1. Structure and Organization
A classroom that is organized, de-cluttered, and labeled makes for happy students. Students are able to find materials quickly, they know where to go for information and with less clutter comes less distractions. Structure is also key - a classroom schedule and calendar is great for students to know what to expect throughout the day. Stick to that schedule as much as possible. Of course, things come up, but set them up for success by communicating any changes in schedule or change in routine.
2. High Expectations
Challenge your students! Be sure to model those expectations and practice! Students need to know what those expectations sound like, feel like and look like before they're able to follow through with them. Same goes for lessons - be sure to model!!!
3. Be Consistent
Be sure procedures, routines, expectations and consequences remain constant. If you find something that doesn't work for your students, then of course, change it, but be sure to stay consistent with your high expectations mentioned previously! Wavering in those expectations means they can get away with a lot more.
4. Hold Them Accountable
Don't allow for opt out situations. During lessons, pick popsicle sticks for students to answer, have students turn and talk with THINKING PARTNERS or give choral responses (all students must respond before moving on) to give students several opportunities for buying in. Make sure they don't have the option for opting out of a lesson, discussion or project because you're prepared with multiple opportunities for them and they know your expectations.
5. Follow Through
Empty threats are the worst for students. If you threaten to call their mom and they don't turn it around, DEFINITELY call. If you ask them to turn their body to face their partner, make sure they are doing just that. If you ask them to complete a task before moving on, come back to be sure it is happening. If you tell them something will happen, then follow through. When students know they got away without follow through, behaviors don't change.
6. Be Firm, Direct and Explicit
Battling it out with students, power struggles, and yelling do not work. During a misbehavior, be very specific about what you expect, be firm and to the point then move on. Dwelling on a misbehavior, ridiculing students and getting cranky with them can ruin a relationship and make a student more reluctant to change.
7. Know Your Students and Build Relationships
Figure out what makes your kids tick, what gets them excited, what irritates or frustrates them. Ask them about their weekend or remember special dates. Listen to them and connect with them on things that are important to them. Also, know that what works for one student in terms of classroom management may not work for the other. What you might be able to say to one student might not affect the next student at all.
8. Pick Your Battles
Not every little thing that drives you crazy as a teacher needs to be addressed. When a misbehavior is disrupting the entire class, then yes it needs to be addressed. Some misbehaviors are not intentional on their part, so a quiet reminder or quick discussion often works. Also, be absolutely sure of what you are redirecting. They are innocent until proven guilty. You must have clear evidence of what you are redirecting before doing so, otherwise it will cause more issues and throw a wrench in your relationship with that student.
9. Be Subtle
Redirections can happen in subtle ways. One thing I often do during a whole group discussion is say something like, "Jasmin, can you hold your thought to share with the group? I want to make sure everyone is giving you respect and following expected behavior." Using this strategy doesn't directly call a student out for poor behavior and generally sends a clue to the whole group. I also give praise to students who are following expected behavior. "Donte, you look like you're ready to learn and be a leader in the classroom." This gives other students a model of how they should be acting and they generally follow.
10. Respectful Talk
Encourage respectful talk in the classroom. Model it for them and practice it with them each day. Have students practice respectful and encouraging talk to each other and to you. Going back to #1, they need to know the expectation that disrespectful talk and remarks are not acceptable in your classroom.
Hope these tips are helpful for you!