NO, IT WON’T BE TOTAL CHAOS. I PROMISE!
Before we get any further into this post, let me assure you my kids definitely *think* there are classroom rules. 😉 But, I don’t call them that and I haven’t for a long time. By the time they get to fifth grade, even the most well-behaved students are OVER the long lessons on classroom rules. I started using “Work Hard” and “Be Kind” after reading There Are No Shortcuts by Rafe Esquith.
I had a major paradigm shift in the way I handled discipline and spoke to my students, which in turn had a big impact on my classroom management. Rafe has written several books and has been a huge influence on me personally, but that’s a story for another day. 😊
So exactly how does that affect my classroom management? What do I do instead? I’m excited to share a part of that with you today!
(side note: There are affiliate links throughout this post. That means I get a small commission when you make a purchase through those links. It helps keep the lights on over here! )
1. TEACH YOUR STUDENTS TO THINK AND MAKE GOOD CHOICES
It sounds so primary, doesn’t it? Almost preschool-ish! But it has worked so well for me I can’t really describe it another way. Our kids know better and can choose better – but they need us to remind them sometimes.
When my students come in on the first day, the first thing they see is our door.
After morning announcements, our first order of business is our inaugural morning meeting. I like to start it off by saying…
“WE are going to do two things in here all year long. We are going to WORK HARD and we are going to BE KIND. Who can tell me what it means to WORK HARD?”
2. DETERMINE YOUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES TOGETHER AND WRITE A CLASS MISSION STATEMENT
I also have a primary version of the sorts. The students will use them a bit differently, but the ideas are the same. There is more visual support in this set (and YES, the stories are different), and I’ve also included an “If… Then…” scenario sort for students to complete as you study each habit.
Now for one of the questions I get the most often – HOW do you fit it all in????
3. WE LOOK FOR LEADERSHIP HABITS IN OUR EVERY DAY CURRICULUM
I want my students to emulate the leadership habits I’m modeling and teaching. The habits should feel as though they are a part of who we are. It’s NOT instantaneous, but it does feel more natural to look for and talk about the habits throughout our day as the year goes on.
For example, we might talk about how the countries that made up the Allied forces could have been more proactive prior to the start of World War II. We examine historical figures and talk about which habits are a part of their legacy.
When we’re doing read alouds, we look for ways the characters are using the seven leadership habits.
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key is our first read aloud and it’s FULL of places to stop and talk about how Joey (and the adults in his life) could have really used the seven habits. Look for those everyday moments!
We also connect the habits to current events and our everyday lives in and out of the classroom.
For more ideas on making those connections, make sure you’re following my 7 Habits pinboard!
There’s so much more to talk about, and I can’t wait to continue this conversation with you. I’ll be back soon with a post on books that I love to use to teach each habit, as well as some new leadership freebies! Make sure you’re subscribed to my email list so you’ll be the first to know when a new blog post is out, or if an exclusive freebie is headed your way!
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