Strategies Transform Your Classroom Management Nightmare into Your Classroom Management Dream

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Strategies to Transform Your
Classroom Management Nightmare
Into Your
Classroom Management Dream

 
 

 

It's amazing that most universities devote just 20% of their teacher  training to the real-world issues that dominate most teachers' days. 80% of the typical teacher's training focused on content. Few teachers find 80% of their day devoted to content. Many teachers find much of their time diverted from teaching content to the classroom management nightmare in front of them.

Expert help with classroom managementI'm keynote speaker and classroom management trainer Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. I've spent much of my career devising awesome, improved, more effective methods to improve teacher classroom management.

Part of the reason that classrooms seem tougher to manage than years ago, may be that today's students are very different than students from years ago. As we host our Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshops around the country, we continue to have more teachers ask for help with students who are outright non-compliant, and verbally abusive to both peers and adults. If you are a teacher, or even a special educator, counselor, social worker or psychologist, your training may not have given you the prevention and intervention tools that you need to stop the extreme misbehavior that you may be coping with on a daily basis.

In our workshops and classroom management books, we devote hours to covering how to control even uncontrollable classrooms and groups. We can't magically squeeze all those hours of must-know classroom management information into this small space, but we can give you at least a few of the most important elements to get you on the path to ending your classroom management nightmare. Here are the top steps to at least start you down the road to managing unmanageable classrooms:
 

Classroom Management Strategies That Work

S T O P
Using One-Size-Fits-All Methods


S T A R T
Using the Right Method with the Right Student

You would never expect all students to fit into the same size of desk, or learn math exactly the same way, so why do you expect them to all respond equally well to the same behavior change methods? Human beings are complex. The same intervention may play out very differently from one student to the next.

If you still use just a handful of methods with all your students, you may be feeling more and more frustrated when it comes to group and classroom management. It is absolutely critical that you have a wide variety of methods to draw upon to manage each situation.

Remember: It's not about which methods you want to use or like to use. Your doctor may like prescribing aspirin but if aspirin won't help you, then the intervention is useless. It's about using the interventions that can work with a specific student.

Example Strategies:
Not every student understands how to quiet down in class. Not every student is motivated to quiet down when asked. Merely stating the rules or expectations worked years ago.

Poster Improves classroom managementMere verbiage may still work with some youngsters, but others need much more than words. For these students, try this approach. This intervention can provide the youngster with guidance and help performing the behavior– so much so that the behavior might even become a habit. Teach your students that "When the hand goes up, the mouth goes shut." (Our Poster #249 illustrates the concept.)

Consider putting one the students who struggles to quiet down, in charge of this intervention. That variation makes this intervention a very cagey way to get compliance from the student who is least likely to comply. This tailored intervention will often work well with non-compliant, distracted, ADHD, and defiant students because it is so much fun– especially if you are the student who gets to lead the intervention.

 

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S T O P
Teaching Unskilled, Unmotivated Students


S T A R T
Teaching School Skills and Motivation

Giving rules to students who lack the skills and motivation to comply is ineffective. That one sentence explains so much of what you need to know about on-going classroom management problems.

classroom management strategyContemporary children must be taught the nuts-and-bolts of the target behaviors. They also need to be convinced that education matters. Otherwise, rules and consequences will continue to fail to elicit the desired behaviors from youngsters who may have no idea how to comply, or any inclination to do so.

Example Strategy:
Here's an intervention that teaches an important school skill: how to interact with teachers. Poster #26 offers you a great example of how teaching school behavior skills must be done. The training must be specific, attention-grabbing, memorable and step-by-step. Poster #26 also illustrates the point that every single area of school behavior must be covered, even areas not routinely addressed– like teacher interaction skills and how to ask for help.
 

S T O P
Using Outdated Techniques


S T A R T
Using Methods That Fit Contemporary Students

Are you using the same methods that were in use when carbon paper, record players and chalkboards were still around? If you are, you're using yesterday's methods with today's students, and that works about as well as scratchy, old, vinyl records.

Here's one example of how your students have changed even though your methods perhaps haven't. Years ago, you had a small number of unmanageable students. Now, it is common to expect as much as 14% of mainstream students to be classroom management nightmares. Plus, today's out-of-control student is using far worse behaviors. Using old-style methods to manage today's severely unmanageable students is like trying to use outmoded chalk on your modern, dry eraser board. You can try, but it just won't work.

