Classroom management problems can rarely be avoided. With different students each year, we are always adjustments to be made. These small changes can make a world of difference.
I've been guilty of doing what I always do…and getting the same results. However, when I finally wised up and started making small changes, my classroom took on a different feel. Instead of feeling frustrated about certain parts of our day that didn't go how I envision, I was no longer stressed.
Over the weeks, I've written about a lot of different ways to support classroom management. Today, I want to talk about what to do when things aren't working in your classroom.
The strategies focus on simple tools and strategies for making small changes to what you currently do. Thee small changes can add up to BIG results.
Classroom Management Problems: Tips For When Your Plan Isn't Working
Yearly schedule changes,
a new group of students,
and even changes that happen in our own lives can leave things a little more hectic and results in some challenges.
When you start to notice things aren't running smoothly, there are several ways you can adjust your systems. Here are three ways to make changes when classroom management problems occur:
Fix #1: Analyze & focus on strengths and interests
As you analyzed your lessons, you might have noticed a few things about your class. Maybe they rocked hands-on lessons…or short lessons…or lessons with music.
Whatever it may be, now is the time to do a little research to incorporate it into your plans a little more. Consider your friends who have challenging behaviors.
- Which activities have caused issues in the past?
- During which types of lessons do they thrive?
When you start to think about these questions more deeply, you may notice some patterns that you can work around. You can avoid a lot of trouble if you can build in more opportunities for success.
Fix #2: Consider seating & set-up
Maybe you've done groups forever…because you've always done groups. Or perhaps you jumped on board with flexible seating.
Regardless of your seating preference, if your students are struggling to behave, they are giving you a clear message.
One easy adjustment is to change up your seating.
Consider putting desks into triads or partners instead of groups.
Bring in chairs or stools if flexible seating has kids struggling to focus & attend.
Get creative with your seating.
Remember that your changes don't have to be permanent. You can always go back to groups or add more flexible seating options once your classroom is running how you'd like.
Similarly, if you are seeing issues in a certain location of the classroom, consider moving furniture to help improve the flow of traffic and prevent issues.
Fix #3: Start the day with a structured routine.
When kids know what to expect, they are better equipped to do it. It also makes it easier for you to hold them accountable because the routine is set.
This needs to start from the moment they walk in the door. Having a structured, purposeful start to your day can make a world of difference.
For my first few years of teaching, I was guilty of letting the kids come in and work on less-than-purposeful tasks for the first few minutes of our day until the bell rang.
However, a few years into my teaching career I switched to a spiraled math warm-up because our math block had been cut short by lunch. I was shocked at the difference it made…and it wasn't just in math performance. (The math improvement was awesome…don't get me wrong.)
My students were coming in and getting right to work. The room was quiet instead of chaotic. The kids were unpacking and talking about math while they worked.
It was amazing. The kids knew the expectation. They knew what to do…and they did it.
This small change has led to a smoother day in my room and has resulted in nearly 100% of my students passing the state math tests for the last three years.
What do you do when your classroom management plan isn't working? Please leave a comment below and let me know!