Try using a squeeze ball for students who have difficulty sitting still. They can transfer their energy into this instead of a distracting behavior. Establish with the student what is acceptable use so it does not become a toy and a distraction.
Walk your classroom line down the hallway. I prefer to lead from the front and keep my ears open behind me, occasionally glancing back. Stop if there is talking or goofing around. Tell them we can always go back (this is really effective at lunch).
Use reflections on glass doors to your advantage, you can see around corners when you are not seen. If your classroom has glass on its door you can monitor the classroom when you have to step in the hallway to talk with someone. I once proved my point to a class by standing behind a screen at the front of the room. They knew I could not see through it, however using the reflection on the door I was able to tell them what individuals were doing. They were convinced I could see anything they did which helped improve behaviors in class. (Just don't let them know about your secret tool)
A fun way to walk your class down the hall quietly is to “sneak” down the hall. Tell your students you are going to sneak without getting caught by [principal, or whoever]. Exaggerate your sneaking by tiptoeing. If you have corners, stop short and peak around the corner. The kids will often mimic your actions and it is very quiet walking the hallway, not to mention..... fun.
When you need to investigate a sensitive issue that as happened in your class, but you don’t want give out too much information, try this. Give each child a blank piece of paper and ask them to write what they know about the scenario and do not allow them to discuss it. This allows you to gather information without preloading too much information. i.e. You come back after having a substitute teacher in your classroom to find the globe was broken. Tell students to write what they know about who was playing with the globe and why it might be broken. If you do not know anything then write “I know nothing”, this way everyone writes something and it keeps those who know something from feeling singled out. Collect the papers and look for common answers to solve your mystery.
To address little behaviors, such as lack of attention or talking, you can sometimes use the name of the student in mid sentence to draw them back without having to interrupt the flow of the lesson. Ex. If Jack wanted to add these numbers he would make sure he lined up the place values. Jill would use her green crayon to color the tree like this.
Keep the class rules simple. You don’t need to have a long list that details every possible issue. Most things will fall under a list of rules that are only 4 or 5 long. My school uses a concept called the 4B’s; Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Ready to Learn. Most issues that come up in the classroom can fit under one of these.
Establish routines within your day. Some students feel more secure and comfortable knowing that things will happen in a certain order. Many students do not have order and routine at home, so this is also a life skill that is being introduced. Within this context, there are times when you will have to flex from the routine for events that are scheduled or sometimes just because you need another 5 or 10 minutes to complete another lesson. However, establishing a routine can be a great tool to help you build security in your students and help you to be more efficient as a teacher.
Establish a system for getting your students attention in noisy situations. Some ideas are raising and holding your hand high, count down from 5 (at a reasonable rate), clap rhythm. Make sure the expectations are that it will be quiet by the end of the claps or countdown. Kids pick up on this routine very quickly.
On the day when you have school pictures, ask the photographer to not hand out combs to all the students. This usually becomes a management nightmare as you will have some students snap a comb on someone, or someone else will try to use the teeth of the comb as a musical instrument. Save yourself some grief and skip the comb. If a child is in dire need of some hair correction, put some strong parameters in place such as the comb having the comb returned to you immediately.
Be tough the first few weeks of school with expected behaviors. It is easier to turn a growl to a smile after a month than a smile to a growl. (translation: You can ease up later easier than you can toughen up later) You can be tough, but caring at the same time.
ARTHUR BROOD TEACHER