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5 Principles of Outstanding Classroom Management

A teacher engages his students in a math lesson.

When we asked our community for their best classroom management practices, over 700 ideas rolled in.

Effective classroom management requires awareness, patience, good timing, boundaries, and instinct. There’s nothing easy about shepherding a large group of easily distractible young people with different skills and temperaments along a meaningful learning journey.

So how do master teachers do it?

To get a deeper understanding of experienced teachers’ go-to classroom management strategies, we took an informal poll on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Unsurprisingly, there is no silver bullet for classroom management success. That said, as we pored over the more than 700 responses, we did see some clear trends. Here are the most often cited and creative approaches.

1. Take Care of Yourself to Take Care of Your Students

As the airline safety videos say: Put on your own oxygen mask first.

To learn effectively, your students need a healthy you, said our experienced teachers. So get enough sleep, eat healthy food, and take steps to attend to your own well-being. In her first year of teaching, Jessica Sachs “was working 15-hour days and was completely stressed out. My husband finally said to me, ‘The most important thing that you do at school is make decisions. If you are too tired to do that properly, it won’t matter how well-prepared you were the night before.’” A few deep breaths can go a long way to helping you identify frustration before you act on it. Mindy Jones, a middle school teacher from Brownsville, Tennessee, notes that “a moment of patience in a moment of frustration saves you a hundred moments of regret.”

Countless studies corroborate the idea that self-care reduces stress, which can deplete your energy and impair your judgment. While self-care is more of a habit or practice for your own well-being than an actual classroom management strategy, the benefits include improved executive function, greater empathy, and increased resilience—all qualities that will empower you to make better decisionswhen confronted with challenging classroom situations.

2. Focus on Building Relationships

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7 ways to effectively address challenging behaviors in children with autism

children with autism

After appropriately identifying the behavior in a child with autism, a suitable intervention can be used to proactively, or reactively, reduce and replace it.

Challenging behaviors can be difficult to address in children with autism. After appropriately identifying the behavior, a suitable intervention can be used to proactively, or reactively, reduce and replace it. Experts reviewed key points and effective ways to address these problem behaviors in the edWebinar, “Effective Approaches to Reduce and Replace Challenging Behaviors Exhibited by Children with Autism.”

1. Define the behavior in a non-subjective manner: In order to address a behavioral problem, the behavior must first be defined. The behavior should be specific, observable, and measurable, and it should not be subjective.

2. Have a data baseline: It’s crucial to have a baseline to tell if the intervention is working, and how well. Therefore, data collection is key when putting an intervention into place. Different methods of data collection can be used depending on the circumstance or how you plan to measure the behavior that’s occurring.

3. Implement proactive strategies: After identifying the behavior and collecting the data, what can be done to reduce or replace it? Proactive strategies may include a classroom checklist to make sure the environment is optimal for learning; the student has an effective way to communicate; there are enough opportunities for movement (depending on the age of the student); and more.

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Principals list 6 school technology priorities moving into 2018

principals school technology

A new report reveals how school principals manage tech initiatives and purchasing.

Although 90 percent of principals said they believe technology is critical for student learning, only two-thirds would rate their school technology as strong, according to a new report from MDR EdNET Insight.

The report, “School Trends: Principals’ Perspectives on Instructional Initiatives and Purchasing Decisions,” includes data broken down by school level, size, location, and Title I status.

In combination with the research from the entire four-part series, the report offers a 360-degree view of decision-making authority at all levels, from an administrator, to a principal to a classroom teacher.

Based on a national survey, U.S. principals shared their priorities on:
• Instructional initiatives–implementation of innovative practices, such as personalized learning
• Purchasing–where, how, and by whom decisions are made on various types of purchases with discretionary school budgets
• Professional development needs for teachers and themselves
• Resources–how they learn about new products and view marketing and sales approaches
• Leadership issues–overall vision to improve student outcomes while facing many challenges

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Student Challenge | Connect What You’re Studying in School With the World Today

 

So you’re studying the Civil War — or Shakespeare, or evolution, or “The Bluest Eye.”

Why? What does it have to do with your life and the lives of those around you? Why should you remember it once you’ve turned in that paper or taken that test?

What relevance does it have today? What lessons can you learn from it that can be applied to the world outside of school? What parallels do you see between it and something happening in our culture or the news?

Although your teachers probably pose questions like these already, this challenge invites you to answer them a little more formally.

Essentially, we’re asking you to do what we do every day: connect what’s in The New York Times with what you’re learning in school.

If you simply open NYTimes.com and start clicking around, you’ll see that the task is not that hard. The Times publishes hundreds of articles from around the globe every day, so you can almost always find something that confronts the very same themes, questions or issues that you’ve been discussing in class.

But to help, we have a lesson plan with a few practical suggestions, including one on how to search for useful Times content.

Good luck, and, as always, please post questions in the comments and we’ll answer you there. We’re excited to see what you come up with!

Rules and Tips

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Building Resilience, Preventing Burnout

 A woman seated at her desk and leaning back in her chair—eyes closed and smiling.

Whether you’re a new teacher or a veteran,

try these tips for taking care of yourself and staying energized throughout the school year.

If you’re a new teacher, maybe you’ll feel affirmed to know that researchers have found that the hardest stretch of the school year, especially for novice teachers, is late October to Thanksgiving break. By that time of the year, the rush and excitement of the start has faded, you’re tired, and you’re not yet seeing the impact of all the hard work you’re putting in—you aren’t yet seeing leaps in student learning.

Let me quickly define burnout. Burnout is physical and emotional exhaustion. It can manifest as low-level depression. It’s what happens as a result of unrelenting stress—both physical and emotional. And you can prevent it. You can recognize the indicators of burnout, you can boost your emotional resilience, and you can draw boundaries around what you do so that you can tend to your physical and emotional well-being.

Taking Action

Whether you’re in your first or 15th year of teaching, here are 10 tips for staying energized, at any point in the school year:

1. Care for your body. Prioritize sleep above all else. Aim for eight hours a night. There are many connections between sleep and emotional wellness. Eat nutritious food. Move your body. You know this, but I need to remind you.

2. Carve out downtime and honor it religiously. Make sure you take at least one weekend day off. During the week, be sure to stop working by 8 pm. You need to rest. Working yourself to the bone or martyring yourself to the cause is useless. It won’t ultimately serve you or your students.

3. Build in micro-moments of renewal during the day. Every hour, or at least a couple times a day, sit still for one minute. Close your eyes. Imagine all your stress draining out of the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet.

4. Cultivate realistic optimism. Resilient people are optimistic. Remember that challenge and struggle are temporary, not permanent. Being optimistic has nothing to do with being a Pollyanna or denying reality. It’s about holding to the belief that positive change is always possible. It’s about seeing the glass as half full and half empty.

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