom or dad says they should fight back. *sigh*
It’s easy to say but hard to do but I’m working on letting go of things out of my control and focusing on what I can do. While I have had several phone conversations with many of these parents (and involved my administration), it’s not easy to change someone’s mind. That being said, I'm looking at how I can improve the culture of my classroom.
First, I evaluated my classroom management plan. It’s important not to scrap the whole thing but really reflect on what is working and what is not. I decided my classroom rules were not working as well as I’d like but the issue may be I’m not being 100% clear on my expectations. I went over them when school started and we mention the rules daily but do students really know what I’m looking for? Have they taken ownership of these rules? Since one of my problem areas is students ignoring the rules I need to figure out why they are doing this.
Another thing not working well is my use of CHAMPS in the classroom. Our school uses a portion of CHAMPS for hallway and lunchroom behavior so I liked the idea of continuing it in my classroom. However, I am definitely not consistent with using my CHAMPS display to set expectations for each lesson. Following through on this might show improvement in the disruptive noises and off-task behaviors.
Find new techniques for your classroom management
The next step I took was to add to my classroom management plan things that would work with this year’s students. If you’ve been teaching more than a year, you know that no two classes are alike so your techniques need to change and shift with your class.
This year’s class seems to respond really well to rewards which are not my favorite thing. However, I am taking the idea of earning rewards and turning it into recognition for positive traits. This is something I did many years ago and found to work well but for some reason I haven’t revisited it. Before leaving for winter break I began frontloading my new program. We took one day to go over each of the traits and explain their definitions and what it would look like in our classroom. When we return from break we will kick off our new program.
The main focus of this program is to recognize positive traits shown in individual students. I will also be setting weekly class goals to be rewarded with free or low cost rewards such as a crazy sock day or extra recess time. The weekly class goal will coincide with the week’s focused trait where I will share short videos and picture books that teach more about the trait.
When I look at what I want to add to my classroom, it needs to be very simple and easy to maintain. This program is similar to the clip chart but works to focus on the positive rather than when students do something wrong. I want to build up my students and not dwell on those not following the rules. Most of the time the class getting recognition in a positive way helps to move those outliers. Of course having a behavior calendar that shares what is happening in the classroom with families is also a big help.
Consistency is key
No matter what style of classroom management you have, consistency is key to keeping it going and seeing success. If you continue to follow through each day with your rules and procedures, it will show your students your expectations. I know this year has been a struggle for many teachers (myself included) so it is taking more patience than usual to get the classroom we are wanting.
Take a few moments and write out what you expect from your students. Then reflect on whether or not they understand your expectations. Are they crystal clear? The Daily Five is an incredible book that walks teachers through how to set up and teach expectations. If you are not familiar with it I suggest reading their book. It’s a short read and well worth it whether you are new to teaching or have taught for many years.
Plan time when you return from break to revisit your classroom rules and procedures. Plan to make a few anchor charts with your class to remind them of the expectations. Spending just ten minutes a day on this for a week or two should help significantly with some of the behaviors. Other behaviors may take awhile to phase out but keep at it and keep consistent to see results.
Creating a solid classroom management plan
If you made it through this blog post and are still feeling confused about what you should do to improve your classroom management, you might be interested in taking my classroom management online course called CLASSroom Management Adventure. I walk you step-by-step through how to create a classroom management plan that is tailored to your needs and personality.
It’s always a good time to reevaluate what works and what doesn’t in your classroom. It’s tempting to wait and start fresh with a new school year but if it’s not working right now then you have time to turn it around and have an amazing rest of the year.