The first week of school is your opportunity to set the stage for how your classroom will operate all year long!
Excellent classroom management can literally transform the way your classroom operates and the way that your students respond to your teaching. Even before the school year begins, it is important to think about how you are going to implement some basic classroom management routines. This will help students understand what to expect, and feel safe and comfortable in your classroom.
Below I’ve included four of my favorite ways to incorporate classroom management into your first week of school.
This is SO important. Everyone (including your students) wants to feel like they have some control over their surroundings. There are a lot of ways that you can help your students feel empowered during the first week of school. One of my favorite ways is to have students help you set your classroom rules and consequences. You do not have to have this ready for the first day. In fact, the rules and consequences will be MORE meaningful if you let your students help you. Of course, you can use your “teacher skills” to “guide” the conversation towards the rules that you have in mind.
Believe it or not, allowing your students to get up and move around the room can actually HELP your classroom management by keeping everyone engaged and by appealing to your kinesthetic learners. One of my favorite ways to incorporate movement is through gallery walks, where students move around the room, completing specific, curriculum-related skills. Having your students complete a Back-to-School Gallery Walk can give you valuable insight into how they learn, as well as give them a sense of how your classroom is going to operate.
Procedures and routines need to be modelled and practiced. Rather than talking about a procedure, actually do it. When you talk to your students about expectations for a transition, SHOW them what you mean. Model how it should be done. Then have your students practice. Even if it feels like you have a million things to do on the first day, it is well worth your time to practice procedures. It will pay off later on with a classroom that runs like clock-work.
Tell them about yourself, or better yet, show them some pictures of your family/pets/childhood to help your students get a sense of who you are outside the classroom. Tell them that they are safe in your classroom. Tell them that you are going to guarantee that they are going to all be successful this year. Tell them about some of the fun, exciting learning experiences that they are going to have this year. Smile. Make a conscious effort to connect (through conversation and eye contact) with every student every day.
Would you like to learn more about how I have used gallery walks to incorporate movement into my classrooms? This post will explain more.
Have a wonderful school year,