Back-to-school time is upon us. As we get our classrooms ready in anticipation for a new group of students, it’s essential to remember that the foundation we lay in the first weeks of school will help us build and establish a warm, yet structured environment where every student can be successful! Here are some back to school classroom management tips to set you and your students up for success:

  1. Build positive relationships:

    Get to know your kids and let them get to know you. One of the most important ingredients in a classroom is the relationship that is built between the teacher and students. Your students need to know that you care, believe in them, and are always in their corner! Take time each day for the first couple of weeks to build in daily “get to know you” activities. The bonus is that you’ll still be incorporating important standards into your lesson plans, like listening and speaking standards. You can also tie in reading and writing standards when you use activities with a great read aloud or project.

  2. Smile the first day

    I remember some veteran teachers telling me not to smile until November. I understand why they said that, but you can still smile while establishing boundaries and positive rapport with your students. Love those kids. Show them you’re excited to be here. Make school a place they want to be from day one!

  3. Make a list and check it twice:

    Teaching routines and procedures can feel overwhelming at the beginning of the year, especially with younger students. Make a list of everything you need to teach for procedures and routines, so that you don’t forget something important in the hustle and bustle of the first week. Then, keep the list and add to it each year. This will save you so much time!

  4. Teach, then model:

    It’s important to take the time in the beginning of the year to set classroom expectations. You’ll want to teach the expectation, then model how it should look. From coming to the carpet to read, to being a good listener, to participating in writing workshop—set your students up for success by teaching and showing them what it looks like to be an active learner in the classroom. After showing your students, also let them model it for their peers—they love getting to be the teacher and it also promotes students’ ownership of learning.

    Read ’10 Qualities of Highly Effective Teachers’ by Becca Foxwell

  5. Practice, practice, practice:

    Once you’ve taught and modeled the expectations, you’re going to practice it until it’s a part of the natural routine and rhythms of the classroom. Trust me, it will feel redundant to practice lining up ten times the first day of school, but your future self will thank you that you took the time! In first grade, it took us weeks of practice to build our stamina for independent reading, but taking the time at the beginning of the year paid off dividends later in the year.

  6. Be consistent:

    Kids flourish when they know the expectations and have a teacher that is consistent in managing the classroom with love and respect. Mean what you say and don’t be wishy-washy. Kids can smell hesitation a mile away and will take advantage of it. Student success is the ultimate goal of everything we do in the classroom. Establishing and maintaining a safe, warm, and structured learning environment is one of the ways we set our students up for success!

Do you have any classroom management tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment on our @PearsonPreK12 Facebook or Twitter posts!

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Becca Foxwell

Becca Foxwell

Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year 2016-2017