Struggling to find a philosophy for classroom management? You’re not alone! It takes many teachers years to find a classroom management philosophy that really feels right for them.
But don’t worry, I’m here to help you skip some of that hard work and get right to the good stuff – that feeling of calm control and positive connections that we teachers dream of.
That’s why today I’m sharing with you my very favorite philosophy of classroom management!
Which Classroom Management Philosophy Is Right For You?
Navigating classroom management styles and techniques has probably been one of my biggest struggles as a teacher. But it’s also the area where I have grown the most.
There are so many opinions and experts out there that will give you advice on their theory of classroom management or the classroom management philosophy. But for me, it was something I had to try out and adapt for myself.
What I found the most helpful were practical classroom management tips that I could use right away and see if I liked them. These helped lead me to eventually form my own style of classroom management that felt right to me.
So, don’t worry, I will definitely be leaving you with something that is simple enough to try out tomorrow, but effective enough to help you get results with your classroom management right away. Sound good?
Okay, here’s the secret…
My Philosophy For Classroom Management
If I could sum up my classroom management strategy in one sentence it would be:
Put more energy into noticing the positive things happening in your classroom than the negative things.
When I make a conscious effort to actively notice students making good choices and following directions, everything improves. I feel happier, and my students feel more motivated to follow the rules.
It’s amazing the difference this simple mindset shift can make.
Whenever I see some students misbehaving, the first thing I’ll do is point out all the students around them who are doing the right thing. I’ll say things like, “Wow, thank you Amanda for having your eyes up here and ready to start.” or “I see Kai has his hands to himself right now. What amazing self-control!” or “I love the way Maria stopped talking to her neighbor and looked up here. Thank you so much!”
And guess what? Usually the kids who weren’t listening before, start listening! Its true. Which then gives me the chance to say “Wow, Anthony just stopped talking and gave me his attention. That was such a helpful choice.” or “I love how you stopped touching your neighbor Ava – you look totally ready to start math – way to go!”
These types of affirmations helped my students see that the best way to get my attention and energy was to follow the rules. And they saw that I was always ready to notice them and praise them when they corrected behavior.
5 Affirmation Strategies To Try
If you’re thinking you’d like to give this philosophy for classroom management a try, but you’re not quite sure where to start, here are some super practical things you can do in your classroom. (Because you know I’m all about giving you practical solutions you can try out right away!)
1. Student Shout-Outs
I love having a time of day when I can shower my students with praise and share all the wonderful things I’ve seen them doing. I build this in so it’s part of our schedule every day. It’s also fun to let students give shout-outs to each other and share when they noticed a classmate being especially kind or focused.
2. WOW Word Wall
One way we give shout-outs in my class is using our WOW Word Wall. When I want to share how a student was being awesome, I attach one of our WOW words to the compliment. I might say, “I noticed that you did your math even though you were feeling really tired today. That’s being so perseverant!” Then that student gets to choose one of our butterflies to go up next to that word. Pretty soon, our board is covered with butterflies! (I like to keep a list of the kids that have received a compliment each day, so I can make sure everyone gets at least one every week.)
This WOW Word Bulletin Board Display is available here.
3. Letters to a Friend
Having a mailbox system in your classroom can be a fun way that students can leave affirmation notes for each other. It’s always good to set up some ground rules if you decide to implement this plan.
4. Desk Notes
For students who might not like a public sharing of their good deeds, leaving notes at students’ desks can be a fun but discreet way to share what you noticed.
5. Notes Home
It can be so meaningful for families and students to receive a positive note home from school! Some families dread any news from school, so it’s extra nice to be able to share something great with them about their child. You could do this with a short and sweet email, sharing a story or something awesome the student did that day. Or you could write a little note and send it home with homework or other paperwork going home that day. If this is something you’d like to try, but it feels overwhelming, try setting aside time once a week to do just 5 students a time.
Classroom Management Techniques
Whatever classroom management philosophy you decide is best for you, know that focusing on the positive will only make your classroom a happier place. It helps lift your mood, and it also helps boost student motivation. I hope there’s at least one idea here that you feel like you can try out with your students – and see what happens!
Which one are you excited to try with your students? Let me know in the comments! xoxo Laura
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