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Maintain control yet leave room for fun!

Classroom Management is an important consideration in any classroom but especially in an elementary classroom and should be explicit, thorough, thoughtful, as well as student-centered. As an elementary teacher, the more you can plan and anticipate with your future classrooms, the more efficient your classroom can run. Starting with a plan for many aspects of a typical as well as atypical school days will allow you to have structure for different components of the day. As the year goes on, you may need to make changes or add on different pieces to your classroom management plan to best accommodate your students. However, starting with structure to begin the year will hopefully prevent many misbehaviors or areas of confusion from occurring.

The first impression to start off the year is one of the most important times of the year. This is when you set the tone, the expectations, and build positive rapport with your students. Their age, ability level, demographic background, interests, and academic history all play into the baggage that students may bring into your classroom beginning on the first day of the school year. As the teacher, you need to be very observant but also very proactive when getting to know your students so you may start to consider these external as well as internal factors into the classroom setting and management plan. Establishing some sort of morning greeting or time set aside during the day appropriate for either your upper or lower primary students to get to know your students and establish a welcoming environment for your students will build a trust with your class as well as keep the flow of honest communication open. Similar strategies for secondary students can help you see where any gaps might be in their schoolwork or otherwise so you can work better with students and problem-solving issues in the classroom. The more effort and time you build into establishing your intensions and expectations at the beginning of the year, the more understanding your students will have earlier on about those classroom management components of the classroom.

Depending on the age group you are dealing with, trying to make rules and regulations as student centered as possible can be extremely beneficial for the students and the teachers involved in the classroom. Allowing students to play a major role in the structure engages students, gives them responsibility, onus for following as well as upholding the rules, and choice for what they feel the classroom should look like or how it should operate. You may scaffold students to get them to volunteer answers that align with rules you believe are essential or typical for the type of classroom you like to maintain but even making the students feel as though they are deciding the rules with your facilitating guidance can make them feel pride in the classroom. Throughout the year you may need to refresh, review, or revamp some of the rules of the classroom but as an elementary teacher, being flexible and responsive are key to maintaining a controlled, welcoming classroom. You may choose to center a lesson around this type of review or change to the classroom rules such as an interdisciplinary lesson such as this one, incorporating social studies topics such as history, civic duty, policy, and cultural education to relate the classroom to the general structure as well as history of our American society:


Finding creative ways to reenergize your classroom is also important. I hope to use my background in theatre to build in activities and creative ways to keep students engaged and refreshed throughout the day. You will have a diverse group of learners in your class no matter where or who you teach. Making lessons engaging and diverse to reach a wide audience of students will make your curriculum more accessible. Getting to know what types of learners you have in your classroom with also help inform these instructional decisions you make as the general educator of the classroom. Whether you incorporate different types of activities that hit on different learning styles in lessons which are just introducing a topic, continuing, or reviewing a topic, students can gain new perspectives as well as practice on key content knowledge needed to satisfy standards (state such as the Virginia SOLS or national standards such as the Common Core standards).


This can go hand-in-hand with getting to know your students better. A lot of my first graders loved the game Minecraft so I would try to incorporate examples from the game into lessons to make relatable analogies. I was also aware that my first graders came from diverse family dynamics so any time I asked students to write, draw, or share about their family dynamics I thought of the most appropriate and generalizable approach to discuss these topics in the class. A student I used an intervention plan for to improve his fine motor skills incorporated letter formation metaphors with superheroes since I knew that would intrinsically motivate him to work hard and understand these trickier letter formations for him. Being creative, open-minded, and sharing ideas with other teachers will help you find the best methodologies for keeping your class an effective and positive learning environment.
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Keep your classroom organized yet flexible for an effective learning environment