Hacking classroom management part 4

Hacking classroom management part 4. We’ve been looking at the 10 hacks for classroom management from Mike Roberts’s book, “Hacking classroom management“. Check out hack 1 & 2 in post #1 and hack 3 & 4 in post #2. Hacks 5 – 7 were covered in post #3. I highly recommend that you check out these other hacks. Roberts has practical advice that will benefit teachers greatly. This post will finish up this series with hacks 8 – 10.

Hack #8 Email early and email often

Positive communication is extremely beneficial and easy to accomplish if you leverage email. Teachers frequently use email to communicate bad news. But, what if we started the year using email to communicate something positive?

Roberts suggests emailing home before the year starts. Ask the parents to provide 5 interesting things about their child. Tell the parents that you are going to read these 5 items to the students and the class will guess which student matches the 5 items. He tells the parents not to tell their kids what they are writing. Parents get to brag on their kids and you gain valuable insight into each student.

You can also start the year by sending an email home and talk a bit about yourself. Keep it positive. Don’t use this email to send a list of things that you want the parents to provide for the kids. You’re introducing yourself and showing the parents that you are a like-able human being.

Continue leveraging email throughout the year. Send out a brief, positive email to 2 people every day. This can be to students, parents or staff. This simple act will not only improve your relationship with your students, it will also make you see the positive things happening around you. You will start keeping your eyes open for something to share. Don’t make this difficult. Pop an email out at the end of the day. And, remember to follow up with the student the next day.

Roberts suggests ending the year in a similar way that you began. Email parents and ask them for 5 ways that they’ve seen growth in their child that year. Read those to the class again and ask the students to guess who is being described.

Hack #9 Fist bumps, high fives and shout outs

This is one of my favorites. The first step for this hack is making sure that you are positioned at your door before and after class. When the kids come in and when they leave give them a fist bump or high five! Encourage them! Talk to them!

The next part of hack #9 involves warm ups and warm downs for class. He has certain warm ups based on the day of the week.

  • On Monday’s he takes a moment at the beginning of class and asks whether it was a good or a bad weekend. Remeber, NO COLD CALLS! Let them respond in a way that is comfortable.
  • Tuesdays are tip days. Write a life tip on the board, or share a brief youtube video with a life tip. This is where your class can transcend your content area! Get creative.
  • Wednesdays are for wins and losses. On this day you open class up for students to share the ups and downs from the last week. Did someone win a big game? Is someone struggling to succeed in another class?
  • Thursdays are for thankfulness. Spend a few moments getting everyone thinking about what is going right for them. Get the ball rolling by sharing something yourself if you need to. We aren’t naturally thankful people so this will take concentrated effort, but it is worth it.
  • On Friday have the students write a haiku about the week. Every time I think about this one I start to smile thinking about what the kids will create. You definitely want to leave time for the students to share their work!

Hack #10 Celebrations, games and field trips

Don’t fear the F word (Fun!). Teachers frequently struggle in this area. I know that I have feared losing control of a class and not being able to restore order. Every day doesn’t need to be a party, but we do need to do something to break up the monotony from time to time. Consider some of the following ideas from the book:

  • Create a birthday board and give students candy, or something special on their day
  • Tell a funny story from your life
  • Have students share a joke (be careful, set parameters!!)
  • Play bingo
  • Draw something. Draw vocabulary words. Draw a picture of what a song makes you think about, etc
  • Show an appropriate short youtube video
  • Read a story. This might be from a book you are reading.
  • Have a mini celebration. There is always something you can celebrate
  • Go on a field trip or invite a guest speaker.
  • Lead the class in a 1 minute meditation.
  • Do not fear the occasional tangent. Sometimes the rabbit trails become the most memorable moments for the students.

Summing things up

I hope these posts help you as a teacher. I think there are things here that can help managers as well. Ultimately I believe that what Mike Roberts is saying is that we have to recognize that the people we work with/teach are human beings just like us. They want to be treated with dignity and respect and they want to know that you don’t see them as a cog in a machine. When you do this, you will begin to see a positive change in your group and will find that you enjoy working with them!

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