To become proficient managing a contemporary classroom, you must learn about conduct disorders, your most misbehaved, contemporary student. Conventional approaches fail most of the time with these hard-to-manage youngsters, and there is no work-around but to begin to use updated interventions that fit.

Example Strategies:
For your most misbehaved, conduct disordered students, you need to switch to approaches that maximize consequences, while avoiding relationship-based and character ed types of methods. You also need to avoid giving single consequences, and to be less predictable in your responses. If you predictably give just a consequence or two, manipulative conduct disordered youngsters may anticipate your response, and go ahead and do the problem behavior. If they don't know exactly what stack of consequences they might face, their behavior may stay closer to what you want.

To successfully manage conduct disorders, you must learn everything you can about them. These youngsters are often so cagey and smart, that they can easily discern and exploit uncertainty. They are often just uncanny about knowing who "has their number" and who doesn't– and behave accordingly. Unless you "switch gears" when working with them, you'll find that your classroom management concerns worsen.

If you're a longtime subscriber to the Behavior and Classroom Management Blog, the introductory basics of working with conduct disordered students were included in your second and third issues of this blog. If you want to read that introductory blog issue again, it's here. The articles are entitled What Every Youth Professional Needs to Know About Violent Students, Parts 1 and 2.

classroom management bookIf you want to learn more about this quickly growing population, consider getting a thorough guide, our All the Best Answers for the Worst Kid Problems: Conduct Disorders book, audio book or ebook. Once you enhance your skills with the students who are your worst classroom management nightmares, you'll often discover a great bonus: the level of behavior of all students rises once the prime agitators are more in control.

 

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    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

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    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
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Teacher Back-to-School Success Secrets Improve Classroom Management

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Teacher Back-to-School Success Secrets
Improve Classroom Management

 
 

classroom management workshopIt's a new school year, but for many students back-to-school means back to problems. It can seem like such a mystery why so many of today's kids struggle so much each school year, but perhaps we've overlooked a common sense explanation and solution.

It's that time of year when I hit the road all over North America training school after school on  how to build a better school year. I'm Youth Change Professional Development Workshops' Director and Trainer, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. I spend a lot of time at each stop sharing all the classroom management secrets I've collected over the past decades. In our high tech era, I also provide online training, as pictured in the image above. After years of providing teacher training in a huge range of formats and venues, I know that these techniques can really stop classroom management problems before they start– and isn't that what every teacher wants?

So, have you ever noticed that we don't actually teach kids to be students? It's true. While every school district has a formal, written-down plan to teach kids academics, few districts have a formal, written-down plan to teach kids how to be students and take advantage of all the great academics they are offered.

Perhaps we need to teach kids to be students exactly the same way we teach them how to read, learn math, and master social studies. Teaching kids how to be students is very different than stating the rules. Most teachers review the rules, but many instructors don't ensure that their new students have the skills, attitudes, and motivation needed to properly comply.

In our live and online Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshops that Youth Change hosts, I often joke that in a time long ago, and a place far away, moms and dads reliably motivated their offspring, and prepared them to be successful students. Continuing the theme, I note that time and place are gone, and they aren't coming back any time soon. Sadly, many of today's families don't motivate their children to care about school, and don't teach them the skills needed to succeed as students. If the family doesn't prepare the child to succeed in school, by default, that task must become the job of the teacher if the family can't or won't start doing what they are supposed to do.
 

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Classroom Management Problems STOP Here

 

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We would never throw a child in the deep end of the pool and expect him to teach himself how to swim. We would never put a child up on the expert ski slope and expect her to teach herself how to ski. But, we do place children in school each year and expect them to teach themselves how to be students. That is why so many teachers work with kids that don't look, act or sound like students. That is why so many teachers struggle with unmotivated, uninterested youngsters, and have an uphill battle to maintain good classroom management and control. Teachers are working with untrained, unmotivated children and youth. It should be no surprise that from Day 1 of the new school year, so many children struggle.

Districts that take the time to train youngsters how to look, act and sound like students usually report a drop in attendance problems, tardiness, absences, and behavior problems. Many report a decrease in expulsions, suspensions and detention. Most report wasting less instruction time than the national average of 22 minutes per hour lost to behavior management problems. But those results make perfect sense and should be expected. Training kids to be students can only yield improvement, and probably has no significant downside. Training kids to be students should begin in Pre-K and every year after. Training kids to be students may be the only common sense, real-world way to build a better school year.

