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5 Elements of an Effective Classroom Management Plan

teacher implementing classroom management plan

Does your classroom sometimes feel as if it's slipping out of your control? Do you feel overwhelmed by student behavior? Managing a classroom effectively is not easy, but there are simple steps you can take to get things under control. Listen in as Linda shares the five parts of an effective classroom management plan.

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Why Make a PLan?

Making a classroom management plan is a very necessary step for you to succeed and to be able to reduce disruptions in your classroom. If you are a teacher who doesn't struggle with classroom management, you may not need a plan. Still, a plan can help us communicate expectations to students.

What happens if we don't know what we're going to do when problems arise? We are inconsistent, or we just don't deal with the problem at all. 

When we're not consistent, things really do fall apart. Students naturally push boundaries. They're going to try to figure out where they are. And so if we're not keeping that line clear, if we're really inconsistent on where we draw the line, they're going to keep pushing and pushing and pushing those lines way past where we want them to be.

We can get to the point very quickly where there are so many interruptions and disruptions I can hardly get through my lesson. And anytime I try to do something remotely fun, it's just chaos, right?

"When we're inconsistent, students can sese our uncertainty. It's like a beacon saying, "I don't know what I'm doing." white words on a green background

When we're inconsistent, students can sense our uncertainty. It's like a beacon saying, I don't know what I'm doing. You can get away with more stuff. Not the beacon we want to put out, right? So students then do more and it gets worse.

A written plan is the first step toward consistency, confidence, and clear boundaries. It will help you identify places where your expectations and intentions are not clear. It is a way of loving your students. So how can you get started making a classroom management plan?

1. Clear Expectations

In this step, you need to go through and define where exactly the line of expectation is. What behavior is and isn't acceptable? Sometimes we skip this and think we know what we want to expect, but do we really? When a kid puts their head down on their desk and is that okay? Do we allow them to? Do we make them sit up? If we have to ask, we haven't thought this through. And that's something super, super small, but there's about a hundred of those things in your classroom, right? 

If we haven't thought where we will draw the line, then we're not going to be confident in dealing with it, because we don't even know if it's okay or not. This is the place to pick your battles. Even things like talking — is the expectation really not talking at all? Well, probably not. You might want them to be allowed to talk here and not there. So many teachers want them to be able to have some lively conversations, but then it gets crazy and out of hand. 

So what is ideal? Some teachers clarify the boundaries for talking with talking levels. This is a time when open discussion is allowed. This is a time when everyone needs to listen. This is a time when quiet discussion is allowed. You need to get concrete and specific about what it looks like.

While picking your battles, you also want to guard against lowering your expectations. If we continue to lower our expectations rather than sticking to them, we won’t solve the problems or help our students. When we lower the bar, the kids that weren't meeting the bar still don’t meet the lowered bar.  There will always be students who push past the boundary no matter where you set it. Keep the bar high high, but be reasonable. 

2. Smart Procedures

It's really important to have procedures that reduce chaos and keep things running smoothly. And it is equally important to teach and to hold students to procedures. But when you're making your classroom management plan, you're just basically thinking through procedures. If you're a new teacher, you have to think through every single thing you're doing in your class. Our courses provide a guide that helps you think through all these different areas. If you're new, you've got to think through literally everything from the moment students walk in, everything you do. You need to think through: What is the best way to do this? What is the most organized way to do this that can eliminate problems and reduce issues?

If you are not a new teacher, you already have a lot of procedures. What I recommend for you is to stop and think: What areas were chaotic? Where was the chaos? And those are the procedures that you want to go back and ask, "Okay, how can we tweak these? What can I do instead to make it run more smoothly?"

3. Positive Reinforcement

We want to plan ways to encourage our students and motivate good behavior. And most of you are probably already doing that. You're already finding ways to encourage your students and motivate them. It is important not to neglect this in our written classroom management plan because it can sometimes fall through the cracks when things get busy and a lot is going on.

