We are right smack in the middle of summer right now and are really enjoying it! I was on vacation all week last week and while I had a great time, nothing beats coming home and sleeping in your own bed. Summer is such a wonderful time for teachers to relax and recharge. It is also a great time to plan, prep, and create new ideas for our classrooms. In this week’s post we want to offer you some classroom management tips & tricks which we hope you will try!
Line Up Helpers
Any teacher who has ever worked with early childhood students knows the panic that comes on the first day of school when you ask your students to line up for the first time. Even scarier is the moment you open your classroom door and start to parade the little angels down the hallway while frantically counting heads over and over until you reach the desired destination. Well we are here to offer you a tip to help your students line up with ease.
In our classroom we buy a set of calendar numbers every year, laminate them, and tape them down onto the floor. This gives kids a visual for a line and place to stand when they are told to go line up. The line up numbers on the floor have helped so much, especially in our classroom where we have a blended group of general ed pre-k students and special needs.
This past year we added something new to our line up numbers. We, as many teachers do, have jobs for our students. Two of our jobs, super star and door holder, involve helping in the line. In order to help those students know where to stand in line, Angie had the idea to add a star at the front for the super star (who gets to lead the line) and the icon of a door for the door holder.
We absolutely loved having these job icons as part of our line. They helped to seamlessly ease the students’ transition from their activity to lining up.
What’s even better is that we now make and sell sets of line up numbers in our Teachers Pay Teachers store! We offer packs of line up numbers complete with 24 numbers, 4 job icons, and 8 blank cards to add more numbers or icons to fit the needs of your classroom.
These are just a few of the different borders and patterns we offer. If you like what you see, click here to see everything we offer in our Teachers Pay Teachers store.
When discussing the line up numbers I mentioned classroom jobs. Over the years I have done classroom jobs in many different ways including having a job for every student, having only one super star of the day who gets to do all of the jobs, changing out jobs daily, and changing out jobs weekly. Classroom jobs are something that is personal to each teacher and his/her classroom. My advice about jobs would be to try what you are comfortable with and do what works. We offer classroom job sets in our store for any teacher who needs help getting started.
Here’s a glimpse at some of the products we offer:
Another of our classroom management tips & tricks is our center board which we use to regulate center time. We created four zones with three centers in each zone. During the day the students may choose any of the centers within their zone and move to the others in their zone freely. This allows us to regulate how many kids are in a given center at any time, while still allowing the students to have some autonomy in their learning.
Each day the group of students move to a different zone. The purpose of this is to ensure students have the opportunity to visit every center if they desire. It also allows us to make sure every student completes the week’s themed art activities. The four zones mean that only Monday-Thursday are our students’ center choices regulated. On Fridays we always have fun Friday. The kids are able to choose any center in the whole room. The students love having this special time on Fridays to revisit their favorite centers!
Each student’s name for the center board is written on a sentence strip, laminated, and a small piece of velcro is placed on the back. We regroup the names weekly to give the students an opportunity to interact with all their peers. Changing out the groups weekly helps us to see which children work well together and which ones do not. It is a great opportunity to put kids together who otherwise don’t play with each other.
New Student Folder
The next of the tips & tricks I want to share is a great idea for a new student folder which I got from The Classroom Creative. I tried this idea out this year and it really helped with my classroom organization.
I just used a paper folder as my new student folder. I kept one set of everything a new student would need in this folder. This included a basic parent packet I send home with every student at the beginning of the year, a current behavior chart, locker tag, nameplate for their desk, a die-cut for the class bulletin board, and anything else from the classroom that would need to be labeled with the student’s name. This way when I found out I was getting a new student, I took everything out of the folder and put the new student’s name on it all. Then I would refill the folder with all the necessary items for another new student.
I would highly recommend this idea to any teacher. It will make your life so much easier!
We use Conscious Discipline in our classroom and love it! It is a fantastic way for us to aid in the social/emotional development of our kids and help them learn tools to self-regulate their emotions. If you are not familiar with Conscious Discipline and Dr. Becky Bailey, I highly recommend you check out their website.
One of the components of Conscious Discipline is the safe place. The safe place is an area for students to go to at any time to calm down, relax, regain control of their emotions, or just get away from the madness of the classroom for a few minutes. I have even had tired or sick students go into the safe place and take a short nap before. The last of our tips & tricks we want to offer you in this post is a way to create a safe place that is inviting for students, but also private.
Two years ago, Angie and I were blessed with the opportunity to go to a Conscious Discipline training led by Dr. Becky Bailey herself. This training was held at an early childhood center in Houston, TX. During the training we were able to visit some of the classrooms in the school to see how they set up their rooms to be Conscious Discipline friendly. Many teachers had their safe place under a counter or built-in shelving unit in their classroom.
As soon as we came back from the conference we rearranged our room to allow us to create a new safe place under a counter in our classroom. The safe place became a much more private space. The children are able to take care of their emotional needs without interference from the rest of the class.
Hopefully these tips & tricks have inspired you to try something new in your classroom next school year. If you have used a variation of any of the ideas we shared or have some tips & tricks of your own, leave us a comment. We would love to hear from you!
-Heather & Angie