The Most Effective Way To Manage Students With ADHD

The Most Effective Way To Manage Students With ADHD

By Michael Linsin


I might disappoint some people with what I’m about to write.

But 1st let me back up a bit.

For the past several years, managing students with ADHD has been near the top of the list of SCM reader requests.

And it’s something I’ve been looking forward to writing about.

I have what I believe to be a uniquely effective approach to helping students struggling with this issue.

However, it’s a big topic with a lot of moving parts.

And I’ve been concerned that a single article, or even a series of articles, might lead to confusion or prompt dozens of questions.

Rrecently I shifted the topic over to my list of future e-guides, where I can give it the treatment it deserves.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a poll to determine which e-guide on the list I should begin work on this spring.

The results were close, but “Students With ADHD” came in second behind “A Classroom Management Plan for Elementary Teachers.”

I hope to begin writing the former before the end of the year, but I felt like I needed to get something out here on the blog and hence this article.

Please understand, however, that the strategy I’m going to share with you today is only part of the picture. It’s an important part, to be sure, even the most important part, but it doesn’t answer what may be your most pressing questions.

Namely, it doesn’t answer how to hold students with ADHD accountable and whether or not they should be held to the same behavior standards as the rest of the class.

This will have to wait until the e-guide comes out.

In the meantime, there is a strategy you can use right now that is the very best thing you can do for all students struggling with attention or behavioral issues.

It’s so effective and powerful, in fact, that in the vast majority of cases, it’s the only strategy you’ll ever need.

So what is it?

It’s to be great at classroom management. It’s to double-down on the approach we recommend here at SCM. It’s to become an expert at creating a peaceful environment free of interruptions and distractions.

Because this will always have the greatest impact on students with ADHD—their improvement, contentment, and ability to focus and really enjoy school. It’s not even close.

The totality of truly exceptional classroom management is transformational, for all students, but particularly for those struggling with restlessness, impulsivity, and trouble concentrating.

From a student’s perspective, it’s a world that makes sense, a place where they can breathe, let down their guard, and just be a student.

But it isn’t just the most effective strategy, it’s also the first.

You see, no other strategy, including those I’m going to recommend as part of a future e-guide, will have much effect until and unless the first is accomplished.

Only then can you even accurately determine if you really do have students who need extra support or modifications to your rules and consequences.

Year after year, I hear horror stories about certain students and how they can’t stay in their seats, stop talking, or refrain from bothering others or disrupting the class.

But when placed in the right environment, many will quietly assimilate into the calm and well-behaved culture just like everyone else—and without extra attention from the teacher.

There is an epidemic of students who are misunderstood, labeled, pigeonholed, over-managed, and in some cases, even misdiagnosed due to poor classroom management.

The reality is, many are just bored, unchallenged, and highly energetic.

Again, for those who truly and legitimately need an alternative approach, I have what I believe is the most compassionate and least invasive method for guiding them from point A to point B and beyond.

But it isn’t worth much unless you create the conditions through which all students can overcome their behavioral and academic challenges.

And thrive, all on their own.

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.

When You Shouldn’t Enforce A Consequence

One of the core tenets of SCM is to hold your students accountable for every rule violation.

You do what you say you’re going to do. You follow through on your promises.

Student breaks a rule and you enforce a consequence.

It’s as simple as that.

Done in a certain way—as we recommend here on this website and in our books—the benefits can be staggering.

Not only will you eliminate misbehavior, but . . .

  • You’ll create an atmosphere of respect.
  • You’ll build strong influence, trust, and rapport.
  • You’ll become a leader worth following.

However, there is a circumstance whereby a student breaks a rule and you shouldn’thold them accountable.

Can you guess what it is?

It’s when a student calls out without permission in order to stop a classmate from interfering with their right to learn.

“Can you be quiet please?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t talk to you right now.”

“Do you guys mind? I’m trying to read.”

“Please leave me alone, I have to get this done.”

Now, if you were to follow your classroom management plan as written and hold this student accountable for calling out, you would very likely alienate them.

You would leave them disillusioned, confused, and resentful.

Bear in mind that this is a student who has fully bought into the culture of your classroom. They care about learning and represent what you’re trying to inspire in others.

They’re a role model whose support and example makes your classroom better and your job easier.

