Category Archives: Behaviour

A simple classroom management approach for a “young class.”

Classroom management strategies and behaviour management strategies run hand in hand across every aspect of your classroom and teaching. Together they form the foundations of everything you do.

We have looked at the principals behind both classroom management and behaviour management and then extended this to build, apply and implement our own working systems.

All classes are different – 

One size does not fit all – by that I mean that because you have successfully used a particular system with one class then it will follow that the same system will work for another.

However, the basic format and approach CAN be used – in other words YES you can start out by applying the same system you have used before but you should be prepared to modify and change this as the needs of your class require.

So why do I say this?

I was in a school recently and a member of staff came to me with a problem. She wasn’t having behavioural problems as such but had a class that were both chatty and very slow to settle when asked.

By combining her behaviour and classroom management strategies she had introduced a system that noted how long the class took to settle when asked and deducted this time from their playtimes or  lunchtimes. It was a system she had used with a previous class and the stopwatch was displayed on the interactive board.

The problem that she was having was with this year group it didn’t seem to be as effective and the class was having to stay in quite a lot!

Looking at the problem

If you have read my article on Chatty classes then you will see that this method is one (among many ) that I recommend as a good approach and in fact it was one that this colleague had used well in the past. So why wasn’t it working so well this time and how could we modify things to make it effective?

On investigation the teacher began to realise that it seemed to be the same children who were not settling or becoming quiet when asked – this of course means that in starting the stopwatch the rest of the class was, in effect, having to miss time BECAUSE of these individuals.

It also came to light (it was a Y3 class) that the class had a disrupted year last year with 3 teachers across the academic year….meaning 3 different approaches to teaching, expectations and of course discipline!

Basically …they were a YOUNG CLASS!

So what did we change?

There were 2 things that we had to consider…

  1. The stopwatch approach wasn’t working so we needed different
  2. We wanted to avoid the whole class being caught in the attitude of the few who were dragging their feet.

This is what we did

Having recognised that the class had a disrupted Y2 we decided to move back to a practical and visual  approach when the class were asked to settle or become quiet.

We used the simple technique of

  1. Asking for quiet
  2. Teacher putting their hands on their head – the children copy….5 seconds
  3. Teacher (without speaking) put their hands on their shoulders …5 seconds
  4. Teacher (without speaking) puts their hands down and the children either put their hands on their laps or on the desk.
  5. At this point…the whole class should be quiet (and the majority will be)
  6. However – This now allows the teacher to identify those children who are still talking or not settling down…in other words we have shifted the emphasis from a whole class to individuals.
  7. Any child not sitting quietly is now told to “stand up” – these can then be told that they have not listened or done what is expected and their names are then moved onto the behaviour management system or names / ticks etc on the board.

As you can now see the teacher has now moved to a visual and interactive stimulus for quieting the class. Even if some children do not hear the teacher ask for quiet they will see what is happening around them and know what it means. The approach also takes the stopwatch timing away from the whole  class and lands on the individuals concerned who as we have said previously “take responsibility for their own actions”

Conclusion.This was our solution to the problem that this colleague was experiencing. The basics of her approach were right but just needed modifying to suit the needs of that particular class. Once this was introduced the problem soon went away and things settled down nicely.

[This illustrates a very basic routine of movements that many of the children will already know. The actions are, of course, simply a 3 part visual system that involves the children and you could alter or change these as you wish. ]

Hope this may be of help – as it surfaced recently I thought I would pass it on.


The behaviour of your class at playtimes and lunchtimes.

Now this may not be a problem with your class – but for other colleagues it may well be.

It can be one or two individuals or groups or even the whole class that seemingly cannot just go out to play at break or lunchtime without causing problems.

You may say “there are staff on duty who can deal with things,” and yes that’s correct, but only to a point. So where does the problem lie and just who needs to sort things out?

For the majority of the time the staff on duty are more than capable of dealing with everything that happens when the children are outside. Small arguments, accidents and even minor mediation are all dealt with quickly and easily and the majority end there. If there is anything that needs to be passed on to you as the class teacher then they will pop into your classroom after the break or catch you as the children line up.

But let’s just say for arguments sake that your class has a few “characters” in it, that can potentially cause some upset if given the chance….I think that’s a polite way of putting it – don’t you? Through your classroom management and behaviour management strategies their behaviour in class if fine and a gentle reminder every now and then keeps them in line. That’s how it works – both sides (you and the child / children) know and understand the status quo and at the end of the day they know who’s running the show!

