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Classroom Management: It's Crystal Ball Clear

famous crystal balls © by mararie

You don't have to be clairvoyant to master classroom management. Maintaining order in a room full of adolescents is a challenge for any instructor. However, just as the psychic gazes into the crystal ball and tells what she sees, you also need to let your eyes do the work when it comes down to classroom management.

Opening with an "I see" statement is simple yet powerful. Before you give the students your name, tell them what you see about them. After all, most adolescents can size up an adult in under 90 seconds. Don't let them go first. Your "I see" statement tells them, "I'm watching you already." That's what we call intimidation with a smile. It works. You can try, "I see this is an energetic class, especially this row of students to my right. We're going to have a good day. Yes? I'm Mr/Ms ___ and I'm ready to get started."  Then start. Don't wait. Momentum is important in classroom management. You have to establish the tone and expectations quickly.

Throughout the class period, continue to point out what you see. "I see the three students in the back are making great progress. Keep it up!" "I see too many blank lines on these worksheets; let's get moving." "I see I'm going to have to tell your teacher how well your class behaved." Everyone loves to be seen and recognized. And when something is happening that is undesirable, the class needs to know you see that, too. The inappropriate behavior simply requires an "I need to see" statement. Try one of these: "I need to see all students participating in this activity."  "I need to see every student keep their eyes on their own papers." Or try "I need to see you keep your hands to yourself." Can you see how this method helps?

Transitions within a lesson can be tricky, especially when an adolescent's attention span can unravel almost instantaneously. Try this sandwich statement: "I see we've completed part one of our assignment; I'm ready to begin part two. I want to see hands in the air if you're also ready for part two." Begin with the observation; state the next step; ask them to indicate that they are with you. And as long as you keep your eyes on them and they stay with you, you will keep the classroom in one piece.

So as you can clearly see, classroom management can be quite simple.

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