Sunday, February 26, 2012

Classroom Management Strategies

Today I'd like to list some classroom management strategies I've learned from observing teachers while working as an assistant.

1. Compliment! Compliment! Compliment!

 In our university classes, we've been constantly reminded on using positive reinforcement instead of punishment. However, I was starting to think that realistically, using punishment to some extent is unavoidable, since I saw it being used in so many classrooms by experienced teachers. This is why I was so excited when I saw a substitute teacher manage a grade two/three split class beautifully through the art of complimenting. 

These are the things she would say throughout the day, to keep the children on track:

  •       “Who can I compliment who’s showing that they’re ready to learn ?”
  •       “Who can I compliment who’s a hard worker ( or doing a good job)?”
  •       (Name of student), please compliment a person (or two people) who are showing that they are ready (to learn).”
 (In the last strategy, the teacher lets a student compliment on other students. I love this approach, since it shows children that being respectful listeners or workers directly affects each other's learning. This strategy worked well especially before a specific student presents something in front of the class, through activities such as show and tell, or simply showing their project to the class. Sometimes the teacher has to specify and say "Please choose one boy and one girl" in order to prevent girls just calling on girls and vice versa.)

2. Sing a song

 This strategy seemed to work well to get the children to quiet down and focused during carpet time. The teacher used this song, but I'm sure there are other songs out there which would work well for the same purpose. 

I like the way that (name of student) looks ready.

I like the way that (name of student) looks ready.

I like the way that (name of student) looks ready.

(Name of student) looks ready too.

3. Star Worker

This strategy is useful when students need to stay on task during individual desk work. The teacher puts a star on the white board and says, “In this star, I’m going to be putting the names of people who are at their best behaviour and working hard. People who have got their name in the star, please come see me after class.”The teacher told me that she usually gives out rewards to those students, such as scented stickers or candy. I thought this strategy would especially be good for substitute teachers. 

4. Magic piece of garbage

During clean up time, I've been in many classrooms where the teacher constantly needs to remind the children to keep cleaning up after art, or activities with high degrees of freedom, such as centres. The teacher told me that this strategy is an excellent way to motivate students on getting the room cleaned up. 

When students start cleaning up, the teacher tells them "I have chosen a magic piece of garbage. The person who picks up the magic piece of garbage gets a prize after cleaning up." The teacher keeps his/her eye's on the specific piece, and after the cleaning is finished, tells the students what the piece was (it can be anything, such as a specific piece of paper on the floor) and who picked it up. This way, the children are encouraged to pick up as many pieces of garbage as possible. Again, the scented stickers or candy can be used for rewards. 

This is it for now. I'll post more strategies as I learn more from the different classrooms I'll be substituting in as an educational assistant. Thanks for reading!


  1. That is interesting that you are learning to use positive reinforcement. I am being taught that we are not allowed to use praise as it is a form of judgment. Instead we can only comment on what students are actually doing. "Sam is looking at me with quiet hands" "Sarah is walking quietly to get into line" - a simple narration to demonstrate we are watching but we can't say "I like how..." as it is judgmental.

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

    1. Thanks for commenting!

      I've never looked at it that way, but what you're saying makes sense! I'll think about what you wrote next time I'm in a classroom :)


  2. I use Conscious Discipline in my classroom which is the most amazing thing EVER! It says that "I like" statements are judgmental too. We are supposed to reflect and mirror back to the children what we see. For example, I notice that Heather is sitting quietly on the rug. She is showing me she is ready to listen.

    I would love for you to come read more about Conscious Discipline. It is a must for any classroom teacher and is all about building your School Family.

    I would love to follow you but did not see a place where I could do that.

    Heather's Heart

  3. Hi Heather,

    Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    Being a preservice teacher, I really appreciate it when other experienced teachers are able to provide feedback on my posts. I've read your posts about Conscious Discipline and they are so inspiring and eye opening. That is exactly the kind of classroom environment I'd like to create where students really learn to care about each other. Thank you so much for providing me with that insight.

    I would love it if you could comment on my future posts as well. To follow me, you just need to go to the top of my blog where it says "Follow" to the left of "Share". It's transparant so it may be hard to see with the red polka dots underneath. If you can't find it, you can also follow me through "Subscribe To" on my sidebar :) I'm following you now too!