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5 Traits of Pro Classroom Management

classroom management Sep 26, 2019

Here's my top 5 traits of teachers with great classroom management. 

1. Student Engagement

This one is obvious and well-touted in education. Student engagement has become the "silver bullet" for many teachers in classroom management with room transformations, classroom stages and a lot of hoopla. (Can you tell how I feel about it?) That's a lot of pressure on a teacher. To be honest, it's possible and more realistic (think sustainable) to simply love your students and be passionate about what you're teaching. From there, find simple, interesting ways to convey your message. Sure, do an occasional room transformation if that's fun for you, but don't feel like you're failing if you don't. (You're not.) Students need to learn how to be engaged in learning without all the drama in order to become lifelong learners because that's the way real life is. 

2. Clear Expectations

I can't say enough about this. One of the biggest problems I encounter in poorly managed classrooms...

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How to Regain Your Confidence When Your Classroom Management Isn't Working

classroom management Sep 19, 2019

I've had my classroom management failures just as much as the next teacher. What I've done with all that info is what has set me up for success over the years. 

When you've been knocked on your rear for the umpteenth time (been there) and head home defeated (been there, too) , remember, you CAN do this. If I can do it, YOU can do it! You really can fix your classroom management and have a well-run classroom. 

By taking all of my successes and, even more importantly, all of my FAILURES and reflecting, making changes and refining, I've gotten to the point where I can step into any classroom and be successful. It didn't just happen. All the hard work I put in simply paid off over time. 

Classroom Management is a tricky thing.

There isn't a "silver bullet" that will solve all your problems (I've looked). A well-run classroom takes time, reflection and training of both you, the teacher, and your students. It takes having and understanding all the keys to success...

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Classroom Management and Teacher Mindset: How They're Tied

classroom management Sep 05, 2019

So much of our classroom management skills start in our own heads. Dealing with our own MINDSET and beliefs about who we are and what we're capable of is the first step in both changing your classroom management and making those changes STICK.

You KNOW what I mean.

You find a new system that works for a colleague and decide to try it out. It works great for awhile, but then, it starts to unravel. The system starts to drain a lot of your time and energy just to keep it going. It's hard to figure out why it works for them and not for you.

Before you know it, you're questioning yourself and your abilities. But... YOU are not the problem. It's just a mindset shift that needs to happen. So quit beating yourself up and struggling to make a failing system work.

Mindset Matters

Instead, let's talk about how your mindset it SABOTAGING your classroom management. What lies (about you, your students or even classroom management) are you telling yourself without even really knowing it?

Here's my...
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Advice for New Teachers

True story.

My very first year teaching, was a year of surprises, lots of learning and improvising. I had 34 kids in a 3/4 split that quickly turned into a straight 4th grade. The school was in a very poor, rough area of Los Angeles. I was in a mobile all alone at the furthest end of the school with no classroom phone (this was before cell phones). The teachers at the school were reserved and not exactly welcoming to a young teacher at first. I realized later, the teachers had stacked the class I was given as were regretting that just a bit. Oops.

About 2 weeks into school, I had assigned some reading to the class and they were to get busy while I started working with a small group of struggling readers. Within the first minute of that assignment I had a student pick up his desk, throw it and shout, "I'm NOT going to do this!" To say I wasn't prepared for this would be an understatement.  I stood in shock for what seemed like an eternity but was probably only seconds. Truly, I...

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How Classroom Rules and Routines Open the Door to Creativity, Curiosity and Lifelong Learning

classroom management Aug 08, 2019
Structure and Learning

We all want to have well-managed classrooms and students who reach their potential. Creativity, curiosity and independent thinking and learning (think lifelong learners), are certainly things we hope for with our students. But, what makes for the best environment to promote these in our students? Well, it starts with something that seems counter-intuitive to creativity and independence, structure.

Promoting a Creative Environment

“I have finally realized that the most creative environments in our society are not the kaleidoscopic environments which everything is always changing and complex. They are, instead, the predictable and consistent ones— the scholar’s library, the researcher’s laboratory, the artist’s studio. Each of those environments is deliberately kept predictable and simple because the work at hand and the changing interactions around that work are so unpredictable and complex.”  

