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DR. LORI FRIESEN

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Your Classroom Management Re-Start

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Complete Show Notes:

Many of you have reached out privately to talk to me about some of the things that have been going on in your classrooms – especially with regards to classroom management. So, I knew it was time to dedicate an entire podcast episode to this topic.

One of the main questions I get asked is if it’s too late to make changes to your classroom management when it’s already a few months or even half-way through the year.

Here's the thing I always tell new teachers:

No, it’s never too late to make the changes you need to in your classroom.

I mean, you introduce new content to your students all of the time, right?

So, introducing new ways of doing things in your classroom is only a little bit different than that. It’s actually amazing how quickly things can change in your classroom when you just know what to do.

But that's the hard part, right? Knowing what to do when you've never done it.

I’ll never forget... it was my first year of teaching and it was several months into the school year, and I was teaching gym. I found it so hard to get my students focused and paying attention when we were in such a large space. For some reason, managing kids was really hard for me when we got into the gym. I now understand that this is because I literally had no expectations or routines set up for them at all, but at the time, I just didn’t know what to do.

So, my amazing principal arranged to have a more experienced teacher come in and teach my class, just once, while I observed. I was pretty skeptical about how a complete stranger would be able to manage my class any better than I could.

However, she got in front of my class in the gym, and from the moment she opened her mouth, I knew they were going to listen. She knew exactly what she wanted the kids to do, and she was able to teach them, right there in the moment, her expectations for how things were going to go.

I was amazed by how well they listened to her, how they didn’t interrupt her, and by how smoothly that lesson went. It was a game changer for me because I learned something during that hour that was a huge eye-opener, and that I am thrilled to be able to now pass on to you: The clarity of your routines and procedures determines their effectiveness.

So today, we are going to talk about what I call “The Big 8” routines and procedures that I’ve learned over the years make the biggest difference in a  well-managed classroom. As you read through these, ask yourself: 

Do I know exactly what my expectations are for each one, and have I clearly communicated them to my students?

All right, let’s dive into what those Big 8 Routines and Procedures are:

  1. Your Morning Routine: 

    I really believe that how you start your day sets the tone for how the rest of your day will go, so if you don’t have a clear routine for the beginning of your school day, this is something that you really want to get dialed in as soon as possible.

    And here’s the test to know if you’ve really got this nailed down: If some kind of an emergency happened and you could literally not get to your classroom for the first 15 minutes of school that day, would your students know exactly what to do in your absence – and would they actually do it? That’s the real test.

  2. After Lunch/After Recess Routine:

    Similarly, how clearly you have a routine in place for after each recess and after lunch is going to either contribute to an overall feeling of peace or of chaos throughout your day.

    I want you to ask yourself honestly if you have this dialed in – have you clearly laid out, modeled, and practiced your expectations for what you want your students to do after lunch and after recess, and do you hold them accountable to this routine?

    Have you put a system in place so that your students know exactly what to do and how to be successful?

    Consistency really is key to a smooth-running classroom, so if you are constantly changing up what you are asking your students to do after recess and after lunch each day, that may be contributing to a sense of chaos in your classroom. In fact, I dedicated an entire episode to helping you to think through your after lunch and after-recess routine, so if you want to check that out, just click here now.

  3. Refining Your Class Jobs:

    The next thing you really need to get dialed in are your class jobs. This is HUGE. I really can’t emphasize the importance of class jobs enough. Once you get super clear about exactly which class jobs you need in your classroom in order for it to run smoothly, your students can take on many of the responsibilities that you may be doing yourself right now.

    I truly believe that the more responsibility you can give to your students so they can feel empowered and an important part of your classroom community, the more ownership they are going to take. 

    Ask yourself: Am I maximizing the potential for student jobs in my classroom? Are my students truly involved in helping to run our classroom, or am I doing the bulk of the work?
     
  1. Transitions Between Subjects:

    The fourth thing you want to get super clear about is your routine for transitioning between subjects in your classroom. When you finish one subject like math and you need to change up materials for your language arts lesson, what is the routine for that in your classroom?

    Have you clearly communicated to your students what they are allowed to do and not allowed to do?
    What volume level is acceptable for you?
    How much time do your students have for this transition, do they know how much time they have, and who is responsible for setting up the materials and resources you will need for the next lesson?

What are your expectations for your students so that they are ready for the next lesson, and have you clearly communicated these expectations to your students?

In elementary school, we transition between subjects up to six times every single day, so if you don’t have a clear transition routine in your classroom, it might feel a little overwhelming and chaotic to you.