If you do decide to teach your new students how to be prepared for the job they face over the new school year, there is a lot to cover. So where do you start on Day 1 of the new school year? We recommend safety and attendance issues come first, then follow up by teaching the remaining skills your new students need. The subsequent skill training should include a lot of motivation-building. Your youngsters might look, act and sound completely different if they come to believe that school is more important than the air they breathe. But don't forget to ultimately include other key school skill training areas such as adult interaction skills, peer interaction skills, how to be in a class discussion, homework management skills, punctuality skills, and so on. For this back-to-school issue, here are several sample strategies that address an assortment of critical school skills your students will be needing this year.
 

Successful Back-to School

Classroom Management Techniques to Use Now
 

New School Year Resolutions

Some students start off the new school year chock full of negative expectations. Stop the negativity now by hosting a Happy New School Year Party that is similar to a Happy New Year Party. It's tough to stay negative and sour at a party. During the party, have each student make New School Year Resolutions listing what they hope to accomplish during the school year. This approach can really defuse some of the negativity because school is not fitting these students' bleak view.

Banker, Not Teacher

Because students who graduate earn $329,000 more than those who drop out, you may want to tell the class that they should refer to you as a banker, not a teacher. Or, use this line: "A diploma is so valuable that it belongs in your wallet." A great follow-up activity is to ask your students to speculate on what they would do with an extra $329,000. Another follow-up: Have students rename your school to be a bank, so Sixteen Acres Elementary School could become The First Bank of Sixteen Acres or Sixteen Acres Elementary Savings Bank and Loan.

Give Me Five

classroom management posterTeach essential paying attention skills to students by playing Give Me Five. Have the student give you a high five slap then say "Give me five! Two eyes watching, two ears listening, one mouth shut. Give me five!" Our $8 Poster #252 can provide on-going reminders, and for a limited time, it's on sale for 25% off on our site when you enter 25 at checkout.

From Vacation Back to Education

Students don't necessarily have the skills to settle themselves back into the routine of school, but sometimes we assume youngsters can make the big leap on their own, or that they will get help from their parents. Unfortunately, many students will struggle to make the transition, and many of these youngsters won't have parental support, so don't assume that all students will be able to fit back in to the routines and responsibilities of school. Help students let go of summer break and become ready for more structure and responsibility. To aid in the transition, assist students to understand the specific differences they're about to face. Distribute pieces of poster board, about 8 x 11 inches in size. Ask the students to write on one side of the poster board: Goodbye Summer. On the other side, ask students to write: Hello School. Next, ask students to illustrate each side, then discuss their completed creations, assisting students to identify what they must do to make the "big leap" back to school.

Your Job at School

When discussing your role with your students, consider using this description that one of our workshop participants uses each year: "My job is to get you to do what you don't want to do, so you can become what you do want to become."

Have You Ever Heard of Eating School?

To teach students how to behave in the cafeteria, set up Eating School and practice. Instead of practicing with actual food, select silly substitutes. For example, instead of spaghetti and meatballs, students practice with cut-out pictures of spaghetti strands, sauce and meatballs. Be very careful that students don't put any of the substitute items in their mouths, but do select items that are fun so that students won't even notice that they are actually learning lunch room behavior skills.

Self-Control or Teacher Control

A teacher in Alabama says he has great success telling his students at the start of the school year that he expects them to use good self-control, but if they don't "it will be provided for you." Because he adds a light humorous element to the information, it makes it harder for students to resist. Of course, he also teaches his students exactly how to manage their mouths, feet, hands, arms, legs and so on. Both of these aspects need to be included for this technique to work.

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    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
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    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


Our Most Requested Classroom Management Interventions

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Our Most Requested
Classroom Management Interventions

 
 

 

K-12 Keynote Speaker Ruth Herman Wells

Our Spring '08 workshops were really packed with participants so we read a lot of evaluations. I'm workshop instructor, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S.

Many of the evaluations from the Spring inservice tour included requests for us to post favorite classroom management interventions.

We noticed that many workshop participants requested the same handful of interventions. By popular request, we are posting your favorite behavior and classroom management interventions right here.

