Classroom Management 101

Rae HughartBlog, Class Management, Engagement, Innovation, Mastery Learning, Self-Paced Learning

In this Post :

  • Explore the two pillars of Classroom Management 101 : Climate / Culture & Movement
  • Tactical approaches to begin implementing new strategies to set the tone for your classroom
  • Exploring how movement can influence students ability to focus and accomplish tasks with ease.

Classroom management is a never-ending strategy to reach your students better! Let’s explore the basics as you begin to circumnavigate your management system.

Are you using the two key pillars to find success?

Climate & Culture 101

They say a picture is worth a thousand words… well guess what, so is classroom culture. The moment you walk into a classroom, visitors are overcome with a distinct feeling for the climate a classroom may hold.  From the posters hanging on the wall, student work displayed, classroom furniture, and piles of paper, the culture in a classroom is seemingly palpable to most. And to think, these observations may take place even before a student or educator begins speaking! YIKES!

Key Question : What do you want your students to experience when they first walk in the classroom?

While I was beginning to design my first classroom, I began with the culture of the classroom before anything else. I wanted my students to feel calm walking into the classroom. I wanted to create a welcoming environment. I wanted to allow students to feel comfortable leaving their stressors at the door and enter into a safe space.

Take time to step aside and observe your students. Track their movement throughout the classroom and reflect on if anything should be changed. Need some support with this? Ask your students! #TeachBetter Click To Tweet

So, what elements need to exist to gain this type of feeling? Consider your 5 senses.

  • Warm color tones, Music, & pleasant scents
    Using students 5 senses is an outstanding strategy! I am not saying you need to run to the dollar store and leave $50 poorer after purchasing colored bins, candles, and streamers. However, the colors, music, and specific smells in a classroom are all a part of your aesthetic! Consider starting small by printing photos of past activities and special moments in your classroom and taping them up on your cabinets or turning on instrumental music when the students walk in the classroom. Why? This small act shows your value of relationships and enjoyment of learning.
  • Welcoming language
    Use motivational language around your classroom. You may choose to start small by hanging a “welcome” sign on the entrance of the door. Then choose to work your way up to sharing other positively phrased language with your students on the walls or desks. On small idea I used to do often was occasionally write fun phrases on the desks before an assessment with a chalk marker. Easy & fun.
  • Predictable daily routines
    Most students benefit from predictable daily routines. If a student has a clear understanding of what is expected of them the moment they walk into the room, they have an easier time making good choices. Simple strategies like posting a bell ringer or starting class with 3 min of quiet meditation can be a huge game changer.
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Movement 101

The layout of your classroom has a great deal to do with how students feel while working through academic content. However, it is often the movement element that is over looked when educators explore classroom management.

Key Question : How will students move around the room?

While I understand this seems to be a very strange question, this is an aspect every teachers needs to consider when changing the placement of a table or pencil sharpener. How will students access their tools? What does the trail to move around the room look like? Where are the aspects of the room that may cause bottle-necking? And then, how can I fix those components?

The easier students can move around their space, the more success you will have with students keeping their hands to themselves and gaining access to learning opportunities with ease.

Here are two easy tips to achieve this movement success :

  1. Walk around your classroom from a variety of heavy student traffic locations. Is there any “tight spots?” Are they avoidable? Consider using tape or labels to direct students to making good choices in their movement.
  2. Take time to step aside and observe your students. Track their movement throughout the classroom and reflect on if anything should be changed. Need some support with this? Ask your students!

Classroom management is a never ending strategy to reach your students better, but it doesn’t end after your first year teaching. Every new classroom and each new group of students need different supports. You can do it!


About Rae Hughart

Rae Hughart is a Middle Level Math and Writing Educator in Illinois and the Director of Training and Development for Progressive Mastery Learning, LLC. In 2017, Rae was honored with the Illinois State University Outstanding Young Alumni Award – inducting her into the University Hall of Fame.