So what should you do? How do you handle the situation without sending the message to the rest of the class that you’re playing favorites or breaking your promises?

Well, first off, the circumstance underscores the importance of vigilant observation, supervision, and awareness. In previous articles, we’ve discussed how critical it is to be in position to catch misbehavior.

Thus, the best solution is preemptive.

You witness the initial misbehavior and follow through before anyone feels the need to speak up.

Once you get the reputation for having eyes in back of your head—and you will as you become more consistent—then the chances of missing even one act of misbehavior becomes very small.

In the rare case that the original misbehavior does get by you, however, and you see only the second student’s response, you would immediately enforce a consequence with only the originator of the interruption.

However, it’s important that you don’t just leave it at that. When you get a chance, later in the day, briefly apologize to the student who felt they had to stand up for themselves.

Let them know that it’s your job to take care of misbehavior and that you don’t want them to worry about having to take matters into their own hands.

You’ll do better. It’s a big part of your promise to protect their right to learn and enjoy school.

As for the rest of the class who may have witnessed the incident, you don’t need to address them as a group in order to explain why you didn’t enforce a consequence with both parties.

They get it.

You’re showing understanding and compassion, and at the same time, making a statement through your actions that you respect the difference between the literal rule and the true spirit of the rule.

It makes natural sense and will not in anyway result in your class thinking that you’re being unfair or inconsistent.

To the contrary. It makes you more human, more like them. It proves that you’re not a dictator, a robot, or a narrow-minded stickler without common sense.

Rather, you’re someone they can trust, relate to, and believe in.

Why Avoidance Is A Terrible Classroom Management Strategy

Smart Classroom Management: Why Avoidance Is A Terrible Classroom Management Strategy

This article involves a strategy many teachers and administrators use in response to misbehavior.

And although I believe their heart is in the right place, the strategy is terribly misguided.

It’s also knee-jerk, shortsighted, and harmful to students.

So what is it?

It’s avoidance. It’s limiting the healthy freedoms of students in order to avoid the possibility that misbehavior could occur.

Some examples:

“Let’s keep Josh, Raymond, and Jocelyn separated because they don’t get along (or they goof around together).”

“Let’s no longer allow students to use clay (or paint or glue) because they throw it at each other and get it all over the carpet.”

“Let’s close the playground equipment because students are running, playing tag, and standing atop the bars.”

“Let’s not allow certain learning games or activities anymore because the students get excited and start misbehaving.”

Not to be confused with the effective use of consequences, these broad reactions punish students unnecessarily and send the message that they don’t have the capacity to improve or do things the right way.

They also limit their social and academic development, rob them of creativity and joy, and cause more problems than they avoid.

So what’s the other option?

The alternative is to teach students in detail what your expectations are. Model for them, show them, how to behave during every activity, transition, task, and routine throughout the school day.

Establish clear rules and consequences to support and enforce those expectations. Lay everything out ahead of time, supervise closely, and then faithfully hold them accountable for the high standards you set.

No more, no less, and do not make exceptions.

In this way, students learn self-control, patience, and poise. They learn how to get along with others and work together for the common good.

They learn responsibility, accountability, and the skills they need to succeed and be valued members of a community.

This is why they’re in school.

We want to put them in situations that challenge them to make good decisions and to work with those who are different than themselves.

When we systematically and arbitrarily remove people, things, situations, and ideas they don’t naturally handle well, or may not like or agree with, we do them a disservice.

We cause them to become less mature, less tolerant, less empathetic, and less self-controlled.

So instead of trying to avoid misbehavior by limiting the very things that help your students grow into responsible adults, outlaw the actual misbehavior itself.

Continually challenge them to improve by showing them the way and then holding them to it. This is how we create great schools and classrooms.

We teach our students how to deal with it.

We teach them patience, kindness, understanding, appreciation, self-restraint, discipline, discernment, and the tools to handle themselves with grace and aplomb.

We teach them to see the world from many perspectives.

To communicate.

To live and love others and contribute to the greater good.

If you haven’t done so already, please join us. It’s free! Click here and begin receiving classroom management articles like this one in your email box every week.


