Last time, I wrote on the CARE framework for classroom management, a set of underlying principles for thinking about how we build legendary learning experiences for our kids. Today, I want to try sharing with you the critical learning experience that took me from yearly reinvention of my classroom management approach to an approach that has remained to this day.
Let's set the scene: It was the end of the school year, and I was sitting there in my classroom contemplating a troubling realization: the students I had loved so much at the start of the year were the kids who were driving me insane on a daily basis here at the end of the year. I knew that, logically, this couldn't be their fault; it couldn't be that I was somehow experiencing the simultaneous transformation of great young people into annoying ones. This led me to two burning questions:
- How did I create conditions that allowed for once-great students to become so much less, at least in my classroom?
- How could I keep this from ever happening again?
And that's when I Googled “classroom management” and came across the blog of teacher Michael Linsin. I immediately dove into reading his website, reading one article, clicking to another one, devouring the reader comments all along the way (Michael consistently answers these). After about two hours of this ravenous behavior, I had a pretty good grasp of how Linsin thinks about classroom management, and I also had some very practical changes that I would need to make if I was going to give it a try.
I did end up trying Linsin's approach that next fall, and my classes have been much, much better since. One reason I enjoy end-of-the-year pop-up toasts so much is that, thanks to the changes Linsin's work helped me make, I actually like all of my kids at the end of the year.
So without further ado, I'd like to share with you what I feel are the right articles for understanding Michael Linsin's approach to classroom management; I want to make it as easy as possible for you to spend two hours reading and internalizing the way he thinks things through.
Note: Linsin teaches upper elementary students, but in the comments section of his posts he fields questions from all kinds of teachers at all kinds of grade levels.
On the foundational ideas of Linsin's work:
- Why Rules And Consequences Aren’t Enough
- Are You Blaming Difficult Students For Poor Classroom Management?
- Why Intimidation Is A Terrible Classroom Management Strategy
- How A Simple List Can Improve Behavior (Notice how Linsin frames this and how important teacher genuineness (“be honest”) and steady, collaborative improvement are to him.)
- Why Giving A “Look” Is A Poor Classroom Management Strategy
- Why Caring Too Much Can Make You A Less Effective Teacher
- How Best To Hold Students Accountable
On the key concept of Linsin's strategy, the classroom management plan:
- How To Set Up A Simple, Effective Classroom Management Plan
- 10 Amazing Benefits Of Following Your Classroom Management Plan
On the first consequence of Linsin's plan:
- Should Your First Consequence Be A Warning?
- 3 Big Mistakes Teachers Make When Enforcing Consequences
- Do You Ever Feel Coldhearted Enforcing Consequences?
- How To Give A Warning That Improves Behavior
- Are You Giving Out Lots Of Warnings? Here’s How To Fix It
On the second consequence of Linsin's plan (which I don't call “time-out” in my ninth grade classroom; I simply tell students that they are being relocated):
- How To Get Students To Stay Seated And Quiet In Time-Out
- 10 Ways To Make Time-Out More Effective
- The 3 Requirements Of Real, Effective Time-Out
On the third consequence of Linsin's plan:
On the first days and weeks of school:
- Why You Should Take Your Time The First Few Weeks Of School
- 6 Things You Must Do On The First Day Of School
- How To Teach Classroom Management On The First Day Of School
- Handling Difficult Students The First Week Of School
- How To Avoid A Bad Start To Your School Year
- 7 Keys To The First Day Of School
- How To Set The Tone On The First Day Of School
On the CARE framework for understanding classroom management: (See this post for what I mean by the CARE framework.)
- How To Be Consistent From The First Day Of School To The Last
- How To Be Consistent With Classroom Management
- The Not-So-Secret To Effective Classroom Management: “Your success in creating an optimal learning environment for your students hinges on your willingness to follow your rules and consequences precisely and every single time.”
- Are You Boring Your Students Into Misbehavior?
- Why Laughter Makes Classroom Management More Effective
- Why Boredom Is A Leading Cause Of Misbehavior And How To Cure It In Two Minutes
- Why Having Fun Makes Classroom Management Easier
- Why Instilling A Love Of School Should Be Your Highest Priority
- What Building Relationships With Students Really Means
- Why Forgiveness Is A Powerful Classroom Management Strategy
- How To Earn Back The Trust Of A Student You’ve Hurt Or Disappointed
- 5 Simple Ways To Be More Likeable To Your Students
On managing your temper and stress:
- How to Keep Your Cool
- 11 Reasons Why You Should Never, Ever Lose Your Cool
- How To Create A Zen-Like Classroom In One Minute
- 10 Reasons To Smile, Breathe Easy, And Not Let Stress Get The Best Of You
- The Worst Cause Of Teacher Stress
- 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Lecture Your Students (Here, he's referring to behavior-related lectures.)
- Why You Shouldn’t Stay Late After School
- Why You Shouldn’t Redirect Misbehavior
- Don’t Yell At Students
- How To Rid Your Classroom Of Student Interruptions
- How To Love Being A Teacher
- How Best To Inform Students Of A Consequence
- Why Reminders Make Classroom Management More Difficult
On difficult students:
- How To Love Unlikable Students
- How To Turn Around Difficult Students (Part 1)
- Dealing With Difficult Students: The First Critical Step
- Why You Shouldn’t Pep-Talk Difficult Students
- How To Handle An Out-Of-Control Student
- 3 Popular Strategies You Should Stop Using With Difficult Students
- Why Trial And Error Is Bad For Difficult Students
- How To Handle Students Who Tattle, Complain, And Need Your Frequent Attention
- Why You Need To Draw A Line In The Sand With Difficult Students
- How To Handle Six Disrespectful Students In One Class
- How To Handle Class-Clown Disruptions And Disrespect
On situations with parents:
- How To Talk To Parents About Their Misbehaving Child
- 8 Ways To Eliminate Parent Complaints Forever
- Why Difficult Students Need Your Unconditional Acceptance
On difficult situations: