Behavior Management Tips for New Teachers!
Behavior Management is a challenge that every new teacher faces. Unfortunately, teachers cannot be 100% prepared on how to effectively manage an entire classroom in their credential program alone. It is something that we have to put into practice and figure out as we go! It involves trial and error, and every teacher has to discover what works for them in their own classroom. So often first year teachers are overwhelmed and feel unprepared for managing classroom behavior.
So for elementary teachers that would like a little extra guidance, here are my various tips and methods for maintaining control of the classroom. Although I can’t say I’m the leading expert on behavior management and have been in the field for 15+ years, I can promise you that I’ve taught preschool for years and that is ALL BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT! With young children having less than 5 minute attention spans, you are constantly redirecting and refocusing. You have eyes in the back of your head and in all four corners of the room. Teachers really do have superpowers. ;)
3. Rewards and Incentives – What rewards and incentives does your class implement? What do your students get excited about and what would they work hard to earn? Do you use reward bucks, coupons, stickers, marble jar, or maybe a prize box? See what works for you in your classroom! Check out this free guide to an awesome prize box!
4. Routine – make sure to have a solid routine each day. Write it on the board so the students know it too! Younger students do not handle changes well. Give them a heads up at the beginning of the day if something needs to be altered.
5. Talk quietly – when the class is REALLY LOUD Whisper softly…. They have to stop talking in order to hear you.
6. Emotional Outlet for Feelings and Frustration– Do students have a space in the room to gather their thoughts or let off steam when they need to? Check out the Zen Zone.
7. Repetition – Repetition, Repetition! ……and Repetition! J
8. Write and Erase – If the class is talking loudly and your unable to get their attention, turn to the whiteboard. Write your instructions one word at a time and erase. “Please” erase. “Get” erase. “Out” erase. “Your” erase. “Math” erase. “Notebooks” erase. "Turn" erase. "To" erase. "Page" erase. "124" erase. They stop talking to try and figure out what secret code you are writing on the board. Those who figure it out right away can be rewarded!
9. Brain Breaks – Do your kids need a mental break? When your class begins to lose focus and they need a quick break, these activities are perfect to have in your back pocket!
10. Clip Charts – Behavior clip charts are a great tool to have. Write students names on clothespins to move up and down the chart. Everyone starts in the middle at “having a good day”.. they can move up to “an excellent day” or down to “call home”.
11. Pull a card – To be honest, I’m not a fan of this method, but it can be effective. It’s similar to clip charts except everyone has their own pouch with 4 colored cards. Green, Yellow, Red, Blue. Everyone starts on green and the student pulls a card if poor behavior continues after a friendly warning (they pull green and tuck it behind yellow, red, and blue so the yellow is showing). Green means – having a good day/neutral, yellow is caution, red and blue can be whatever consequences you want to set in the classroom. If you do decide to use this method, make sure you emphasis that students can earn their way back to green! If you don’t, your student may give up and not care about their behavior the rest of the day.
12. Teacher versus Student – Students are held accountable as a team rather than individually. They are competing against their teacher for points. If the students are talking, the teacher gets a point. If the teacher asks… “class?” and they respond attentively with.. “yes?” then they get a point. If you catch them working quietly during independent work, they get a point. Check out Whole Brain Teaching methods!
13. Keep Calm – No matter what happens, it’s important for them to feel like they are in a safe learning environment. They need an adult who is in charge and can handle any situation that arises.
14. Don’t negotiate with them – This is a quick way to lose your authority as the classroom teacher. Whatever you say goes. If you say, “The next student that talks when I’m talking is moving down on the clip chart” and that doesn’t happen, your students will be skeptical of what you say in the future.
Those are my quick tips for first year teachers or teachers who need a little extra with behavior management in the elementary classroom. Check out the StudentSavvy Behavior management bundle. It has so many resources that I referred to above. In it you'll find brain breaks, the zen zone, behavior clip charts, classroom coupons, and much more.