- Routines and structures are key to strong classroom management.
- Consider your first 5 minutes of class and intentionally decide how you will spend that time.
- What works one day might not work the next; what works for one class may not work for another.
- Classroom management will always be a work in progress; not every single day will go smoothly.
I was so excited to join Rae Hughart on the Daily Drop In to talk about the basics of classroom management.
As someone who loves to write and blog, I wanted to take some more time to think through some of the classroom management elements I addressed on the Daily Drop In episode. Check them out below!
Classroom Management Tip #1: Routines and structures are key!
Having similar daily routines doesn’t mean each day will be the same. In my classroom, our overall structure goes as follows:
- (Usually not content-related) Bellringer on mentimeter.com
- Mondays/Wednesdays/Thursdays: independent reading; Tuesdays: book talks; Fridays: free write
- Whole class lesson/activity
- Independent work time with teacher conferences
- Goal-setting & reflection on SeeSaw
There is a lot of flexibility I can provide within that. For example, one day our whole class time might be a mini-lesson using an interactive platform like PearDeck. It may just be some general reminders before students continue to work, a game of some kind, or anything in between.I can speak for the middle level students because that is the life I live, but we simply cannot micromanage every single action of every single student. Click To Tweet
Classroom Management Tip #2: Consider the first 5 minutes.
For our bellringer, I can find would you rather questions, trivia questions, ask open-ended questions, and more. I can relate the topics to things happening in the world or in our school, or they can be totally random. This keeps students on their toes and engaged while the foundation of the routine is predictable.
I have heard some teachers say they simply don’t have time to give up 5-8 minutes daily for a bellringer like this. I have found this to be one of the best investments of time with my students. This time building relationships and giving students a chance to share their voice in the first 5 minutes pay dividends the rest of the period.
Classroom Management Tip #3: Be flexible.
What works one day might not work the next; what works for one class may not work for another.
I almost want to go so far as to say: pick your battles. I can speak for the middle level students because that is the life I live, but we simply cannot micromanage every single action of every single student.
When I was teaching a lesson in my early years of teaching, I would get stressed out if a student got out of their seat to stand up in the back of the room or get up to sharpen a pencil, causing a distraction. These are things that students need in the moment, so try to let them happen without it getting to you.
This year, my morning ELA class can handle more unstructured time than my afternoon ELA class. Knowing this, I plan transitions & work time a little differently with these two classes.[scroll down to keep reading]
Classroom Management Tip #4: Remember that even with strong routines and expectations in place, not every day will run smoothly.
I teach 7th grade. I need to face it: even with some super strong supports in place, I am teaching 12-13 year old students who are still learning how to self-manage. So I cannot expect every day to run smoothly. There are SO many factors outside of our classroom and our relationship with students that lead to their behaviors and actions on any given day.
In my 7th year in education, I am definitely still figuring out this whole classroom management thing. I am way stronger than I was in my first year—even stronger than last year—but remember this is always going to be a work in progress. I haven’t met anyone who claimed to have classroom management 100% down pat. Don’t forget to give your students—and yourself—a little grace.
About Kari Pitstick
Kari Pitstick is a 7th grade English Language Arts teacher and track & field coach in Illinois. She’s also the Director of Digital Content for the Teach Better Team. She graduated from Illinois State University in 2015 with a bachelor’s in Middle Level Education, and American College of Education in 2018 with a master’s in Curriculum & Instruction.
She knew she wanted to teach at the middle level since she was in middle school herself. One of her main missions is to provide a safe and friendly environment for students to explore their passions as learners and as people.
Kari is an avid reader, spending most of her free time reading and writing, and she hopes to share that passion with all those around her—students and adults, alike!