A (Slightly) Dangerous But Effective Way To Get Your Students’ Attention

A (Slightly) Dangerous But Effective Way To Get Your Students’ Attention

Smart Classroom Management: A (Slightly) Dangerous But Effective Way To Get Your Students' AttentionOkay, so I’ve got this strategy I’ve been using a long time.But I’ve been reluctant to share it.Because, you see, it can, potentially anyway, be an eensy-weensy bit dangerous.Like stepping into the shower or walking down a flight of stairs.

So, before you try it out, you have to promise to be careful and use at your own risk.

If you’re unsure, well, it isn’t a make or break strategy, so you may want to leave this one alone.

But if you’re confident you can do it safely, then there are times when it can really come in handy.

Here’s how it works:

Let’s say your class is involved in an especially active or loud activity.

They’re building a project or practicing for a performance or otherwise excitedly working together.

And let’s say that you need their attention right now. Perhaps you forgot to give them a critical piece of information or you have to make an announcement that just can’t wait.

You can certainly use the strategy we commonly recommend to get their attention, which is proven to be extremely effective and takes only a couple of seconds.

But if you add this one little (slightly) dangerous part to it, and don’t use it too often, you can bring an extra layer of urgency to your message.

It has a unique way of cutting through the commotion and hubbub in the room. The result is that your students will give you their attention faster and listen more intently.

So, to use the strategy, you’ll ask for their attention per normal. “Can I have your attention please.”

But you’ll do it while standing on a chair.

That’s right. You’re going to position yourself atop a solid—no rollers, hinges, cushions, or springs—four-legged chair.

A stool can also work.

There is something about the added height—the novelty or whimsicalness of it—that causes students to understand innately that you have something important to tell them.

It makes for a cleaner break from the tumult of the moment, allowing you to go from 100 to zero in the blink of an eye.

Now, it’s important to reiterate that you should never jump up on just any chair in the spur of the moment. Check beforehand to make sure that the one you choose is stable, sturdy, reliable, can hold your weight, etc.

I use the same, trustworthy chair every time. (I call him Sal.)

I feel comfortable using the strategy and always have. But please, if you decide to try it, be careful. I’d be horrified if videos of teachers losing their balance started popping up on YouTube.

If you have any trepidation whatsoever, take a pass on this one and stick with the same reliable method you normally use.

But if you’re willing to take the risk, however small (there is always a risk, life is a risk) then you have another helpful tool in your arsenal.

Now, no matter what’s going on in your classroom, or how much fun your students are having, you can instantly break through the clamor of voices.

You can break through their hyper focus or super engagement or even the most animated conversations.

And deliver a message you know they’ll take to heart.

PS – It probably goes without saying, but it’s a good idea to remind your students that the strategy is a teaching tool only, and they may not repeat the practice.

We can only pray for them

The kids are asking: will we grow up on “Allah Akhbar” or on ShemaYisroel?

That’s the horror the father, a frum, pious Yid is faced with.

His estranged wife, whom he married after her becoming a BaalasTeshuva, has gone from veering off the path of Yiddishkeit to converting to Islam and marrying a Muslim.

The mother, who has indeed become frum, has nevertheless failed to address the emotional distress she’s suffered as a result of growing up in a dysfunctional home. Without properly addressing her bruised psyche, she’s remained unstable and emotionally incapable of dealing with life.

Fairly quickly she began veering of path, and her heartbroken husband has been going way out of the way to accommodate the situation as best and efficient as possible. Experts and professionals have been engaged, but rather than at least an attempt to adjust, even if only for the sake of their children, the mother remained stubbornly on that slippery-slope.

Which ended in the pair separating. Once it’s been clear to the father that his wife has reached a point of no return, he solemnly internalized the terrible reality and quickly realized that for the sake of their kids’ Yiddishkeit they ought to part.

Drawing closer to the divorce, the two entered into a custody agreement. The mother has at the time already been in contact with said Muslim guy, but kept the connection secret. This has been a sly decision on her part, so for the father not to suspect the least as to what’s to follow. Had he known, the agreement, which has been carefully worded to ensure the spiritual safety of the children but granted her joint and physical custody, would have been worked out very differently.

The disturbing plans of the mother have been revealed shortly following the divorce. But by that time, it’s been too late. Too late for the lost soul of the mother, but not too late for the father to take action and rescue the kids — a boy and girl — from the claws of שמד.

