Today’ KISS – Keep It Simple Strategies – Classroom Management for 3rd Grade Teachers.
I remember when I was student teaching, I had a rough time with discipline. I had a tendency to be nice to the kids too much. When I asked my supervising teacher how I could get their attention without pandering, she sagely said, “Just teach, dear, teach”. Best advice I ever had.
Let your curriculum be the framework for classroom management issues. There are three things to do:
- Build Classroom Libraries for Guided Reading
- Pre-referral strategies for behavior management
- Scaffolding extends beyond curriculum standards
This article isn’t your standard “classroom management tips” blog entry. As we progress through the grades, you’ll find that my advice becomes more learning-centered and less about behavior management tips. If you have a solid grasp on learning standards (CCSSI) and tried and true curriculum alignment, the other daily glitch issues will solve themselves.
A strong guided reading program can help keep schedules flowing smoothly and children on task. Each child, through careful lexile selection, has a resource to go to in those “down” moments when behavior issues might arise. Color-code your books in bins by lexile and make sure you routinely assess lexile to watch reading levels grow. Help students choose books that fit within their own range. Today’s “blue box” child will be tomorrow’s “purple box” as her reading level rises. You may use your district’s reading assessment tools to do this, but I recommend a quick lexile checkup you can do yourself as a formative measure.
Pinterest has a huge collection of classroom library ideas; they are limited only by your imagination. Keep your library neat, tidy, and visually arresting. Draw your visitors’ eyes to your reading corner and its associated library. Carefully craft your schedules and class traffic flow. Use Donorschoose.org to raise funds for your collection.
I love the Bucket Filler ideas for managing the emotional self, and third grade is an ideal place to ramp up your understanding of childrens’ inner selves. We’re being told all the time that we need to prevent the torrent of SPED referrals we’re getting every year. I highly recommend the “Pre-Referral Intervention Manual“. It is a Bible and great step-by-step for finding ways to implement RTI measures, and defuse and redirect behaviors that interfere with a child’s learning. When we employ these strategies, a SPED referral can be prevented every day. There are students in the third grade that defy your best efforts at behavior management. Use all the tools at your disposal to keep that child in your classroom happy and self-directed to academic success.
Third grade is the place where students can start directing their own learning day. Centers and learning contracts can be assigned and adjusted in a child’s schedule to do this. You’re using some blended learning solutions now to integrate technology into your every day classroom life. In most third grades now, we have access to tablets and mobile devices to make this happen. Work with your school’s library media specialist to identify the tablet labs in your school so you can make sure you have them signed out on a schedule that doesn’t monopolize the labs you have and antagonize other teachers. Learn to use Google Apps to extend your reach to the cloud and put everything in one place for easy access. If you’re a little shaky on using basic software like Excel and other essential programs, sign up with Lynda.com for effective tutorials. Lynda is inexpensive and very useful.
Ah yes, and scaffolding and core curriculum mapping to standards. When we have a solid understanding of these concepts, we find that classroom management issues become automatic. When students are working to their potential and operating in a window that matches their ability level, they are content and less likely to become itchy (and you know what that means). Re-familiarize yourself with KWL, rubrics made with student input, and graphic organizers. They haven’t been sidelined; they are still vital tools in your lesson-planning arsenal.
More classroom management ideas for 3rd Grade Teachers:
- Third Grade behavior charts
- More about bucket fillers
- Pinterest management plans
- Organized Classroom Blog
- 100 amazing little tricks
Add your tips and suggestions to our growing lists, teachers helping teachers is a great way to go. Check out the rest of our KISS Series here.
Neva Fenno, M.S.Ed., MLIS, has been a special education teacher, school library media specialist, curriculum specialist and grants manager for several urban school districts in New York and Massachusetts for 30 years. As grants manager for 7 years, she managed up to $28,000,000 a year in federal, state, foundation and corporate grants from application through fiscal administration. She has hundreds of stories to tell, not all successes, but from each story there is a lesson to be learned.