With 1:1 technology access now the norm, classroom management around devices is another piece of the planning. We hope these top 5 tips will help you to maximize learning while minimizing distractions in your technology rich, student-centered classroom.
Focus on Relationships
The beginning of any classroom management plan should start with building positive relationships with students. Teachers who do this well create healthy and focused learning environments. All the classroom management strategies in the world won’t be effective if students don’t feel safe and respected. So greet students at the door, learn their names quickly, and focus on creating a culture of inclusiveness where all voices are valued and students feel safe. How will your students know relationships are your priority on day one?
Grab Students’ Attention
When devices are being used effectively in the classroom, students are engaged in collaboration, creation, and communication. When the teacher needs to direct their class to the next task or provide large group instruction, it can be challenging to regain students’ attention. In order to avoid frustration and wasting valuable learning time, you’ll want to have both a signal for gaining student attention as well as clear expectations for what students should do when they hear the signal. What will be your “eyes on me” signal?
Make Expectations and Procedures Visible
Having clear classroom expectations and procedures helps students be successful. Problems arise when instructions are unclear or students don’t know what to do. Display posters for common procedures, expectations, and mindsets. Consider making a visual reminder explaining to students how to proceed if they have a question, or what it looks like when a student is “ready to learn”. How will you help students take responsibility for their learning through clear, visible expectations this year?
Need inspiration? Check out our free, downloadable posters at cmdigitalage.com/free-posters.
Get the Students Active
Say goodbye to being asked, “What are we doing today?” The beginning of the year is a great time to consider your “bell ringer”, “warm up”, or “activator”. Starting your day with an agenda, objectives, and actions posted in the same predictable place gives students an anchor for launching their days right. Along with a list of what lies ahead, you might share a prompt for talking, writing, drawing, or doing. Regardless of what your activator asks students to engage in, sharing out learning objectives, daily plans, do-nows, inspiration, and relationship-builders without the need for the teacher to provide the direct instruction is more than just a time saving strategy. You’ll get a few moments to connect individually, to take attendance, and to get the pulse of your students while they independently get oriented. Whether you choose to project a slide onto the screen for all to see or have each student access the activator in Google Classroom or another online learning space, this is a routine you’ll want to solidify in the first weeks of school. What will activate your students’ days?
Set the Students Free
But wait, isn’t management all about control, and isn’t that the exact opposite of freedom? Nope! Personalized and differentiated learning meets the needs of our students. When teachers establish strong structures, they create environments where students can then move in the directions they need. The powerful creative devices that students have access to, whether laptops, tablets or Chromebooks, make it possible for students to have deeper levels of ownership of the pace, the paths, and the products. When you have an effective classroom management plan (see items 1-4 above) you set the foundation for a truly differentiated classroom. We encourage you to consider ways that you might give students more ownership of their learning this year. How will you cultivate an environment for student directed learning?
Student directed doesn’t mean teacher absent. These five tips create a proactive scaffold from which your students can grow as learners and people in a technology-rich, relationship focused community. Wishing you a wonderful year ahead!
Want to learn more about effective practices in technology-rich spaces? Check out Classroom Management in the Digital Age!
About the Author: Patrick Green is the author of “50 Ways to Use YouTube in the Classroom”and co-author of “Classroom Management in the Digital Age.” He is also Chief Adventure Officer at Raising a Maker. After two decades working with and learning from students, parents, teachers, and administrators in stateside and international schools, he is living location-independent in the pursuit of extraordinary personalized learning opportunities for himself and his family. A YouTube Star Teacher, Google Certified Innovator, and Apple Distinguished Educator, you can follow how work, school, parenting, and play blend for Patrick at @pgreensoup on Twitter and Instagram and can visit his YouTube channel for more tips and tutorials.