15 August 2016

14 Tips to Help Save Your Sanity in the Classroom

Welcome to the VERY LAST STOP on the blog hop. I feel honored! If you stayed this long, you deserve to win something for sure!!!

The beginning of the school year is the time to set routines, teach clear procedures, and organize things so that you don't go absolutely BONKERS by the end of the first month. I like this quote.

August and September are crazy enough, so remembering to keep yourself, the classroom, AND most importantly- the kids on top of things is the best sure fire way to help everything run smoothly.
I've done some research (mostly on Pinterest, my best friend). Here are the best tips I could find to help you not look like this after your first day.

Setting Routines and Procedures

Everyone needs a break after a long, intensive lesson. Let the kids have a few minutes to have fun and relax. Join in with them! Use this cute idea from The Happy Teacher for Brain Breaks. She gives plenty of ideas of things to do and breaks them down in case you don't know what they are. 

I love using task cards in the classroom and when I don't feel like creating my own I go to Rachel Lynette on TpT. She has almost every imaginable topic covered with task cards. Here's her set for teaching classroom procedures. 

Teaching procedures can be a bit of a drag for both you and the students, but the Pinspired Teacher came up with a really cute idea of a way to jazz it up a bit. Go over and check out her "game" that she created to help practice important procedures. 

Many teachers in elementary classrooms use little chants or sayings to gain students' attention. This cute collection of attention grabbers is a good reminder of a few oldies and some different ones that I haven't heard. Check out Mrs. Heeran's Happenings for more ideas!

I love this freebie from Tamara Russell on TpT. It covers 127 (!!!) Classroom Management Questions. No wonder teachers feel completely overwhelmed at the beginning of the year!

Managing Students

Here's a cool alternative to keep students engaged during a lesson when you want to call on them. Instead of using the typical sticks with names on it use this app called Decide Now. Tonya's Treats for Teachers even used it to decide on a classroom reward. Awesome idea and it's FREE!!

A lot of the times when students are working in centers, I will be working with a group of students as well. I've used this idea before, and I think it's a great way to minimize distractions. Teach your students different hand signals to show that they need something. Ashley from One Sharp Bunch has posters available to put up in your room to use as reminders of the signals. I'm so using this one! 

Managing students' desks is a big issue. Here's a great layout that is well thought out from Hannah at The Classroom Key.

Classroom chatter is probably the biggest issue for classroom management. Students should be talking in your classroom, of course about what they are meant to be talking about, but it should also be regulated. Jen Jones from Hello Literacy wrote a blog post about a cute website called Bouncy Balls. The balls or eyeballs bounce more as the noise increases. I'm not sure if it makes a noise once it gets to a certain level (I hope it does), but I have found that these types of visual reminders are great so that you don't have to keep interrupting with reminders to quiet down.

Another idea (which is nothing new) for student behavior is to reward positive behavior instead of always punishing negative behaviors. Hello Educational Psychology 101! The problem is sometimes it can be a pain to come up with fun reinforcers that don't include food. Beth from Adventures of a Schoolmarm has a great blog post about the rewards she uses and how she does so. This is going to be in my classroom this year!


Here's a genius way to use cheap containers to organize base 10 blocks. Thanks to Janaye from Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes for the idea! She mentions she got them from the Dollar Tree. (Excuse me while I go to the nearest one!)

Do you have students who often forget their backpack or are boggled down with too much to carry? Keep an emptied out wipes container next to the door on the wall filled with plastic bags. Thanks to Allie at Scholastic.com for this idea! 

This isn't much of an organizational tip as it is a classroom decoration idea, but I just had to include it because it's so cute! Marsha from Differentiated Kindergarten made this cute DIY table skirt to hide things under her table. How adorbs! This would be cute too as curtains or just a border somewhere in your room. 

I could post about 30 pictures for this next part from Stephany at Primary Possibilities, but I'll pick one that I am going to be using for sure. She did a whole post about things to get at IKEA for your classroom. Sadly, my closest one is about 1 1/2 hours away, but I look forward to a trip there every now and again. I'm going to be on the look out for these to use for station directions. How cute!

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