Once outside, certain children have the potential to cause problems for the staff on duty – some more regularly than others. So what can be done and just how far do we, as class teachers, have to be involved?

It really does depend on 2 things:

  • The use of standard playground measures….talking to children or perhaps standing next to the adult or a wall for a set amount of time.
  • The schools behaviour policy and whether it can or should be used by colleagues for all children in certain circumstances – in other words can another member of staff dictate that playtime (or some such sanction) is missed by a child  from your class?

In most Primary schools there will exist a school behaviour policy – whether this is active and working well really depends on the school. In most cases (but not all)  the behaviour policy is an over arching statement that brings together the principles of behaviour expectations but does not go into individual class interpretations.  So in reality we have each class making their own interpretations of the policy but under the umbrellas of the main school statements.

The right and wrong approach:

It is absolutely right and correct that any member of staff at a school can deal with a problem of behaviour or situation that they may encounter during the school day. It is also correct that this should apply to any pupil within the school. So for example if a child from another class is running down the corridor then I would expect any teacher to stop the child and speak to them. Likewise if a problem occurs in the dining hall or playground then I would reasonably expect a member of staff (and that includes T.A’s) to deal with the problem and if necessary report it to the class teacher.

(Of course for serious situations the reporting level can move immediately to senior management level.)

In the course of events, most problems can be dealt with easily and without recourse to the class teacher. However for persistent offenders(I sound like the hanging judge here!) or a more serious incident then the matter will be reported to the class teacher who can deal with the matter.

The wrong approach (in my opinion):

I say this as it always used to annoy me slightly when this happened.

When something has happened outside and the colleague has dealt with the matter but has imposed a sanction on the child and then tells me about it. The thing that used to annoy me was when the sanction involved me! So I would be told ” Peter was behaving badly at lunchtime today so I told him he  can miss 10 minutes of tomorrows lunchtime!”….hang on who is going to have to supervise this – I have just been committed to keeping Peter in for an incident I have not seen or judged – or, as another example, when the punishment is way over the top for the incident and then I am being expected to enforce it!

We used to have a music specialist who came into school – my class at the time were quite a good class but would always mess about when he arrived. His problem was that he had no idea about class control but would throw sanctions out like confetti. At the end of the lesson I would be committed to keeping in 7 or 8 children because of his useless class control. In the end I gave up and took some work into the class and sat at the back to “ride shotgun!”

(I put this in as a tribute to all music specialists and no this is not one of his lessons!)

Working together:

The person who knows your class best is you – you have a special relationship with all members of your class and all pupils know and understand the levels of expectation that you have set for both work and behaviour. In order for these expectations to extend beyond the classroom you have to work effectively with all colleague’s in the school. The way in which you work can be different for each and every one of them and only you will know what works for both you and them. For some colleagues you will know that you are happy for them to place a sanction on a pupil for something that has happened. You know this is ok because you know both the experience and approach of that person and they, in turn, know how things operate in your class and also your expectations. For others it is perhaps best to ask them to report to you any misdemeanours that may occur …either immediately or following the break. In these cases let the member of staff know that the matter will be dealt with (and I always informed them as to what I had imposed) and to thank them for bringing it to your attention.

Ultimately the responsibility for the behaviour of your class is down to you – whether this is in the classroom or during playtimes, lunchtimes or even with supply teachers. Children should see staff at school as working together and learn to respect all staff in whatever interactions may occur. It is up to you as the class teacher to make sure that happens for your class and that you are seen to support colleagues at all times – in this way the school and staff present a united  front to both pupils and parents and that’s the way it should be.







Classroom behaviour management – a straightforward approach (2)

Lets have a quick recap as to where we are with this.

Having set our expectations high for the work in the classroom and also implemented the sanctions that apply for work that is done incorrectly or to a poor standard – we are now going to extend this towards behaviour in the classroom.

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Primary Classroom Management (Step 2)

Raising Expectations

This is the next stage in our classroom management strategy – up to this point we have sorted out the desks and  who will be sitting where –  based on what we know about the children.

We have then appointed monitors to help with systems around the class which means that things work smoothly and more often than not quicker.

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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.

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Primary Classroom behaviour management – “lets start at the very beginning”

Ok here we go….Classroom behaviour and how to set up systems and manage situations.

This is going to be the first in a short series of blogs on this subject but let me say from the outset that there is no silver bullet, no one strategy that I can give you that you can use across the board that is a “one size fits all” success.

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