Primary Classroom management (Step 1)

I finished the previous article with the phrase….

               “The basic requirement of behaviour management in your Class is organisation.”

and that’s where we start today.

Todays article gives you an initial step into creating an organised environment in your Classroom – its easy, simple and can be implemented at any time in the school year – so if you haven’t got this working and you think you would like to give it a try (which I recommend) then you can do this now.

Monitors

Appointing and using monitors in your classroom is the most basic and first step to “getting things organised”. But lets look beyond the “actual” physical fact of appointing monitors and judge it in the context of what we’re aiming for as a whole and then see this as the step towards that.

An organised class knows the expectations that exist in the classroom (as set by you), an organised class knows how to respect and treat others, an organised class knows how to behave in all or at least most situations, an organised class has the work ethic and an organised class knows who is “running the show”….that’s you.

Now I am sure if this was an academic piece we could waffle on for ages about the intricacies of the statement etc – but you get the general drift of what I am saying and gradually I will outline the various other steps and actions that you can take or supplement or modify to fit your own situation.

So from a practical point of view  lets look at monitors….here’s some things to think about –

  • Monitors hold a responsibility and so have a sense of trust from you (this is important to children they like this trust )
  • Monitors practically help in taking some of the mundane and time consuming tasks
  • Monitors in most cases need to work together and be organised
  • As a teacher you can discuss and ask monitors about their areas of responsibility and this gives the children involved a sense of value and worth …you would be surprised at how children grow just through a small responsibility like this
  • It is an opportunity to give the “not so obvious ” children a chance to step up. You know the ones…quiet, nervous the ones that need a confidence boost
  • Surprisingly it is also a chance to appoint the more poorly behaved children in class – integrate them into a monitor group with “better children” (that’s a poor description but you know what I mean) and see how they adapt to the role. It may be necessary to have a word with them every now and then but it gives an opportunity to talk about trust and respect and to give praise.

Appointing monitors is such a simple thing yet not only is it helpful to you and the class but the pupils as monitors develop as individuals and as a group which also spills over into all aspects of their school life.  Many times I have been asked by other classes “Could we borrow you Art Monitors to help set up our activity”…or ” Library monitors to tidy and sort our books ?

Monitors can be appointed right across the year groups…from Reception all the way to year 6. Naturally in Reception monitors may be working under the guidance of a Teaching Assistant but I am sure after a short time the guidance can be reduced to a watching  (and praising brief)

So what sort of opportunities can we have in class for monitors – I can only list the ones I used to use – you may have other specific jobs that you wish to have monitors for…its really up to you.

  • Book monitors. I used to have 4 for a normal size class (2 girls 2 boys) they handed out all the books and collected them in. Both written and text books
  • Library monitors (own class library shelves) – 2 children. They used to operate during Reading/library time and would keep the place tidy, books on the right shelves and help children with selections
  • Register monitors…really only needs 1 but you can attach a very nervous or shy child which can help
  • Art monitors – again 4 children. These can help set up the classroom, take out and collect equipment and wash up afterwards. Great help in Art
  • P.E monitors – I used to have 4 . They would go and collect P.E / sports equipment that was needed e.g tennis balls and bats and take back equipment after use.
  • Board Monitor / screen monitor – if it helps then appoint one. I used to write in felt pen on display screens ! (yes I know …) so they always needed cleaning afterwards – also if you still have white boards then this monitor can help.
  • Computer monitors – these can help set out and set up computers and laptops . Its an opportunity for children who are interested in this area and who enjoy tech!

And the list can go on…..appoint what you need is the general adage and no everybody on the class does not need a job ! Its not favouritism. Aim to switch monitors each term so most get a chance!

So there you have it….the first step in getting organised in your classroom. You will find monitors are a great help in what you are doing. Children like the responsibility and delegation and trust  are big confidence builders.

On your notice board make a list of the Monitors and their jobs so that everyone can see – it shows that the jobs and children are important and valued and its also a practical help for any other teachers who may take your class from time to time.

Well that’s the first step to organisation – I hope this helps or supplements things you may be already doing. Remember its not always major changes that cause the biggest impact – its the small changes that can have the most effect and lots of small changes add up to a bigger picture.

Charles

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