I have an approach that I have used for seven or more years...it works great with middle school students, it might work in elementary setting if students are moving from one teacher to another through out the day.
Basic principles are:
Show the students that you care. Greet them every day as they enter your room, ask them questions about their interests, be sincere. The students that seem to be on the at risk and possible problems need the most attention. Students need to know you care about them before they will care enough to do what you ask them to.
Have clear and fair rules focused on learning and a respectful atmosphere.
Proximity, get out from behind your desk and be with the students.
Be fair with your consequences....even though circumstances vary, all student receive the same consequence. Students need to see that you are fair and just to all your students.
Act on misbehaviors when they occur calmly, direct your attention to the incorrect behavior not the student when informing them they have a consequence for their misbehavior. "Please do not talk when I am talking, you owe me 5 seconds."
The consequence is a 5 second detention made at the end of the class. They stay after in their seats when the other students leave. After the last of the class leaves I simply look at my watch calmly count out 5 sec. and dismiss the student. A student could end up owing 10 or 15 seconds if they needed to be corrected more then once in a class period but students rarely get more than 15 seconds.
Why does the 5 second detention work so well: Middle school students are social, they want to be out in the hall with their friends, this is a real consequence and fairly immediate. Because it does not cost you the teacher much, as compared to after school detention (stay after with them, calling parents, dealing with skipped detentions etc.) you are more willing to act upon minor behaviors thus preventing more serious behaviors later. Students rarely argue about 5 seconds. Behavior correction rarely escalates.
When addressing misconduct the teacher simply and calmly says "You are talking, you owe me 5 seconds" or "you are not working, you owe 5 seconds". After awhile you can give the detention from across the room. If a student is talking out of turn, I get the students looking at me, I put one finger on my lips and then hold up 5 fingers, they no what that means.
Students do know that extreme behavior, as in a fighting, results in extreme consequences as in class removal, parent phone call etc. But for day to day classroom behavior this system works great.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Judy Decker [SMTP:email@example.com]
> Sent: Monday, August 18, 2003 12:45 PM
> To: ArtsEdNet Talk
> Subject: classroom management- talkative class - middle school (long but good!)