Can you believe it? The dog days of summer are winding to a close, and it’s already that time when teachers are madly preparing for the new school year ahead. We fondly call this frenzied season the “back to school blitz!”
You may find yourself roaming through the aisles of Target or Office Depot searching for those just-right touches for your classrooms.
Or, maybe you’re scrolling through Pinterest in search of new and creative ways to boost your classroom management skills and enhance your classroom culture.
As you ramp up for another new school year, we’d like to share some of our favorite back to school tips and ideas with you.
Back to School! 4 Classroom Management Tips
1. Get students’ attention quickly
Attention signals are a necessary management tool to regain and redirect your students’ attention. Many attention signals follow a call and response pattern where the teacher initiates the sequence and students react with a predetermined response. One of our class favorites is, teacher: “E.T.” … students: “Phone Home!”
To avoid overusing one attention signal, pick a handful of structured routines that you love, teach them to students, and then be sure to mix it up throughout the day!
2. Transition smoothly from one activity to another
Transitions are routines that are used regularly as a way to smoothly shift students from one activity to another in an effort to save valuable instructional time. In our opinion, efficient and effective transitions are THE most critical classroom procedures you can teach your students.
Consider planning structured transition procedures for these times of the day:
- Entering the classroom
- Starting an activity
- Changing activities
- Exiting the classroom
3. Increase student engagement through acknowledgements
Help your students stay more motivated and engaged throughout the day by using positive reinforcements to acknowledge their positive behavior and academic achievements. Consider these times to acknowledge your students:
- Say thank you
- Celebrate positive behavior or cooperation
- Recognize effort or perseverance
- Reward academic performance
- Praise individuals
Find out more about our classroom SHOUT-OUTS here.
4. Take mindful brain breaks
Focus on your students’ needs throughout the day by offering quick and simple brain breaks to help them focus on their own mindful practices in the classroom. The purpose of these mini-breaks is to establish focus, refocus, energize, or calm your students. Mindful breaks can take less than 5 minutes. Here are a few brain break ideas we use:
- Simple breathing exercises
- Guided movement exercises
- Free-writes or journaling
- Structured classmate conversations
You can get our thorough Mindful Practices Classroom Pack here!
Back to School! 4 Classroom Culture Tips
You’re in luck! The 4 classroom management strategies we’ve shared will already help to build a positive learning environment. Aaaaand, to keep things going strong, here are four more targeted ideas that we love to use in our classrooms:
1. Greet students at the door
Take time to stand at the classroom door and greet students formally as they enter. This simple change will make a world of difference in immediately impacting your classroom culture!
2. Hold morning meetings regularly
A morning meeting can start the day in an engaging way while building a strong classroom community. It is a great way to help students transition from home to school. A morning meeting can:
- Build a climate of trust
- Help students feel significant
- Encourage collaboration
- Create empathy
- Support social and emotional learning
Visit this blog post to learn more about specific components of our classroom morning meetings.
3. Schedule opportunities for communication between classmates
Find natural places in your instruction to include daily opportunities for students to communicate authentically. Set aside time throughout your lessons for students to share and reflect on their thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Also consider creating regular moments when the class can work together to solve current classroom issues or discuss ways to improve their personal character development.
4. Take time to just have fun
Once in a while, focus on fun activities that encourage a sense of teamwork and camaraderie. Provide activities that allow students to succeed and fail together in order to collaborate, solve problems, or practice sportsmanship. Teaching students lessons of trust and collaboration through fun and games will be sure to boost your classroom climate. We strongly recommend you join in the fun right along with your kids.
What have you tried that has helped improve your classroom management or classroom culture? We’d love to know!