I’ve received a lot of questions about what I use for classroom management and what works for me so this blogpost will go through a few different strategies and resources that I use in my classroom.
Building relationships with the children is key. Children won’t learn/behave appropriately for someone who they don’t respect. It’s important to build respect from the beginning of the year. Fairness and consistency are key to building this respect. Children need to know that you are there for them and want them to succeed, they need to feel valued and respected. With senior classes, sometimes they need for you to explain why you need them to work quietly/ independently etc.
I think this is so important; there needs to be an expectation (which is communicated to the children) about how to behave appropriately in school. How should we walk around the school? How should we line up? How should we talk to other people – classmates, teachers, SNA’s, other adults? How should we sit? If we do something wrong and we are corrected – how should we respond?
When I want the children to stop what they are doing I do a quick 3-2-1 countdown. When I get to 1 I expect all the children to be looking at me, pencils down and silence. If some children have not done these 3 things then I call them by name. This goes back to the high expectations – the children know what I need them to do when I do the 3-2-1 countdown. This ensures that I can give the next instruction and keeps the children on task!
These are vital for effective classroom management. How should the children line up? How are copies laid out? What do the children do if they need to use the bathroom? What happens when the children go to the hall for P.E.? What happens during wet play? How do children borrow books from the class library? What happens during Art – can children go and get other materials/extra paint etc. How does clean up work? What happens when they arrive in the morning? What happens at the end of the day?
Routines need practice and more practice even if children are in the senior classes so I always spend the first few days getting these routines right.
I have used class dojo since I left college in 2011 and I love it. This year I used individual points, group points and class points and it worked very effectively.
Class Dojo – individual points
Each child had their own individual account. We had a ‘Class Dojo shop’ at the beginning of the year where children could choose a reward once they got to a certain number of dojos. Dojos were awarded for everything from good work to helping others and I also had a WOW (4 points) and teamwork (5 points) as this was an area that I wanted the children to really work on!
These were rewards that the children chose and then I chose the values. (Once a child got 50 they then chose their avatar, they had to get an additional 25 points so they could chose a song etc.) To be honest this was a bit time consuming and next year I will do it differently.
- 50 points – change your avatar
- 75 points – children could choose a song to be played during Art (had to be appropriate for school)
- 100 points – home work pass
- 125 points – sit with a friend for a day
My plan for this year is just to have individual points for homework passes. I haven’t decided yet but it will either be 100 points for a homework pass or else the top 3 children in the class each week will get a homework pass (but I don’t want it to be the same children each week so I’ll have to think about this further!)
Then we had the Ice cream challenge at the end of the year – brilliant fun! Can be used as a class points reward too!
Class Dojo – group points
Based on where they were sitting, the children were also in groups. (Usually 4-6 per group). Group points were awarded for tidy table, everyone working, teamwork etc. The winning team at the end of the week earned a homework pass.
Class Dojo – class points
I wanted my class to work well together as a team and in an effort to do this I also had class points. The class were given a few options (things they wanted to do e.g. Golden Time, extra yard, extra P.E., talent show etc.) and they had to earn a collective amount of points – usually around 3000/4000 (so it would be over 2/3 weeks). This worked really well!
Class Dojo App
This is a brilliant app to have on your phone. I kept it open all day and if I was doing small group work with one group and noise levels got a little bit high, I would just reward a child who was on task and the ‘bing’ would be heard through the whiteboard speakers – meaning everyone got back on task! It meant I didn’t have to leave the group I was working with and could reward the children that were working as expected.
This is the best classroom management trick I have ever used. A colleague told me about it and I couldn’t believe how effective it was! When the children are doing independent work, I appoint a ‘quiet monitor’ (somebody who is on task and working well), the quiet monitor walks around the room for 2/3 minutes monitoring the noise levels and after 2/3 minutes they chose the next quiet monitor – this continues on and the children generally remain quiet and on task giving the teacher time to work quietly with a group of children without any disruptions. As a little extra, I added dojo points so when a child was chosen they ticked their name on class dojo and at the end I rewarded all those whose names were ticked with points.