 

Most Requested Classroom Management Interventions

 

# 1 Favorite Intervention
Where Will Your TV Watching Skills Be Needed?


Any classroom management intervention that used a classified ad format was very popular. The method listed here was the most popular of the bunch.

The intervention is to ask students to write Help Wanted ads based on the set of skills they are acquiring. Many participants liked the examples we gave in class of the ads students create and wanted copies. They like how these silly ads may leave students wondering "Where will my TV watching skills be needed?"

Here are some of the classified ad-style interventions that drew the most comment:

Experienced TV Viewers Needed for High Paying Jobs

Large company seeks TV viewers to work long hours in a horizontal position. Must like donuts and chips.

National Firm Needs Nappers Now

If you like to sleep, this job opportunity will open your eyes. If you wake at the crack of noon, we can wait. On-time applications not accepted.

Mall Rats Wanted for Executive Positions

Years of leaning against the wall or sitting on a bench required for exciting opportunity with major corporation. If you know how to hang out for hours, then your future as one of our hard-driving employees is simply unlimited. If you can demonstrate the ability to say something really nasty about everyone who walks by, then you may be that special person we need in customer relations. Put those valuable years of experience as a mall rat to work with us.

Violent Video Game Pros Needed for Government Espionage

If you can navigate mazes, break codes or kill the beast, then a career with the CIA or FBI may be for you. We need people like you who can get to the highest level no matter what vicious dragons or pre-historic dinosaurs get in the way.

 


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Classroom Management Problems STOP here

 

# 2 Favorite Intervention
Gallons for Graduates

 

Participants really like interventions that sell the value of school, and wanted some more.

Here is a new one. Right now it is a particularly easy sell if you relate school to the price of gas. Here is the connection. The typical dropout earns about $500 per month working minimum wage at one or more jobs. With gas currently approaching $4 a gallon, and minimum wage approaching $7 an hour, have students calculate how many hours a dropout must work to buy a tank of gas.

To make the numbers come to life, have students determine how long they must work to just drive to a neighboring city, nearby state, or popular regional destination. Have them determine how much they will spend just to go to their job each day.

With gas expected to top $5 a gallon in the near future, be sure to help students discover that one dropout with one job may not be able to afford a tank of gas while also paying housing, medical bills, car payments, clothing, recreation and so on.

Help students to discover that if gas prices continue to rise, dropouts may be able to afford a car they can't afford to drive. By contrast, graduates earn roughly twice the salary of dropouts and may be better prepared to stay on the road. You are re-shaping students' image of school by making it critical to being able to afford to drive.

A fun follow-up intervention: have students illustrate the phrase, "Gallons for Graduates." They can use art supplies or computer clip art to create fanciful images like a merged diploma and gas pump, or by showing a gas station where everyone who is buying gas is wearing a cap and gown, or clutching a diploma.

 

# 3 Favorite Intervention
The Best-Liked Bully-Busters

 

Our Spring workshop participants commented a lot about our behavior interventions for bullies.

They liked that our interventions don't rely on remorse or compassion because so many bullies appear to lack those qualities.

They appreciated how the interventions were always related to the bully's self-interest, and agreed with what we teach in class, that many bullies only care about I-Me, I-Me, I-Me, and nothing else.

On the workshop evaluations, a number of participants asked us to post more examples of relating anti-bullying interventions to the self-interest of the bullies.

anti-bullying poster 97 poster71Here are a couple of posters that illustrate that. They are good examples of how to always be sure that anti-bullying interventions are closely tied to what the student can lose or gain by using bullying behaviors.

A lot of the counselors also liked the use of humor when working with bullies. An example of that is shown in the second poster. We do strongly encourage that humor be incorporated in anti-bullying interventions to streamline your interactions and improve your results.

Here are Posters 71 and 97. You don't need to buy the poster; you can just use the technique pictured. If you do want to buy posters, they're $8 each.

If you want additional anti-bullying ideas, we have many more posters that you can view to get innovative methods that you can easily adapt and use.

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    Reprint or Repost This Article
     

    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

    Help Unmotivated, Failing, Troubled and Unmanageable Students

    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

    Subscribe Unsubscribe/Change Subscription
    Contact Us*  *Not for Unsubscribing
     

    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.