The mother, who as noted is emotionally not fully stable, has made some moves which served as indications to the court as to her trustworthiness — which has indeed served the father and kids well. She moved herself with the kids to a non-Jewish neighborhood in Taxes, with the intention of raising them from that point onward in a secular manner — and all of this, against a direct court order. This happenedMotzai Shabbos, after having been served on Friday the order by the court not to do so.

In the interim, she began railing the 13-year-girl against the father and to even greater extent against Yiddishkeit. With her sharp mind and maturity, this bright teenager has managed to  grasp where her mother is going with this, and has taken steps to shield herself from her mother’s incitements again her family and religion. Not so much with the younger, 11-year-old boy, who’s too young to comprehend the scope of what’s happening around him. The mother additionally has learnt from her previous failed attempt with her daughter and has engaged the guidance of “activists” guiding her into brainwashing the child.

The mother is further trying to get her Muslim partner move to the US, which would place her in a better position with the court as someone who’s managed to stabilize and settle down.

When the devastated father has realized that the mother is out to gain complete control over the kids, he engaged an attorney to fight back and get the kids away from their mother and her wicked intentions.

The case, which is still developing and B”H moving in the right direction, has been dragging along though. The battle up to this point has drained the father’s savings, further straining his distress and worries. While the lawyer has outlined an excellent strategy which will, Bez”h, bring the kids back home — to Totty and Torah, he is insisting on at least a partial payment towards the accumulated bill well above $50,000.

It’ll be our hearts and compassion to a fellow jew and the Yiddishkeit of his children that will take this saga to a great ending. We will do our share; we will have the zchus of the 2 precious souls ShemaYisroel pave the way for our prayers this Yom Kippur to reach the Almighty.

The fate of two Yiddishenshomes is it stake. It’s now up to us…

I found this Short audio & transcript. By: Rabbi Yitzchak Yeshiva Ateres Shimon. Very inspirational.

The concept of בטחון, trust in Hashem is mentioned very often at the end of this beautiful prayer. What is בטחון, trust in Hashem? People say that they have בטחון but they still have fears.
The פסוק says, “הנה קל ישועתי” Hashem is my salvation, אבטח  I have trust  ולא אפחד and I have NO fear. If we are scared and have fear…then really we are not being so successful at בטחון.
The Chazon Ish says, that true  בטחון is the conviction that NOTHING happens by accident. Everything which occurs has been previously determined by Hakadosh Baruch Hu. NO one so much as cuts his finger, down below, unless it has been previously announced up above, as the Gemara says.
If one is convinced of this, he has בטחון.
“השגחה פרטית” writes the Chazon Ish Divine providence of Hakadosh Baruch Hu towards a person, is based on measure of בטחון, that that person has in Hashem.
“ברוך הגבר אשר יבטח בה’, והיה ה’ מבטחו” The more intense the בטחון a person has in Hashem, the closer Hashem pays attention to him.
“השגחה פרטית” Divine Providence, is at the very foundation of all tefilla. If a person is not firmly convinced that Hashem takes a personal interest in him, there would be no reason to daven. But one who is in Hashem’s hands can relax and all fear leaves him.
Have a great day!

Parshas Bahalosecha


eha’alosecha, Numbers 8:1 -12:16

Aharon is commanded in the lighting of the Menorah, the Levites purify themselves for service in the Tabernacle (they trained from age 25-30 and served from age 30-50). The first Pesach is celebrated since leaving Egypt. The Almighty instructs the Jewish people to journey into the desert whenever the ever-present cloud lifts from above the Tabernacle and to camp where it rests. Moshe is instructed to make two silver trumpets to be sounded before battle or to proclaim a Yom Tov (a holiday).

The people journey to the wilderness of Paran during which time they rebelled twice against the Almighty’s leadership. The second time they complain about the boring taste of the maneh and the lack of meat in the desert. The Almighty sends a massive quantity of quail and those who rebelled died.

Moshe asks his father-in-law, Yitro (Jethro) to travel with them in the desert, but Yitro returns to Midian.

Miriam, Moshe’s sister, speaks loshon hora (defaming words) about Moshe. She is struck with tzora’as (the mystical skin disease which indicated that a person spoke improperly about another person) and is exiled from the camp for one week.