Lucy Calkins, The...

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5 Reasons Classroom Management Fails (and how to fix that)

classroom management Jul 17, 2019
Your classroom management is the backbone of your classroom.

I know spending time managing a class and dealing with behavior problems is not the fun stuff or the reason we all got into teaching. But the reality is once we actually become teachers, we realize teaching isn't all unicorns and rainbows. In fact, how confident and skilled you are in managing your class can make or break your year.

There are 5 major reasons our classroom management systems fail. 
Teacher Mindset

I find that teacher mindset is the biggest hurdle to great classroom management. I know that sounds bold and it is. But, it's true. When we have a mindset of fear, lack of confidence or self-doubt or other mental hindrances to taking charge, there isn't a system in the world that will work. We have to get our mindset right. You CAN and SHOULD take charge. Someone has to steer the ship and if that's NOT you, it will be your students [and that won't end well].

Take the time before school starts to do my ...

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3 Keys to Successful Classroom Management

classroom management Jun 13, 2019

Did classroom management get you down this year? You're not alone! It's tough to train and manage a class well. There are lots of pieces to successful classroom management. But, let's start with just a few.

Here's 3 Essentials:

1. Simplicity

The more complicated your classroom management system, the harder it is to implement on a daily basis. Here's where I put on my inner Marie Kondo of the Classroom Management world. Simple is best. Simple expectations and consequences are easily remembered and followed by everyone. I have only 2 written expectations (rules) for students and myself. They cover pretty much everything. You can do more if you prefer. But when you get to more than 5 expectations or rules, it's too complicated.

2. No Rewards for Expected Behavior

While I know this is something many of you don't want to hear, I firmly believe it needs to be said out loud. I have 5 kids of my own and more than 20 years of teaching experience. Begging or bribing...

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8 Tips for Better Classroom Management

classroom management Apr 11, 2019

Someone once told me...

The answer is always simple. It may not be easy to implement, but the answer itself is simple.

Classroom management is like that. It's also the one thing that can make or break your school year.

When we're at university, we spend a lot of time learning how and what to teach. We also learn about laws, theory and all kinds of minutia. Classroom management is taught, but it's such a hard thing to grasp until you're faced with an entire class on your own.

Your Classroom, Your rules

When you get to make up the rules, begin the year any way you want and every decision rests firmly on your shoulders, classroom management is an entirely different animal. It seems so simple. You have rules and consequences and the students fall into line, right?! 

Nothing could be further from the truth. There will always be those students who are natural "rule followers" and "pleasers". On the other hand, there's always those who have to push the envelope, nudge your boundaries...

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How to Successfully Train Your Students

classroom management Mar 20, 2019

A well-run classroom takes so much more than simply creating rules and consequences.

Yes, your consistency matters, but great classroom management is more than that. It's more than cute tricks like lights with the volume level on them or a bell or chime to get students attention. Classroom management might start with your boundaries, rules and consequences, but it also includes your systems and how you train (or don’t train) your students.

No matter what classroom management systems you use, you MUST take time to train your students or it will fail. Why? Well, it will always be you managing your student's behavior. What we really want, even when we don't know it, is for our students to learn how to manage themselves. We owe it to our students to teach them self-management. It's a life skill. 

Sometimes we forget that students don’t just "know" how to “follow the rules” or even how to reasonably move about the room.

True story.

As a new teacher, I set up...

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How Filling a Child's Bucket Can Change Your Day Too

classroom management Mar 13, 2019

Do you ever come to school with nothing left? Seriously. There are times I get up in the morning and think, I have nothing left to give. I’m not being lazy or selfish, just out of gas.

Well, our students have those days too. Actually, some students have a lot of those days. Here’s what to do about that.

Bucket Filling

Become a bucket filler. Figure out what helps each student feel cared about. It's actually pretty simple. Ask students in your class what they would like best out of a few options. Make a graph and give each student 2 post-its to put their name on. Have them place the notes on their 2 favorite ways to know they're cared about. 

Some Examples

For some kids it’s a random high five or a class handshake. An acknowledgment of their hard work can really make some students days. Perhaps it’s taking time to talk with them, ask a question or share a joke for minute. They just want a little snippet of your time. Other students...

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