Starting out in the classroom can be daunting for many, this post aims to give tips and strategies for teachers starting out to help work towards good behaviour or keeping good pace within lessons. Of course a wide variety of strategies are needed, and there are many more to those listed here but my biggest discovery was positive reinforcement, praising those doing well or behaviour appropriately.
This idea was introduced to me when I was a NQT. Pupils are rewarded with a raffle ticket for whatever you need them to be encouraged to do; whether it be academic or behavioural praise. I found that the sooner I could give some praise the easier behaviour management became to manage. At the end of the lesson the raffle is drawn (get a pupil to help prepare the raffle), pupils can be rewarded with a school house point, a merit, a sticker or even a funky rubber.
When I was an NQT I learnt quickly to save and look after my voice, so I developed a number of quiet signals that I used depending on the class.
Quiet Corner- I designated a corner of the classroom and when I stood there pupils had to be quiet. If you don’t have a corner grab a bright coloured mat, call it the quiet spot.
Sound Monitor- Easily made using red, orange and green paper mounted to the wall to make a dial from red to green. A pupil is in charge of monitoring the noise level, by moving the arrow from the green (quiet) to red (too noisy). For those on a less restricted budget you can now buy an electronic version in the form of traffic lights from PTS here.
Hand Signals- Start from day one and the oldest of pupils I have found still respond to this. When you need pupils to listen, hold your hand up. I found it helps if I thank those that respond by holding their hand up, reinforcing this behaviour has many quickly following. If there is a delay start counting down and lowering your arm to the floor; OK now and then you have to put a half and a quarter in there but pupils get the message.
Again designed to save your voice. Wear any hat that grabs pupils attention, when you wear the hat pupils must get their homework planners out to write their homework in, hand their homework in. If not a hat some crazy sunglasses, the crazier the better.
I adapted this idea and instead I honk an old fashioned bike horn, aptly named the homework horn by my students. These are available from Hawkin’s Bizarre here.
Giving pupils a clear time frame for tasks helps to maintain pace and purpose with each activities so where suitable I use these timers. This online stopwatch is easy to use and has a full screen option to display on the interactive whiteboard. Check out the classroom timers on the above link, my favourite the bomb timer for instilling urgency into team games and group work.
So we indulge in some extrinsic motivation from time to time but that does not mean we hand out sweets/candy. Instead we reward pupils with mini puzzles and my favourite the rubics keyrings (available here). Or get some personalised stickers or stampers available in many places such as the Primary Teaching Site here, my favourite are the cola scented stickers here.