By Teachers, For Teachers
Being a rookie in the education world is the not easy. While you may have done your time and learned all that you could about classroom management in college, while student teaching, and by reading textbooks, many of you still are left with questions unanswered. But you no longer need to worry. We have taken the time to ask veteran teachers to answer some of your many need-to-know classroom management questions. Here are a few of the top classroom management questions and answers that every novice teacher wants to know.
1. Every time I give my students directions they just sit there like they have no idea what I just said. I find that I have to repeat myself at least two more times until they finally get it. What can I do to get my students to pay attention the first time?
The first thing that you need is a signal, and the second thing that you need is a consequence. Try an attention signal like clapping three times, and having the students repeat your clap. Once you have their undivided attention, then you can give them your instructions. Next, ask a student to repeat what you just said in her own words, and make sure to encourage your students to pay attention to the student who is speaking. You must also have a consequence for the students who did not pay attention to you. For example, if students do not listen when they were supposed to, then they get their card turned to yellow, or they lose recess. Try and encourage students to ask a friend first if they didn’t hear you, instead of asking you.
2. I teach elementary school age students and I just can’t seem to get them to sit still. I know that flexible classrooms are the new “It thing,” and I would like to incorporate more movement into my lessons, but I am out of ideas. What are some ways that I can get my students to listen more attentively while being active?
If you want your students to listen more attentively, then you must incorporate active movement into your lessons or sporadically throughout your day. There are a few ways that you can do this. First, try and integrate movement into your lessons. You can do this quite easily with any lesson. For example, if students are learning their spelling words, you can have them stand up and snap, clap, or sing them. If they are learning their math facts, you can have them play the game “Around the World,” where students move from desk to desk answering flash cards.
If you do not like the ideas of active movement in your lessons, then you can try having brain breaks. Brain breaks are essentially energizers that get your students up and moving while connecting their mind and body at once. All you need is 2-5 minutes to get your students up and moving and you will have them redirected and ready to learn again. Try taking a few brain breaks a day. You can have them stretch, do a few yoga poses, or even let out their energy with a quick dance party.
3. I use a lot of technology in my classroom, iPads, computers, a Smart Board. I am looking for a few new ways to engage my students without using technology. Do you have any suggestions?
If you are looking for different ways to keep students engaged without technology then you can mock a Smart Board by using different colored markers on the board, or by using magnets, sticky notes, or colored chalk. You can also try and play games or giving your students a choice board where they choose how they will learn the information. Just by simply giving your students a flashlight and turning off the classroom lights you can make learning more exciting.
4. I am new to the tech world and do not know a lot about educational technology. What are some ways that I can educate myself so that I can teach my students and use tech tools in the classroom?
Today’s students are most likely more savvy then the teachers. If you want to stay in the know about the latest tech tools, then you must go online and bookmark a few sites that will keep you informed. There are many sites that are dedicated to teaching educators about the latest tech tools. Sites like Edutopia.org, Edtechteacher.org, and Emergingedtech.com are just a few of the sites that you can learn from. You can also search the App store for what’s new, as well as search social media using the hashtag #edtech.
5. Critical thinking is a huge part of the Common Core standards. I am looking for ways that I can get my students to not just regurgitate what I teach them, but to use their critical and higher order thinking skills. Do you have any suggestions on how I can accomplish this task?
You can do this by asking the right questions. Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to ask them higher-order thinking questions. Instead of asking a closed question, try asking an open-ended question like “How could you have made this better?” or even the simple question of “Why?” Scaffold your questions to get your students to infer, manipulate, and connect one concept to another.
You can also have students use a graphic organizer so that they can visually see their thoughts on paper. This is a simple way for students to connect concepts while encouraging higher order thinking.
Do you have any questions that you need answered? Please feel free to ask any questions if you are novice teacher. We will try and answer as them for you.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.