It is no secret that the number one most important piece of a working and successful classroom is behavior management. Without getting the handle on successful behavior management strategies, your class can spiral out of control before you ever have a chance to get started.
No teacher wants that.
Despite reading books specifically about behavior management and taking classes in college that are supposed to help you develop these awesome strategies for keeping your classroom organized and under control.
Teachers are still left struggling.
Don’t worry if this is you. You are not alone. In fact, this is the number one struggle that all teachers face … classroom management.
Secret to Rockstar Classroom Management
Today I have a secret for you.
There’s one thing that your college professors and the classroom management books don’t tell you. It is so important to a successful classroom management routine, and today, I’m going to share that secret with you.
I vividly remember my days in the classroom.
I followed all of the best practices:
… I involved the children in setting up rules I had the rules clearly displayed.
… I was consistent in my follow-through and we had a working routine that the children knew and practiced.
… I celebrated the successes of the children and I problem solved with the kids when we had an issue come up.
But some days, none of that mattered.
I still found myself smack dab in the middle of 30 four-year-olds, feeling like I was losing control of the entire ship. I had kids that couldn’t keep their hands to themselves, while another kid was licking the back of another child.
Then over in the corner, I had a child who curled up in a ball and refused to participate in anything we did in the class.
Not to mention the outrageous behaviors that came from some of the kids.
They just seemed so angry and I didn’t know how to help them. That is, until I learned about this secret that no one had ever told me about, in my 15 years in the classroom.
The Secret Sauce to Rockstar Classroom Management No One Tells You About
This secret seemed so obvious, once I learned about it. But you see, I bet just like me, you grew up being taught that there were only five senses.
Yeah, that’s right.
That’s the secret.
You might be thinking, “But I already do sensory play and I already teach my kids about their five senses.”
But here’s the thing, the senses are so much more than sight and smell and touch. The senses are in charge of everything we do in the classroom and every behavior that your children have can be linked back to their sensory systems.
Once I started to learn about and understand the connection between sensory systems, behavior, and how children learn, my classrooms suddenly started to fall into place, like some magical Storyland you hear about in the books.
Suddenly, I understood why the kid couldn’t sit still in his chair.
I understood why the child was licking the other children in the classroom.
I knew exactly what to do the next time one child huddled in a ball and refused to participate in the classroom.
You might be thinking, “This sounds great and all, but now how do I do this in my classroom?” So I’m gonna tell you. Here are five ways to rock classroom management using sensory strategies.
Five Ways to Rock Classroom Management Using Sensory Strategies
1. Make it visual
As teachers, we naturally like to make things pretty and cute and we like to add visuals to the things we do, but for this, I want you to be really strategic. Make sure that you’re breaking things down for your children and giving them a very clear picture of the steps that they can take to be successful.
This might mean labeling parts of your classroom or making a chart that gives the four steps to putting away the blocks in the block area. If you have older children, this might mean breaking down the steps to putting away their things when they come in, after the morning routine.
2. Provide a chance for movement
I know we’d all love to add minutes to recess and increase the number of times our kids play outside, but the truth is, we’re not in control of that. Our administrators and the systems are in control of how many times we get to have recess. But that doesn’t mean that in the classroom we can’t include movement throughout an entire day.
3. Set up a quiet area where children can retreat
Once I understood that our senses can get completely overloaded by the sights, the sounds, the smells, the touches, the movement, and everything going on in a classroom, I realized that I needed to provide a place in my classroom where children could get away from it all. They could ground themselves and come back to a center point, where they’re able to focus and learn again.
4. Specifically teach alternative strategies that kids can use when they are seeking out sensory input.
What I mean by this, is you might have a kid that’s constantly pushing other children. Constantly touching everything in your room or constantly making loud noises.
In the past, we’ve been taught that this is inappropriate behavior and we need to teach our children that what they’re doing is wrong, but I challenge you to teach the children that what they’re doing is not the right place for them to do that, and there are safer and better ways for them to handle the sensory input that they’re seeking.
Give the kid that’s constantly touching some putty in his hands. Put a weighted lap pad over a child’s lap who can’t sit still at the carpet, or give a child that’s constantly making noises a headset, so he can hear the noises he’s making.
5. Embrace their uniqueness
I know, right now, you’re ready to roll your eyes at me and you think this lady is crazy.
She obviously hasn’t been in the room with 30 children running around like crazy. I have. I’ve been there, I get it, but I want to challenge you to embrace the uniqueness of your children and problem-solve with them.
When you start to see a problem occur in your classroom, bring your kids together. Tell them why it’s causing a problem and try to get to the bottom of what’s causing it.
Once you involve them and teach them about their sensory needs and their uniqueness, I promise you, your classroom will run more smoothly, more connected and you will make a difference in these children’s lives.
Looking to Learn More About Sensory Strategies and The “Why” Behind Behaviors in the Classroom?
In this revolutionary book, Dayna bridges the gap between kids and the adults who love them by empowering kids to be their own problem solvers and helping adults understand what kids really need to succeed.
As a teacher, writer and mother, she explains that undesirable behaviors are really a cry for help. Kids have a need, but lack the tools and skills to express it. In this book, she gives kids fun projects and tools that boost their ability to control their behaviors, explain how they’re feeling and gain confidence.
Each of the 75 unique sensory-rich projects in The Superkids Activity Guide to Conquering Every Day will help kids navigate the most challenging times of day. Whether they struggle to get out the door in the morning or hate to sit for homework, this is the book for you.
Kids will be begging to clean their room, their dinner plates and more with exciting activities such as:
- Magnetic Morning Routines to help kids visualize their time and tasks to stay on track
- Race to the Finish Dinnertime Gameboard to help even the pickiest eater find foods they like
- Seated Silly Busters so even the wiggliest kids can get their work done
- Weighted Snake Lap Buddies to calms fidgety legs and minds
- Calming Glitter Slime to squash big worries
- No-Sew Weighted Blanket to ensure a good night’s rest
- …and so much more.
The Superkids Activity Guide to Conquering Every Day puts the power into kids’ hands to understand themselves, discover their superpowers and have an awesome day, every day.
About the Author
Dayna Abraham is the mother to three totally awesome superkids who inspire her every day to be the best grown-up sidekick they could ask for. When she’s not helping her kids conquer the world, she keeps busy by writing at lemonlimeadventures.com, writing books like Sensory Processing 101, STEAM Kids, and Learn and Play with LEGO®, and drinking lots of coffee. She loves getting her hands messy and creating crazy science projects and crafts to keep her super kids at home busy. Before she was a writer, she was a National Board Certified teacher, where she met some of the coolest superkids on earth. As a little girl, she wished grown-ups and other kids saw her as a superkid, so now she’s made it her mission to inspire kids like you to love who they are and embrace their differences.