I had great behavior management in the beginning of the year. My students were on task and really worked hard to impress me. Lately, things have started to slip. Once I set expectations, I find myself continually redirecting students and asking for their eyes to be on me, their pencils to be down, etc. What are some strategies that I can use to get my students back on track?
Dear Former Honeymooner,
October can be a LOOOOOOOOOONG month for teachers. There are some definite pros in October. Just to name a few…Pumpkin spice lattes are back at Starbucks, the weather is below 100 degrees for the first time in 4 months, and students are starting to feel more and more comfortable with you and in your class. Yay! Unfortunately, sometimes students get too comfortable in your class. Students may choose this month to start to “toe the line” and see just how far they can push your expectations and your patience. As a principal said to me yesterday, “The honeymoon period is over.” Does that sound familiar? If this is the case for you, check out several strategies below to use in your classroom and regain the title of Instructional Leader extraordinaire!
Whenever you are dealing with minor misbehaviors in your class, you always want to use the least invasive measure to redirect students first, and then move on from there. The strategies below start with the least invasive and then move to the more direct, redirection strategies.
- Nonverbal Redirection
When possible, use a nonverbal redirection with students first. By doing this you save your voice for instruction, and you let students know your expectations without having to stop the flow of the lesson. For example, let’s say that students are answering questions during the Guided Practice portion, and you call on David to answer a question. As David begins speaking, there are 4 students who still have their hands in the air and some who are waving their hands wildly. Rather than stopping David and announcing, “Right now David is speaking and I need all hands to be down,” simply motion to students to put their hands down.
Other nonverbal redirections:
Modeling straight posture when you want students to SLANT
Hand-to-ear when you want students to speak up
Finger to lips to indicate silence
Hand in the air to remind students to raise their hands
- Positive Group Reinforcement
Give students who are not meeting your expectations a chance to self-correct by “shouting out” other students who are clearly meeting your expectations. As you give the positive reinforcement, look at the students who are not meeting expectations. If Ashley is doing a great job tracking the speaker already, she does not need your eye contact to continue this behavior. The students who are not tracking the speaker need to hear what you are saying (a positive reinforcement) while realizing that you are telling them what they need to be doing.
- Anonymous Redirection
If students do not respond to the positive reinforcement, redirect specific behaviors without using specific names. This will give students an opportunity to correct their behavior while still maintaining their anonymity. This is also a great strategy to use with students who tend to shut down when their name is called.
Anonymous Redirection Examples:
“All pencils are down. I am waiting on 2 pencils to be down. 1 pencil. Great, let’s move on.”
“Voices are off in 3, 2, 1. Table 6, voices are off.”
When dealing with student pushback in October, make sure that you continue to set clear expectations for your class, and hold ALL students accountable for meeting those expectations. Try these three noninvasive strategies in your classroom to enhance your assertive authority.
What nonverbal redirections do you have success with in your classroom?
What questions or concerns do you have about managing your class in October?
Post your questions here, or on our facebook page!