students are very excited and we can
all feel a little burned out! Try some of
these classroom tips for effective
teaching for a calmer, quieter learning
Set Students up for Success
- Giving students clear instructions, including consequences, gives students agency to choose good behavior.
- Remember to use “I expect” statements. By clearly outlining what the expectations during an activity are, you are letting students know what your standards are.
I suggest waiting for silence. Stand where all students can see you and wait for students to take notice. If you have a particularly rowdy class, use a hand signal:
- Quiet Coyote: touch your middle and ring finger to your thumb with index and pinky fingers pointing up.
- Clap and Count: Clap your hands twice and put one finger up, signaling a first try. Wait a bit, then clap twice and put two fingers up so students who missed the first round can see this is your second attempt. Continue until all students are facing you.
I usually do this to three, but I have used it up to seven in some cases. This signal can also show a class how long you have waited.
Encourage students to show you they’re ready in appropriate ways. “I say, You do” statements are a great way to get students’ attention without raising your voice. One of my favorites is “Catch a bubble.” When I say “Catch a bubble,” students blow their cheeks out like they have a bubble in their mouth.
Select a few “I say, You do” statements and rotate through those. Too many or new statements can be confusing.
- Set a group goal for all students to work for. An elementary teacher of mine used a glass jar she had at the front of the classroom. When we were quiet or followed directions as a group, she dropped a few marbles into the jar. When the jar was full, we got a reward as a group, such as an hour of free play at the end of the day.
- Another visible reward system is the Kindness Board. When students are caught displaying positive behavior, the teacher writes the act down on a sticky note and sticks it on a board. Feel free to use names in this case, so students can claim their positive actions.
For more ideas, see this blog on Nine Tips for Teacher- and Student-Friendly Classroom Management.
How do you keep students on task? Please share your classroom management tips.
Karina Ruiz has four years of experience working with children for non-profit after-school programming for K–12 and four years of nanny work. She is currently a volunteer intern and attends California State University, Monterey Bay.