Concerned about chaos? You’re not alone. Classroom management is a common issue for teachers at all levels. Your personal teaching style — as well as your grade level and content area — will help you determine which methods work best to keep your classroom running smoothly. Consider the following four ways to foster a more manageable learning environment.

Establish classroom procedures — and stick to them.

Students learn best when they feel comfortable and safe. Predictability will foster a sense of security when students enter your classroom. Consider allowing students to provide input on rules and procedures, so they feel a sense of ownership for what goes on around them.

Provide time to process information.

Consider this equation: For each grade level, students stay focused for about one minute. This means that 7th graders will likely stay “tuned in” for about seven minutes. Whenever possible, break information and tasks into segments that fit the appropriate time frame for the grade level.

Post a schedule.

On a whiteboard or flipchart, create a “Today We Will” list. Include times and activities. For younger students, you might create two lists: one for morning, and one for afternoon. Older students benefit from this information as well, even if your class lasts less than an hour. A schedule will also help you maintain the flow of your lesson plan, as long as you can see it from anywhere in the room.

Keep moving.

A simple deterrent to off-task behavior is your physical presence. As students work, circulate around the classroom. If students have strayed from the work at hand, your proximity may be enough to help them return to it. If it isn’t, a gentle reminder will often do the trick.

These ideas were suggested by Wanda M. Reynolds, Debra

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