Last week, we analyzed. This week, we revise. There are so many small changes that can make a world of difference in your classroom. I know I have been guilty of doing what I always do…and getting the same results. However, when I finally wised up and started making small changes, my classroom took on a different feel.
- Focus on Strengths and Interests – As you analyzed your lessons, you might have noticed a few things about your class. Maybe they rocked hands-on lessons…or short lessons…or lessons with music. Whatever it may be, now is the time to do a little research to incorporate it into your plans a little more. Consider your friends who have challenging behaviors. During which types of lessons do they thrive? You can avoid a lot of trouble if you can build in more opportunities for success.
- Consider Alternative Seating Arrangements – Maybe you’ve done groups forever…because you’ve always done groups. However, if your students are struggling to behave, then they are giving you a clear message. Try pairs or groups of three desks together. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your seating. You can always go back to groups later when you know they are ready.
- Build in More Structure and Routine – When kids know what to expect, they are better equipped to do it. It also makes it easier for you to hold them accountable because the routine is set. This needs to start from the moment they walk in the door. Having a structured, purposeful start to your day can make a world of difference. For my first few years of teaching, I was guilty of letting the kids come in and work on less-than-purposeful tasks for the first few minutes of our day until the bell rang. Now I use a spiraled math morning work, and it has made a world of difference. Since every day begins the same way, the kids know what to do. It also keeps the room calm and quiet and helps me cover all those math standards that seem almost impossible to get to otherwise. This small change has led to a smoother day in my room and has resulted in nearly 100% of my students passing the state math tests for the last three years.