Organizing Your Class for Success

I’m currently placed in a Head Start program where I have been learning a lot about what to do, and what not to do with a classroom full of 4-year-olds.  So far, it’s been a bumpy ride, as I have had several different teachers in-and-out of my placement classroom since I started a month ago… Seven to be exact.  With that being said, it’s super hard to pinpoint which management strategies work for these kiddos, but it also means that I have seen a million and one strategies used since all teachers are different.

How do we know what strategies to use, when to use them, and if they’ll be effective?  Really, it’s all about experimentation and your own preferences.  Some teachers can sit quietly and wait for their class to manage themselves, others may need an extra set of vocals to calm a group of children.  It all depends on your situation and your teaching style, but there will always be a strategy out there that will work for you.  Of course, each child is different as well, and combining all of these different children in one room will call for the use of different strategies.  Some kids may only need redirection, others will need a 1-on-1 time if they cannot control their outbursts themselves.

One article that I found to be extremely helpful is “20 Classroom Management Strategies and Techniques” written by Marcus Guido, which you can access here.  In this article, Guido outlines a good amount of techniques that you can experiment with.  They’re all research-backed strategies, and my favorite part is that they are all positive!  Not one of the strategies that are mentioned involves punishment or exclusion, so I think the majority of these could give successful results.  Guido also included a downloadable list available to print as well so you can keep these strategies with you right at your desk!  Very cool.

A second article I found to be interesting is “7 Classroom Management Techniques That Really Work” written by the WeAreTeachers Staff which you can access here.  In this article, there are seven straight-forward answers to the question of “Will these strategies be effective?”.  I believe these are solid tips since the article itself was published by a staff of educators.  Unless they are out to sabotage all teachers seeking help, these tips are legitimate!  Like the first article mentioned, this one also outlines positivity, building relationships, consistency, and more.

As a bonus, I also came across this PDF file, which is super helpful, it’s just a lot to read.  However, it does outline considerations for research to practice techniques, which is perfect!  The practices were grouped into five categories: (a) physical arrangement of the classroom, (b) structure of the classroom environment, (c) instructional management, (d) procedures designed to increase appropriate behavior, and (e) procedures designed to decrease inappropriate behavior.  I find this paper useful because it outlines techniques that not many people think of as being effective, like the placement of the kid’s tables/desks.

Overall, these three articles project very useful tips and tricks on how to implement certain techniques in your classroom.  It is up to you as the teacher to know when to use them, because, besides their parents, you are the one who knows your students the best.  This also means you must be prepared to accommodate these strategies to fit your own needs and teaching style.  Remember, classroom management doesn’t mean that the children need to be punished, but that they may need more of a set structure in order to fulfill their needs as a student.

Here are a few short videos that demonstrate some techniques as well: