I'd like to welcome guest blogger Kelly Bergman to Corkboard Connections. Kelly is a Scholastic author, and I met her last year at the NC Elementary School Conference. I'm excited to announce that she'll be back as the Keynote Speaker for the conference this October! Kelly is an amazing lady, and she recently published a book and DVD set entitled, 4 Keys to Classroom Management. Kelly shares some of her tips here, and I know you'll find them to be helpful.
4 Keys to Classroom Success
Guest Blog Post by Kelly Bergman
This is a good time of year to reflect on our classrooms and make some minor adjustments. What kinds of modifications could you make that would allow you to decrease your stress level and allow your classroom to run more smoothly? I suggest four keys for classroom success. Here are the four keys and a tip or two for each one.
Key 1: Organization
Do you have piles of papers sitting on your desk? Getting your environment organized will help decrease your stress level. It’s difficult to work efficiently when you keep looking around at all the papers that need to be filed. Try starting with a few simple files and see how it goes. Start with the following files: one for each month, one for important school communication, one for parents. Almost all of the papers on my desk could fit into one of these files. If your email box is also filling up, try creating the same files electronically. If you have emails that you need to respond to, but don’t yet have the time or the information, use the flag tool to mark them and then be sure to scan the flagged items at least once a day.
Key 2: Routines
Don’t forget the importance of waiting for all students’ attention. Sometimes we exhaust ourselves by talking over students and then having to repeat things several times. Review your signal for getting students’ attention, practice it with students, and make it work. Don’t speak until you have every student’s attention. Remember to use a respectful voice – sometimes a quiet voice is more effective than a loud one.
Do your students frequently misunderstand the task that you’re giving them? Never forget the power of modeling. If you want your students to write a persuasive piece, model that process for them. Show them how you do it and they will repeat that same process.
Are you having a hard time keeping students’ attention? Think about ways to engage your students as frequently as possible. Remind yourself to stop teaching every now and then, ask students to turn to a shoulder partner, and pose a question for them to discuss. Give students a white board to use during whole-group instruction. Every now and then pose a question to the whole class, have all students write the answer and then hold it up to show you.
Key 4: Parent Communication
Do you feel like you’re spending too much time responding to parent questions? Be proactive and communicate with parents about important events, but keep your communication short and sweet. You don’t have a lot of time to write detailed letters and parents don’t have time to read them. Instead, drop a short email every now and then to keep parents informed. You might also try to increase the positive energy in your relationships with parents. Make time to notice one positive thing about each student and call the parents to share the good news. You will be amazed at what an uplifting experience this is! Parents will be amazed that you took the time to call and you will turn your parent relationships around. Email is certainly more efficient, but there’s something special about a human phone call.
~ Kelly Bergman
Do you want to see these tips in action? 4 Keys to Successful Classroom Management is a professional development book and DVD kit that contains clips of effective strategies being used in classrooms. You can take a look at it in the Scholastic Teacher Store, or you can click the cover to download an informational brochure. I hope you'll also consider attending the NC Elementary School Conference in October to see Kelly present her Keynote.