Have you ever heard yourself saying those EXACT words? I know I have! I am a guest blogger over at Teaching 4 Real. Pamela is on vacation (JEALOUS!) and I agreed to keep her readers busy with my ramblings. I thought, "why not keep my reader's busy with my ramblings too?!" HA! Just kidding! I don't ramble too much, do I? Don't answer that. Moving onto the topic of this post.
We hear it all the time. Be consistent. Be consistent in your teaching. Be consistent in your classroom management. Be consistent in your discipline. But it’s easier said than done right? Of course it is!
This is my 5th year of teaching and I still struggle with this, but I hope that this post gives you a little insight into how I have grown over the years and made my classroom a more consistent learning environment.
It is important to start on day 1 with consistency and expectations. This is the first day your students will see you and you have to show them what you expect. I’ve heard the rule, “You have to be mean till Christmas. Then the kids will know what they can and cannot get away with.” I completely agree with this! Maybe not the mean part, but the principle that you have to stand strong in what you expect. Both in academics and behavior. Your students will thrive off of your expectations! I promise!
How do you promote consistency? Here are some ideas.
1. Start a behavior system on day 1 and stick to it. I use a clip chart. You can use any behavior system. You must make sure to clearly lay out what deserves a consequence and what deserves praise. I use the terms “peacemaker” and “peacebreaker”. We brainstorm what a peacemaker and peacbreaker is the first week of school and put it on an anchor chart that hangs RIGHT by our clip chart. After the brainstorming is done I introduce the clip chart. (See my Teachers Pay Teachers store to look over the clip chart I use in my classroom). We talk about how if you do any of the peacemaker actions, you will get to clip up. And if you do any of the peacebreaker actions you will have to clip down. No arguments. And if you do argue, you clip down again! This one was a hard one for my firsties. They would argue with me about EVERYTHING! I have helped most of them stop doing that this year. Thank goodness!
2. When a student breaks a rule, there is a consequence. NO MATTER WHAT! I understand that there are extenuating circumstances and you have to use your judgment, but I’ve learned from experience, if you let them get away with it once, they will try again and again and again to get away with it!
3. Also, make sure that even if one of your sweet ones breaks a rule, you have to give the same consequence you would to your trouble student as you would your sweet student. I find myself sometimes thinking “oh, they won’t do it again”. Again, I say, consistency!
4. Keep a schedule! This helps with academic consistency! We are in our last 2 days of school, but we are still doing our calendar and problem solving till the LAST day! And guess what? My students expected nothing less. We do it EVERY morning and they know this is what we do. This also removes the chance for behavior because they know the schedule and know what’s coming next in the day. This way they won’t sit there and think “well I don’t know what we’re doing, so I’m going to goof off!”
5. Set expectations EARLY! At my school we do the workshop model for reading, writing, and math. In writing my students can write for 30 minutes STRAIGHT! Yes, I know, I’m very proud of them! Of course, we didn’t start there, but the 1st day I introduced writer’s workshop to my students, they were told that eventually we would reach 30 minutes of independent writing time. And we did reach that! We wrote EVERY day this year at the SAME time, upping our writing time every day. They knew we wrote during that time. And if we didn’t (very rarely happened), they would ask “why aren’t we writing?!” They really do thrive off schedules!
I hope that through this post you learned a little bit about consistency and you can try it in your classroom. I promise you won’t regret it. Have a good week!