Click the play bar below to listen to this episode now:
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news from our team. 💛💕 Your information will not be shared.