by Diana Remick, Monthly Columnist
Behavior Management is an important component to a successful school year. Classroom management is the key to a positive classroom environment. A well-designed classroom management plan can lead to a happier learning community.
Create a Positive Classroom Environment with Behavior Management Strategies
There are three main components I focus on when creating my positive classroom environment:
- Classroom Plan
- Follow through
Building relationships is critical! At the beginning of the school year it is crucial that you meet the families of your students. Take the time at Back to School Night, Open House, or other gathering to visit with each family and find out about your students’ support system. In my school district, Home Visits are an option but are highly recommended. Families need to know in advance that you are not there to evaluate them but to learn more about your students. In the first weeks of school make contact by phone or other method that you normally use to contact families when there is a concern. This contact will be to praise the student. By making the initial contact a positive one, it will make future contacts easier. Continue making contact with families throughout the school year. Create a schedule as to how often you plan to contact families and put it with your lesson plans. Maintaining a strong school to home connection throughout the year is a vital component of education! It is important to keep the families involved and informed in the education process. On-going communication is essential!
Create relationships with your students by getting to know them. Find out about their interests, likes and dislikes. These are great conversation starters when a student is struggling. It can also help you when trying to find a topic for the student to write about or a book to read.
The second component is your Classroom Plan. It should focus on the classroom behavior, expectations, and responsibilities. A Classroom Plan that is set and shared with students and families is encouraged! Share your plan verbally but a written copy allows you to refer back to it when necessary. On the first day of school after routines and expectations have been set, I ask my students to share Our Classroom Plan with their families. A signature page with an opportunity to ask questions is attached to the families’ copies. Student buy-in is important so on the first day of school I allow students to help me set the consequences for both positive and negative behavior. I have found that the majority of my students tend to give more severe consequences for negative behavior than I might. Therefore, guiding them in this process is necessary. Students need to know what the expectations are. During the first days of school we practice the right way and the wrong way. Pictures are taken and posted to serve as a reminder. Throughout the year, we review our classroom plan. Students need to know what is expected and what consequences will follow.
Positive behavior and consequences are the driving force in my classroom but just like any other classroom there are less desired behaviors and consequences MUST be given. A Classroom Plan is only useful if implemented. Follow through is necessary if you want your students to believe in you and trust in you. Both negative and positive consequences must be enforced! Since positive behavior is the driving force in my classroom, I give students an opportunity to change a behavior that is not appropriate. This method is the “Three strokes before a poke”. I praise three students (the strokes) before I privately remind the student that is misbehaving (the poke). Most often, the “poke” is not necessary because the behavior was changed by listening to the other students receive praise.
As educators we spend a great deal of time in our classrooms. It should be a safe and positive learning environment for our students and for us!
About the Author
Diana Remick is a mother of three and 2nd grade teacher to many. She resides in La Junta, Colorado. Both her and her husband teach at La Junta Primary School. Mrs. Remick has been an elementary educator for 18 years. She earned both her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and her Master’s degree in Reading and Linguistically Diverse Education from Adams State College.