What is Classroom Management?
My first year teaching I thought classroom management only consisted of giving directions and having students follow them, having a quiet classroom at all times and being able to quickly redirect students. As you may already know, I was COMPLETELY wrong. In the best-selling book Conscious Classroom Management: Unlocking the Secrets of Great Teaching, Rick Smith and Grace Dearborn refer to something called "Invisible Classroom Management". The idea of classroom management being invisible comes from the theory that while observing a well managed classroom, it is difficult to actually SEE the exact strategies that were used to allow the class to run smoothly. Smith and Dearborn believe Invisible Classroom Management consists of FOUNDATION, PREVENTION and INTERVENTION. I want to take some time to focus on intervention.
Smith and Dearborn describe intervention as our response to an action. If students are exhibiting less than favorable behavior in class, sometimes our response to this action should be sending them to your classroom's Cool Down Spot. A Cool Down Spot is an area where students can go to reflect on their actions, utilize a sensory center, take a short break and utilize techniques to help calm themselves . Below is a list of items needed for the perfect Cool Down Spot:
The way you introduce the purpose of this area will have a huge impact on its effectiveness. Students must understand that this spot is not somewhere to go to escape class because they are simply sick of doing work or sleepy. You must communicate with students that the Cool Down Spot is the area where they will visit if they are not making the best decisions and need to reassess their behavior. It is an area where they can go to calm down if they feel as though they are feeling overwhelmed and having a difficult time handling their emotions. Utilizing a timer and setting it for no more than 10 mins (less if necessary) will also contribute to students comprehending the true purpose of this area. You can decide if you would like for your scholars to utilize sensory materials before or after they have completed their reflection sheet. Students should NOT believe this area is a "hangout spot" and it should not be treated as such.
After students have spent time reflecting and soaking up positive vibes, take a few minutes to conference with your scholar to discuss the situation, their feelings and alternative actions that could have been taken. Review their reflection sheet and be sure to sign it. Also, send this sheet home so a parent/guardian can view the sheet and sign as well. The reflection sheet should be returned to you the following day. Consider keeping a file for each student so they can review their sheets and reflect on their growth at the end of the year. I have FREE reflection sheets available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store!