There’s nothing worse than the feeling of losing control of your classroom. Whether it’s at church in the Children’s Ministry department or at school in the elementary classroom, classroom management is essential to a successful learning experience.
I’ve been doing some research on Whole Brain Learning, and while I’m not entirely sold on the concept, there are some key principles that I whole-heartedly embrace.
- A disorganized teacher breeds a chaotic classroom.
- You’ll either pay the price through preparation or pay the price with a chaotic classroom.
- The longer you talk, the most students you lose.
Basically, Whole Braining Teaching (or learning) advocates for serious preparation and keeping kids engaged so they will not be left to find their own entertainment. Whole Braining Teaching seems a little over the top to me (check out a video here), but fortunately, you don’t have to be that intense to have some great classroom management. Here are a few of my favorite methods when it comes to classroom management.
Songs and Rhymes
Songs are a great way to help kids remember the rules and get into a routine. I love a few of the songs found at Heidi Songs Youtube channel such as the “No Interupting” one found below or the “When the Bell Rings” video. If you think your kids are too old for these songs, just use the rhymes instead.
We use a simple “Hands and Eyes” call to action with the kids. Whenever I (the teacher) say “Hands and Eyes” the kids respond by putting their hands in their laps and directing their eyes towards me. It’s a great way to get some quick focus.
Engaging the Senses
Of course, getting attention of your students is only half the battle. Keeping their attention is also crucial. I’ve found that even the simplest visual aids (like a pile of sticks!) helps draw kids in and keep them involved in the lesson. While you’re preparing for your lesson, consider different learning styles and ways that you can engage all the senses whenever possible.
Sometimes, even when you’ve done a super job preparing and teaching kids expectations, they can lose focus. You’ll need a few “tried and true” ways to regain focus (and quick!). I mentioned the “Hands and Eyes” trick we use previously, and the “Give me 5” is also a popular method among teachers. Whatever method you decide to use, be sure to explain it and PRACTICE it with the kids before you need to use it in action.
10 More Resources to Check Out
Ready to learn more? Check out some of my favorite classroom management resources below!
- Classroom Management Tips for Children’s Ministry by Ron Brooks
- 7 Essential Classroom Routines or Procedures to Teach
- The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher (book)
- The Emergency Teacher: The Inspirational Story of a New Teacher in an Inner City School (book)
- Classroom Reward ideas (Pinterest Board)
- Management Monday Link-up – a huge collection from other teachers about how they manage their own classrooms Motivational Magic from Learning Adventures with Mrs. Gerlach
- Warning Cards (great way to warn without interruption)
- Classroom Management from Teach Preschool Blog Back to School Blog Hop — another huge collection of classroom ideas from teachers