Over the years, I’ve mentored plenty of new teachers. And without a doubt, the biggest area of concern is classroom management.
Heck, who am I kidding!? Classroom management is still an issue for many of us veteran teachers!
When talking to teachers who struggle with classroom management, something I find is that many of these folks view classroom management as a reactive endeavor. So, a student demonstrates behavior X and then teacher responds (reacts) with action Y. Often times, this results in a culture where “classroom management” becomes a system of rewards and/or punishments used to keep students’ behavior in check.
What I encourage these teachers to do is to rethink their definition of management. Specifically, rather than being reactive, try instead to be proactive. This means figuring about a way to structure their classrooms to restrict problem behaviors from happening in the first place.
For me, a HUGE part of fostering a classroom that limits problem behaviors is to make sure that there is always, and I mean ALWAYS, something engaging for students to do. That means that there is absolutely NO WAY a student can be “done.” In my experience, students who finish early and are “bored” are 99% of the time responsible for unwanted behaviors. Therefore, having a stash of high-interest, open-ended anchor activities available at all times to students is essential!
Task cards with intriguing writing prompts are some of the most engaging and easy-to-manage anchor activities you can find. Take these for example!
Each card contains an order receipt from an online shopping purchase. The strange combination of interesting items makes students immediately wonder, “Who Ordered This?” And that’s when the fun begins. Students could write a character description of the shopper. Or, they could write a story involving the purchased items. Or, they could write an opinion piece about the items purchased. This possibilities are endless!
I’d love to send you a set of these “Who Ordered This?” task cards. I’ll give you both a printable and digital version.