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teacher tips

Maximizing Learning Time: How These 4 Classroom Management Ideas Can Help

Classroom Management
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Every teacher’s goal is to maximize learning time as much as possible! Classroom management plays a huge role in being able to do that. Today I’m going to share with you 4 easy ideas to make classroom management a breeze!

Quiet Game

Photo of students in line

This first management tool is a game-changer for hallway behavior and waiting for a special’s class!  To play the quiet game, the students need to be quiet, facing forward, and have their hands to themselves. I then walk up and down the line and find the student who is being the best example of a student standing in line. I tap them on the shoulder and then they get to pick the next student who is standing perfectly in line.  This continues on and on until the special’s teacher is ready for them.

Wireless Doorbell

Photo of wireless doorbell

This may contain affiliate links for your convenience.

I know I’m not the only person to discuss and recommend the wireless doorbell, but this thing is amazing!

In the past I’ve always used the clapping patterns or 1-2-3 eyes on me as a way to get student’s attention. And, while yes that will work it sometimes has to be repeated many times. The wireless doorbell has changed all of that!  My doorbell has multiple songs and chimes and I chose a simple chime that sounded like the end of intermission at a play. This thing works like a charm! My students hadn’t seen it before so it was a novelty item at first, but it gets their attention! The nice thing is that I can change the sound or song so that it’s always fresh and always a bit of a novelty. 

I use the doorbell as a way to get them to freeze and give me their attention. I sound the doorbell when they need to rotate during math rotations. I use the doorbell as a sign to clean up. This thing works and it’s saved my voice and frustration level. Now there are times when they are a little crazy and I have to ring it a second time, but I do not have to raise my voice! The doorbell does it for me! Click HERE to grab your own doorbell from Amazon.

Reward System

Photo of tally chart reward system

I love using brag tags as an individual reward system, but also like to implement a whole class system too.  One of my favorites and easiest to implements is the Tally Chart.

Tally charts or place value (with tens and ones) is a great way to manage whole class behavior. For the tally chart, I pick a number and students have to work to earn that many tallies.  I typically start with 25 and then once they earn that we go for 50, 75, 100, etc.  

I also have a few other behavior option that you can find in my blog post >>> HERE.

Class Contract

Photo of class contract

Instead of the teacher created rules, in my class we create a class contract. I saw this idea at a training a few years ago and loved it!  

Our class contract is an agreement of how we want to treat each other and how we want to act in our classroom.  It is completely student driven and helps with buy in! After creating it together, everyone in the class signs it agreeing to follow the expectations. I then hang it on the wall and refer back to it often throughout the year.  

For more classroom management tips, click HERE.

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Differentiation in WW – Tip #1 – Writing Pre-Test

Uncategorized, Writing Workshop
I am so excited to be sharing my first differentiation for Writing Workshop tip with you today.  If you missed my intro to this new blog series click here >>> Introduction. So before you can actually differentiate for each child in your class, you need to know where they are as a writer.  You need to know their strengths and things that they can work on.  One way to quickly figure this out is by giving them a writing pre-test. If you use Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study, she has pre-test ideas in the Writing Pathways book.  She calls them On-Demand Performance Assessments.  If you don’t have the Units of Study, you can still have your students complete a writing sample/pre-test.  At the beginning of the year, I have my students write about themselves on the page below. From this writing sample, I can learn a lot about each student.  For example…
  • Do they use complete sentences?
  • Am I able to read their spelling and inventive spelling?
  • Are they able to stay on topic?
  • Do they use capitals and end marks correctly?
  • How is their handwriting?
  • Do they add details?
Those are just a few questions I can typically answer by looking at this writing piece.  Now – this helps me differentiate for students because from this I am able to make individual goals for each student.  Some students might need to work on adding details to their writing pieces while others might need to focus on conventions. To be able to differentiate it’s important to know where you students are.  It’s also important to have a sample from the beginning of the year so you can see the growth and progress they make by the end of the year. Stay tuned….on Monday I will be sharing Tip #2.  I will be talking about differentiating with mini-lessons.  

FREE Writing Checklists

Picture of four writing checklists.
To make your life easier I have a FREE set of writing checklists for your students to use! These are geared towards the primary grades and include 8 different checklists – so you’ll be able to differentiate based on what you’re teaching and your students’ needs. Grab your writing checklists HERE.