Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Two Biggies -- Organization and Management, Oh My!

Well, dear blog friends, we are on the down side to another week.  I began teaching summer school today and I am exhausted!  (It was only a half day, what's my problem???)  I need to retrain both my bladder and appetite that they run on "teacher time" now!  :)

I'm doing a little catch up here on Teacher Week ' I'd like to share how I organize for instruction and handle classroom management.  Two days rolled into one!

First, Organizing for Instruction.

I'll admit it...organization is definitely NOT my strong point.  (But I'm trying to be better, so I get points for that, right?)  My organization system basically consists of neat piles -- and I DO know where everything is, it just doesn't look pretty.  :(

I like to conference with my students as much as I can and last year, I discovered the Confer app for my iPad.  This app has been a godsend for helping me stay organized with my conferencing!

I love that I can put notes in for multiple subjects.

I create a class list (which I will not show because it contains student names even though I tried to cover them up :) and can add comments and goals for future conferences.  It also is a great way to sort my students into intervention groups and to make sure that I am conferencing with each student on a regular basis.  I can even export the data to a Google doc to share it with administrators, our reading specialists, or future teachers.

Next, Classroom Management.
Source:  David Sipress/

I was lucky...when I went back to school to add my teaching certificate, I had a FANTASTIC classroom management class and an awesome professor, Dr. Corey Thompson!  I learned so much in his class about the importance of building community and relationships in our classroom. 

One of my favorite sayings from Corey (which I still quote often) is:

They don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care!

Isn't that awesome???  In other words, "if you can't reach 'em, you can't teach 'em."

Building community and relationships are something that I try REALLY hard to do every year, and I feel my efforts consistently pay off in better management.

However, there are a couple other tricks that I have found work for me to help keep everything under control.  The first is the use of Behavior Chips and something called the PROPER Chart.
Students receive five Behavior Chips every Monday.  Their goal is to keep at least three of them by Friday.  If they do, they get to participate in Fun Friday.

Students keep their chips unless they get a checkmark for breaking one of the PROPER rules.   If they break a PROPER rule, they get a checkmark on a chart and have to give me a chip.  (The chips serve as a tangible reminder for students of how they are doing.)

PROPER is an acronym and stands for...

Punctual:  Comes back to class on time, doesn't dilly-dally in the hallway
Respectful:  Towards everyone and everything at school
On Task:  Work when given work time
Participation:  Works to advance the learning and goals in our classroom
Effort:  Always tries their best and takes pride in the work they produce
Responsible:  Homework is done and returned on time; has materials for class

Last year, the 4th grade adopted the PROPER system because it was done throughout 5th grade and since we share the same hallway, we wanted consistent expectations.  There is also a PROPER chart on a clipboard for each class that will travel to specials so the students remember that good behavior is expected everywhere.  (The chart is also a good thing to share with parents at conferences, especially if a student is having a problem in a certain area.)

So what is Fun Friday?

It is a reward for students who have kept at least three chips.  It could be a kickball game, open gym, board games, extra recess, etc. for about the last 30 minutes on Friday afternoons.  Let's face it, by Fridays at 2:45, everyone is pretty exhausted from all of the hard work we did for the week.  Why not end with a little fun, right?

How do you handle organization and management in your classroom?  I'd love to hear from you!


  1. Our older students do Fun Fridays too! I'm thinking my kinder kiddos might like to get on the action as well. Awesome! :)

    Carried Away in... K!

  2. I love the PROPER behavior expectations! I may have to adopt them!

  3. I love that "Confer" app suggestion! What a great way to stay organized and make sure that you are checking in with your students! Thanks for sharing!

    The Second Grade Superkids

  4. Confer is on the iPhone too... Thanks for sharing!
    Grade 4 Buzz


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