  1. Getting Your Students’ Attention in Any Space:

    Related to your transitions routine, you also need to get super clear about how to get your students’ attention quickly and easily in any space. After a transition in your classroom, for example, how do you get your students’ attention so you can begin your next lesson and not waste a lot of time saying things like, “It’s time to listen! Okay everybody, stop talking! Eyes here, please! Time to stop talking!”

I mean, that gets exhausting and annoying for everyone, including yourself. So one way you can quickly and easily get your students’ attention is by using call-backs. So for example, you can teach your students that when you say “Macaroni and cheese,” they need to respond with “Everybody freeze!”

Students love it when you mix up these call-backs and introduce a new one each week – and you can even create some of your own. I also loved to have a visual of these call-backs on display in my classroom so that my students had a visual reminder of our call back of the week. If you know me, I love anything that glitters, so I created a set of glitter call-back cards that you can grab a copy of in my new Teachers Pay Teachers store. You can check them out by clicking here!

  1. Trouble-shooting a Chatty Class:

    This one is a big one in terms of your own sanity when it comes to classroom management. If I had a penny for each time one of you posted on social media asking how to get your kids to stop interrupting you and chatting during lessons, I would be rich. It’s a common problem, so if this is happening in your classroom, know that you are not alone, and that you are in good company.

    Sometimes all it takes is one simple strategy to be a game-changer in your own classroom. This is such a common topic that again, I did an entire podcast episode all about what to do if you have a chatty class, so you can check that out by clicking here if this is a problem in your classroom.

However, I will caution that if this is a challenge that you are currently experiencing in your classroom, I would do whatever you can to ensure that you lock this one down so it doesn’t continue. Having kids constantly interrupt you when you are trying to teach a lesson, or not stay on task when they are supposed to be working can of course be one of the biggest distractions to learning.

So, if you are struggling with a chatty class in your room, you might want to ask yourself if maybe you have fallen into the habit of talking for too long, or if you aren’t building in enough opportunities for your students to talk throughout your lessons.

You also might want to consider ways that you can get more creative with regards to how you can deliver your lessons AND, you might want to re-visit the kinds of rewards your students are working towards.

So for example, if your students are working towards a reward of some kind but it doesn’t seem to be really motivating your students, you might want to check in with them to find out if that’s really something they want to work towards.
 

  1. Center Routines for Any Subject:

    Many of us use centers in our classrooms on a pretty regular basis, and I’m actually shocked by how few of us were actually taught how to set up centers successfully. It’s actually quite involved – the process for setting up centers that run smoothly and efficiently in your classroom.

    If centers have been a bit of a headache for you up until now, you might need to take some time to really get clear about whether or not centers are the best teaching strategy for this content. For example, in my experience, centers work best for practice and reinforcement of content that I’ve already taught, not for new content.

Also, you might want to ask yourself if you have clearly modeled, taught, and practiced with your students your expectations and routines for when they are doing center work, because the routines you will need to teach your students so they can be successful when doing center work will be different than at other times.

  1. Conduct in the Hallways/During Assemblies:

    Finally, if you’ve been following my podcast for awhile, you have probably already heard the horror stories about how embarrassed I used to be to take my students ANYWHERE outside of my classroom because I had a parent actually say to me one time when she was volunteering in my classroom, “Your students don’t ever listen to you, do they?” I mean – can you imagine?

    And then after one other time when two of my boys literally got into a fist fight right in the middle of an assembly, I knew I needed to get this one figured out...

If you’re having these kinds of problems with your class – I really hope you aren’t – but if you are, please know that:

1. You are not alone in your struggle – we’ve all been there, and
2. There are simple tricks and strategies that you can use to solve this problem and get it under control right away.

I would love to help you to do that. 

We just finished talking about what I call “The Big 8” routines and procedures that we really need to get dialed in in order to have outstanding classroom management, and with your permission, I would love to be your guide to help you create a classroom that you can be proud of.

Maybe you taught some of these rules and routines at the start of the year... but then kind of let things slide and didn't stay consistent with them.

Or, maybe you didn't really know what your expectations were when you started the year so it was pretty hard to teach them in the first days of school.... but now you know you need to make some changes RIGHT AWAY.

You don't want to be mean. ...you want your students to love you...and you have no idea where to even start.

I’ve been where you are.
 

In my first years of teaching, I struggled a lot like you might be struggling.

It took me years to finally figure out exactly what to do to create a magical space for my students, and now, nearly 20 years later, I am here to share what I’ve learned with you.

I’d love to invite you into my new online workshop called “Your Chaos to Confidence Classroom Management System.” 

So, if you’re ready to finally create a fun, heart-centered, self-running classroom while avoiding chaos and overwhelm, I hope you’ll join me.

Just click here (or on the pic below) to learn more now!

Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor

Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at drlorifriesen.com and at howdogshelpkids.com.

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