One of the biggest fears that I had when I first started teaching was classroom management. Even worse – I had accepted a position as a fifth grade teacher, and fifth graders kind of scared me!
I spent that entire summer before my first year trying to research various classroom management strategies. This was before Pinterest, so I actually searched through books! 🙂 One of the books that I happened to pick up was Ron Clark’s book, The Essential 55. The booked hooked me in after the first few pages, as he is quite hilarious.
- Requiring students to say “yes, sir” or “yes, ma’am.”
- Never asking for rewards.
- Saying thank you within three seconds of being given something.
How to Use “Life Lessons” in Your Classroom
- At the beginning of the year, I focus on one “Life Lesson” a day. This gives us an opportunity to have a deep conversation about each one and helps students remember them. Besides, students are still in the “pleasing the teacher” mode at the beginning of the year, so they will try hard with them!
- All students have to write about each lesson, what it means to them, and why it is important.
- You have to PRACTICE them! Get your students up and moving, and have them practice holding the door for one another! The more practice they get, the more meaning they will have.
- Refer to them often, and refer to them throughout the whole year.
- Praise kids when you see them following these lessons (when they think you are not looking).
- Have a time each week (it only takes a few minutes) where students acknowledge other classmates for great citizenship. THIS is probably more meaningful than anything else.
- Integrate them into your curriculum!
- Write simple, compound, or complex sentences using the lessons.
- Write persuasive paragraphs convincing you of the most important “Life Lesson.”
- Refer to them throughout your social studies curriculum as you talk about historical leaders.