How to hang up your backpack/sweaters/lunchboxes (your mom doesn't work here kids!)
How to clean your table/desk (shoving everything to the back of the desk is NOT cleaning it!)
How to wash your hands (without getting water ALL over the floor)
You have to teach those kids EVERYTHING. Students may have done these things before, but they don't know how YOU want them to do it. So teach them! There are so many little things they need to learn. Some of those things may take a while, or need to be retaught throughout the year.
Example: How to line up to leave the room. There is that moment every year when I realize I need to tighten the reigns again. I dismiss students to line up for recess, and instead of the normal stand up, push in chairs, walking with normal chatter line up... there is a WILD stampede of six year olds knocking over a chair in their rush to get in line. The line looks like a heard of cats and the noise level reaches epic proportions. (Tell me this doesn't happen to just me???) I stand there and think "What in the world just happened?!?!?!" Solution - Operation Reteach and it goes like this: "Everyone go sit down...boys and girls that is not the way we line up for recess. Raise your hand if you can tell me how we line up. ( I call on a few students who give me the normal responses - no running, quiet, etc) Thank you, now I'm going to pick a table who can show the rest of the class how we line up. Red table is showing me they are ready. Red table when I say go I want you to stand up, push in your chairs, walk to the line with your hands behind your back and your voices off... Go. (Red table successfully lines up) Thank you red table, I like the way you pushed in your chairs, walked to the line, had your hands behind your back and your voices were off. (Then I proceed to call the other tables to the line) Thank you boys and girls, I expect that the next time we line up it will look exactly like this. This time you did a great job." Explicit teaching, modeling, and positive reinforcement. No routine or procedure is ever too small to teach. Some of the best teaching advice I ever got was "Assume they know nothing." :)
Praise - When I was student teaching, my mentor teacher had me constantly practice praising the students so that it would become a habit - now it is! I remember writing "Praise" on a sticky note to help me remember to do so throughout my lessons. When I use it in my classroom it sounds like this:
"I like the way you..."
"Thank you for......"
"I see that you are....."
To help keep behavior in check with a behavior management system, here are a few things I've tried that have been successful.1. Clip Chart - You've probably seen these around, so I won't go into detail. If you'd like more info on how it works you can read up on it at Rick Morris's website.
2. Class Dojo - You can read more about how I use this in this previous post.
3. Table Points
4. Prize Box
I hope sharing these ideas and experiences help someone out there "Tame the Wild". If you are struggling with classroom management remember that no one is perfect, and tomorrow is a new day!