Behavior Management is not just about discipline

When you are setting up your classroom, you want to connect with your students.  If you don’t build a good relationship and rapport with your students, then they will not respond well to the classroom management (or discipline) that is being implemented.

Think about the organization of the classroom.  What kind of learning environment do you want to establish?  Collaborative? Independent? Small Group?  Whole Group?  Think about where the materials are located; processes/routines to access materials, ask and answer questions; participate in different learning enviornments; transitions (how to walk in hallway; what to do when I need to use the bathroom; how to get set up for the day; etc.).

Set up 3-5 positive expectations about what you want to see in your classroom.  During the first several weeks at school, review before, during and after every activity.  Role play different situations and make them fun! Get the students up and moving, but also reinforce the expectations/rules throughout!

Spend the first few days of school playing ‘get to know you games’ and relationship/trust building activities, while you incorporate the expectations.  It is our job to teach the children that are walking in the door, which may or may not be ‘rule abiding’.

We need to teach them everything (even if they are not on par with peers), but that is the exciting challenge of teaching.  Stay tuned for more tips and tricks in the coming weeks!

organization of your classroom

A few things to think about:

  • how do you educate throughout the day?
    • small groups?
    • whole group?
    • independent work?
    • centers?
  • where will your students learn best?
    • desks?
    • floor comfort?
    • standing areas?
  • who will supply the materials?
    • students in desks?
    • communal supply?
  1. Be sure you have set ground rules and expectations.  PRACTICE these for the first few weeks of school, and slowly fade once students are demonstrating these skills.

Options for organization:

Consider having a library area that has floor seated areas, a box of floor cushions that can be moved around the room, and possibly some moveable room barriers to create small nooks for working!

have desks in rows facing the blackboard?

in small groupings of desks in the classroom?

use tables and chairs with name tags? and bags on the backs of chairs for books and supplies?

Have an area of the classroom for:

  • kleenex
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • rulers
  • pens
  • markers
  • crayons
  • etc.




Think about what feeling you want in your classroom.

Busy walls with posters and fun themes?

Simplistic colors that encourage learning, but not overwhelming?

Regular themes in the classroom, rotating materials ongoing?


This is your room that you establish for your students.  What do you want???

what behaviors do you want to see less of?

What are you seeing?

  • screaming
  • crying
  • non-compliance
  • refusing to complete work
  • refusing to comply with directions
  • running out of the classroom
  • profanity
  • aggression
  • refusing to participate

when are they happening?

  • same time of day?
  • every time there is a direction?
  • during the same courses?

why are they happening?

  • child is behind in the grade level content
  • child is embarrassed to share their knowledge
  • child is unsure of the directions
  • is the child hungry?
  • is the child lacking parenting and wants sympathy?


Collecting more data about WHAT, WHEN and WHY these behaviors are  happening, so you can best identify a treatment plan!


Think about what happened before the behavior (that you can observe), what did the behavior look like, and how did you react?


What happened after the behavior?

  • did you ignore the child’s behavior?
  • did the child have to complete the work later by themselves?
  • did the child have to complete the work later with you?
  • did the child receive a verbal reaction (i.e. ‘it’s time to do work’, ‘hey ___, how are you?, etc.)?
  • other consequences?  If you are using a color coded behavior system, was the child immediately moved down on the ‘score chart’?


FINALLY, is the child missing the skill to complete the task or the motivation to complete the task?


Collect more data, and come back soon for more tips!