There are many ways to do this. You can have a formal behavior or reward system. Some teachers love having a huge class economy. But it also can be as simple as just encouraging our students, sending positive notes home. Think it through: What are the ways I'm going to encourage? What are the ways I'm going to reward? Check out this podcast episode about classroom rewards to get ideas. 

Basically think through: What kind of rewards do I want to us? Do I want to use rewards? And then if I don't want to use a reward system, am I going to use rewards spontaneously? Or am I just going to use encouragement? 

4. Logical Consequences

Consequences are an important piece of your classroom management plan, although it is still just one piece. It's not the entire plan, but it is important to have them. Consequences are a natural part of life. It's important not to artificially remove them from our classroom. We’ve talked about why consequences are biblical in this episode of the podcast:

So with the consequences part of the plan, you are starting with your school's discipline system looking at whether or not there are consequences in your school's discipline system. We want to make sure we are following that. And then you can ask yourself what is missing. 

For example, a school might have detentions, but they are a big deal. We don’t want to give a detention if a student's talking in class. That doesn’t make sense. 

So we need to think through what are some consequences we could use in our classrooms that fall short of the detention? It's about thinking through what consequences make sense, what consequences would fit for me and my classroom and fit the culture of my school. We have a consequence list here, and in our courses, you can get help with developing good, reasonable consequences.

5. Planned Responses

Step five is where everything comes together. This is where you plan your actual responses. You actually think through what you are going to say and do when students are disruptive or misbehaving. If you take one of our courses linked below, we have a list of all these common scenarios. What are you going to do? Students are blurting out answers. Students are talking. Students are rude. All the common scenarios.

You want to think through each one of those and ask, “What am I going to do for all of these different scenarios?” Then you write it down. You will have so much more clarity walking into your classroom with a list of all the common issues and what you will do in response. That will give you confidence and a more smoothly run classroom.

NEXT STEPS

It is an investment of time to put together a classroom management plan, but you're going to be so, so glad you did it. Especially if classroom management and disruptions have been any part of the challenge in your classroom.

We have two courses that can help you get started or sharpen your classroom management skills. In both of these programs, we help you write your classroom management plan. We provide copy and paste templates, idea banks, and quick training.

We'll give you all of our advice on a topic and then the tools that you need to take it and make it your own. That way you are not starting from scratch. 

your smooth running class

Weekly Lessons + Mentor Support to Minimize Disruptions & Create a Calm Classroom

In this 4 week summer course we will  meet to:

Your Smooth-Running Class
  • Clarify your expectations to create a classroom environment where students are respectful and focused.
  • Plan effective & efficient procedures to make every area of class run smoothly - including transitions, start-of-class, and other trouble spots.
  • Confidently address misbehavior and know how to keep it from getting out of control.
  • Start the year right so you can quickly earn - and keep - your students' respect.
  • PLUS - It's tailor-made for YOU and YOUR students, and flexible enough to be easily adjusted if something's not working.
  • This 4 week course begins July 8th and includes optional collaborative, live work days.

Classroom Management 101

In CM101, you'll implement a classroom management plan that works so you can stop being frustrated by student misbehavior & actually enjoy teaching again!

Whether you're just starting out or looking for a tune up...

Classroom Management 101 will walk you through every step of the process with ideas and tips to make a classroom management plan that works for you!

This course is at-your-own-pace. 

heRZOG FOUNDATIoN

The Herzog Foundation exists to catalyze and accelerate the development of quality Christ-centered K-12 education so that families and culture flourish. Their award-winning, online news publication “The Lion” is a must-read for families and teachers everywhere. The Lion carries timely, critical, and trustworthy articles about everything happening in the realm of education. But The Lion aspects of education, parenting, family life, faith, and government. The Lion provides Daily and Weekly email newsletters, so you never miss an article.

Just like its namesake, 'The Lion' embodies strength and courage, offering a beacon of hope in a landscape where too many falter, surrendering their children's education to ideologies of the left. Don’t miss the latest in education and cultural news at Read Lion.

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