The Best Of Smart Classroom Management 2017

Here is a note By Michael Linsin

Here at Smart Classroom Management, we’d like to express our deepest appreciation to you, our loyal readers.

Your support means everything to us.

Your willingness to share SCM with friends, colleagues, and followers allow us to continue doing what we love week after week and year after year. For that, we are eternally grateful.

From our heart to yours, Thank You!

We have an exciting line up of articles planned for 2018 as well as a new e-guide coming out in May. We also begin work on our biggest book yet, which is scheduled for release in spring of 2019.

But first, a look back. What follows are the very best classroom management articles of 2017, which are based on the total number of social shares.

Cheers! And enjoy . . .

1. Why Staying Late After School Is A Mistake

2. How To Handle Students Who Give You Attitude

3. Why You Shouldn’t Try To Convince Difficult Students To Behave

4. 5 Simple Ways To Eliminate Stress From Your Teaching Life

5. 9 Ways To Have More Authority Next School Year

6. Why You Should Pretend Your Most Difficult Students Are Perfectly Well Behaved

7. How To Improve Classroom Management Every Day

8. How To Handle A Student Who Questions You With Disrespect

9. A Radical Way To Transform Difficult Students

10. How To Handle Students Who Misbehave Behind Your Back

11. How To Be Both Calm And Enthusiastic Next School Year

12. When And Why It’s Okay For Students To Talk

Have a wonderful and safe holiday and a Happy New Year!


Three Little Words That Show Students You Care

Three Little Words That Show Students You Care

Your smile and your consistency.

Your pleasantness and good humor. Your kindness, honesty, and simplicity of the message.

Day in and day out, they let your students know how much you care.

It’s something they can see and feel as plain as day.

Which in turn builds trust and rapport, drawing them inexorably into your circle of influence.

Despite being indirect, these teacher traits have a powerful affect on students.

In fact, they play an important role in what is the true secret to classroom management success.

But there is something else you can do to show your genuine care and concern for them.

It’s a bit more direct but still nonetheless effective. It’s also simple, as obvious as the nose on your face, and so, so easy to forget.

What is it?

It’s to look individual students in the eye and utter three little words: “How are you?”

Now, it’s important to note that it can’t be an off-handed, throwaway line as you’re walking by. “Hey, howarya?”

It must be earnest.

You have to pause the moment. You have to stop what you’re doing, shove aside whatever else is on your mind, and really look at the student. Be present.

Otherwise, your words will ring hollow. Spoken with sincerity, however, and they can touch their very heart. Because, you see, very few people ever really ask them how they’re doing.

And it means the world to them.

It tells them that you’re interested in them as a person, that they’re not just a test score, a face in the crowd, or another cog in the educational machine.

They matter.

Not because of what they can do, what they wear, or what they look like, but because they’re here, on this earth, trying to figure it out like the rest of us.

Of course, there are variations of “How are you?” that work as well. “How have you been?” “How is everything?” “How are things going with you?”

Just go with your gut. As long as you really do want to know, you can’t mess it up. As for how students respond, it doesn’t really matter.

Just knowing that you care enough to ask is what’s important.

However, most students will tell you they’re doing fine or okay, which gives you the opening to follow up with “Please let me know if you need anything or I can help you in any way.”

Although they’ll almost never take you up on the offer, they’ll nearly always walk away feeling more settled, content, and appreciative being in your classroom.

On the rare occasion they do want to unburden themselves, be sure to schedule a time that you can really talk, whether at recess or lunch or whenever you have some time.

The strategy—if you can call it that—is especially effective with difficult students or those who you’ve had a harder time building a relationship.

Many of their interactions with teachers have been negative or manipulative. So when you approach them with nothing more than their interest at heart, they’re taken aback in a wonderful way.

Sometimes they don’t quite believe you, which is why it’s a good idea to continue to pose the question every couple of weeks or so.

There is no reason to make a checklist to make sure you get to so many students every week or add yet another to-do to your already full plate.

It’s just a reminder to touch base. To connect with your students as people.

To be the teacher, mentor, angel they can count on.


How To Keep Your Students Calm And Focused

How To Keep Your Students Calm And Focused

As the holiday season comes closer, students become antsier.

They can feel the midyear break just around the corner.

And their excitement builds every day.

The weather, the music, the traditions. The decorations, the lights, the commercials.

Despite how much your school may try to avoid the reminders, it all has a way of spilling over into the classroom.

Causing excitability, restlessness, and misbehavior.

If you’re not careful, the two weeks or so before vacation can be a stressful grind to the finish.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, with just a few strategies it can be a time of calm and focus and even accelerating improvement.

Here’s how:

1. Take your time.

Your students are strongly influenced by your temperament. Thus, the more excitable they are due to outside forces, the more important it is for you to stay calm and take your time.

Pause frequently. Speak in a softer voice. Move efficiently and with graceful ease. Breathe fully, in and out, and keep your body loose and relaxed.

Although your students may bring rambunctiousness and commotion with them from home, you control whether they keep it or surrender it out into the ether.

2. Provide more breaks.

Mental and physical breaks become more essential the closer you get to vacation. So get your students up and moving frequently, every thirty minutes or so.

Lead them in a series of stretches, yoga poses, exercises, or slow deep breathing. Let them walk over to say hello to a friend and even chat for a few minutes.

Include more time and opportunities to express their thoughts and ideas though pair-share and group work.

By providing the means through which they can shake out their restlessness, they’ll return to their more focused responsibilities refreshed and prepared to learn.

3. Focus on details.

One of the negative byproducts of over-excited students is that their work becomes sloppy and less precise. Following directions and performing routines also tend to suffer.

The antidote is to be more specific and detailed in your instruction. Add an additional modeling exercise. Ask another checking-for-understanding question.

Double down on the nitty-gritty and the chassis won’t get so loose.

And if anything ever fails to meet your high-bar standards, back up to the previous transition, reestablish your expectations, and start over again.

4. Increase the challenge.

The tendency is for teachers to lighten up as vacation nears. Without even realizing it, they find themselves accepting less and asking less because they happen to be in the midst of a holiday season.

But this sends the message that it’s okay to be less attentive and have shoddy work habits, that a certain amount of misbehavior is expected.

Although you should always push the envelope on what you ask of your students—every day of the year—the closer you get to an extended break the more critical this becomes.

Because it keeps your students on task, focus-driven, and striving to the end.

Subtle But Powerful

Effective classroom management requires you to be mindful of the moment, the time of day, and the season of the year. It takes a proactive view and a shrewd approach to potential landmines that lie ahead.

If you simply go about your business, the two weeks before holiday break can be filled with headaches, apprehension, and added stress.

But with just a few adjustments, a few tweaks to your pace, timing, instruction, and disposition, you can maintain your own sense of peace and enjoyment this holiday season.

You can subtly but powerfully alleviate the negative excitement and energy, the silliness and distraction, the impatience and impulsiveness.

And keep your class calm and focused all the way to the final bell.